You can guarantee one thing working as a freelance. When push comes to shove you’re out in the cold without so much as a blink of the eye. I have spent the last year working in mental health covering for a position which was finally filled last week. The boss calls me in and says he wants to be ‘fair’ and gives me two weeks notice. I’d hate to see him being unfair. May he end up in a secure unit with Michael Myers for company.

 

What’d be the worst thing that could happen when government inspectors make a spot check of your facilities? Well, try beating an absconding patient mugging one of the inspectors during their walkabout, snatching their bag and then being arrested further down the road to the wail of police sirens. Suffice to say their feedback was less than glowing.

 

Senior management do have a way with words. One of our directors popped his angry little red face out of the office today about an upcoming meeting demanding that he wanted a senior opposite number present, not ‘a dishwasher.’

 

Mental health is a funny place to work. Patients staying in the medium secure forensic unit which houses offenders not suitable for prison because of mental health problems are putting on a short production of Macbeth.

A nice light play full of blood, mayhem, murder and madness. Should be interesting.

 

Friday. 4pm. The dead zone when the clocks stop. Couldn’t quite face going back to the office so sat on the cold stone steps of the stairwell drifting away to the distant chatter of birdsong and summer.

 

If you head a mental health trust it is most probably not the done thing to come out of your office with the words ‘I must be going mad but …’

 

There’s more than a touch of the X-Files about the hospital grounds I work in. It’s not helped by the NHS’s love of cryptic names and my over active imagination. There’s the deserted Bungalow 5, the Phoenix Unit and Suite 5136. Of course, the effect gets lost when you turn the corner and see the family planning unit and on-site cafe discharging the stink of a thousand bastard fry-ups.

 

I met Fong today, gatekeeper to the office of Mountain Cloud and Green Dragon.

Well, she’s an office PA but has that oriental serenity that made me double take her as a mannequin when I first arrived.

So inscrutable and mysterious until I glanced across to see her studiously picking a large chunk of sandwich out of her teeth.

It came on the back of overhearing one of the directors chatting to a female member of staff.

‘That’s a nice blue dress you’re wearing.”

“Thank you.”

“You look like a Smurf.” He than roars with laughter and adds:.” “Actually you look more like a Smurfette.”

She does an about turn without speaking. Brow furrowed with a mental note to give him a swift sharp knee to the balls when they next meet. A lady’s man through and through.

 

People who get promotions fall into two categories: those remain approachable and unaffected and those who think you should start saluting them.

I came across the latter this morning marching down the corridor like goose-stepping hadn’t gone out of fashion. The weight of office bearing heavy on them.

My smile and hello were ignored as the great one pondered the imponderable. Shall I have one marshmallow with my executive cup of tea or two?

Better still, I’ll make that serf I just passed in the corridor make it for me. Oi. chai wallah! Come service me.

 

Work is a funny old place. You’re either on the inside track or picking up trash outside as I discovered after deciding to leave and start working out my notice.

First, I was asked to move desk and then excommunicated to another floor. No meetings, no phone calls, no mail. Absolute zip.

I seem to have slipped through the cracks and now have two months to work out my notice doing whatever I fancy as no-one seems to care.

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