Sunday, May 1, 2011


It's the end of another work day, during which I have written some more of the same kind of words in a document which will be delivered to an English man’s inbox. His shoes squeak and he likes being the holder of the tape dispenser, and Morrissey. This, and his haircut, is his most forgiveable attribute.

She sends emails clarifying the governance arrangements, outlining the processes for intra-team communication, and my teeth grit quietly, because the meetings to establish this must have surely pushed us another week past our extended deadline. I lazily alt+tab between documents, trying to work up the motivation to complete another document to be filed away ready to bring forward at the right time. I wonder how anybody can bring themselves to do these things that go nowhere, for no reason, urgency, deadline, audience, aim. We have meetings about which things to send to the consultant, and eyes drift up as the clock nears 5:00, because we need to reconvene so as to not work past 5:00. We reconvene 10 days later because people’s calendars were too full to do so earlier, because we are all so busy. There’s just so many documents to write and file away, so many morning teas to celebrate diversity, and information sessions about reducing your risk of heart disease.

I help with a survey about the performance of the Department and how it treats its people, and while outwardly bothered about having to take time out of my “busy” day, I’m secretly excited about being able to for once be “frank and fearless”. But the questions are tailored in a way that means I can only be positive because my gripes are really reflective of my own overbearing attitude, that years of reforms have tried to eradicate from managerial levels. I whip myself into a frenzy, waxing lyrical about flexible work practices and the ability to work from home, while desperate for a chance to explain how at the same time we’re a harbour for people who couldn’t possibly survive in a work environment that expected them to work, and to deadlines.