When I event manage, I like things to go to plan. I have spent ages developing a fairly standard way to run an event that works really nicely for me, and tries to anticipate everything that could happen. And nine times out of ten it works, and everything is nicely relaxed, and it’s all good. And then you get those things you just can’t plan for.
I’m running a student event, the basic night out with loud music and plenty of alcohol. I’ve planned for alcohol intoxication and poisoning, fights, stiletto injuries, even drug overdoses (thankfully rare at this University). I have eight first aiders, so plenty of staff, and so far all we’ve had is the usual run of drunk students who started the night a little too fast. I’ve got two people in the hall, being highly visible in high-viz, two caring for our patients, and four more ready and waiting for the next job.
I get a call from the team in the hall. They’ve been called to a patient in the toilets. I acknowledge, and send a team to cover their spot. Another call comes in from campus security. They’ve had reports of someone whose hurt themselves in the car park. It’s not technically our area, but I want security on side, so dispatch the other team I have with me. I go to peak around the corner at our patients, but draw up short when I hear the distinctive sound of vomiting. They’ll be tied up for a while yet.
The team at the toilets checks in, saying they’ve got to the patient and will advise when they know more. All normal. I try to raise the other team, but they’re not talking to me. Probably out of range, no great stress. They have my mobile number.
The first aid room is still, filled only with the quiet reassurance being poured out by the team with their patients. I like it when it’s like this. A gentle busyness that says we’re doing our job properly.
A static filled message fills my ear. “Control, Control, 412, over.”
“Go ahead, 412”
“Control, we’re on scene at a *fuzz*TC. We’re *fuzz crackle* a hand, and the *hiss*lice.”
I take a mental double take, looking at my radio in confusion. “Sorry 412, say again. Did you say you were at an RTC?”
“*hiss crackle* yes, Control.”
“Do you need an ambulance?”
“No *hiss crackle*nor injuries only, all *crackle*afe. Need a couple more ha*hiss*s.”
“All received, 921. Contact the police directly, I’ll warn security, and will send someone your way as soon as I can.”
“*hiss crackle*oger, control.”
I’m still a little confused, but make arrangements for the police to get on campus, and dispatch my team in the hall as backup. In the back of my mind, I make plans about how I’ll deal with another patient, if they turn up. In my head I have a wonderful idea of how I’ll pull a team back from the RTC, perhaps send one of my people treating in the room next door to replace them. Hopefully the toilet call will just be another drunk who can be added to the group to be monitored.
“Priority, priority, control 922.” My wonderful plans flee my mind. Bollocks.
“Go ahead 922, you have priority.”
“One patient, male toilets, conscious breathing, chest…” The radio cuts off, and I have images of a first aider diving to catch a patient that’s just collapsed. I’m around the corner to the treatment area in a flash, and grab one of the first aider’s attention.
“922, 922 say again. Confirm you said chest pains in the male toilets, over.” My colleague looks at me and I nod and point. He’s off in a blur, stopping only to grab the O2 and AED bags. I dive into my pocket for my phone. “922, 922 from Control, over… 922, 922 from Control. Over.” Silence. “Nothing heard, 922. Backup en-route Control out.” I curse under my breath. This was not the time to lose contact with a team. I want to phone 921, get them to send a team back to me, but don’t want to risk missing a call from 922. I curse again. Of all the things I had considered, the combo of an RTC and a chest pains was not one of them, particularly as I’m now completely out of staff. Things have now officially gone to pot, and there’s nothing I can do except take a deep breath and roll with it.
“Control, Control, 922.” This is a new voice, the backup I sent taking charge of the radio. I grab my mic, other hand poised over the 9 key on my phone. “Go ahead 922, Control over.”
“Stop. Stop. Stop. Situation under control. Returning to your location, over.”
“922, confirm that assistance is not required please, over.”
“That is a yes yes, control. Mobile to your location.”
