The Surviving Work Library

I’m still dreaming of being a hairdresser in a dusty town in Arizona. All beehives and heals. Smoking Fags. Talking shit. A progressively incoherent drawl setting in. I dream of a pink paint-chipped salon with a veranda, a vantage point to check the horizon for the trouble ahead. A desert safe from troublesome strangers – just me, the elements and cinnamon gum.



As I wrestle with the conclusion that setting up a progressive library on mental health was a waste of time, my fantasies have started to take over. Don’t know about you, but I have a deep weariness of these destructive political times. The messy slow work of building a life and earning a crust becomes devalued and the daily work of being human no match for this regime of self-righteousness, certainty and guns. Embodied politics – you know, when you actually do what you say – becomes at best socially awkward and at worst career suicide.



Sometimes as another return to work takes place I’m left wondering why I bothered.



Tempting as it no doubt will be in 2018 to throw in the civic towel, one advantage of being of a progressive persuasion is that we’ve been in this movie before. Hope gets crushed by devaluing our attempts just to live together – to keep trying to have relationships and our feet on the ground. You know the drill, ordinary human life.



In the words of the divine Rebecca Solnit, “Hope…is the belief that what we do matters’. So let me remind you that what you do matters.



For the last five years we’ve been creating the Surviving Work Library full of stories, podcasts, blogs and eBooks about how to retain your humanity at work. Done without pay, without any promises of career progression or improved sexual attraction. Honestly what were we thinking?



For those of you who have taken the time to fill the Surviving Work Library with your thoughts and ideas I want to thank you from the bottom of my scrawny heart. Thank you.



To the psychosocial academics and researchers who reminded me that actual facts matter. To the contributors of for your time and generosity in sharing your experience. Thank you.



To those of you who turned up at our events to tell us what was on your mind. To the folk who came to our courses and allowed yourselves to go through the pain threshold of free association on issues that actually matter. Thank you.



Thanks to the 1500 people working in mental health who took part in our Surviving Work Survey and interviews about the future of mental health services that helped to create Thank you.



Despite the profound societal attack on our compassionate hearts, I have been overwhelmed by the shear bravery many of you show just by turning up at work each day. For what it’s worth my humanity is entirely thanks to you.



The Surviving Work Library is available to you for free forever. Over the coming months this blog will circulate podcasts and videos from the library that might help you get through 2018 intact.



To hear a little podcast about the library click HERE.


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