🖕

My writing might (might) often become a pale pastiche of something funnier, edgier and more articulate, including this week when I felt it would be useful/constructive to have a ranty tanty and to imitate that most fabulous of bloggers, farkew, and say a big fucking finger to everything that has fucked me off over the last week.

To whit:

– fuck you, sales assistant at Spencer St outlet, who  upon seeing me in shoulderless top, suggested it might be better as a ‘gift for your niece or daughter’

– fuck you, milk choc Lindt bunnies for being so awesomely smooth, creamy and gorgeous and forcing me to gorge on them

– fuck you, adult acne. Who agrees with me? I have fucking wrinkles and fucking pimples!

– fuck you (and a big fuck off) to Monash IVF, who clutter my facebook and google ads (see also Clearblue, fucking elevit, et al, all of you)

– fuck you, to cafes who don’t accept eftpos under $10 and then have something of $9.90 on the fucking menu. Daft Morons.

– fuck you, pain and suffering occurring on the earth right now, and lastly!

– fuck you hair for not looking as nice as Julia Zemiros

That’s better. Thanks readers, may all your fuck yous come true. Feeling better already. 

PS: spoke too soon. A very sincere fuck you you to the Belgrave line. Wahhhh 

It’s 1993, clearly.

A person I work with was leaving the business, and last night there were some work drinks at a bar in the city that, happily, offered two for one basic spirits. After three hours of gin, I had to head to my next engagement, and duly said my goodbyes. There was some hugs and air kisses goodbye, but when I went to say goodbye to one person, what I vaguely suspected for some time was confirmed when she literally cold shouldered me. As in, she turned her back as I went to say goodbye to her. It was public and obvious, but in the interests of not embarrassing anyone any further, I laughed, shrugged and moved to the next person to say goodbye. I then went outside, lit a fag and walked down to the river for a wine with people I actually do like.

It had occurred to be that Cold Shoulder didn’t like me much – she is perfectly pleasant when other people are around but when other people aren’t she may freeze me out, or ignore me, or make snide comments. I haven’t tried to be her friend but have tried to build a cordial working relationship with her.

I am no threat to this woman whatsoever. I am reasonably certain I haven’t done anything to offend or upset her, apart from resigning after a short employment period, which isn’t anything to do with her. It did feel a little like third form behaviour from someone who is reasonably senior in an organisation.

Work drinks can be fun – and they are good to join when someone who is respected and liked is leaving. Which is probably why I won’t be having any when I leave in 2 weeks.

Not everyone likes everyone. And that’s fine and expected. But the abovementioned story, and others, illustrate as to why I won’t be sorry to leave that place at all.

You can’t break up with me, I’m breaking up with YOU

Many years ago back in New Zealand, I was answering the phones in a busy call centre. The customer I was dealing with had a high bill enquiry, and asked for a discount overall on her bill if she paid the whole lot in one go, over and above her prompt payment discount.. Well, I had never come across such a situation before, so I called the call management desk to ask for a solution. No one answered. So I then called my TL who didn’t answer. After raising a case and promising to come back to the customer with an answer, and mindful I did not want to make a promise to the customer I was unable to keep or step outside my financial mandate, the call ended.

I then received a tap on the shoulder. My TL took me aside and said the reason she had not been answering my call is because she had been listening to the call for quality, and that I really must learn how to deal with those sorts of calls myself. I learned that day that was perfectly fine to offer a customer x percentage off the total bill in such a satiation and there was no reason why I shouldn’t have offered that. I weakly protested that I never had bene trained in that, and although iwas keen to show my initiative, I literally had n idea this was a business rule (there was no KM system to instruct me otherwise.) But I knew for next time and apologised to my TL for not knowing.

15 years later, I find myself in a role that I was recruited to, untrained for, and in an eerie similarity to the above situation, I was expected to know things that I had never learned before. I have tried, I made a deal with myself to give it a red hot go, and I have asked for help – but something was still not clicking. Sunday nights my stomach would be leaden with dread, knowing I had to face it the next day.

As often happens, some things came to a head this week, and on Monday and I went home for the day. The next day it was raised by my senior that this probably wasn’t the job for me. Feeling as if my credibility and confidence was being eroded, and after some soul searching, I came to the conclusion I would leave the role.

Here’s some observations:

  • 10 years ago I would have kept going, feeling like a failure, pushed shit up a hill for probably the same outcome in a month
  • At that time It would have completely floored me and devastated me
  • Now, I know that the problem isn’t just me. I was recruited to a role I was not suited to skillwise. I took a risk and it didn’t work out. But I didn’t do this all on my own and thus am not entirely culpable for what has happened
  • I’m not being weak or retreating but preserving my dignity and personal brand.