“Glad to hear it, 922, I look forward to it. Control out.” My sigh of relief is loud enough to get a smile from the last remaining first aider in the treatment area. She grins at me over the head of a vomiting bloke. I grin back and then look back at my phone when it buzzes a text. 921 was clear as well, and heading back to the first aid room. I smile again to myself, everything was going to plan again.
I do like it when things go to plan.
I’ve only known you for a couple of years, but you’ve become quite a close friend. You were the one I called when I was upset over having to leave my Youth unit. You were the one I ranted to when my line manager put me in an impossible situation. You were the one who came to me first when my (now, but not then) ex-boyfriend was spreading rumours about me behind my back, and you only grinned and bore it when I accidentally dropped you in it when I dumped him. You were also the one who teased me incessantly when a guy I really don’t get on with was flirting with me all evening, and even asked me out on a date, and I didn’t even realise.
And despite all this, sometimes you really drive me up the wall. You’ve just left the Organisation because you’ve fallen out with a number of the new leaders. I think that this is a silly reason to leave, and I tried to persuade you not to, but ultimately you’re a volunteer and it’s your choice. And since you left, you haven’t stopped spouting off, in public I hasten to add, about how it’s all going to go wrong. You even posted this feeling on Twitter, immediately after one of our colleagues announced that he’d been given a new role within the Organisation. It was blatantly obvious what you were on about, you weren’t even slightly vague about. (I’ve already written about how much this annoys me, so I’m not going to labour the point.)
The bit that gets me really cross, however, is what you’ve been complaining about. Specifically, about how you didn’t appreciate being pulled up on not doing certain activities within the Organisation because you’ve had other commitments. Now, this is a fair complaint, and I’d have no problem with it, if you hadn’t been doing the same thing to another group of members only months ago. I have a distinct memory of you berating a student committee for not sending people to events, because they’ve been busy with their university work (and weren’t even qualified), all after I had spent ages reminding them all that they were at University to get a degree, not to do first aid.
Now this attitude annoyed me at the time. It caused me to have to send one person home to go do their essay which was due the next day (that was one of those, you will be going home now moments I hate). It also caused one of their (still unqualified) members to be left on their own at an event, because I was running late (and having a near panic attack in case they got called on) and I was the only qualified member going to the event. Now it’s infuriating, as you’re bitching about someone doing the same to you, and to make it worse, I don’t even think you can see it.
Of cause, there’s no point me discussing this with you, because it will just cause an argument, and I really can’t be doing with that at the moment. And I care about you dearly, and definitely don’t want to fall out with you over this. I’ll just have to keep my thoughts in my head, for the moment, and resist the urge to tell you precisely what I think.
And people wonder why I’m not the most sociable person in the world…
Morale seems to have hit an all-time low in the adult branch of the Organisation recently (or more specifically in this county, I can’t really comment on anywhere else). Attendance at duties is poor, attendance at training isn’t much better, my local Adult unit is about ready to tear itself apart and nobody can be bothered to change anything. For someone like me, who is really passionate about my work with the Organisation, this sucks.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not worried that everything is going to collapse around my ears. At present, we have far too much momentum to do that. It’s just seeing all the wonderful things we could be doing, and all the effort that people at all levels are putting in, and it just getting bogged down in a marsh of apathy, really gets me down.
Take the bikes. They are in dire need of some TLC, and the entire unit needs some strong leadership to get it back on its feet. It’s holding on in there, but only because there’s a few of us who won’t let it lie down and die. I know for a fact that there are people in positions of responsibility who would quite happily allow it to just fade away. They are doing a wonderful job of not letting us change anything.
Part of the problem is that the Organisation is going to be going through a restructuring at some point in the next year. Almost every position above unit leader level (like mine) will essentially be up for redefinition and reappointment, meaning that, when it’s all done, everything could change. In principle this is fine. It’ll mean a few fewer Chiefs, but most of us Indians won’t notice. In fact, given some of the members of senior staff in county office (lead cyclist included…), this could be a very good thing.
