What is happening across the Trust that drives good hard working staff to the point of destruction?
I travel extensively in the course of my work from one end of the country to the other, often calling in on old friends that work for the Trust, or who are contractors for them. The same sad story is emerging everywhere. Something is seriously wrong and getting worse.
It seems that a great number of experienced wardens have had enough of the shambles that the management call organisation and left.
It’s true working practises have changed so much. Once a warden went about his work and got things done. It’s now a huge uphill struggle to break free from the paperwork and the sheer weight of bureaucratic crap that ties them up like bind weed on wiz.
I know of one property that used to sell firewood, a by-product of the work they under took. The surplus wood was brought back from the woods, it was split in to firewood usually by volunteers and was sold on to public.
This was a very good arrangement as the property never went short of tools and equipment. They didn’t have to go cap in hand to make ends meet. They were using imitative. Yes they were also ticking the box on their PDR form – initiative used 10 out of 10. Everyone was happy.
Unfortunately a senior manager put a halt to this, obviously that manager had not thought of it and why should this property be doing so well,when they could also join the ranks of the beggars.
Yes it beggars belief that staff could identify a way of making things work to the National Trust’s advantage and then to have the rug pulled for thinking ‘outside the box’’.
These wardens didn’t work for the money. They worked for the Trust to use their skills and achieve. They believed in the vision that they were working for the good of all, to manage and preserve the countryside. To make a difference so that we the public could appreciate what belongs to us -our heritage.
The trust is becoming the employer of more and more university graduates that don’t have the hands on skills to go with the qualifications. Absolutely no disgrace in that. It takes years of working in any trade to become experienced. But the problem that accompanies this move is a lot of these graduates have never worked in the real world. Therefore they have never been employed by a manager that has had to use his work force to maximum efficiency to keep the shareholders happy.
My opinion of what’s happening is echoed by many others that work or who have left the Trust. That is that the days of the experienced working man will be a thing of the past as things move more and more to fantasia land.
As the emphasis on work practises seems to have shifted towards inclusion so muc, the poor old wardens spend most of their time in meetings, planning events, writing up all the relevant paperwork that accompanies such bold schemes. In truth very little gets done due to the magnitude of the organising. The voice of concern is usually lost on higher management who frequently mistake words for thought.
It won’t be long before the past exploits of these men will be talked about by volunteers to the paying public, accompanied with pictures of maybe a warden clutching a chainsaw, sweat dripping from the brow as he surveys the tree he has just fell – secretly thinking that when pulped this tree will return to fill his in-tray.
I have read many emails from staff that are on the brink of breaking. We had a email from a gardener that told us a harrowing story of a property in melt down. He stated that the property manager was absolutely fantastic and was standing firm with the staff, but pressures on that manager was taking its toll. We don’t know if that manager is still with the Trust. Let’s hope so. The one thing the Trust needs is good managers.
Before I go I will give some sound advice to those that can’t sleep, on antidepressants, and feel that their life is one big misery. Choose life. Go and get a life and make the difference somewhere else where you and your efforts are appreciated. As soon as you hand that notice in you will start to recover. As one warden told me “I felt instant relief.’’ Oh and that bottle of pills, leave them for your replacement accompanied with a method statement, and risk assessment of course.