The fear that no-one will turn up

Mon 4 – Sun 10 Feb 2018

Innovation and Creativity

Surreal art

‘No-one will turn up’ – a common fear

The title is about one of those common fears we all share, that you arrange something and no-one will turn up. There are lots of common fears in our lives and they often really talk about us wasting our precious time alive or undermining ourselves in front of our colleagues/contemporaries thus losing gravitas and standing. There are other similar fears, many of them that reveal themselves in dreams.

Matt Haworth speaks

safetynets app

My own concern around that no-one will turn up related last week to a speaker I arranged at work. It was my friend Matt Haworth of the brilliant Tech For Good developers Reason Digital who I arranged to come into work and talk about future tech trends affecting charities. I am lucky to know so many great developers who are committed to creating a better society i.e. Harry from Neon Tribe, Darshan from Super Being Labs, and John from The Developer Society.

Gone for Good app

Was it a success?

The invitation to hear Matt went out to the whole staff body. But it’s a busy time. I posted regular updates to encourage people to attend but the worry of failure was in the back of my head.

Ultimately it was very successful. About 30 people came to hear Matt speak on Thurs morning and his presentation was brilliantly wide-ranging and insightful. I would have loved more to be there but tech is not everyone’s cup of tea though I love it. What was heartening was the verbal and email feedback from people some saying it was one of the best presentations they had ever been to in the workplace. 🙂

The value of talking for your mental health…

Last Thurs was also Time to Talk day. Part of the Time to Change campaign to tackle stigma around mental health, it is based on the ideas that speaking about our problems lessens their impact. There is definitely truth in that. People too often bottle stuff up and that leads to unhappiness.

…but it’s only the starting point

Though I also know people who can speak and speak and speak about their problem but still not get their problems resolved. Talking can often be the starting point. But the idea that it is the panacea is too simplistic. Dealing with unhappiness, the cornerstone of the vast majority of mental health problems, is a complex issue but it does have to start somewhere.

The importance of variety and flexibility in working life

Art and craft

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut especially when it comes to work. But vital to do things differently now and then for your and your employer’s sake. Do you have your best ideas in or out of work? I bet the answer is away from work, perhaps in the shower. That constant environment of flexible creativity needs to be encouraged. And I lived this manifesto by doing 2 things differently last week which paid off.

What I did different last week: cancelled a regular meeting

First, on Mon we decided to give up on running a regular meeting. The idea was every fortnight, people from different parts of the org met to update each other. But attendances have been dropping and so we decided to call it quits. Everyone gains time in their diary and we can put it back if it is really missed.

innovation labs

Worked at home

Second, I had to work on Thurs morning to be around for Matt’s talk. So off on Fri morning. I’m trying to be strict on not shifting my non-work days like this but twas a special occasion. Fri afternoon I should have been in the office but I decided to work from home. As you know, I accumulate so many work emails and I went through them at home with no interruptions. 🙂

Thanks RSA, sorry NESTA

Wed evening I attended the Future of Work Awards at the RSA. The RSA has been running an incubator for projects on this theme for a few months. A nice short presentation that focused on explaining who the winners were and what they are doing. Main focus is giving power to individual freelancers and low paid people by collectivism; projects enabling them to get basic rights making work pleasant such as holiday and sick pay as well as toilet breaks. Further details on the projects here.

Steve Jobs quotation

I should have attended 2 NESTA talks last week. But they both fell on my non-work days and I just needed my own time. I am too optimistic about what I will do on my days off. Lesson to myself. Hopefully I didn’t miss something that could have changed my life. But then I will never know if the answer is yes or no so it’s not worth worrying about – if your aunt had bollocks then she would be your uncle…

Friends

Ian

I have often written in my blog of how I am blessed with such great friends and family who love and support me. Surprising to me because I think I should be better to them i.e. such as keeping in touch. Fri morning I met with my old mate Ian. We’ve known each other for about 30 years but not seen each other face to face for about 15 years, last time was when I lived in Brighton. 🙁

Caught up earlier in the week via a gay ‘lifestyle’ app LOL. I so hate the way the internet is knocked for undermining social interaction when it clearly facilitates it in so many ways – putting people in touch despite time and distance. Me and Ian had a catch-up coffee and it was like there had been no break. Obviously lots of water under the bridge not least his various serious illnesses. Great to see him and hopefully it won’t be another 15 years.

The future - next exit

Books and Reading

‘The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay and DisasterBook’ by Sarah Krasnostein

The value of a book club

This was the book I had to read for the Velvet Page book club that took place in Waterstones Piccadilly last Thurs evening. One of the good things about a book club is that it pushes you to read books you wouldn’t normally do so. And another thing is getting the variety of opinions on that book often so different to your own.

Did I like this book and what’s it all about?

This is a really interesting read. It’s the hard life of a transgender person in Australia growing up in the 1970s and then onwards. It also interacts with her current job of running a company that deep cleans properties i.e. if the person has died there or there is a serious hoarding issue. Not the best ever written piece of work but still an interesting story.

Gender

I’m not convinced Sandra is a nice person

My main take from the book is that the author/biographer is too in awe of the subject, Sandra. And clearly Sandra had a hard life but there are things where she is not pushed enough. I cannot forgive her for walking out on her wife and 2 young kids then avoiding ever giving them any money to be able to support themselves. And no mention of AIDS – as a prostitute and drug user through the 80s and 90s, how could you avoid it? Or why not press on Sandra’s dislike of gay men?

Some great discussions at the group particularly as some of the group really loved the book and were slightly in awe of Sandra. I agree she’s sassy but I definitely see her as an idol with feet of clay with unchallenged questions about her life.

’84K’ by Claire North

A dystopian future or is it now?

Claire (aka Catherine Webb) is a contemporary female author I really admire. This is about a future UK (or perhaps now?) where business runs everything and people’s lives are based on their financial value. Where many live in gated communities and those outside do shit jobs worried just about surviving.

Ypres after the first bombardment

It is a take on Orwell’s ‘1984’ but whereas that focused on authoritarianism linked to fascism and stalinism, North’s book is about the world managed by big business. I enjoyed reading it but it’s disturbing and depressing not least because it is already happening and there is no real alternative to it. How will the dominance of business and the widening rich / poor divide be healed? Through old-fashioned failed socialism like in Venezuela?

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run

Sat morning and it was back to my beloved weekly 10K jog-run. Missed it last week because of the cold weather. This time the weather was mild but windy. My slowest time for a long while, 1 hour 6.35 mins. Pace-wise each kilometre stretch was OK and under 7 mins apart from the penultimate one where I clocked nearly 7.30 mins. 🙁

Weight scales

I focused on trying to race up the hill that so often is my downfall; obviously I did not try hard enough. I suppose I frequently had the wind against me which may have slowed me down. But then again, surely it was also behind me at times and making me run faster? Details on my jog-runs and weight can be found here. Weight last week was steady at 14 stone 4 pounds.

The Week Ahead

  • Normal 3 working days: Mon, Wed, Fri
  • Normal 2 non-working days: Tues & Thurs. Though on Thurs I have got a hospital appointment to have an ultrasound on my liver.
  • Ideally I will finish another couple of books – I do love reading and the way it exposes you to new ideas and experiences
  • Another 10K jog-run on Sat. Fingers crossed for news about my gym reopening, they have got new builders in to get it finished.
  • Gonna carry on playing with language learning on the apps Drops and Duolingo. I’ll also try to keep on top of emails. May try some coding practice if I have time…
  • I’m watching Britannia on boxset – great fun about the Romans conquering Britain, all very druggy and new age.

And Finally…

It's not Trump, it's Putin

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