Unfortunately, everyone is using this as a reason not to make any changes to anything, as it might get changed back again later.
In my mind, this is a crap response. We shouldn’t be leaving things in a bad way, just in case our changes prove pointless. These things need changing now, not in however many months time, and I really think that this is contributing to our problems. County management don’t seem to care, so why should we lowly people on the ground (or on wheels, if your that way inclined…) There are a few of us trying to sort things out, but we keep getting fobbed off with this excuse, and it’s starting to get old…
And now, after that little rant, a musical interlude inspired by Zemanta‘s suggested links and tags:
Or if you have Spotify: All Time Low – Forget About It
Watch out, the video isn’t strictly safe for work (assuming your work even allows YouTube).
Perhaps I could make this a new feature…
So, I think I should do a bit of an update.
I’m currently in the middle of my final ever exams at Uni. I’ve done one, and have another three to go. I’m a bit stressed, as you can imagine.
It goes without saying that all the depression and anxiety are acting up, with all the problems that entails, not least because I still haven’t got around to doing anything about it…
On the bright side, I have just received confirmation that I have a graduate job with a big engineering company, doing pretty much the engineering I think I want to do. How it pans out remains to be seen, but at least its something to go in to while I worry about everything else. My plan has always been to get a graduate job, and then see what happens next. I can still go into nursing (or something else) later if things don’t work out, and in the meantime I can build up my savings, ready to go back to uni if the need arises.
Typically, now I’ve got this all sorted, I’ve got my project supervisor pestering me about doing a PhD with the uni. I’ll admit, the idea is slightly attractive, but not enough to make me abandon my longterm plans. I can’t justify further expense that could be on a doctorate in something I’m not that interested in as a career ( and I have no desire to be an academic…)
With the Organisation, it feels like we’re on the verge of mutiny with the local Adults. One member (who I have already introduced as CycleGuy) has jumped ship to join my youth unit, and the feeling is growing that two more may be planning to leave. To add to this, I have heard through the grapevine that the Adult leader may want a word with me about ‘stealing’ CycleGuy, after having both of us make it clear to him that the unit he held his membership at was his choice, and neither of I nor the Adult leader minded what he chose. The fact that CycleGuy and I both found this out through a third member doesn’t help the matter. Needless to say CycleGuy is slightly miffed (and I’m far from impressed).
I also know that CycleGuy (as well as HistStudent) wants to become my 2IC. I am a little sceptical, mainly because I worry that he doesn’t have the Youth Work experience, but my alternative is HistStudent who I know (at a gut level that is difficult to explain in words) would be wrong for the position. I have been putting off re-opening the position (long story…) because I can’t really face the interviews and the stress they’ll cause, but I don’t think it can wait any longer. I could be off for good in a few months time (sad times 😦 ), and someone needs to know what to do if I go.
I think that’s a catch-up of everything that’s been going on over here. I have an exam tomorrow, so I can’t stay up too much later. Fortunately I’m reasonably confident about this one (at least, everything is making sense).
It’s now confirmed. I am now an Assistant Leader down, and there is probably nothing I can do about it.
Of cause, he hasn’t actually had the courtesy to phone me, or email me, or otherwise get in touch, electronically or otherwise. Nope, I have found this out by him not turning up to the meeting today. Oh, and he’s updated his current location on Facebook to somewhere suitably distant from here.
Needless to say, I am furious. Not only did he put me in a position where, if I hadn’t heard rumours, I would have been an adult down on an already hard day, as well as nearly landing me without any session next week, I think it’s just downright rude. How difficult is it for him to send me some form of message, explaining that he couldn’t come down any more.
