Weeknotes S4 Eps 09–10

Super Fun Bumper Edition[1] feat. a big brown question mark, a flamingo and an iron lung.

Overarching feeling of the week

I’m writing this from a very low low. Which is heartbreaking given that I started this week on an incredibly high high.

I couldn’t wait to write these weeknotes because I wanted to tell you all of the wonderful things that have happened, about how I’ve been feeling so good and so proud about what we achieved.

Monday was #OneTeamGovGlobal. The culmination of months of hard work in my spare time, and what I thought was an incredible, inspiring (if exhausting) day of meeting and speaking with people who are all engaged in becoming better and doing better for citizens globally. I worked with a committed and awesome team and I am really proud.

I’ve gone from feeling incredibly positive to feeling incredibly let down. There are reasons for this, but I can’t go into them here at the moment.

So the big brown question mark might have to make itself known again; hovering over proceedings like an ominous brown cloud [1].

Hello you ugly old thing, I haven’t missed you.

I’m going to choose to put it aside for now and be positive for the purposes of weeknotes.

So, guys! I’ve got two weeks to talk you through, two bloody brilliant weeks!

(More than five things but less than ten things…) that happened over the past two weeks…

ONE. Geospatial Commission. That sounds interesting doesn’t it? Last year the Chancellor announced that he was going to set up a new commission whose purpose it would be to look at all data relating to location and help to fund work in other government departments or agencies relating to that.

This is a simplification and you can find the announcement here. The point is that by doing this, the data becomes more easily accessible and that this will have a knock on effect in the economy.

This is a gif from Arrested Development which in no way represents the team I’m talking about but gifs about cartography are few and far between, you try.

I was briefly involved when I worked in the Cabinet Office to help set up the team on our infrastructure. And now, from GDS, I’m working with them to understand more about the projects they will be funding.

This work is in my sweet spot because I feel like I’ve been able to build a good relationship with the commission already and I’m getting to grips with the work they’re doing. I’m working with other people in my team to share that information out, and identifying (and building relationships with) other people that they will need to work with. So I’m putting this at the top of my list of things that are satisfying about work at the moment.

TWO. Compression. I’ve been working compressed hours which has meant doing an extra hour of work per day so that I can have every other Friday off. I’ve been managing this by taking shorter lunchbreaks and working in the evenings to make up time.

An iron lung

Friday last week was my first Friday off as a result. I spent the entire day doing #OneTeamGovGlobal organising.

There’s a couple of weird things about this so I’ll let the two parts of my brain just have a little argument about it for a while if you don’t mind…[3]

Logical brain: Didn’t you take compressed hours so you could have time off?

Well yes, but I am terrible at resting and passionate about getting this kind of stuff done.

We needed to take everything to the QEII, move all the stuff from the store room, then pack 700 bags, and get everything set up for the day.

There was a certain protest happening nearby and the centre said they would need to kick us out early, so we needed to make sure we got it all done before they locked down. I needed to be there and help get it all done.

Plus I wanted to be there and help. That can’t be understated.

A flamingo walking in circles.

Logical brain: Okay. But, surely this counts as work?

Well yes, I believe it furthers the cause of making us a Brilliant Civil Service, I believe the work that One Team Gov is doing will help to create a more open culture based on empathy and diversity. And help to develop some brilliant leaders… I certainly think it was work filling 700 attendee goodie bags.

Oh yeah, I totally made a gif of us packing goodie bags.

But I was hanging out with people I admire and who I wouldn’t get the chance to work with usually. Friendly brilliant and driven people, and somehow, it didn’t feel like work.

plus, I had already requested a day off for the event and I didn’t feel comfortable asking for more…

Logical brain: Don’t you get time off for corporate contributions?

Yes, but…um….

THREE. Extreme empathy. There have been a few times recently when I’ve been chatting to people and they’ve been open and honest with me about things that they have going on in their lives.

I’m so grateful for people’s openness and honoured that they feel able to speak to me, but it breaks my heart that I can’t do more or take people’s pain away. Then I feel guilty for making it about me when it’s absolutely not about me.

Pain, pain fly away.

FOUR. Mentoring. I had an email from Nim (my mentee) asking if we could catch up, so that was lovely. There is an opportunity for him to apply to access some training which would enable him to train as a developer with Makers Academy.

He wanted to ask me about it and see if I could help him. I’m absolutely honoured to help in any way. It would be a huge opportunity for him and he’s perfect for it. So fingers crossed!

FIVE. Parklife. On Friday week 1 (compression day) I met the Dan for lunch in the St James’s Park. It was good to do something different, to chat about being a terrible parent (me) unknown Thom Yorke tracks (both), that guy from Dirty Projectors (both) and about theme tunes for work.

Dan recorded an amazing theme tune for #OneTeamGovGlobal, it’s brilliant, and you’ll find it below.

SIX. Explain yourself. This week I met with a new member of my old team to talk her through all things standards assurance. It was a good opportunity to practice explaining it all to someone who has never encountered that area of work before. Again this sits in my sweet spot, explaining, working with and building a relationship with someone completely new. It’s been good.

