Back to reality

After a couple of nice non-work days - I came back to reality this morning when I arrived at my desk and saw the dreaded white folder with red writing - yes - a cabinet submission. For the uninitiated it means about 2-3 hours of intensely frustrating reading and writing about a usually complex topic with alot of history which has to be ultimately summarised into less than two A4 pages in less than 3 hours. The writing of these submissions are subject to formatting rules which means you can't make the text smaller or make the sentence breaks less and they have pre-determined headers and footers so there isn't actually much room left for content.

Having some experience with cab subs these days I am better at sorting out the wheat from the chaff (I think that is the saying) then I used to be. I had actually planned to begin the handover work for my job because for the next two years I am going to participate in a legislation project for the business of imprisonment as opposed to the business of transport infrastructure. Why would I want to leave behind transport infrastructure for work concerning prisons - let me tell you all the engineers I work with can't understand it.

Suffice to say I have had enough of working with the boys and their toys. Everytime a big infrastructure project starts happening I see the gleam in their eyes and the thought of using some big machinery (not themselves of course they wouldn't get their hands dirty) but being responsible for other people doing some shovelling and digging - a huge under the river tunnel - there are a lot of big boys I work with who can't wait till it all begins. Me, well I recognised the dichotomy between engineers and lawyers at law school and believe me it is still alive and well many years on into the workforce - we just don't problem solve or even approach a problem the same way so it makes the business of making legislation frustrating to say the least.

There is a quote I read some time ago "You should never see how sausages or legislation is made" and believe me the legislation I have been involved in making is not pretty. I have to remind myself that I don't own the policy and I didn't make the policy and the legislative product can only be as good as that input. I was in control of the process but not the policy and I did the best I could based on what I was told by the people making the policy at the time.

So in about 10 days I am out of there. I will still be making legislation - probably another messy job just doing it somewhere else. I have learned that legislation is far from perfect and the best you can do is just try to get something out rather than dwell on making it perfect because if you tried to perfect it you wouldn't produce a thing.

My motto for the life I have chosen to make in law in the public service as opposed private enterprise is "the grass isn't necessarily greener anywhere else just different" and God knows we can all do with a change now and again. In terms of my life in the public service since my return to law in 1996 its about my 4th department however since 1998 I have actually only worked in 2 departments. I am returning to corrective services after an earlier stint in their legal section prior to my having Gabriella. Still compared to some old time public servants I am doing something unheard of - moving around. I always keep my feelers out so I can go to a new job everytime I have enough of my current job so it keeps things fresh. This time my best friend has recruited me for this job - she will also be my new boss - I really hope things go well for both of us it is going to be quite a challenging project to get through.


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