As an aside, this has probably ruined any chance of me getting a decent night’s sleep, which is just what I need when I have work tomorrow…
Somehow, the summer holiday has flown past, and the new school year has started. This evening, I have the first Youth group meeting of the academic year. I’m not sure if I’m more glad that we’re back, or nervous that it’s all going to go wrong. It’s been an interesting year already, and it’s only just started…
A couple of days ago, I discovered that it is likely that I’m an adult down this week. And not just any adult, but my Assistant Leader. This is not helpful. Of cause, I don’t know if this is true, because I haven’t spoken to him since the end of term, and isn’t answering my calls or returning my messages. In fact, very few people have heard from him recently, and then only when he didn’t have their number. This is less than useful, as it means I’m now just below the ratio I need to run the unit properly (though Safeguarding have said it’s not a major issue, as long as it doesn’t last too long)…
This also means that I now have to run one of the subjects this term. Which I didn’t want to do. Okay, I might enjoy teaching, but I really could do with the time to deal with the other parts of my role, like the paperwork, the dealing with parents, and all the other bits of day-to-day running that it would be good to do while everyone is worrying about keeping the young people busy.
On the bright side, I now have three non-commissioned officers to help me out. These are young people who are given greater leadership and organisational responsibility within the unit, to give them new experiences, and to give us adults a hand. I plan to hand off a reasonable chunk of work to them, in the hope that they can get on with it with minimal supervision, and so make it less of a problem that I’m an adult down. I have a meeting with them tonight, and hopefully I will soon have someone responsible for getting our members out to events, someone else responsible for maintaining uniform standards, and another person to help maintain discipline, as well as supervising the other two and helping out with the training.
Now I just have to write my lesson plans, advertise for a new adult and a new Assistant Leader, as well as all the normal new year stuff that will likely take ages.
Sounds like fun…
Well, the deadline has arrived, and still two of my members haven’t got hold of me. I had a chat with LittlePara (my new boss) yesterday, and we decided that it would be best to send in what I have, and then send their bits when I get them.
We may be lucky. I doubt my two people are the only ones who will get their details in late, and LittlePara and I both think that the deadline will probably get pushed back to accommodate this. If it doesn’t, well, I’m going to have some very unhappy members when next year comes around.
I’ve done all I can. I suppose now I just have to wait and see…
It is difficult to describe what it is like, the low mood and other things I’m feeling right now. It is difficult to imagine (even for me), which makes it hard for people to empathise, (or more importantly for me, understand).
It’s not just feeling sad, though that is definitely part of it. Everyone feels sad from time to time, and most people get through it without it being a problem. It’s also not just feeling lethargic, or lazy, or just not bothering to do anything. Again, everyone gets days like these.
But, in my case at least, it’s not just feeling sad all of the time. And it’s not just feeling apathetic all of the time and accepting it. It’s more than that. At least these would be something concrete to fight against.
For me, it’s somewhere in between. Some days I feel fine. If I keep myself busy, through myself in to my work with the Organisation, get lost in a good book, or am snowed under with work, it seems to go away. I don’t really want to get up every morning, but I know that if I do I’ll get out of the house, get paid, and be able to do important things like eat for another month. On a good day I’ll be full of energy, whipping around the house, tidying, finishing paperwork, generally getting things done. On a good day I can achieve a lot, and by keeping myself busy I don’t give myself time to sit and mope. Through me in to the deep end of an event, and I’ll be so busy doing things I enjoy that I won’t notice it’s been a good day until it’s over. For a while I’ll forget.
On a bad day, it goes completely the other way. I’ll sit on the sofa, mope around and do nothing. I’ll have work satin front of me, waiting for me to finish it, and I’ll just put it aside and pretend I’m busy. It’s not even just procrastination, just a complete lack of motivation. Given half a chance, I’ll spend the morning in bed, only getting up when I’m seriously hungry. I won’t eat properly, snacking on stupid things because I can’t muster the motivation to cook properly. I won’t bother to shower. I’ll generally neglect myself, leaving everything I can get away with. If I bully myself enough, and I have a close enough deadline, I might get a little work done, but only enough to scrape through. It’ll be a struggle to even get that done without putting it off.
