Sunday, June 17, 2007

Work / life balance


I went for a job interview some months back where the feedback was I was technically very competent to do the job but...


Yes, the 'but'.


Apparently I asked too many questions about the o'l chestnut "work / life balance".


In my defence, I only asked one question. And that was in reference to why at 7pm the office car park of this cosmetics giant was half full.


I guess if they feel that defensive about it, they must have something to hide.


Why do companies still feel compelled to work their employees to the bone?

Haven't they heard about the impeding stampede of the rabid Generation Y brigade with their "want it all now, daddy" attitudes, non-existent employer loyalty and poor work ethic?


The change in demand versus supply of skilled labour should be making these organisations think more carefully about how to recruit and more importantly, retain, their staff.
I love:
  • 4 day working weeks
  • Mental health days
  • Clocking in work days volunteering for charities (and not just tree-planting days that the Senior Executive managers were supposed to do but delegated to the lower serfs)
  • Training managers how to be coaches
  • Transparent succession planning (if they are only looking for males who chest-beat the loudest, then at least have the cojones to say so and stop wasting everyone else's time)
Changes in attracting and keeping talent will have to come. Why not start now and be seen as progressive? Word on the street passes quickly. Be The Place people clamour to work for.

I'm Back

It's been a lazy 3 months of inactivity on this blog site but here I am.

I haven't had as much antagonism from the work front to serve as food for thought. Amazing the effect of having a normal manager. No second guessing, no mind games, no emotionally crippled freaks who should be paying for therapy instead of taking it out on their staff...

Is it so hard for people to treat others decently in a working environment?

God knows what they must be like at home when there is even less of an incentive to conform to the norm. Whatever that is.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

SMS Flirting


As a purveyor of late night television, I have noticed a steady rise in commercials offering the opportunity via SMS to flirt with nubile young women lounging around on the beach / a red sports card / a king size bed in impossibly tiny bikinis.


Now, call me a cynic but I have a sneaking suspicion the ads are slightly misrepresentative.

Is there a breach of section 52 of the Trade Practices Act should the person at the end of the sms line not resemble a gorgeous young lass gagging for it and is in fact a middle-aged portly man?
Has anyone contacted Graeme Samuels about this oversight?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ready answers

Why is it that I can think of a dozen really articulate and succinct answers to job interview questions only 10 minutes after the interview has finished?

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Writer's Block

I have not posted for weeks.

I have run out of juice.

I blame this on my boss and a restructure.

Why my boss? He's actually a decent guy, very intelligent, very straightfoward and treats me like an adult. Who would have thought it would take 9 years and 10 managers in FMCG to finally come across someone who understands how to manage people?

Why a restructure? My employer recently reshuffled the organisational structure and made a ferry load of people involuntarily redundant. Some really great people were left without a job and some nasty pieces of work were flushed away. And it's been so much better since the arseholes left. I don't really miss those cancers at all.

So...only a Little Whinge in this post.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

...And Now I Pronounce You


I went to a wedding last weekend of an old friend. My friend had originally planned for an elopement but had changed her mind to a small and intimate wedding. I think I would have gone with her first instinct.
There is something very naked about weddings. I feel like I am intruding watching two people make vows of lifelong commitment to each other.
Beyond the bonbonnières and the particular shade of colour the dinner napkins must match, marriages are a serious business.
What if you screw up? I'd rather not have every family member and friend witness promises I made and later could not keep. What must they be thinking everytime I borrow a book and "promise" to return it in the same condition as before?
Elopement is an attractive alternative. No politics, no arguing over whether an obscure relative whose relationship to you is slightly unclear must be invited, no stress of organising an event that requires a Gant chart to track down every flower and manicure.
Or is this approach a cop-out- avoiding a public statement of love and commitment just in case you can't hold your end of the bargain later on?

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I've Been Tagged

One of my favourite bloggers Ben Rowe just has tagged me. The latest craze in the bloggersphere is being tagged: "once you are tagged, you need to mention 5 things about yourself that others don’t know. Then you need to tag 5 other people."

