Yesterday found me in conversation with one of the many generous, kind and talented people with whom I’ve come into contact since being launched towards redundancy. During our chat it occurred to me that there are many blessings to have come our way as a result of the enforced change ahead. Experiences, opportunities and people who I would never have known without being made redundant.
During yesterday I made a little list of these blessings and here it is, in no particular order.
- ‘… to boldly go …’: Much of my life as a public servant has been about minimising and managing risk. Being made redundant changed the parameters for me though since the answer to the question, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’, had really already happened. The risks of not doing something became much greater than the risks of giving it a go. I’m now far more comfortable with being uncomfortable than I ever was before and that usually means you end up learning something useful.
- ‘… two (or more) heads are better than one …’: When you’re all in the lifeboat together scanning an expanse of unemployment it hardly matters who amongst you was the captain and who was a stoker or a steward. What counts far more than previous status is the knowledge, energy and passion that, shamefully, went untapped most of the time at work. I’ve greedily drunk from that well of talent as well as, I hope, contributing my share too.
- ‘ … the kindness of strangers …‘ : My uniform experience has been that people are incredibly generous and kind in sharing their experience, knowledge and time. Outside of the anti-public sector trolldom most folks emphasise with what we’re going through – many having been through it themselves numerous times. Knowing the world isn’t actually full of people who want to burn you for having had the temerity to be in public service puts the rantings of some part of the media into perspective.
- ‘ … scepticism is useful, cynicism isn’t …’: There’s nothing like being on the inside of news stories in providing powerful lessons about how the world works. After 20 odd years of public service I am still shocked by the cavalier attitude to the truth that many of our national leaders display. It would be easy to become cynical, and I know sometimes I stray there, but if that’s where you start and end you may miss out on opportunities to do some good. Scepticism helps focus my mind on where my talents may be useful, the weaknesses in whatever is being proposed that can be tackled. I do find this the hardest blessing to keep in mind though.
- ‘ … what’s really important …’: For most of us, most of the time we take a lot of our lives unchallenged. Like the hull of an old man-of-war we accrete all sorts of stuff in our journey through life. Having this rude shock to the system has compelled us at RPS Towers to think about what is important. That’s a work in progress but one that wouldn’t have started without being keel-hauled by the coalition.
When I started blogging I promised myself that I wouldn’t waste time ranting but that doesn’t mean I don’t, every now and again, get thoroughly fed up. Writing about what’s going on has helped me clarify my thoughts though. And that has been far more helpful to me, and I hope to you, than creating effigies of my least favourite politicians for pin-sticking. (I can always do that later.)
Hearing from visitors to the blog is, of course, one of the greatest blessings. Your stories, often sad and frequently funny, have been a constant inspiration. Thank you and good luck to us all.
Now, what’s next?