First Day Back ?

“In her case intensity was heaped on intensity”. This is Spectator columnist Bruce Anderson’s comment on the portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the movie Iron Lady. (

He makes the point that for most politicians, once the business of the meeting is transacted there is an appropriate moment to lighten the mood. Not so for Thatcher, who just wanted to get on with more business.

I must admit that this is the first time more or less that any aspect of Margaret Thatcher has struck a chord with me. I have a fondness for intensity in the workplace myself. Take the mood lightening outside as far as I am concerned most of the time.

But not today, not on the first day back. Most people are wandering around struggling to adjust their body clocks which have got used to an extended lie in over the long days of the break that we manage in the Old World at this time of year. (Parents of young children are obviously excluded from this but then they never get enough sleep and are in a permanent haze of disrupted body clock fugue). It’s not like this in the US – they’ve been hassling me for deadlines for my book edit throughout the Christmas period.

Normally when you come back from a break, it’s a question of re-aligning to a busy office and getting back into the swing of things. This takes two, three hours at most. But for the first few days of January nearly everyone has messed with their body clock and most people are relaxed. So the normal swing of things isn’t even normal.

Given that we usually need to break people out of their normal routine in order to get them to be creative, this strikes me as a genius time of year to have creative brainstorms. To tear up any plans put to bed in a rush in the dying days of the previous year and to start anew with a relaxed and therefore creative alternative perspective.

I don’t want to rush anyone but this isn’t going to last long…. Wake up (a bit) and get creative !

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