We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

As worn as the palms of a bored monkey

I've spent the morning in a meeting about a programme that's none of my business. (Well, you know how it is when you're bored and you find a party you can gate-crash.) I left it feeling old and dejected.

It's a subject I know a bit about and have practical experience with and I used to care about it deeply. Ten years ago I would have been chipping in there like a terrier, chasing every key issue like it was a rat smeared with aniseed. I would have had a note book filled with ideas and cross-references to pieces of work we were already doing, with notes to try and connect the players involved. My notes for the morning are:

Possibly? See if Jim knows about this one.
no, but we should
bollocks to that one matey
check emails from C___________
the next person who mentions 'channel shift' will be required to provide a definition

Which isn't inspiring.

Looking round the table I felt yet more old and tired and jaded. There were but a couple of us left in middle age. We nodded over coffee and compared battle scars. The enthusiasm of youth around the table was uninfectious. Earnest and knowledgeable enough, all freshly-scrubbed and with clean collars and brand new Helix pencil cases (though I noticed that one girl from the Strategic Management Support Team had 'I love PRINCE2' scrawled in biro on hers). I wondered if I weren't becoming even more jaded than I pretend to be. Perhaps I am. Perhaps. More dispiriting is the realisation that for all the talk about customer engagement and performance and delivery the major change in local government over the past twenty years has been a shift of focus away from the services we provide towards the processes of the ticking of boxes. All the talk this morning was about the machinery of bureaucracy and the needs of the machine.

You might like to bear this in mind some time when you're really in a hurry and the person serving you has to break off, answer the 'phone and ignore you awhile so as to meet the council's mystery shopper response time targets.


Madame DeFarge said...

This reminds me rather too much about how I feel sometimes. And it can only become worse with the impending axe.

Happy Frog and I said...

Yes, I feel that way as well more times than I would like.

Pat said...

'I love Prince2'. Is that Harry? He's just lost his polo pony - poor boy.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Madame DeF and Happy Frog & you: sorry to rake over sore spots!

Pat: Harry should be Prince2, poor lad. Boringly enough, Prince2 is a project management standard. Back in the old days when we did stuff we had standards for ball-bearings and weight-bearing loads and that, these days we have them for project management.