How not to organise your way out of a paper bag

Friday was one of those days, when you want to just want to say, ‘I’ll get on with the day’s work over here and when you are ready to get organised then come and tell me’.

 We have had issues with air conditioning in the library since the start of the school year, partly due to the recent floods and partly due to things just breaking. Friday, we were told, was the day that the system in the lab would be replaced. Happy Dancing as no more fans shooting students off chairs. We were very organised and cleared the computers out and rebooked teachers to laptop trolleys instead of the lab. All lovely.

 We arrive Friday morning to discover that the new air conditioner, a different system that was to cool the entire library area, and separate  to the computer lab was arriving that day also.  Two different companies.

 No one had informed us. No one had told us that they would be lifting huge metal beams with a crane over the front entrance of the library and onto the roof.

 So I arrive at 7.30 to chaos. The person in charge is not front and center, why would he when he was needed, and proving a bad communicator as always. The guys with the crane says no one should be in the building when they use the crane, not even the other guys from the second company  (workplace health and safety). We agree. Mt Organiser, or should I say Mr NonOrganiser says we only need a 20m clearance area.

 Exactly, where is a 20 m clearance area when a metal beam is dangling over one’s head?

 I send some emails and suggest, room changes for all classes booked into use the library, creating a safety zone around the library, and that as we had duty of care for ourselves, my staff would be working out of an area in the staffroom until the crane work was finished.

 What was most annoying was that  everyone was asking me for updates on the work, when I was obviously not involved. Even the damn stupid man in charge was asking me and was testy that I didn’t know. He also appeared to be testy that I took my staff out of the library, but I was more than prepared to fight that one.

 By early afternoon the crane was gone and I was walking back to the library when I was stopped by the Head of the Senior School, also male, who politely told me that in future I should alert him earlier to such changes so that they can reschedule classes. He was lucky I didn’t punch him right there, right in that smug face. I told him that in fact I didn’t know.

 If I had known, I would have organised it a damn sight better and not endangered staff and students. I wonder if they ever heard of working on a Saturday?

 Top my glass up, it is damn near empty.

16 thoughts on “How not to organise your way out of a paper bag

    • I did contemplate using a hard hat at one stage, but the only one in sight was on the head of the guy working the crane and he was kind of occupied with a dangling beam at that moment so I thought better of disturbing him.

      I have long ago learnt that the little rider “other duties as required” can lead to all sorts of things, and I am prepared to do that….if I am informed.


      • I have recently had to rise to the occasion while wearing a number of hats. Honestly, I have to laugh out loud. The tests we are put to sometimes. I do LOVE a challenge. I don’t like it when it ends up messy, as it sometimes can, but how I enjoy it when I handle the toughest and most unexpected challenge with complete uplomb.

        You are sure to teach them some new tricks.


        • I am constantly gobsmacked by how unprofessional and amateurish they are. It stuns me. I guess I have worked in a university and had some expereince in long established elite schools and that has raised my expectations. For a school that has been around for 20 years, they don’t seem to have got their act together at all – too many family members and friends on staff where you don’t get the best person for the job, but a family member or a friend!


  1. Holy Cow! What a horrid Day. I hope you have an improved weekend and new week. Wonders if Fanny and maudes acadamy needs a Librarian teacher after all?


  2. Bureaucracy running riot! If your organisation was professional, they would recognise that Friday was a mess as well as a potential disaster, review their procedures and ensure it didn’t happen again. It’s funny how the leaders of organisations often don’t treat staff the way they would customers. But then again, if there’s no direct relationship between customers and your organisation’s leadership (as in “stuff me about and I’ll take business elsewhere”), it might be hard to get much of a response. Dear Leader might try telling the School Board (or whoever) “due to WHS considerations, no work will be done on school buildings during school hours.”


    • Family run school – three of them on the board and the other members are all close friends. I did inform the Junta of the issues and will again when I meet with Mrs Junta next week. If parents knew what danger their kids were in, and I am not exaggerating it to sound dramatic, they would be up in arms. Next time anything happens in my library I will ask for risk management documents and a written schedule of events and work to take place. The stupid man organising it all is the workplace health and safety officer as well! I was prepared to call the union if any issues threatened.


  3. Reminds me of when they discovered asbestos was dangerous, so rather than clear it out of my hs during summer (no students or teachers), they just sort of half-arsed draped clear plastic around and worked…Each desk had a powder on it every morning…you’re telling me that was “safe?”

    That was asbestos.


    • Lots of people are wise in hind sight – after the damage is done. Our govt schools are full of asbestos too and they use the line that as long as it isn’t disturbed it is ok – recent floods managed to disturb it somewhat!


  4. My gosh, what chaos! I think I would have been ready to punch that man, too. Sounds like he was trying to pass the buck big time. I hope you were able to relax over the weekend. That sounds very trying.


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