Weeknotes S10 Ep10

Thou shalt see that it is barren.

I started writing this on Friday night, from my bed, in front of Drag Race. But somehow it never got finished over the weekend. Well not quite ‘somehow’ — we were very busy tidying and moving furniture around — and in the evenings I was too tired to think about writing. So here we are, at the start of a new week. Writing at the beginning of the following week isn’t exactly new for me but it’s certainly not been a regular thing before, and now two weeks in a row *shrug*

Anyway, we continue.

Most of last week was spent trying to get a procurement off the ground and encountering obstacles and miscommunications which was frustrating. It meant that I didn’t feel very productive for most of the week, and I felt like I was doing a lot of waiting.

I don’t really like waiting, I want to crack on and I want to be in control of what I’m doing and that’s been problematic this week. If things are within my control I have the ability to ensure they meet my expectations in terms of quality, and I’ve been coming up against decisions that were made before I came back that, if I was in control, I would have done differently. There’s this quality vs speed weigh up, and I’d go for quality every time but that’s not where we are.

It’s really demotivating, because I don’t feel in control I’m just not really enthused about the work. I’m looking everywhere for the last of my fucks and coming up short.

Picture: A copy of the Bayeux Tapestry, with new text that reads “Behold, the field in which I grow my fucks. Lay thine eyes upon it and thou shalt see that it is barren”

That’s rather an extreme statement and makes it sound like I’ve given up — that’s definitely not the case — when this work finally kicks off I’ll be all over it. The problem is that I don’t feel empowered and I feel like I’ve slipped further back and further away than I thought I would when I came back to this role. And… I’m a bit bored.


Work on the Suicide Prevention event has been intense as we are less than a week away and honestly, it is giving me some of the enthusiasm and energy that I’m missing in the day job at the moment.

Because we’re getting closer to the event, I’ve been doing lots of extra hours, and making sure that everything is coming together. That’s meant replying to emails in the inbox, coordinating via WhatsApp, scheduling tweets and creating twitter cards, speaking to our contributors. Last week we set ourselves some important deadlines for getting the line up confirmed; that meant I needed to find (and persuade) someone I hadn’t previously spoken to to join at the last minute. Thankfully they said yes and I’m really excited to have them.

Debbie and I also needed to create our second blog post on the contributors to make sure we had profiled them all. Oh, and I needed to get the agenda written, published and emailed to all attendees.

It all got done, but there were a couple of points when I wasn’t sure if we would be all set by the end of the week but also relatively relaxed that we had already done more than enough to deliver something good.

The lovely feedback we had was:

“It was easily the best virtual session I have ever attended and every person I spoke to felt that they had got a great deal out of it.”

Which honestly, counteracts any negative feedback via the feedback form by about a million times.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this work, and I’ve been trying to take note of the things that I’m learning and what I’m learning about myself as I go so that I can use it for the next thing I try to do. So oblige me please while I get a bit self interested and boring for a moment.

  1. A lot of people would be intimidated by this subject.

But somehow I just jumped in with two feet and the nervousness only came later (when I realised the enormity of what we were doing). Is that because I was completely ignorant when I started? Is that because I’m not scared of starting? I have no idea. But I’ve been thinking about the different opportunities there are within the Civil Service to do lots of different, daunting and important things and deciding (at this point) to feel less fearful about what I can achieve where I would have previously called it “too difficult”.

2. Doing something I think is important can sometimes maybe make me a bit… intense.

When I get into something I find it very difficult to slow down and even more difficult to stop. Last week our WhatsApp was buzzing all day and I felt like I needed to respond to pretty much everything. That’s bad, because:

a. this isn’t my work, we have an organising team and it’s a team for a reason. So my behaviour might be construed by others as being controlling when what I really want to do is to empower people. That’s important to me and I need to work on it, and,

b. WhatsApp fatigue is real and really hard, especially when you’re dealing with this subject matter, there’s the emotional and work burdens both coming into play. I need to remember to protect that team who have been helping me.

What’s good is that one of the team mentioned that they muted the group for a bit to keep themselves sane; they spoke up and I could do something about it. We had a mutual muting over the weekend, and actually, I really needed it.

So note to self, be less intense. Consider others more.

3. What if we get in trouble?

Call it impostor syndrome, or confidence, or class or something else but I always feel a bit like a naughty schoolkid. Like I’m going to get told off for something. But I can’t really predict what I might get told off about. So my brain handily goes searching for things for me.

So, generally before bedtime, my brain goes into overdrive wondering what could go wrong… so here goes, neurosis central:

  • We did this off our own backs, with no mandate and no permission, which might mean someone gets upset? Maybe? And what would I do about that if it happens? I have literally no idea.
  • I checked the numbers just now and we are up to 640 sign ups
  • I’m currently worrying that one of our speakers will say something untoward that gets us into trouble somehow. I’m having to use a responsibility pie to try and control that worry.

Because I’m not in control of it; I am briefing (or have already spoken with) speakers, and as long as I make a few things clear then that’s all I can do. So why am I so worried about it? Is it rational? I want to protect the organising team, the One Team Gov name and community, myself, but also the attendees. So that’s healthy worry… right?

Or maybe it’s all about control, and wanting to get things right, a deep rooted need embedded in my psyche to prove myself. Or maybe it’s part of my conditioning as a woman; to believe that being proactive isn’t attractive, better to be passive and wait, being proactive only gets you into dangerous situations.

Anyway. I don’t know. Here’s Joy division:

Trello reading list

Here’s my reading list this week: https://trello.com/b/BBJ726mr/progress-bookmarks

I’ve picked up on reading again which is good, and because he’s a great human being Jonathan has done some analysis for me that I can start to dig into, which makes my life about a million times easier, so hopefully I’ll be able to pick that up again soon.

What else?

I sent out two baby blankets that my mum made to friends who are new mums and that felt good. I sent a gift to Ian’s daughters and that felt good.

I ordered a gift for a friend who deserves it, and then another for a friend who had some excellent news which needs to be celebrated.

It’s been a year since this happened:

OneTeamGov: Growing a Worldwide Movement of Change-makers One Microaction at the Time

And 6 months since this happened:

But both feel like a lifetime ago.

Anyway, that’ll do. See you next week 🙂

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