Left behind - Jenny Hacker

Had enough of local government after 22years? Ready to throw yourself under a train? Don't be so sure... 


Left Behind - Jenny Hacker

As he stepped in front of the approaching train, the images flashing past Donald’s eyes were almost exclusively work-related. This was no surprise to Donald, given that he had spent the majority of his waking hours at work, for the council, an organisation he had joined on leaving school, 22 years ago.

Donald was not surprised, on launching himself from the platform, that the first scene to enter his mind was of his open-mouthed colleagues, earlier that morning, arriving back from their walking meeting to find him sprawled on the floor of their newly refurbished, open-plan office, carefully cutting out an assortment of letters from various newspapers, both capital and lower case, and sticking them onto some paper. What was the world coming to when a man couldn’t write a resignation letter in private anymore? Everywhere an audience.

Neither was Donald surprised, landing feet first on the train tracks, to visualise his manager, Cynthia, in the contemplation pod that lunchtime, embarking on her daily meditation session, eyes closed, palms together, headphones on, oblivious to Donald’s pounding on the glass walls of this fishbowl, blind to the carefully constructed resignation letter that he was holding up to the window. Ah, Cynthia. A daily presence in his life. Always telling him to take a break, book some leave, look after himself.

They were all like her these days. Always worried about wellbeing at work. It was as if they simply didn’t accept the need to set an example to your staff by working hard and working long hours, didn’t understand that looking up from your job does no good and that 12-hour days never did him any harm.

What did come as a surprise to Donald was that he appeared to be still alive, still clasping his letter. As the train whooshed past him on the opposite platform, he listened to the silence, feeling the eyes of many looking down on him on his lowly stage. Suddenly, he felt a strange sense of wellbeing. He put his palms together, closed his eyes, and started to hum.

Jenny Hacker  - Independent consultant, public health research, training and consultancy

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