This week’s diary is by a council social services trainer

Trainers straggle in for a team meeting over a 20-minute period
carrying diaries and various hot drinks. There’s a massive outcry
that one trainer is continuing her practice of drinking
foul-smelling homemade vegetable soup during meetings. Meeting
finally starts. We are being Best Valued along with the rest of
what is laughingly called human resources. Our neighbouring local
authority has sold its entire training unit to a Japanese
investment bank so we are all a bit edgy. Someone asks if we could
be sold to a Polynesian investment bank because she has always
wanted to go to Hawaii. Long and pointless discussion takes us up
to lunch.

Team-building day with community project support interaction team.
Do warm-up involving finding things out about colleagues that they
think the rest of the team does not know. Then we do a hugely
complicated exercise involving a helicopter crash in jungle.
Various team members have bits of Lego with which to rebuild the
helicopter by negotiation. When it is pointed out that the team
leader has been absentmindedly chewing on one of the helicopter
rotor arms the rest of the team refuse to touch it until it has
been sterilised. I run aforementioned bit of plastic under the tap
in the gents and the game continues. I go and persuade a team
member who is pacing the car park to return. Someone had suggested
that if they were stuck in the jungle for more than a day or two,
he would be the first to be killed and eaten. The closing exercise
is to name three things we are taking away with us from the day.
Various wits reveal items of cutlery and furniture that they are
planning to take away with them. Everyone agrees that the lunch was
nice and that they would like to do it all again next year –
ideally with a different trainer.

Stress management training day with children and family staff. Get
to the office to find there are no parking spaces. I have a
potentially life-threatening row with officious car park man. I
arrive in the training room sweating and highly stressed. The day
consists of staff taking it in turns to leave the room in tears. We
also lie on the floor and do breathing exercises. General opinion
is that it all went rather well and that they would like to do it
on a regular basis, although possibly with a different trainer.

Strategic implementation strategy training group meeting. A senior
manager addresses the group in a language unknown to anyone
present. There is much talk of running things up flagpoles, blue
sky thinking, tranches and cohorts. I assume fascinated expression
remembered from days in school during chemistry lessons. Consider

Spend day working at home under the council’s life/work balance
policy. Amazed at how much I get done without any interruptions.
Must do this more often.

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