Yesterday – Tuesday – was a strange day at work. I know that it is my absolute mission to separate work and life, but I really must comment on the shenanigans which upturned an otherwise very orderly working day.
There we were, heads down, working steadily away, first cup of coffee having gone cold on the desk (that’s how busy life is at the coalface!!!) And suddenly, we were called upon to take delivery of a surprize twelve (yes twelve) additional filing cabinets!!!!!
Now – our office is not a hangar in a local aerodrome. nor are we in an abandoned factory. We do, in fact, occupy a very ordinary sized office which was (we thought!!!) already bursting at the gills with the eight staff and the seven filing cabinets it has, to date, housed.
You may also note that there was no mention of these being new filing cabinets. Because naturally this would be far from the truth. They do have the advantage of being lockable but do certainly not add panache to our surroundings (already devoid of the elegance/urbanity of any private sector – or indeed, any self respecting public sector -service group.)
Nevertheless, such was the gratitude for this bounty bestowed from – who knows where – that an appreciative band of professionals set to transferring all the confidential information/files into these lockable cabinets. Who cared that most were dressed in white/light trousers (in honour of the season rather than the weather). Who cared that the dust/dirt etc cast up would floor me and probably trigger an asthma attack. Who cared that there were now at least six excess cabinets in an already overcrowded space.
Over lunch, folk started to consider possible uses for this additional cupboard space. We could hide our cups from marauders from teams more cavalier about crockery/delftware ownership. We could keep clothing changes/hairdriers for returning from our lunchtime swims (which have never actually materialized). We could house our own library in one of the cabinets, where books could be borrowed and a nominal amount contributed to charity each time an individual book was borrowed. So. Nothing outrageous. Nothing particularly novel. But – all of these came from staff virtually invisible behind the grey contours of an unrequested, unwanted, unnecessary series of cabinets.
And no-one even mentioned the impact on the available space.
So. Who says that public sector workers don’t adapt easily and quickly to change? Who says that they react badly to imposed environmental challenge?
I invite you to visit a happy, integrated, multi-disciplinary team of professionals supporting a wide range of service users and contributing to the provision of essential resources.
You’ll have to climb over a bank of filing cabinets to actually see these heroes, but that’s ok – they’ll need the bunkers when the Lords and Masters arrive to glory in their largesse!