Archive for May, 2010


I put my hand up for the Department’s mentoring program recently. They’ve matched me up with someone a couple of levels above me and working in an area that I’ve been interested in, which should at least allow me to check out exactly how green that grass is.

I’ve had… interesting experiences with mentoring. The first was cross-departmental group mentoring. The idea was, four new hires from completely different departments would be matched with a senior executive from yet another department. I guess the idea was that we’d have fertile cross-pollination of ideas and viewpoints. In practice, we had one meeting where the executive, a nice enough guy, spouted platitudes and bragged about his golf handicap. Not long after our one and only meeting, he was sacked/left under a cloud because his staff basically stole every single phone, laptop, PDA, pager, radio, stick drive, Sticky Note and stick of charcoal that wasn’t actually in his hands at the time. Basically, if you could communicate with it they stole it. I hear a few blankets and bundles of kindling went missing.

My next encounter with mentoring was through a professional association, and could be considered anti-mentoring. At first, I fell head over heels in love, as I have a bad habit of doing – “OMG we’re like TWINS!!1!”. Unfortunately, the main benefit of this experience was unintentional. I’d asked the mentor to help me with my professional conduct – the fact is that while I have a few very close friends, I’m widely considered obnoxious, which is why I’m a junior public servant despite being in early middle age.

This turned out to be the one thing my mentor absolutely would NOT help me with. Happy to tell me what I should eat, buy, rent, wear, etc, but not to help me with my one specific goal for the mentoring. It was didactic, condescending… and obnoxious. The lesson learned was “holy shit – people think I’M like that??1!?”. Which, to be fair, is an extremely valuable lesson.

I’m currently reading First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You, by Ann Demarais and Valerie White. It’s extremely good in that it breaks down into very basic components the factors that make people like you (and the converse). It’s like the parts of speech – you use the building blocks all the time, but you use them more effectively when you know what they are. The best part of them being building blocks, of course, is that you can choose the ones you need.


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I’d like to think that my non-posting habit is related to being hardworking and busy, but it’s not – I’m lazy and tired and prioritising going to the gym over writing. Going to the gym has to be done, of course, but I have to THINK OF MY CAREER!!`!!1! In the meantime, here’s some interesting public-sector related links.

Public Sector Blog

Google’s official Public Sector Blog discusses tools for both election campaigns and public administration. This post on Web Analytics emphasises the importance of asking the right questions of your website visitors and making it easy for them to give feedback.

The Public Administration Collective

A collective of public policy blogs from the UK and US, ranging from news and opinion to management theory.


A blog of politics and policy by a Masters student at Holy Angel University in the¬†Philippines.¬†Some of it’s a bit dense and clearly entry-level, but that may be exactly what you need.

Whitehall Watch

British politics and civil service blog by a Professor of Public Policy & Management at the Manchester Business School. His area of interest is in performance measurement (we call it evaluation out here in the boonies), so be warned, may not be suitable for beginners. I actually think meaningful performance measurement is of paramount importance, but jebus it’s boring.


The newsletter of the Institute of Public Governance & Management at Ramon Llull University in Barcelona. I’ve linked to the English version, but it’s also available in Catalan. I have to admit to being particularly intrigued by the suggestion that “[t]he willingness of public sector workers and managers to accept lower pay in return for … a more meaningful or enjoyable job translates into lower returns on talent in the public sector compared to the private sector.”

Undercover Economist

I’m not an economist. I work in an economic development agency. IT HURRRRRRRRTS. This blog is less painful than economics usually is.

Charting Transport

Are you a graph nerd? Close the door for some furtive one-handed browsing of this impressive collection of visual analysis of just about everything in public transport in Australia – demand growth, drivers of use, fare structures, travel data… talk nerdy to me!

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