I don’t claim to know everything. I hope everyone who reads what I write understands that. I hope people who read what I write understand that I’m just trying to help by putting what I do know and more tenuously but less definitively what I think into words. I hope everyone else out there understands that they don’t know everything either. No one does. No one can.
And yet there are some who feel sure that their way is the right way with no room for deviation or difference. And they have no second thoughts about telling everyone who will listen and the vast majority who don’t want to. I get a bit tired of being told I’m living my life wrong. If it’s true, then I will be the one who ultimately suffers. If I’m not (and even if I am), I don’t want to listen to other people’s judgements on actions that only affect me.
So let me say this. (No, actually, I don’t care whether you let me or not, I’m going to say it anyway.) Stop telling me what to do.Continue reading
My little sister has a lot going for her. She’s model beautiful, thin, smart, socially aware, vegan (so much commitment required to do this – I know because I’m vegan as well when I dine with her, which is a fair bit), loves animals and children, hates injustice and generally wants to make the world a better place and herself a better person. All of this is more amazing when you find out she suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis (at the age of twenty, mind you), clinical depression, borderline personality disorder, endometriosis and a multitude of allergies. But she still managed to finish Year 12, complete a Certificate IV in Youth Work and is now studying a Bachelor of Social Work with aspirations of eventually doing a master’s degree.
She’s also a perfectionist. I shouldn’t be surprised it runs in the family since I’m a perfectionist, too, although our nineteen-year age gap has given me the time she hasn’t had yet to work through my perfectionism and settle on a more reasonable goal of extremely good. Mostly I meet that goal; sometimes no matter how hard I work, I don’t. Results can range from good, just okay, not good and complete failure, depending on what it is I’m doing. (Housework is a complete failure more often than not; I just can’t be bothered.)Continue reading
One of the most common feelings of unemployment is the sense that no one else can understand what it is you’re going through. And they can’t. Not exactly. No one has precisely the same family or financial circumstances as you do. No one has precisely the same employment experience. No one has precisely the same goals and dreams.
What everyone experiencing unemployment does have in common is going through five distinct emotional stages as we process an ending and look for another beginning.
However, the manner in which you enter unemployment significantly impacts in what order you will experience these emotions.Continue reading
I know how lucky I am. By choice, I’ve had a year out of permanent work, spending that time writing, doing some more writing, writing a little more, publishing a book I wrote, and being choosy about which freelance roles I accepted.
But now that I’m looking to return to full-time work, I’ve had a number of interesting pieces of advice on how I can do that more easily. Some of them are interesting. Some of them are downright terrible. Some might seem unethical. But if everybody else is doing them, am I just losing out by not doing them, too?Continue reading
Timna Jacks, the Education Reporter for The Age, wrote earlier this week about “a school program for gifted students…offering vaccination exemption forms and urging students to avoid Wi-Fi in schools”. As sensational as the claims were, they also demonstrated a concerning amount of selectivity.
The WiseOnes program has been available to gifted students in primary schools around Victoria for nearly two decades, teaching multi-disciplinary units with exciting names such as Ancient Egypt, How to Mind Your Money , Astronomy, Fibonacci Maths, Basic Engineering and Morphing Dirt to Diamonds. Students need to give evidence of their high thinking ability, which is not related to reading, writing or spelling, and need to “qualify” at a minimum of the 93rd percentile to participate.
Unfortunately, the founder and owner of the program unwisely decided to use the business’s website to convey her personal beliefs about the effects of vaccination and Wi-Fi. However, those beliefs are not shared by the licensees and teachers delivering the program and having contact with the students. The licensees and contracted teachers are all VIT registered and highly experienced.
By conflating the personal views of the founder with the content of the program, Timna Jacks has done a great disservice to the licensees and teachers who have worked with students in small groups providing extra intellectual and educational challenges. The losers will be the children if schools elect to discontinue the program.Continue reading
When I was in high school, I wanted to be a lawyer. At least, I thought I did. Yes, I was writing poems and novels in my spare time but when anyone asked, I insisted I wanted to be a lawyer. “A lady lawyer,” my great aunt Violet said to me. “No,” I replied in my youthful feminist beginnings, “just a lawyer.”Continue reading
In May this year, I interviewed Barry* for an article. We talked about many things, mostly him, but somewhere in the middle of our conversation, we deviated onto the broader topic of workplaces with poor cultures, poor managers or poor management styles.
He’d just been made redundant from a company he’d been with for over a decade and in that time he’d become jaded and demotivated and he was far from being the only one. From processes that made no sense to workers who were treated with contempt, he’d seen enough to welcome the redundancy and the chance to move on and up in his career, hopefully to a company that didn’t engender the same or similar employee disappointment and dissatisfaction.
My response, in the form of a question, was this: “If good employees leave, how will poor cultures and poor managers ever change?”
Barry didn’t answer. He didn’t know the answer. We finished the interview and as I drove home, the question crystallised in my mind. Because it’s not just the workplace where this is relevant, it’s the entire world. If we all just turn our backs or leave when times get tough or when we encounter difficulties, where will the impetus for change for the better come from?
(Note: When I first published this article on LinkedIn, it was read by approximately 9,000 people and liked over 650 times and one of the authors of the books I recommend contacted me to thank me for her inclusion on the list. It is my most read piece of writing ever. I can’t tell you why. But it was fun while it was happening.)
I’m not generally someone who recommends self-help books. In fact, in the past I have been guilty of pouring scorn on many of them, perhaps because the ones I’ve picked up and started reading have been particularly vague (what exactly is self-actualisation?) and therefore particularly unhelpful to someone like me who prefers the literal to the lateral.
Finding a self-help book that is actually going to help you is a deeply personal thing. You have to be at a particular point in your life to benefit from specific self-help books. And you have to be going through a similar crisis to the one being described by the author. And you have to be able to put into practice what they are telling you to do. They’re long odds.
But as I was sitting in my study recently, the three books I am about to recommend kept jumping out at me despite being on three different shelves on three different bookcases. I’ve read, and in some cases reread, all three of these books in the past five years and the longer I looked at them in conjunction, the clearer it became. These three books had important things to say to women of a certain age.Continue reading
Anyone doubting the usefulness of LinkedIn might be surprised to learn that since my last contract ended in February 2015, I have had seven unsolicited job offers, mostly from people I don’t know. So why then do I remain unemployed?Continue reading
In Australia and many other Western countries, the concept of equal opportunity is enshrined in law and embraced by employees as well as most employers. These laws cover protections that, while considered basic rights now, have generally been a result of hard-fought battles in past decades.
These rights include bans on discrimination on the basis of age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, race, religion, disability and probably a few others I’m forgetting. While they don’t guarantee that discrimination doesn’t happen (that’s an impossibility in a workforce populated by fallible humans – as we all are – and a world that seems to struggle more and more with intolerance), they provide assurance that victims have recourse and perpetrators must answer for their actions.
But sometimes equal opportunity is incorrectly equated with equal ability. Just because employees are equal doesn’t make them the same. So here’s a rather unfortunately lengthy list of things that can make the playing field of employment opportunities more uneven than we would like.Continue reading