And to top it all off, most of the time I’ll just sit and think. Mostly about how rubbish I’m being, and how I need to get stuff done. Things will go around and around like how I’m a useless Youth Leader, a rubbish engineer who’ll never enjoy his work, anything that’s getting me down. I’ll beat myself up over every little mistake I’ve ever made, agonising over how I should have done it differently, and imagining terrible consequences for it all.
Which is when the harming tends to come in. I try to keep myself away from things that can seriously hurt me. I’ve never done myself serious damage. I don’t plan to allow myself the opportunity to start. I almost allow myself the small things, as a pressure release, to stop things building up. It’s not good, it’s not a solution, but under the circumstances, I can think of worse things.
If I can muster the motivation, and I have the time, I try to go for a cycle ride at this time. A bit of mindless cycling, having to concentrate on everything going on around me and not what’s going on in my head helps a little, at least for a while.
I need someone to talk to. Someone I can sit down in front of, real out everything to, and get some honest advice (and probably a kick up the backside) in return. The problem is, everyone who really meets those requirements is an Organisation member, and so immediately I run them in to a difficult position. And of cause, even the thought of this is enough for me to not talk to them, because I don’t want to drag someone else down with me.
And so the cycle goes around and around. I am desperately trying to get myself sorted, but time and again the general lack of motivation defeats me. I’ve got to keep trying and keep trying, and hope this won’t beat me.
No, that is the wrong attitude.
This won’t beat me. I won’t let it.
I can’t let it.
- Mental Health – Continued (walkingplasterdispenser.wordpress.com)
I’m feeling a little frazzled at the moment, so am struggling to compile any one thing in to a post. Just a bit of a stream of consciousness. Sorry…
Work is being stupid again. After trying to lay me off once (and nobody has admitted they were responsible for that monumental cock-up), they now have us working over the bank holiday weekend and through a University holiday (not just a student one, the entire uni, in theory, is shut) while they go off and have a holiday. They’ve left one poor unfortunate soul to try to sort everything out. I’ve tried to help, spotting a couple of things that appeared to be wrong, and in thanks I got ignored, then shouted down (irritating) and finally patronised (infuriating). In the end they listened, but only after someone else joined in with me, and we finally got on.
Next, I’m trying to organise Organisation stuff against a close and inflexible deadline, and I need two people to get in touch with me. I’ve emailed, I’ve called them half a dozen times each and I still haven’t had a reply. If I don’t hear back, it’s very likely that they’ll not be able to go on duty next year. This will not make me popular. Well, it’s that or I try to guess clothing sizes, which probably won’t end well…
Next is my house-mate again. This time he’s brought someone over (without mentioning it to me…) and is continuing to attempt to impose his taste in everything on me. So far he’s tried to change how I cook my food (and what I eat), the sort of TV I watch, the sort of films I want to watch (for the thousandth time, I am NOT interested in that comedy) and he doesn’t seem to get that I’m just not interested. He also complains when I go and hide away in my room to get some peace and quiet, whines when I don’t drop everything and answer my phone when he’s calling and doesn’t seem to get that we don’t have a huge amount in common. Not to mention that continuous complaints when my cooking/eating stuff is dirty and he wants to eat (and can’t be bothered to dig out his own) or to wash it up himself. Sufficed to say, this is going to be an interesting year…
Oh yeah, and all this stuff is starting to get me down again, and I’m getting stressed and losing faith in my ability to cope, and then call myself stupid because I know I can cope, and it all breaks down in to an argument of the level of ‘I know you are, so what am I’ running through my head.
Yeah… I seemed to have developed a comma splice… Never mind…
Time to go buy some ice cream, hide in my room, and hope everything goes away.
And then get very busy tomorrow when it doesn’t…