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

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Keeping the brand new rhinoceros away from the snow

These are strange times in Helminthdale, even by its own standards. The word "Confused" has been used by many and often, with thundering understatement. The only answer any honest man could give to any question about anything, literally anything, that may or may not be happening in Helminthdale is: "I don't have the first idea." Luckily, the council is well-enough provisioned with the dishonest to enable staff to be too busy being angry to despair. There's a Fall of Empires vibe running through the whole public sector at the moment — though I personally feel it's more Congress of Vienna than Treaty of Versailles — and The Helminthdale Way Of Doing Things egregiously compounds the disorder and confusion. All we would need now is some kind of implosion amongst the political factions and the joy would be complete. Happy days.

The Library Service is at an advantage in all of this as dazed and confused is its basic waking state anyway. We suffered so many unannounced and unacknowledged cuts during 'the boom years' that there is no cost-cutting efficiency saving of any great size that could be made without frightening the horses. All the 'easy' cuts have long since been made and we don't have the capacity for making serious and sensible real efficiencies because we're spending all of our time managing the plasters over old wounds. Which doesn't mean that we're immune from any cuts — far from it! — but there is no clamour of panic: the prevailing mood is of stage hands attending a long-running and unsuccessful provincial Grand Guignol.

You would hear similar stories across the country.

For me personally this is a time of great uncertainty, though I do keep having to point out that this has always been the case in this job. I have spent all my working life reinventing jobs and rôles so none of this is new territory for me. And to be honest, part of me is being seduced by a "with one bound he was free!" fantasy that doesn't bear close practical inspection. The rest of me thinks I've got a job until someone tells me I haven't got a job and until then it's business as usual. Which is precisely where I've been all along. It isn't as easy as that for some of the other people looking to be in the firing line, unfortunately, and they're going to need help and support if things aren't going to get very unpleasant.

I know that this will sound strange but for me personally the biggest cause for concern is that I seem to be getting my own way on a whole stack of things. As I mentioned to the Major the other day, I appear to have been given yards and yards of rope. I know that, in some respects at least, I'm being played but I'm fine going along with that so long as nobody's going to get hurt; particularly if it means we may scrounge a few more positives out of the situation than appear to be currently on the table.

I've always been an optimist.


Lynne said...

Kevin- Put that "optimist" hat back on and keep pedaling. You can do it.

Macy said...

You finally got Aldous's old job???

Kevin Musgrove said...

Ta Lynne!

Macy: not even in jest!!!

Pat said...

If there is one thing i almost can't cope with it's uncertainty even though I too am an optimist.
Keep on truckin' and I've got everything crossed that all will be well.

Britta said...

Dear Kevin Musgrove,
I really wish good luck to you and your workmates! In Germany they are cutting culture too to the bones: e.g. trying to close a very fine museum in Altona, where the inhabitants but not the tourists went - but build showy things like the Elb-Philharmonie (I have nothing against that fine building - but it costs a lot of jobs in other sectors). I think libraries are so important for the education - and you can't only install a computer - people need people and not an idiotic answering machine (I had the 'fun' to have to deal with these a lot in the last few weeks :-)

Madame DeFarge said...

Ah well, much the same here. I have yet to find out how my own demise may happen. Other areas know, but not ours. We can't decide if not knowing is good or if knowing is better. I'd like to know when the not knowing will end. I am also attracted to the long walk to freedom, but doubt that I'd know what to do when I got there.

libby said...

Such unsettling times for so many people (including my husband) that somehow I must learn to be an optimist...is that possible??

Kevin Musgrove said...

Thanks for all the kind thoughts.

Pat: we're born unto uncertainty save the one unavoidable finality. Though even Eastenders isn't compulsory.

Britta: yes, at the end of the day civilisation is dependent on people. And I won't get started on automated call centres (grr...)

Madame deF: chin up, ma'am. Like I keep telling people here: if you don't know anything yet then you know you haven't been hurt yet and there's still a chance you won't be. Fingers crossed for you.

libby: it is, most days anyway. Fingers crossed for your husband, too.