SEVEN. Future Leaders. I wrote my application statement for the Future Leader’s Scheme. This is a scheme at work which I’ve applied for before, if you’ve been reading these notes for a while you’ll know that last year I wasn’t successful (possibly in part due to some seriously ninja psychometric tests).

A baby ninja

James asked the One Team Gov global committee for their input on his application and I was really happy to try and help him out with it. James then lived his principles of working in the open and shared his application, which is brilliant. You’ll find it below:

View at Medium.com

To follow suit Jonathan shared his statements via his weeknotes here:

View at Medium.com

I want to share mine but I can’t open a Google Doc, so it needs to go into a blog, and at the moment I’m feeling a bit lazy and can’t be bothered to do that. If you want me to share with you I will, please just let me know.

EIGHT. Culture Club, Voice to Vote. I do this thing at work. It’s called culture club and I’ve spoken about it before. The aim is to get out to free cultural events like art exhibitions across London. It was originally intended to help our team do more together and to gel outside of work.

When I joined my new team I thought I would start this up as a way to get to know the team, and to help us all go out more and talk about non-work related things.


In reality, most of my team are out a lot, so people don’t tend to be available. This makes me really sad, and I do slightly wonder why I persist with it. This time, Simon and Hattie in my current team, fellow weeknoter and GDS developer Jonathan, Wendy, Luke and Martha from my old team came along. It was good to build connections and I hope everyone enjoyed it.

We went to Voice to Vote at Westminster Hall, which was about the Suffrage movement and was really interesting. I highly recommend it. Oh, and if you want to come to future Culture Club outings please let me know.

Pictures from the Voice to Vote exhibition.

NINE. Which brings us on to…


One team Gov Global started for me on Sunday afternoon as I headed into town to start meeting and greeting people. We arranged to meet people who had arrived from Canada, New Zealand and Scotland near St James’s Park so that they knew people ahead of the event.

The excitement was high and it was great to meet people over dinner at Wagamama.

We all headed in to bed early to get up and meet at 6.45am the following morning. We needed to finalise things before the volunteers and attendees started arriving. The extraordinary Jenny briefed volunteers and we all just got to cracking on.

I’ve been working as part of the Comms squad. Writing and queuing up tweets in my lunch breaks and helping to write, tidy or set up blogs in my evenings.

In Comms Squad I worked with (fellow weeknoter) Debbie, the spectacular Joanne Rewcastle, Jemima, Stefan and Prateek.

I bought comms squad some badges so that they remember how awesome they are.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed working with these awesome human beings. Debbie, Joanne, Jemima and I really pulled together and I’m so glad of their enthusiasm and positivity. There would be very little opportunity to work with these brilliant women in my day job, and I can’t believe I’ve only known Joanne a couple of months. It feels much longer.

It was such a full-on day, going to sessions taking photos and writing tweets and pulling content together. It was full on and I saw so many good friends and met many many more people. It was a big extrovert day, and that was tough for me, but it was ultimately rewarding.

I met the lovely and brilliant kim and it felt as though we had known each other for ages. DavidBuck had asked us to run a session on sketchnoting which we duly did (with very little preparation!).

I would have preferred longer to practice, but all told I think it went well.

This weeknoting thing really is special and its so great that so many of my fellow weeknoters were there or involved.

How else would I have met Kim and realised that we had this stuff in common? Who else could I have put together a 45 minute workshop with with only 10 minutes prep?

Kim has drafted a follow up blog with resources which we will publishing soon and sending out to everyone who attended the session (sorry for the delay in doing my bit Kim!)

Finally it wouldn’t really be Global without mentioning just all the new people from around the world I’ve met and made connections with. It’s been so awesome that I can’t actually remember everyone that I spoke to and about what!


Final special shout outs to DavidBuck, James, James and Nour for all being absolutely amazing and inspiring.

Kit Collingwood who lead us all with a lot of thoughtfullness and grace. Kit would regularly send messages to the team saying: “I have set some time aside, what should I do, what do you need?” this was really great leadership.

Finally Jenny and Morgan who have been incredibly special and helped to pull me along and upwards when I’ve been struggling with my confidence or with personal stuff. I’m so glad and grateful to you for bringing me along for the ride. I’m so proud of what we did and lucky to have worked with you.

Global organising committee

I know that this doesn’t cover everyone and honestly I could go on for pages and pages, but it’s late, so I’m going to stop here.

Thank you.

In other news…

I wrote a tweet which has had over 100 likes which means I get a black Nando’s card, right?

I’ve been reading lots of blogs about people’s experiences of Global, as well as the interview with Tom:

I read this silly thing:

View at Medium.com

And Salma challenged me to a black and white photo challenge.

Finally here is my playlist of the weeks, which explains the slightly different two halves.


An Adventure Time gif.

[1] Disclaimer, may not be super fun. I hope you all get past the first bit.

[2] I first used this gif waaaaay back when I first stared weeknoting and when I was getting to grips with that thing that very weeknote writer comes across; of being unable to talk about certain things in a work context. The gif turned into a metaphor for something being missing or unsaid, and it seems as good as anything else I can think off to demonstrate that things aren’t always as straightforwardly positive as they might appear in weeknotes world.

[3] Oh god, what is this new format?! Has Sam finally broken beyond repair? perhaps we should find her and get her to a safe space.

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