I am first in the office at 7.30am, which usually gives me time to brew some coffee and sort my week. The phone rings almost immediately. In a voice thick with sleep, the caller tells me he’s supposed to be on a course this morning but can’t remember where it is. When I ask what it’s about, he can’t remember that either, but thinks it’s “something to do with communication.” I search for anything connected with this vague description, but have to tell him I can’t help. He mumbles “you’re supposed to know about training” and hangs up. I sit down with my coffee to reflect on the new business ethos where the customer is always right. Confused, disorganised, and downright rude, but always right.
Attendance records show that more than 20 booked people failed to turn up to last week’s conference. It is a mystery to me that staff who would never dream of just not turning up for work, fail to attend training programmes they have booked on, and seem affronted when we contact them to find out why. I arrange for “dobbing-in” letters to be sent to managers.
I take a phone call from a student who should have turned up for a pre-placement visit two hours ago, but can’t remember where she’s supposed to go, or the name of the practice teacher, and has lost the phone number. She giggles throughout our conversation. She’s astounded that not turning up for the interview might jeopardise her chances of a placement. After sorting her out, I have a quiet panic about the future of the profession.
I meet a senior manager, who makes me feel appreciated and valued. I spend the afternoon in a meeting with other training managers, and discuss new mental health legislation and the training implications for staff. I recognised a long time ago that I am a legislation junkie, so I thoroughly enjoy myself.
A day centre manager tells me how wonderful her recent social work student was. She set up and ran a reminiscence group, turning up on one occasion in full 1940’s gear, complete with curlers, which went down a storm. She had brilliant people skills, and entered into the placement opportunities with gusto. I share the good news with managers and my university colleagues.