Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dropping the bomb.

The bomb has finally been dropped in the department and the job losses are coming. It'll make the papers, when it does, the Daily Mail may very well explode. There's going to be some fairly large job losses at a number of sites. As fas as I can tell it is the front line, those sat in the comfy chairs seem to be unaffected.

I'm unsure how many will actually be kicked out, they're giving the opportunity for those who want to walk, to walk with some dignity. Morale is so low that I'd be surprised if the offer wasn't over-subscribed. It's been coming, it's been expected and yes, it does suck. But that's life. It is unfortunate that there will be a number of people who I respect who will be lost. These people are worth their salary, and I'll miss them.

By lucky hap, it looks like Wolfers unwittingly moved himself into a bomb shelter a couple of years ago, I'm glad about it. I've had some plans in case the worst happens, but I'd rather stay in at the moment, I enjoy my job and in the last couple of months it has become very interesting and delivered a steep learning curve, one that I'm finding challenging. This is most welcome, my worst nightmare is becoming an automaton, marking time.

We've a new manager of my unit, he isn't quite God, but he's enough nous and political capital in the office to safeguard his staff. Looks like I've a 3 year reprive until the next swoosh of the axe. He's blunt, direct and has upset people. Some of those people didn't deserve to be upset, and it could have been handled better, but I don't blame him completely, he's been handed a unit in a department (but not an area of work) which is alien to him, with no knowledge of the people working there and a number of cherry bombs with fizzing fuses around him.

He's given us a degree of insulation, but I have no doubt that his protection comes with the expectation that we actually deliver in a meaningful sense, rather than in a nebulous, fuzzy management speak sense. This is uncommon in the civil service. I actually find it quite refreshing. I like the idea of having to figure out how in the hell I'm going to do something, it is infinitely preferable to working down a list and ensuring every box is ticked. More responsibility, more flexibility and more freedom. Excellent. More pressure, higher expectations and not as much money. Well, them's the breaks. I know a good thing when I see one, so I'm going to make sure I roll my sleeves up and do my damndest to ensure that this new regime is a success. The short term future is dodgy, ride this storm out and who knows where I could be in ten year's time. It is exciting, but it won't be a free ride.

I hope you'll forgive this departure into the personal. I try to avoid blogging about work, because it could get messy, however I always try to be objective and balanced when I do. It isn't all bad, although it could be better and some managers do their best to make it worse, they actually seem to relish the prospect of telling good staff that they're surplus to requirements, when their performance should leave them on shaky ground themselves.

I just want to let you know that the civil service isn't all about box tickers, diversity officers, outreach coordinators and the feckless and incompetent. Although God knows they exist in big enough number. There are staff who do care about their work, and completely understand that we work for you. It is a shame that this attitude seems to become less common the further up the foodchain you go. Then they think they work for the ministers and secs of state. They're wrong.

On the day when the bomb is dropped a new toy appears, on the wall of the foyer of the building there has appeared a monitor; it details the amounts of energy used, CO2 expelled and electricity bill for the building for a rolling 24hr period. I don't know where it gets its data from, probably some wonk sat in an office typing in numbers at random. The Ecoloons have broken through into the world of Sir Humphrey. The best bit? It isn't just a monitor, it is a top of the range touch screen computer, almost like a wall mounted I-Pad. The device is locked though, the only application it will run is the green deity's counter of guilt and doom. God knows how much it cost. I'm sure the irony of the expenditure on it won't be lost on the staff who are ruminating on their future.

The fat remains to be trimmed, unfortunately the butcher is careless and he's hacking off a lump of fillet steak.


The Filthy Engineer said...

I'm glad you've retained your job. There are some civil servants that are very good at their job, along with some who should have been dismissed years ago.

Hopefully those that were good at their jobs can find jobs in the private sector, which much to their surprise, they might find they enjoy.

The Cowboy Online said...

I'm not at all surprised to learn it's the 'frontline staff' who are for the chop, while the ever increasing layers of fat, sorry, of management are safe. That's the truth of Labour's 'investment' in public services, a bloated layer of 'professional managers' with no real understanding of the work undertaken by the departments they 'lead'.

Guthrum said...

Sorry to hear about your troubles at work I hope that you are not personally not affected too much.

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