Saviour Complex — a short story…

Dewbien Plummer (she/her)
6 min readJul 25, 2021


(Week notes)

Saviour complex — a short story

Once upon a time, I had an aha moment: this Thursday to be exact.

And as I pondered on my insight, I felt a little bit great about myself.

A smiling happy baby :)

You know the feeling…

It pops up sneakily every once in a while, in the midst of the crippling anxiety, imposter syndrome, &/or the pursuit of impossible standards that are the norm these days.

It goes a little something like this;

  1. You’re thinking away and then you remember something you’ve done — that you’re reasonably happy with.
  2. At first you’ll find some flaw that you can focus on to bring you back down to earth.
  3. But every now and then, you allow yourself some light relief — not too much or too often mind, you don’t want to get carried away — but enough to take stock and maybe even pat yourself on the back. Preferably in private.
actual footage of the process

Anyway, once upon last Thursday evening, I caught said feeling, & after careful consideration, I called a friend, to you know, share the good news. What good news? I hear you ask. Well, the good news about my insight, (for my job that they neither understand nor care about).

I mean, even before I made the call, I said to myself, “Dewbien, no-one cares”. But, I was too far gone. I’d gone rogue folks; drunk on the art of the possible.

So I made the call and suffice to say, they let me talk a tiny bit, (for as long as I suspect was bearable), and then politely told me that I have a saviour complex & to get over myself. “What makes you think you can make the difference?” they said, “it’s a job. Just do your job, why does it have to be a whole thing? It’s not that deep.”

I ended the call and took a moment to gather the scattered remnants of my thoughts.

Wow, do I really have a saviour complex?

Am I doing too much? (The answer to that one is yes, always & thank you.) 😎

And if so, what does that even mean?? 🥴🥴

It’s also something I’ve been told before, or variations on that theme.

My favourite was a primary school report saying that I had a “superiority complex”. (Side note, I love that for 9-year old me, we smile about it often).

My least favourite was once at work when a manager tried to write in my 1–2–1 notes, “Dewbien should not try to run before she can walk”…

Here’s the thing though;

I don’t have a saviour complex, or a superiority complex.

What I have is outrageous optimism.

I have the audacity to believe that, I, as an individual, can contribute meaningfully to making things better, and I’m not intimidated by tricky problems. We’re not solving world hunger, (yet).

From what I can see, audacity of ambition is going around in spades. We are witnessing a billionaire space race. All during a global pandemic, because they want to and they can. I’m just trying to make it easier for residents to see & understand their service charge bill on their phone: My ambitions are modest at best.

Billionaire space race…

Plus I’ve been a part of making magic happen before. I was on the mobilisation team for the London Cycle Hire scheme. I was there when it was just an idea and this March it celebrated over 100 million hires.

The 100 million hires isn’t the only magic. There’s the positive impact it’s had on the environment and people’s health. There’s also the jobs that were created and the lives that were changed as a result. (Check out one of my favs, Marton Gasper, now a Product Leadership Consultant and advocate for neurodiversity in tech).

I know what can happen when motivated people get together. And if you were wondering, my big realisation was this…

We just might be able to pull this off…

An oldie but a goodie — I was dressed for the occasion.

The End (of my short story.)

What I’ve been up to

My aha moment was in large part the culmination of my activities this week;

  • Help is on the way: There’s so much recruitment activity and new faces in the digital team at the moment. A special mention to Dan Harper-Wein, Senior Product Manager, who will be leading on the work in Housing. Check out his week notes here. As well as welcoming the new digital recruits, I’ve been *busy putting the finishing touches to the new Housing Digital programme team proposals. Soon, I’ll be looking for a team of staff to work specifically on our housing management systems alongside the corporate digital team.
  • We’re not starting from scratch: The team from FutureGov came to talk to us about their work with Hackney council’s Housing Needs service transformation. It was a really good session — we all learned so much and are already planning a follow-up session (Thank you!)
  • I love what I do: One of my highlights was a round table discussion led by Samantha Woolen from t-three, This week it was inspired by the book, “ikigai”. We talked finding purpose and meaning in your life & work… (read more about it here).

*Lazy: A Manifesto — the antidote to being ‘busy’ (Tim Kreider — We Learn Nothing)

What I’m reading

This week it’s all about Cate McLaurin, Head of Delivery at Hackney Council, who has finished her Masters in the middle of a global pandemic and major cyber attack! 🥳👑👑 Congratulations!!

An inspiring piece (read here). I just want to sit at her feet and listen to her thoughts about all of the things. 😍

What I’m listening to

Sunday Morning by Rowlene and Manana

I’ve had this song loud on repeat for the last 72 hours & it’s still playing. At this point, my children can’t stand me… but I gave birth to them and pay all the bills so…

It is what it is. 😎

Have a great week & stay safe!