The beginning of January finds me starting the final third of my notice period. What seemed so far away last June is now merely a few days away. Forty working days to be exact.
I’ve been debating which is better – forty working days or two months? Which of the two phrases gives me a little more mental comfort? As with any long-awaited (or long-dreaded) date on the calendar it’s hard at the moment to see past the day itself. To think, what will happen the day after?
So I’m embarking on a little bit of a psychological experiment. I have worked up a plan that actually covers the first three months of 2011. So the fateful R-Day itself is just a milestone along that road rather than the destination. I’ll let you know if it works.
It’s a plan that came to me during a Christmas drinks do with some of our neighbours. An event full of gallows humour given everyone there either relied on public services or was employed in providing them. Much as everyone there was depressed about 2010 their feelings about 2011 were far gloomier.
As the mulled wine flowed it turned out we were all worried pretty much about the same things. Jobs, children and ‘what sort of country are we becoming?’ Everyone had a scaled-back Christmas and no one was planning a splurge in the sales. The way to our wallets was shut.
But it was the downbeat feel of the conversation throughout the evening that stayed with me afterwards. If austerity is a state of mind, we all seemed to embody it.
Of course there will be some folks out there who are relishing the prospect of getting stuck into 2011. Some of our countrymen and women will not even feel the bumps in the road during their journey through 2011. Good luck to them all. For the rest of us though I suspect it’s going to be rather harder.
Hence my plan. I am a little bit bloody-minded so I am not going to drift around waiting for 2011 to kick me and mine all over the shop. No, it’s time to get assertive and look beyond the last day of my current career and think about what I want to achieve by the end of March, the end of June and so on.
Planning the year in this way – around us and not around the dictates of my current employer is proving to be quite a lot of fun. Not least because I am including all the personal ambitions that got pushed to the side in the past by the snow-plough of the ‘needs of the service’. No, this is the year when the RPS family takes life firmly by the throat and extracts the last full measure of enjoyment from it.
Of course we are luckier than many fellow public servants out there who still have no idea what may happen to them in 2011. Knowing the date and the terms of my professional demise is a real blessing. (And I never thought I would ever be able to say that.) It makes it possible for us to make our own plan.
So watch out 2011. Here we come. As a child my mates and me used play a game that involved jumping out of trees pretending to be paratroopers. We never worried about the landing. The thrill was in the jumping off the branch.
We didn’t scream as we jumped. No, we shouted what airborne forces everywhere shout as they leap from the safety of the aircraft. I think it might be my watchword for 2011.
All together now …