Tuesday, March 31, 2020


I have spent the past umpteen years, in the day job, juggling and reacting to chaos and crises, crises that seem completely insignificant in the context of the prevailing pandemic. Three of those years have been at home, in the corner of the small bedroom where my desk is, since The Open University closed our regional infrastructure.

Isolated, 10 to 16 hours a day, mainly in front of a screen, engaged in micro-administrative, bureaucratic trivia and attempting to shield my staff and students from the worst excesses of what has been, at times, a difficult and destructive environment at The Open University.

Last week, although our operations are continuing, most staff in HQ and the remaining satellite offices were despatched to work from home. The focus, in the Covid-19 crisis, of the internal communications has shifted to concern for staff and student welfare, whilst we all try to keep frontline operations rolling, as smoothly, flexibly and sensitively as possible.

This afternoon, shortly after 3pm, my daily chaos slowed to something of a trickle. 30 minutes on, the trickle is still just that and I find myself somewhat flummoxed. We have been engaged in a vast amount of energetic activity making sure students can continue their studies as seamlessly as possible and we are fortunate enough to have the organisational infrastructure to do that.

If the demands flowing to my microscopic corner of the OU universe remain manageable through to this evening, I might have some time and space to do something constructive.

But I'm tired and I expect the chaos to resume later this afternoon or evening.

Tired and discombobulated and unproductive, sure enough I've wasted the window of opportunity in the day, as the communications begin to ping in again and the temporary lull in increasing entropy appears over.

It is disappointing to note the muscle memory of my little grey cells seems conditioned these days only to juggle the chaos.

I'm tired and irritated at wasting an opportunity but the chaos and the opportunity are trivial... my thoughts are with the family of a friend, infected with Covid-19, in an induced coma, on a ventilator in an intensive care unit.

This thing is real and dangerous.

Keep safe, stay well.