A year of work in progress – day 71 (Soft machine)

Day 71 – 22 April 2014 and day 19 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

‘I’ve bought this Dad but it’s a bit heavy going and I can’t get into it.’ My youngest daughter handed me a thin paperback as we made to say our goodbyes. ‘I thought you might like to give it a go.’ It was The Soft Machine by William Burroughs. She knows that I like to read odd. We have similar tastes when it comes to reading.

I did give it a go, after all it was only a short book and it was heavy going. It told of a lifestyle that was beyond my experience, way beyond my ken and was not for the feint hearted. I’m just too dull and safe to have ever tried let alone comprehend the things that were told in its pages.

But I persevered because all books have something to say and there are always things that you can take away, things to learn. I picked out this sentence.

‘So I am a public agent and don’t know who I work for, get my instructions from street signs, newspapers and pieces of conversation I snap out of the air the way a vulture will tear entrails from other mouth.’              

Yet that is me. I am a public agent. I know why I work but I rarely meet my true clients, the ultimate recipients of my efforts. I pick my work from the opportunities that rush by me, not just in plans or reports or in meetings but in pieces of conversation, throw away comments, jokes, magazine articles and tweets.

I am a soft machine working within a soft machine, an individual within a collaboration of thousands of people who come with their own ideas and values, hopes and desires.

That’s enough of that. I’ve finished ‘Success Intelligence’ by Robert Holden. I enjoyed the book and it made me think deeply about defining success and coming to terms with what you really want from life. It was powerful stub but a little quasi-religious for my palate.

I spent the whole day at a neighbouring authority but being agile it was not an issue.

It turns out that I’m on call for the week – whoops, news to me. All of the Directors and Heads of Service take it in turns to be at the end of the phone just in case we have a major incident. We’re not expected to manage anything but to be there to provide support and be able to take any decisions that require a certain level of authority. I can’t believe it’s come round again so quickly but then there are less of us about and time isn’t getting any slower. The duty team rang me to let me know that all was quiet on the western front and that I’m officially it for the next seven days. Fingers crossed but it means I’ll have to sleep with my phone on vibrate.

Learning points for today: I need to read the on-call rota; every organisation has its own reporting style; communication requires a message to be given and understood and; being closer to home can have its advantages.

Today’s enjoyment rating 8/10 – easing in after a long weekend.

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