The day after the job cuts

Well, that really was the week that was! I’m sitting in a graveyard of desks, grabbing a few minutes to record it. Plates of biscuits that were put there yesterday by teams now gone, bits of cake left over, even a bottle of white wine, which our team purloined as if picking the pockets of the dead. (As predicted! I already have a staple remover, thanks.)

The pub last night – a cavernous place with lots of large side nooks that make it perfect for a leaving d0 (and we had dozens of leavers) – was heaving. Every nook and cranny had a leaving do in it, it was like trying to have a drink in the rush hour tube, and the bar staff were completely taken by surprise. They had sweat pouring down their faces. Food was not served. We’re in an area with lots of the kinds of organisations that will have had their funding cut, NGOs and charities that needed to be near Parliament, plus government departments – so we’re at the epicentre (if there is one) of the national Day of Cuts.

Today, as in other workplaces up and down the country, we’re here in a half-empty floor trying to figure out how to get into drives no one thought we needed access to, or who to ask about a particular project, and quickly getting logins for things so they don’t go moribund just at this sensitive juncture – keeping it all ticking over while making plans for what plans we have to make next week to get our smaller, rearranged team up and running. Because, paradoxically, we have lots of work on. Which is a good thing.

One of the team went into the kitchen earlier to make tea. “Anyone want a cup of tea?” he asked.

“Sure,” replied my other colleague, “but you might have to empty the dishwasher first.”

Well, we laughed. Up till yesterday we had someone who looked after that whole side of things – the dishes, kitchen, milk and tea supplies, catering for meetings. “We’re in the Big Society now,” I said.

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