Now, others might say I have been put in a fairly shit position. My boss – the man who head hunted me – is feeling dreadful, and well he might – but the net outcome is I don’t have a job. For some people that might be confronting. For me? The lesson is learnt that such a role is not for me, a position description may or may not tell you everything you need to do; and that people can be duplicitous in a work environment.

Look, I’m not going to lie and say things are peachy, but it is far better to remove yourself from a shit situation like a job if its not working. Life is much much too short to not enjoy your work. It would have been better to get a new job before I resigned, but I have looked for work before and something more appropriate for me will emerge.

And I feel a lot better. And I have learned something. No point in getting fucked off. There are plenty of people worse off than me.

This week, in ‘Hoarders’

Despite having a large house, there never seems to be enough space for you know, stuff. The house is filled with clothes (mine), lego (his), and umpteen books (both of us). (This is not including the numerous hairpins. They multiply on their own). Just general  human clutter that is for the most part unnecessary.

Seeking advice from the intertubes, (after finding laptop underneath clothes, lego, books and ubiquitous hairpins) I found this.

Apparently de-cluttering is a good thing – in an uncluttered environment we can all be calmer and more productive or something. Sounded encouraging. So off we went, using the following guide:
1. Start small.
Ok, did this. Decided upon small section of the house to declutter / tidy up. This was the drawer in the back room. Attempted to open it. Couldn’t, as hot water bottle (probably) wedged in. Moved on to next thing, knickers drawer. Chucked cottontails and uncomfortable g-bangers from 2003. Felt quite good.

By starting small, we also started with small time intervals. LAH* spent 15 minutes in the cramped camping items cupboard, before taking a break to watch footy and refill wine glass. He did go back to it though.

2. Make decluttering a quick 15-minute weekly routine – cool will do. It’s only been 3 days.

3. Get in the habit of putting things away, than “doing it later” – started this last night by hanging up jacket in cupboard when I got home. True story.

4. Store away seldom used items, and dispose or donate unused ones – yup, done. After we both solemnly swore not to chuck out each other’s clothes and CDs without express permission, we started a pile. On it we chucked dresses, a suit, shoes and jackets never to be worn again. Old books of no value helped give the pile some texture. Sorted clothes and packed fancy dress items in box, hung my occasional formalwear and categorised handbags. Accepted that the blue suede pumps will not get worn again. Added them to pile. Found a landline handset. We have never had a landline in the house. Chucked it. Donated clothing items. Gifted old mobile phones and innumerable phone chargers to mobile muster at Officeworks.

We grew more and more ruthless. ‘If in doubt, chuck it out!’ we said, moving like snipers through the house. Special bowls and the crystal that we use when non drinking people come over were tucked away and labelled in the cupboard. (Depressingly, my old camera that I took to Dublin in 2008 did not make the ‘label and store’ cut, and is now with Vinnie’s of Heathmont. Mustn’t hold on to old detritus! (wah))

5. Use plenty of containers when storing items – yes and the millions of shoe boxes I have kept came in handy here. Most tellingly was my bedside drawer, filled with multivitimins, inhalers, medications, and tubes of hand cream. Decluttered the fuck out of that using containers and shoeboxes.

6. Teach your kids to be responsible for their mess – we tried that but Bob and George just yawned and rested their heads on their paws.

7. Address the emotional reasons why you collect clutter – this is a WIP.

Outcome: more space, less clutter. It’s the maintenance that will prove the challenge, probably.
Running update: I don’t have one, but we did married last week. It was super.

*Lovely Australian Husband

What I really wanted to say…

Lacking the blog #inspo, as the kids call it these days. So I’m just going to tell you what has popped into my head today so far, and have not said because of propriety / CBF.

Wanted to say to workmate with no interior monologue whatsoever: Seriously, and I really mean this: You go to lunch! Go home! You tell that person what you think. You SEND that email. You go girl! OH you are going to the toilet? That is FANTASTIC!

To dickhead I know and had to have coffee with: Ugh. Seriously, are you trying to look like Errol Flynn with the pocket square and ironic mo? It’s not even original anymore.

To lady a mac counter at Myer: Yes, am happy to pay $41 for new lipstick. Sorry, crayon, yeah whatevers. But would prefer not to. Sigh, need pick me up. There you go.

To the hipster on his fixie riding towards Bayswater station: Are you lost? If not, why are you living so far away from cold drip single origin? Is it because you are staying with mum before you go to Berlin to pursue your dreams as a conceptual artist? And isn’t it hard to cycle with that button done up to your big pubic beard?? Surely it’s restrictive?

To our black Labrador, George: you are welcome to stay outside overnight for ‘George time’, but 4.30am is much too early to tell us and the neighbours all about the possums on the fence. Be quiet puppydogs (actually I may have said something).