Well, you all know I like to have a little vent every now and again. Let's see....what else wouldn't you know:

1) I read Enid Blyton for relaxation. Even if she can be a gypsy-hating, racist, sexist and repetitive writer, there is something so soothing about her version of a 1940s childhood in England. There are fairies in the garden, a tree with different lands arriving every week and outdoor adventures galore. There are plenty of descriptions of food - tomatoes and raspberries from the garden, Toffee Shocks, Google Buns, Pop biscuits, blancmange, trifle, potted meat sandwiches, boiled eggs with a twist of salt, sardine and pineapple sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, kippers, ginger pop, caraway seed buns, bread and butter pudding...mm. Throughout my childhood I had developed a very fixed idea in my mind of how delicious these things would taste. Imagine my shock when I arrived in England and discovered good food is not appreciated in the English culture. It's treated merely as fuel between invading and looting other countries.

2) I wanted to be a native title lawyer once upon a time. Until I discovered how much time I would need to spend in the outback. And how much I hated property law. Unfortunately Mabo will have to roll on without me.

3) I also wanted to work for ASIO after I graduated. I got past the first round of multiple choice questions pretty easily - the usual maths, language and spacial judgement questions - but fell over in the second round. We were asked to write an assessment of which country was Australia's biggest threat. I dimly remember singling out Indonesia for its proximate, large and politically restless population. Not sure if I would have passed even if I had been able to name Jemaah Islamiyah or al-Quaeda in my essay back then. Would I be in Guantanamo Bay now with David Hicks if I had?

4) I loved The Latham Diaries. I found Mark Latham's candour and refusal to play the game endearing. Come on, the guy's hilarious! Unfortunately my faith in the Australian political system diminished somewhat after Latham finished exposing all the shonkiness of the factions, the focus on the short-term and tit-for-tat even with your own party colleagues. And wasn't Latham right about Kym Beazley (of the 1,000 mile gaze) and Kevin Rudd (Media Tart). Poor Julia Gillard will just have to grit her teeth and think of England while she divides up the bed with her strange bedfellow.

5) Five people I would invite to a dinner party:
Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity) - what a genius of plot, characterisation and his plaything that is the English language
Paul Keating (Prime Minister of Austalia 1991-1996) - the wickedest wit of Canberra
JK Rowling (Harry Potter) - Maybe she'll bring a copy of The Deathly Hallows...
Li Cunxin (Mao's Last Dancer) - Even I got homesick for his family when I read his book.


Here are some other bloggers I like:
1) Stuck for ideas on where to eat? Try Patrick Pincon.
2) Check out Christine's Happy Slip mini films

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Holiday Blues


The down I am experiencing post-holiday is awful.
So awful it almost makes me contemplate never taking another holiday again because the after-effects are too traumatic to go through again.
I love the beginning of a holiday when the days stretch on forever in front of you, endless possibilities of time monopolised by no one but your own wants. When you feel the stress slide out of your body so you morph into Gumby. No heels, no hairspray, no mask of civility required.
The first day of the holiday is the best and always seems to be the longest. There is the thrilling feeling of "this can last forever!" until inevitably, the days begin to speed up to the point when you are afraid to blink in case you find it is nightfall already. You find your fingers trying to grasp onto moments, which taunt you by slipping away with no trace.
Then, back at work, I found myself stealing minutes to sit with my eyes closed and to try recreate in my mind the sights, the smells and the feelings from my holiday. It's easier in the first couple of days after the holiday but as time goes, these memories begin to fade.
It's time to book another one.

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Don't Kill My New Garden


Stage 3 water restrictions have just come into force in Victoria, Australia. This has been in response to climate change suddenly solidifying as a reality.
Restrictions have been placed on watering lawns and gardens. But doesn't this same vegetation absorb the carbon dioxide we have become so proficient at producing?
Shouldn't we be encouraging the planting of more trees and flora to reduce the carbon dioxide levels?

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