Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Great Escape

I have been at the Death Star again today. Refurbishment is going on in one of the wings and there were tapping noises coming from the radiators. Probably local government workers trapped in the system, trying to escape.

Charles 'The Tunnel King' Brosnan worked for the local council

I shall be heading down the escape tunnel myself at the end of the month. I have been editing web copy for three days a week for the past five months. It was a temporary job that was meant to be for six weeks. I feel a mixture of relief and anxiety at the prospect of seeing the light again. Relief because I shall at last be escaping my silo for the big wide world. But also anxiety because there will be very little money in the family purse for a while.

But there are at least two things I have gained from working at the Death Star, apart from the boost to funds:

  1. An insight into web content management
  2. An insight into prog rock, Massive Attack and Stanley Holloway monologues, courtesy of a colleague whose musical tastes are as eclectic as mine

But I have been at the Death Star for too long. In my first week, I kept hearing the phrase ‘customer engagement’. I now realise my colleagues meant ‘talking to people’. For months, I have been trying to make my way through public sector gobblydegook, which is like wading through treacle with hobnail boots on and both legs tied together.

I have been horizon scanning, worrying about resource allocation, external challenges and improvement levers; holistic governance, coterminosity and predictors of beaconicity. Goobledygook? Bollocks more like.

Today, the Local Government Organisation issued a list of 100 words it wants to see banned in the public sector. For ‘slippage’ read ‘delay’, for ‘funding streams’ read ‘money’ and for ‘core message’ read ‘main point’. Will the LGO's advice be taken on board and change the way public sector organisations speak to us, the public? Will it hell as like.

A more simple life beckons for me, working from home where impenetrable language is banned because neither the spaniels nor Mr Grigg nor I for that matter understand it. Days when I can take the dogs out for an hour and still be at my home office desk by 8.30am. Penniless but rich beyond measure.

Today, Mr Grigg rang me from home to ask if I still had the estimate for the fencing on the village green. The contractor had just started the work across the Square and then thought he had better knock on the door. ‘How much was that estimate I gave you?’ he said. 'Only I don't want to charge the hall committee too much.'

Country life. I wouldn't have it any other way.

That's about it

Love Maddie x


  1. If local government has adopted terminologogy such as that, imagine how bad it must be in the private sector. I am glad my business consists of two simple statements: "You owe me money" and "Pay up".

  2. Jargon rules! My business is citizen engagement - which in the real world means 'getting people to volunteer'. It's the same all over.

  3. Mr F-Word and Camilla (tittering away here)


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