Giving a Fuck

I was a mouthy, outspoken teenager at school, mostly to mask my insecurity. It was quite fun to get sent to time out from maths class for aiming a water pistol at Miss Hailstone, to almost get caught for smoking halfa ciggie in the flax bushes at Mona Vale, talking back to the relief teachers, etc.

But then someone commented that their father didn’t like me. I mean, really, who cares if someone’s folks didn’t like you? It probably made one more popular anyway. But the thought of someone not approving of me seemed awful, somehow. Why didn’t they like me? What did I say? What did I do?

Something I struggle with, and have since I can remember: I am terrified, terrified, of offending people. This was never more evident than when organising our wedding. I fretted about who we would manage to offend / annoy / inconvenience by not inviting them / having it in Melbourne / having it on a long weekend / having it in the city. Obviously, and rationally I knew this, this is a complete load of bollocks, and not only because most people we know are nice people and are honoured to come to our wedding, and those we have not invited have been fine about it (as far as I know). Still, I worried.

So, when I saw this article: I read it with interest and then took myself to amazon to read the theory in its entirety.

Essentially, the book The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck advances the theory that you only have a limited amount of fucks to give about stuff in your life at any one time, and you can’t be expected to give a fuck about everything. The basic idea is most people spend an inordinate amount of time on things that they don’t actually care about, and saying yes to things before they really think about it, so to be included in things and not to offend anyone, thus ensuring that people like them.

This is one of the best books I have read this year. Seriously. I’ll put my hand up now and say, in my 20s particularly, I had the motto of ‘say yes to everything’. This was meant to be a life affirming action, where I squeezed all the fun out of life I could. In reality, a good portion of it involved going to parties I didn’t want to go to, going to gigs on weeknights I was not interested in, leaving a hole in my bank balance and my sleep budget. So I ended up hungover and poor, all in the name of ‘fun’ and making sure I was included.

Why do we care so much what people think? Why does the approval of others matter so much? I have spent hours, no, DAYS out of my life, my TIME, giving a fuck about things i really shouldn’t give a fuck about, or that I cannot ever control. Especially what people think of me. I have always worried far too much about this, to my utter detriment.I have a friend who really DGAF what people think of her, and she is blessed with plenty of friends and is a happy well-adjusted person. Her motto? ‘I don’t really see why I have to explain myself.’  I offered, ‘um, well, because some people might be uncomfortable with xx decision’. ‘Well, the comfort levels of others isn’t really my problem’ Wow! So cool. See where I am going with this?

And thanks to this book, by writer Sarah Knight, I am working on it. For example:

1. Snide remark from friend? (Said friend infamous for snide passive remarks). Past approach: Stew on this for days, burning a hole in your stomach, before doing precisely nothing but being pissed off in next interaction.

Future: Either call her on it at the time ‘oi! not cool!’ or even better, say to yourself “who cares” and put it down to that person and their manner as utterly nothing to do with you.

2. Contributing $200 towards a non-close friend’s hens that included cocktail making and man-date?
Past: Immediately said yes, contributed money you did not have, then resented the whole thing.
Future: Refuse graciously and in a timely fashion, text hen and advise you can’t wait to catch up personally, just unable to attend this particular event.

3. Going along to rugby with the guys when you are tired and dying for couch on a Friday night.

Past: go along, drink too much, out of fear of being told you are ‘boring’ or ‘suburban’
Future: a firm but polite, ‘sorry can’t come, can we catch up another night?’

Aforementioned friend has this down pat, as a matter of course. ‘You don’t have to justify your decisions to anyone but yourself’, she says.
You don’t want to stay out for evening? go home.
You don’t want to put in for leaving present for annoying workmate who you don’t know very well? Politely decline.

The fact is no-one cares, and if anyone does, they are a dickhead.

There are limits to this, obviously. There ARE things you do give a fuck about, thus you can spend you limited fuck budget on. Example: close friend’s baby’s 1st birthday – absolutely important. This is someone you love’s child, and that child is important. You don’t have to buy them castle grey skull or whatever, just attend and give child a nice cuddle and have a nice drinky.

So, things I do actually give a fuck about!:
– My friend’s thesis
– Abortion reform
– US candidacy (WTF really)
– Water shortages
– My veggie garden
– My doggies
– My family

Then the things I am no longer giving a fuck about:
– People we can’t invite to wedding. Including BBF’s cousin’s new boyfriend Jake from Brunswick: sorry, no room.
– Bitch relations comments towards me – the old trout can keep being a bat, it’s nothing to do with me.
– Essendon drug scandal (honestly, who CARES)
– Peta Credlin and Tony Abbot bullshit – why is this still news?
– A friend’s constant drama with work / men / life when she has little intention of taking action.

See? It’s working. And today, BBF is off to work reunion at the pub, which I considered going to. Then I realised, he doesn’t give a fuck, nor do I. I could go, but really, I won’t be missed, and there’s a movie I want to see and it’s my Sunday.