The joy (or threat) of retirement has enabled me to take a critical look at the last few years of working in the public sector in leisure service delivery. I oversee (for a few more days) aquatics and adult sports programs, services and staff. When the great recession hit California in 2010, we experienced deep cuts to staff and programs. As the recession has s..l.o.w..l.y come to a close, staff have had to become clever at “reinventing the wheel” by changing the way we offer services and programs with fewer facilities and talented staff.
Like me, many long time employees have decided to retire due to the massive changes in leisure service delivery. At the operational end, my staff and I have worked very hard to create mechanisms and systems for dealing with these severe changes, processes with which upper management has no clue.
An example I can share relates to how we operate swimming pools. Two summers ago when there were only two full-time program staff to be on 24/7 standby while 8 swimming pools were open for 12 weeks, we had to basically work 7 days a week and be available all the time. New pool managers have questions, incidents happen, pools need TLC, etc. To make it even worse, we only had one full-time aquatics maintenance person who basically was on standby from the end of May until the middle of September. Two of these staff members ended up logging over 75-80 hours per WEEK!. Lot’s of overtime was handed out, but at what cost to the employees? I still can’t believe that we dodged a critical incident!
This all being said, now that our budget looks better, rapid changes are occurring, partly due to my retirement. Some of these changes affect staff and some affect operations. Now that I am retiring, why should I care, right?
But I do.
Over the last few weeks, using the Jenga game as the metaphor, my world has gone from looking like this:
Many of the processes I built and maintained are crashing down due to massive changes. It’s hard to take and definitely exhausting. They (management) could have at least waited until I left. I guess it will not be a problem for me in a few days.
As Elsa sings in Disney’s Frozen, LET IT GOOOOOO!