I was thinking about writing this blog (being not quite the right generation to blog without pause and reflection), and in particular how to summarise ‘a day in the life’ when no two days (and sometimes no two hours) are even remotely the same.
So here is an average day, if there is such a thing.
I usually get to the office around 8am, having sat with all the other commuting zombies in a lovely, quiet train up from Ayrshire. Some days I arm myself with a double shot coffee on the way to the office, which explains some of my early morning, high speed emailing. I have to say I love the office most when it is busy and buzzy and full of people, but there’s something quite nice about sneaking in before the day has really started, and just taking a breath.
In the morning I might meet with different team members to discuss specific pieces of work, just keeping myself up-to-date and offering a steer, if it’s needed. Given I’ve been in the job just a few months, I’ll more than likely be asking a few daft ‘new girl’ questions – and plan to keep this up as long as I can get away with it. One of the interesting things about the Scottish Families team is that almost all of the team members are the only people who do that job within the organisation. That brings a real breadth of expertise and incredibly diverse skill set to a small team. But it also means we need to be alert all the time to how other roles relate to ours, and vice versa, and how we collectively help deliver Scottish Families’ outcomes.
I am really undisciplined about taking a proper lunch break, partly as I am out and about a lot anyway. I’ll add that to my New Year’s Resolution list! I worked out when I started working here that I could have a lovely walk down to the River Clyde, across the Squiggly Bridge (or whatever it’s actually called) and back to the office in less than half an hour. And how many times have I actually managed to do that lovely walk? That would be twice. Doh.
In the afternoon I am often out meeting with partner organisations or policy-makers. We are lucky to play an active role in loads of groups, networks and partnerships. I feel really strongly that we are there to contribute, shape and influence, and I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t be a ‘sponge’ in these collaborative meetings (that is to sit there silently absorbing, and just taking it all away with you). I think it’s really important to actively share our thinking, learning and experiences to help shape and shift policy and practice. We are there to champion families’ contributions at every opportunity, and to ensure families’ own support needs are recognised and responded to sensitively and effectively. That is what Scottish Families is all about after all – although some people may wish I would haud ma wheesht now and again.
My favourite days are where I am working alongside family members, whether I am attending a local support group, visiting a service, taking part in a conference or event, or speaking to the media. It is a privilege every day to be in this job, to be part of the amazing Scottish Families team, and to support and champion families living with the impact of alcohol and drugs.