It’s been a while since my last post, I’ve been a little preoccupied with that thing called life, and yes, you guessed it, this is a post about he cuts, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
Firstly the title of this post is inspired by a You Tube video clip I saw some time ago called ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’, [those who've seen it will chuckle now and probably watch it again, I know you're tempted!] If you haven’t, check it out after you finish this post, I’ve put a link at the end. If you’re feeling the pinch it will provide some much-needed light relief, if you’re not, it’s something with which we can all identify.
So what’s that video got to do with public sector cuts?
‘Charlie bit my finger’ to me pictures the current feeling with public sector cuts, whilst providing the perfect anecdote to bring some light relief in laughter, stay with me!
The clip is a young child with his new baby brother ‘Charlie’ who he’s obviously proud of sitting on his lap. The boy pops his finger in his mouth and Charlie clenches down on it with just enough pressure to make the boy chuckle with laughter and declaires ‘Charlie bit my finger’. So the boy pops his finger back in Charlie’s mouth. Charlie clenches down once more and at first everything’s fine, but this time Charlie doesn’t let go. Then, just like Cameron’s cuts [I bet you wondered where I was going] clenching down on spending, the vise like grip of Charlie’s jaws get stronger and it hurts. But it doesn’t stop there, Charlie [Cameron] continues until it really hurts!
The boy’s face tells the story, it’s a sort of: ouch; no ouch; no OUCH, moment. That’s just how the cuts are affecting many good, hard-working people I know who work in the charitable and social enterprise sectors. ‘Cameron’s’ vise is squeezing and it really hurts.
Okay Dave you said it wasn’t all doom and gloom so where’s the positive bits to this post?
I’ve visited a number of enterprises recently, some of them large, well structured and well-managed enterprises, but even these organisations haven’t managed to emerge unscathed. What’s encouraging is, although most have had to reduce costs and cut staff, they also recognise that their staff are the ones that make the enterprise what it is.
This [staff being the engine] is a message which came loud and clear at VOICE11 too, with the award winners all genuinely recognising that if they gained an award it was largely down to the efforts and hard work of their staff.
So it’s encouraging that these enterprises are trying their utmost not to lose hard-working staff who quite often go above and beyond the call of duty. It’s encouraging to see that these enterprises are not taking the easy option and are tending instead to reduce hours rather than lose valuable staff. It’s a little like the manufacturing model of ‘short time’ work. When orders were low, factories had the attitude that some work was better than none and that work would ‘pick up’, when orders did pick up, they would need their staff to fulfill them, so nearly always opted for short time working when money was tight. It’s good business sense really.
So it might not be the best time for us in the sector, but it’s not doom and gloom either. So if you’re one of those enterprises that are feeling the pressure and had to take tough decisions, but where possible kept your staff, good on you! If you’re feeling the pinch yourself, it will get better, Cameron will stop biting at some point and work will pick up!
Now go on have a chuckle, whilst wincing in pain, watch Charlie bit my finger here!