Government CEO Suzanne Wylie's resignation this week has been continuously described as a "shock" - and her blog sent to all civil servants this Monday shows just how unexpected it was, providing no hint of any sort of upset...
Express understands that Mrs Wylie handed her resignation to the Chief Minister late last week, but the States Employment Board — of which the Chief Minister is Chair — were informed on the same day that the announcement was made public.
Despite knowing that her departure was due to be announcement imminently, Mrs Wylie's CEO's blog — sent to all government employees on Monday — has no reference to upheaval and instead chatters on merrily about hobbies and recognising hardworking colleagues.
You can read the blog in full below...
CEO's blog Monday 20th March 2022
I hope you all had a restful weekend (assuming you weren’t working to keep the Island running, of course) and managed to spend some time with the important people in your life doing something you enjoyed.
This weekend I went to a fabulous musical theatre event at the Jersey Art Centre. It really did have such a relaxing effect on me, listening to the songs of the shows being sung by our local talent along with their French coaches. This was a production to celebrate 10 years of a partnership between the Arts Centre and a Breton musical theatre company. It was clear that this was the passion of every single member of the cast and that they enjoyed it just as much as the audience.
By the time this blog is published, most of us will be back at work and getting on with our Mondays, but a recent podcast I was listening to on the subject of hobbies brought home to me the importance of things whose status we might diminish in our lives. I realised how guilty I am of doing that.
It was called ‘How our hobbies set us free’ and featured interviews with people who had a range of hobbies from building Lego to playing the piano and the point that was being made was that, instead of dismissing people’s interests as trivial or even something to make fun of, we should consider how they can help us find meaning and connection.
A quick cast around Broad Street last week found people with more traditional hobbies like gardening, Pilates and reading crime thrillers to more novel things like learning about superfoods, trying to speak Korean and playing board games.
But that’s the whole point of a hobby; they’re as individual and quirky as we are. And they’re not pointless, aimless or a waste of time. They bring joy and we use our brains in different ways.
The podcast was making the point that they aid our wellbeing by offering a refuge from the stresses and strains of normal life. The woman who has become a Lego builder, even though she never touched it as a child, spoke about how it helped her to rediscover play. Although play is seen as a childish concept, there’s growing evidence that it helps to develop the plasticity of the brain, stimulates creativity and makes people more able to learn new things.
The word amateur comes from a French word that means ‘lover of’ and that’s what’s behind the reason why we enjoy our part-time pursuits. They’re about our passions, but they can also be about self-discovery and how we find contentment in life. And that's not to say we cannot find these passions in work - but it's about a more rounded approach to life.
Either way, hobbies are exceptionally beneficial to your wellbeing and overall mental health, so don’t waste any time in booking that French class, dance class or your first guitar lesson and enjoy getting lost in your new hobby, even if you don’t become the next Hamza Yassin or Ed Sheeran.
Talking of Stars, the nominations for Our Stars open today. This is your chance to nominate a colleague who you think deserves special recognition for the job that they do or the way they help people.
Last year was my first experience of this event and I thought it was a fantastic celebration of all the hard work people put in while working in the public service.
All of us have a human need to be recognised when we do a good job, so please nominate your colleagues and teams for what I’m sure will be another fantastic event this year. There’s a link to the nomination form at the end of this blog.
And more than that - let's make it all of our business to tell people every day when they are doing something brilliantly, whether that is someone in your team, a colleague or even a boss. It will make their day.
Finally, we’ll be marking Earth Hour at 8.30pm on Saturday, when landmarks and homes switch off their lights and everyone is asked to do something positive for 60 minutes to help the planet. Jersey always turns off the lights in non-essential Government buildings and we encourage Islanders to mark the occasion as well.
Our Decarbonising Government team are encouraging colleagues to take part in a social bike ride to the Observatory at Les Creux, where people will be able to look at the stars and go on a bat walk. See Our Gov for details.
Details about how to nominate someone for an Our Stars award can be found here: Our Stars Awards 2023: who's shone brightly this year? | Government of Jersey.
Mrs Wylie announced her resignation this week after little more than year in the £250,000 role.
The former Belfast Chief Executive, who was appointed to the top role in Jersey's civil service in February 2022, will be taking up a new opportunity as Chief Executive of the Northern Irish Chamber of Commerce.
It came little under a week after it was confirmed that two of the most senior figures in Health - Director General Caroline Landon and Chief Nurse Rose Naylor - would be leaving their posts at the end of the month.
Suzanne Wylie, the former Chief Executive of Belfast City Council and more recently Chief Executive of the Government of Jersey has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of @NIChamber.— NIChamberofCommerce #heretohelp (@NIChamber) March 22, 2023
Suzanne will succeed @annmcgregor this summer. pic.twitter.com/JnZucUjeLJ
It's also understood that Mrs Wylie's contract - which does not contain any clauses relating to additional payments - has a six-month notice period. However, this can be waived by mutual agreement.
The NI Chamber of Commerce said that Mrs Wylie is expected to take up the leading role this summer.
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