Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Where were you on July 7th 2005?

The commemoration of this event, five years on, has been pushed into the background by the media frenzy surrounding Raoul Moat, and it's possible the victims will go unremembered by many* this year.

From a purely personal perspective, however, the day is unforgettable. When the news broke, I was standing in front of a roomful of people, about to make a speech.

I was leaving a job I was good at, working with people I liked and respected, purely because of the new Director. This person's opinionated self-importance and bullying determination to enforce to the letter every pointless government regulation finally made unemployment seem a more attractive option.

And this was my chance for revenge - a brilliant oration (I'd been composing it for weeks) - stopping just short of open accusation while leaving the hearers in no doubt of my motives for resigning and the malicious activities of the Director.

I'd got as far as 'Thank you all very much...' when the door opened and someone brought the news that a bomb had gone off in London. Everyone dispersed at once - the next few hours must have been much the same in many places, as people gathered round screens or made frantic telephone calls.

There was an odd sense of déjà-vu about the whole experience. On my first day in that job, the event at which I was due to be introduced was cancelled at the last minute and replaced by a prayer meeting - the date was September 11th, 2001.

I suppose the moral of this post, if there is one, is that however bad things get at work there are far worse things that could happen; when they do, it should be a reminder to the rest of us to keep a sense of perspective.

*By many but not all.

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