Weeknotes S5 Ep6

Lesser-spotted Monday weeknotes

My excellent mug says “Over thinking thinker over thinking things”

Hi, how are you? This is a bit of a weird weeknote because I’m now writing this on a Monday, but I started it on Saturday…

On Saturday the small human was watching the Gruffalo for the umpteenth time in the front room and his dad was asleep on the sofa with him. I was hiding in the kitchen, snaffling the last of the crisps and trying to write.

Some kind of gruffalo rave

Saturday was a good day; ordering some Christmas presents, kicking leaves in the park, buying delicious cakes, having lunch, seeing some art and weeknoting this weeknote.

But I didn’t manage to finish writing it before mummy duties called me to make tea. Then I felt very anxious and not very well on Sunday, low on energy and headachy. I couldn’t bring myself to write.

So here I am on Monday, staring down the barrel of a half-finished weeknote which is annoying me. It’s very strange writing on a Monday because a lot of other weeknotes have already been published, plus after the weekend my perspective has shifted a lot.

It’s strange and I’m struggling to remember everything I wanted to say, and to knit it in with what I wrote on Saturday. I guess it doesn’t matter, I always think of things that I meant to put in my weeknotes after the event, but if they don’t make the cut then I guess they aren’t important to the overarching narrative?

So perhaps I should just stop overthinking and get on with it.

All Change

This week was my last at GDS, and Wednesday was my last day in the office.

My last GDS London skyline view (for a while at least)

So it was a short but sweet week. I had my final 1:1 with Antonia for a while, I finished up as much as I could and had some handover meetings. I bought my team some delicious crosstown doughnuts.

On Wednesday night there were some low-key team drinks and it was really lovely, colleagues from DHSC came, as did ex-colleagues from DATT and GDS. This meant that I totally forgot I had got a ticket to go along to Rosie’s “Why Parliament’s Digital Strategy is like a Cottage Pie” which was a shame, and not only because that’s an awesome title, but because I’m sure it was excellent.

It was a week of change for a number of other reasons; a big thing that’s been overshadowing our team recently has been resolved, two of my team are moving on to new roles, new people are joining, and Steve has earned temporary promotion — he is awesome and I’m really pleased for him.

A thumbs up scene from the movie Up

I’m feeling excited, relieved, and pleased to be moving on. I learned a lot in this role but I also learned a lot about what I am good at, what I want to do more of and what motivates me.

So for the first time in… ever, perhaps? I’m moving to a new role because I have a better sense of myself. I feel like I’m making a decision based on more information and that’s refreshing.

I credit blogging and writing as being one of the reasons for this shift, so thank you fellow weeknoters for listening to me mumble on.

Pass it on

I’ve spoken in this series about trying to be more explicit about what I’m thinking and not to assume that people know. I’ve been experimenting with telling people that I trust them and I’ve been trying as hard as I can to continue to “Be Generous” [1].

I’m thinking a lot about what I can do to elevate people around me, and I’m making concerted efforts to be more inclusive and consider diversity as much as I possibly can. I might not get there every time, but I’m trying to be more active about this.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about what’s happened since I first joined the Civil Service, and I’ve been thinking about how the people I’ve worked with have helped to shape how I act now.

When I was in the Cabinet Office my manager, Olivia nominated me for a Cabinet Office Award, and I was shortlisted. If I remember back now, I think it was an important moment in helping me to see that something I had done that I hadn’t thought was remarkable was actually something worth celebrating. One of the things Olivia did well was to help people to recognise their achievements and I really appreciated that.

Even though I was busy a couple of weeks ago I decided to make the time to nominate my mentee, Nim, for an award this year. I found out this week that he’s been shortlisted, I’m so so pleased! And I’m really happy to pass on some of what Olivia did for me.

Other things that happened

I just spent a couple of hours trying to pick apart something I’ve been thinking and failed. I ended up just writing about the brands Superdry and Huit (jeans) rather than actually getting to the point that I wanted to make about authenticity. But I do think there is something brewing here.

This Monday weeknote writing is a curse and I will not be doing it again.

So what else happened last week? I met Dan for coffee at Portcullis House which was excellent and I also saw Harriet Harman there so that was a bonus.

Conversations with Dan are always excellent because they are honest and funny and good soul food. Dan helps me order my thoughts without judging me for having them. We covered changes at work, housework yak shaving, my perfectionist tendencies and emotional labour – so not small topics, but we also chatted about the time I interviewed Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, so, you know. You can read Dan’s weeknotes here.

I read Jonathan’s weeknotes and something he said about his “acting voice” really chimed with me.

I also did a tour of our offices, and that was fun because I got to use my ACTING VOICE, which is like my real voice but more confident and willing to do call-and-response.

If I met my acting voice in the real world, I would hate it and be desperately envious of it at the same time.

I keep coming back to it but there’s something here again about Morgan’s “learned extroversion” — and I’m wondering if I also have an acting voice?

I’m also thinking about how we bend and mould ourselves to the expectations of other people in certain situations and whether those expectations are unreasonable, or whether its better for us to be flexible by changing our approach and making people’s lives easier.

I also read some really great things this week:

The above really resonated with me because for years I felt like I was being told that I didn’t fit a mould that I couldn’t understand and that seemed to change pretty regularly. When you think about career advice being aimed squarely at women it does look a lot like women are the problem rather than the environment.

The below about designing public spaces for mental health was really brilliant:

And I really enjoyed this blog post about thinking about complexity from being about change to “moving the dial” and understanding how different actors affect different parts.

This [thread] was also really interesting:

And finally, massive shout out to @jukesie for collating all of these posts:

So this week I’m off to Bristol tomorrow and I’m going to pop in and see Liam in DEFRA and Louise and the Delib team, and hang out with my friend who I haven’t seen for a bit too long.

I’ve got two weeks off before I start my new job, so I’m not sure what that means for weeknotes though I might do a little update on my encounters with Bristol public sector digital heroes, look out for that!

I’ve been watching Joel and Nish vs the World which has been very funny, but I’ve also been entertaining myself by imagining that it’s actually a Stacey Dooley documentary and any moment she’s going to pop up in massive earrings and ask “what do you think this says about masculinity in Japan/Tahiti/Argentina?”

And finally, a little playlist. I started off by listening to Sugar Pie DeSanto, Soulful Dress which is one of my all time favourite songs and went from there, also includes possibly my favourite PJ Harvey song (though this changes on a fairly regular basis).

[1] Which reminds me that I need to order some more stickers before I start my new job.

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