I am, perhaps not uncommonly in the public sector, having an issue at work. Don’t misunderstand me here, I appreciate and value the work that local authorities do. But sometimes I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall when I talk to some colleagues about why I am finding work detrimental to my mental health at the moment.
Because the issue, apparently, is that my standards are too high. I expect too much from the people around me, you see, when I question why things aren’t getting done, or dare to comment on delays. We are under-resourced, after all. Have I not seen the budget cuts? It’s in all of the newspapers.
But the truth is, I am so very aware of the strains we are under. I feel the weight of the decisions being made every day because of the ramifications of those decisions on vulnerable people in the community. I carry that burden heavily on my shoulders. And what I expect from others is just a fraction of what I expect from myself. I practice what I preach, I am a ‘lead from the front’ type of general.
Does this make my job easier? Of course not. Am I going to single-handedly fix problems? Highly unlikely.
Is that a reason I shouldn’t try? Absolutely, categorically, emphatically NO.
Perhaps I care too much. I know I definitely need to improve my coping strategies. But I don’t think that means I should stop trying to improve the systems in place. The challenges local authorities are facing are all the more reason for them to try harder. I will never be a Michelin starred chef, but I still try to cook nice meals for my family. I’ll never run marathons, but I still go to the gym every week. Because I believe in doing the best that I can.
This might not make me the easiest colleague to work with, and I know I am not the easiest employee to manage. But I believe that my colleagues, and the people we support deserve the best that I can give them. And I like to think that some of you out there feel the same way.
So to those of you who see things the way I do, keep fighting the good fight. If enough of us push back on the worst of the bureaucracies, maybe we’ll start to be seen as the solution, not the problem.
And in the meantime, I, and my cat critic, feel your pain.
In case it isn’t obvious from the fact I still haven’t identified the authority I work for, the views expressed on this blog are my own opinion and not the opinion of that local authority