In which there are two weeks to go …

First things first. Happy Valentine’s Day. May you and the object of your affections be blessed in a Readybrek-like warm glow.

Right that’s enough soppiness let’s move on swiftly.

Unbelievably the two-week warning is lit up. Where did those months and days go? Too late to worry too much now, of course.

I’m a strong believer in the power of visualisation as an aid to performance. I’ve even gone so far as to rehearse whole difficult conversations all the way through, swapping chairs to play both sides of the discussion. It greatly puzzled our office cleaner who caught me one evening leaping from chair to chair whilst arguing with myself.

I’ve been applying the same visualisation techniques to my departure. It’s not a dead-end or a brick wall or a terrible void yawning deep and cavernous at my feet. Not now anyway. Although that may have been the case at the start of this journey.

Nope, the images I am using now are all about transformation rather than an end to or suspension of development. I don’t plan to be like one of those plaster-cast victims of Vesuvius caught out of time in mid-flight. Instead, like Pliny’s uncle I am in my boat pulling for the open sea. (Albeit with better respiratory function I hope.)

So what are the most appropriate mental images for the final bend in the race to the redundancy line? Well I suppose there’s that one: the race. But this suggests everything stops at the line. Now that can’t be right.

I’ve played around before with ‘Geronimo’ and leaping out of trees or aircraft. This doesn’t seem quite right either. There’s always a landing.

A makeover? No, don’t have the legs for that. A re-birth? No, I saw the Lady Gaga pictures from the Grammies and that really isn’t me. A chrysalis then? Do me a favour, I’ve seen Spinal Tap.

Over the weekend I saw the perfect image. Something that perfectly embodies the ferocious struggle in its elemental vastness. Of course it could only be: the snowdrop.

It’s not an original thought – the romantic poets are of course there ahead of me – but I was out somewhere wild over the weekend tramping along and thinking. Walking is good for that. Anyway there’s not much stirring just now in the countryside. But there on a bank sheltered by a hawthorn hedge and dappled in the weak and milky sunlight were my old friends the snowdrops.

Back in November this spot was under a heap of snow and it felt like nothing would ever flower here again. But there they are. Tiny and fragile-seeming yet tough as old nails. And with an apparent boundless capacity to bounce back after the hardest frosts and the deepest snows.

That’s toughness. Resilience. Grace.

After the winter comes the spring. Of course it’s often hard to remember that when things are at their gloomiest. But it’s at least a cheering thought. The quiet strength of the snowdrop will always outlast the roaring present tempests.

The snow-drop, Winter’s timid child,

Awakes to life bedew’d with tears;

Mary Robinson, 1758-1800

About redundantpublicservant

A redundant UK public servant looking for work, sharing his experiences and providing a space for others to do the same.
This entry was posted in bad news, Redundancy, success and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to In which there are two weeks to go …

  1. Mean Mr Mustard says:


    My preferred imagery is a sinking ship.

    Years ago, I noticed my dependable old rustbucket was in trouble, and worse still, that the Captain was prone to lying, what with all his propaganda and positive thinking delusional happy talk. Deckchairs being busily rearranged, and evident confusion on the bridge.

    So I got a lifejacket (various transferable skills) and patiently waited in line for a place on a lifeboat (redundancy). Mrs Mustard was in a separate line. We were very lucky to both get issued with boats with adequate provisions, now lashed together as a more seaworthy catamaran. It certainly helped that we had no excess baggage to load on board (debt). We looked back at our old rustbucket as it listed even more, lurching faster than we ever imagined possible, while all the better lifeboats had now gone.

    And suddenly, other ships around us were hitting rocks – no warning for their hapless crews. There are far fewer rescue ships (jobs elsewhere) than we expected, though amazingly, there are some millionaire’s yachts amongst us, with very select parties in full swing, with their drunken crews oblivious to what’s going on around them – and they were the ones who directed the ships onto the rocks, either deliberately or through incompetence.

    Anyway, it’s everyone for themselves now. We hope we can get to dry land, (full retirement) some way beyond the horizon, with careful provisioning, but that horizon does look like it’s receding all the while.

    Still, the apparently big moment you actually cast off from your sinking ship isn’t so significant. That just means it won’t take you down with it, leaving you free to navigate your own course. What counts are the weather conditions, and how long you can stay afloat, to get to another ship or dry land. And that’s all down to prior preparation and discipline, and how good you are at forecasting conditions and using a sextant. Not forgetting seafarer’s luck.

    Bon chance,

    Matelote Moutarde

  2. Andrew H says:

    Whatever imagery you chose I just hope you are able to get a job – it will stop me worrying about how you and the RPS family will get on (especially the dog 🙂 ). Strange, I don’t know what you (still) do, where you live and so on – and that is how it should be – but your story has become, for me, symbolic of the impact of this government’s spending cuts on hard working decent people whose only ‘mistake’ was to have a belief in public service. Good luck!

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