Weeknotes S03 Ep10

Get Stuff Done

Overarching feeling of the week

I checked back over the notes I took for last week and, even though they are mostly incomprihensible now (after a lovely long easter weekend with the family and a proper wind-down) this one stood out:

I have ways of getting stuff done and I AM GOING TO GET STUFF DONE [1]

It was a week of tiny frustrations. I am tired of cynicism. I am tired of people creating blockers without communicating why. I feel like that note was almost like a statement of intent. A call to arms for me to drag myself up and out of some of what I have been feeling over the last few weeks.

Bitches get stuff done [2]

It has probably helped that I have had some time off to rest and am seeing this with a fresh perspective. But that’s good and that’s why #weeknotes

Achievements

Small achievements. Summoning the energy to get to One Team Gov breakfast club even though it was depressingly wet and rainy.

I went to a few stakeholder meetings and prepped for Adele’s holiday cover so that was good.

I met some people for coffee: Mark, Natalie, Amena, Chad, and had lots of conversations about culture and work.

Highlights

As always, a highlight was One Team Gov breakfast club on Wednesday. Dan was there — that was awesome — there was some knitting talk.

James asked the group to help him define the work to be done in developing a strategy. So we talked through things to think about, and how to get started.

Morgan raised a great question about dealing with burnout, which lead to an interesting discussion about “shades of burnout” (apathy, cynicism) and how to help prevent people from reaching it.

Part of that was Morgan’s belief that cynics are just people with high expectations who have been disappointed and hurt. I think that’s true, but it’s a hard thing to contemplate changing and as Jenny said, it makes me a bit sad.

We talked about how you know when to move to a new job, about the uphill struggle and then plateau of learning new things. Is the plateau the point you should change or jump?

Jenny described resilience using a hilarious crab metaphor. She spoke about being self-aware and recognising our “squishy bits” the points where our hard shell doesn’t protect us 🦀 and learning how to recognise and protect those bits.

https://media.giphy.com/media/wvWMl2iKkEGre/giphy.gif

As always, I wan’t sure I had the mental energy to go, but I felt much more energised for being in a room of deep thinking clever people. Hearing ideas snowballing and opinions shared, seeing those thoughts come together for lots of people. This work pushes us forward, it really helps me learn.

After breakfast club Jenny took me over to DfE to meet Mark O’Neill who had responded to my request to meet GDSers for coffee. It was a brief but really interesting conversation and I hope I can find out more about the work that they are doing over at DfE.

A waving bear

I also took part in some user research around gender diversity in government and tech, that was good fun because I have lots of opinions on that.

Lessons

I learned last week that I wasn’t going to get paid which was a bit of a pain and more stressful than it should have been.

It was a good opportunity to check my privilege though. I wondered what position single parents or others might be in if this happened to them. Facing an Easter weekend of worry about paying bills? This feels like something which shouldn’t have gone wrong but I know that it could have been much worse.

In other news…

On the theme of burnout Morgan shared this great blog:

I’m completely in love with / in awe of the work of Policy Lab, so this article was a great read:

This slightly depressing but brilliant long read by Laurie Penny:

And last but not least Prateek wrote a great blog about what One Team Gov means to him and it’s great. I hope we see lots more of these (I am brewing one…)

No playlist from me this week. Sorry. Have an Augustus Gloop gif instead for this is how I feel…



[1] It might have said stuff, or it might have said something else that begins with S but it is possibly less professional al to include here?

[2] I’m using this gif even though I strongly dislike the B word because I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

[3] Light on gifs this week eh? Will up my game next week.

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