Weeknotes S4 Eps 13

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head.

A rainy puddle.

Overarching feeling of the week

As I write this I am wearing a jumper, some thick wooly socks, and I have a blanket over me. I walked home from a lovely coffee with a friend this morning and I didn’t have a jacket. I was also wearing sandals. I am yet to fully warm up even though the sun is now back out.

Anyway, this was the week we all remembered what rain was and we instantly cursed ourselves for complaining about the sunshine. My office was cold, I am cold, my hands are aching like an arthritic old lady, it is winter now, please buy me Christmas presents.

Santa is confused.

In the first of what will probably be a few ego-centric comments in this post I believe that this rain has come because I’m going on holiday in a couple of weeks. So that’s it for the sunshine, sorry everyone, but it won’t be sunny again until the beginning of September when I’m back from Cornwall, the cosmos likes to mess with me, because I am very important to the cosmos.

Anyway, I should probably talk about my actual feelings this week rather than just talking rubbish. It’s been a strange and tough one.

It was my anniversary on Sunday which meant dinner and an overnight stay in London on Sunday night. I didn’t sleep well, because hotel rooms are weird and I’m definitely going to be murdered in one one day. The hotel was only about 15 minutes from work, but that was strange because I have come to rely on my commute time to get my head in order for the day.

This caused a (slightly grumpy and) fuzzy feeling that didn’t fully dissipate all week. And culminated with an absolutely hellish headache on Thursday afternoon. So fuzzy is my overarching feeling of the week.

Fuzzy like a baby owl. The one on the left is me.

An arbitrary number of things that happened…

ONE. Sub-mission. I am currently writing a sub about a case I am working on. For whatever reason my brain hasn’t been able to engage with this and I’ve been struggling to concentrate on it. I worked from home on Tuesday because my little one had a speech therapy appointment in the morning, and once that was done I worked on the sub for the rest of the day.

Or rather, I tried. I reread some of the supporting documents, I tried again, and then wrote a bit and then read some more and wrote a bit more. I worked until 9pm but didn’t feel like I’d made any meaningful progress. Possibly I should have stopped and come back to it.

My team have been awesome in offering their thoughts and help which I really appreciate but something (in my brain) needs to give and I need to knuckle down and just get it done rather than faffing about with it.

TWO. Mentoring. On Wednesday morning I met Richard who is my mentor and who is very good and patient one at that. I feel like I am moving closer to understanding my particular personal skills and behaviours. I’m getting better at articulating what I think those are and am getting to grips with being open about them.

I finally did my homework (I had been doing it in my head but I actually got it down on paper).

Some notes I took during the meeting read: “Narrative of self, create opportunities for public speaking or facilitation and credibility with senior people” these things all require more thought.

Three. A drop of ink. I met Hattie for a “first week in new job” drink this week to check in and see how she was getting on, this turned into drinks and snacks with Jenny, Morgan and her sister, Billy, and Kit. A good group.

One of those snacks was a plate of radishes which is honestly one of the strangest bar snacks I think I’ve ever seen. here’s Jenny eating some, like a little bunny rabbit.

I also briefly saw fellow weeknoter Cate at the cafe at work in Whitechapel to chat about what she is up to over at Hackney Council (spoiler, it sounds really interesting and exciting)[1].

Cate bought me this awesome pin and I am so grateful. I am building up a public sector digital pin badge collection, and I love that. Thank you Cate!

Anyway, during the course of both of these conversations I was able to start to articulate something that I’ve been thinking about for a little while about certain personality types. I’ve been thinking a lot about ink drops [1]…

What do I mean by that? I guess sometimes you hear the metaphor of a grain of sand or grit in an oyster being similar to people working in transformation. Something small but an irritant that ultimately leads to the development of a lustrous beautiful pearl (change).

I never really liked that metaphor because it felt a bit grandiose and I always felt like it put too much emphasis on one person as the change agent who produces the beautiful result. It’s a rock star metaphor and it reinforces (to some extent) the myth of the lone genius.

I’m becoming increasingly comfortable with the concept of being an ink drop rather than a piece of grit. Maybe it is my role to go somewhere, make the water a bit more visible for a bit and then go and do that again somewhere else. It’s also an acknowledgement that it’s not possible to completely overhaul culture as a single person, because changing culture wholesale is hard, yo. It can often feel like you’re bashing your head against a brick wall. So maybe it’s ok to make it a bit more visible, to change its colour a small amount so that others can see the water.

I’m aiming for more water drop moments in my interactions from now on.

On that note, this week I read this blog by Ben which is a really useful prompt for addressing cultural change:

View at Medium.com

Four. Sketchnoting. On Thursday I met Martha and Bekki at GDS for a quick chat about sketchnoting as they are planning to run something for the user researcher community. I’m really glad they included me and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do.

In other news…

I had my anniversary dinner at Tramshed which is a nice restaurant in Shoreditch which features a Damien Hirst cow and chicken sculpture right in the centre of it. This lead to a whole long conversation about how the animals retain their structural integrity. If anyone knows the trick here, could you let me know? Because I’m sure they aren’t just embalmed, there must be something holding them up because surely they would go all floppy (no, I had not considered this before now. Yes, I have tried googling it myself. Also, sorry to any of my vegan friends who might be reading this).

DavidBuck wrote a really lovely blog about “Difference and privilege” which I strongly recommend reading:

View at Medium.com

And I really enjoyed Beth’s blog about reflections from One Team Gov global, especially this quote:

We now have 29 blogs listed in our blog of blogs about Global which is really great but I would prefer it to be a nice round number, so can someone please write another? Kay, thanks.

View at Medium.com

I’ve been listening to really old episodes of Romesh Ranganathan’s Hip Hop Saved My Life podcast and I listened to Adam Buxton today. It was funny and I especially enjoyed the section on the politics of his parody “Help the police”. You’ll find it below.

View at Medium.com

Finally here’s my playlist this week:

Till next time…

A sad racoon with an umbrella.

[1] Side note, though I have known Cate a little while I suspect we might have a lot in common, or rather, more than I realised. She wore a t-shirt with lobsters on and lobster earrings (I love lobsters and lobster attire) and a necklace with an acorn (my only, slightly regretful, tattoo is of an acorn and they are important to me in a very strange way that I can’t quite articulate. They seem in some way magical… also Winnie the Pooh and Totoro feature them). So anyway, while we chatted I soaked up these things and wondered and thought that I would like to find out more about Cate. So maybe another weeknotes drink is in order…

[2] While searching for water droplet videos, I came across a load of soap cutting videos, which is a weird thing that the internet has served me up this week. This is why I try to steer clear of YouTube.

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