Last week was my first time at a Socitm North East meeting when I was not in the chair. Ever since Roy had asked me to take over from him I had been up there at the front or in amongst the attendees saying hello and thanking them for coming. Admittedly I am still in a vice-chair position but this is more of a palliative as I am still involved in the group. (There are no losers in the public sector, only runners up!)
Joking aside, it was a slightly weird experience as in many ways the meeting was just the same. It was full to the gunnels and the speakers were interesting. It was a hot day and the sun streamed through the windows of Ramside Hall Hotel just as it has always done (not on all occasions) and many of my friends and colleagues were there and came up to say hello.
They were also very kind to note my retirement with a nice bottle of wine and an inflatable seagull but that is another story.
The difference was though that I got to sit at the back. I was able to listen to the presentations without having to think of a question, or remember what came next, or to keep an eye on the clock to make sure everything stuck to time. I also didn’t have to tweet so much! Not that any of these things were a problem, Graham always manages these events so well.
Most people’s strengths are also their weaknesses and I have a tendency to become overly involved. I am a congenital volunteer and can end up taking on too much. Since stepping down from the chair I have had the opportunity to get involved in other ventures new and interesting ventures.
It was good to see Socitm North East continuing to flourish and yet it is only natural that, as my involvement in the public sector diminishes then my star will wane. The view, however, is very different from the back.