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.

#losingmysmug

When people would confide in me how busy their jobs were, so busy and stressed, not enough hours in day etc, I’d be sympathetic, of course, but smugly, quietly think to myself: ‘couldn’t you manage your time a bit better, just maybe?’ After all, a bit of organisation goes a long way, right?

I was wrong. After three years in non challenging role, I was headhunted by a competitor, and commenced new role. To say it’s challenging would be an understatement. Last 2 weeks have been steadily busy. As in 8am til 9pm some days. Lunch at 3. Busy. To the point of stress. To the point of anxiety.

Three days’ off to celebrate the Queen’s birthday has been very very welcome.

Stay tuned for some writing, shortly.

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).

Old as you feel

I had another birthday the other day, and by way of celebration we drove four hours west of Melbourne and set up for summer holiday. (Pictured).

Despite my whining on the day about my rickety knees, I actually never feel older than I used to. I still feel like I am about 19, maybe 20.

Then I look in the mirror and see a few lines from laughter, and I think, OK, maybe I am about 25.

Then I see the young things down at the beach, and I think, hmmm, OK. Maybe about 30?

Then I wake up after celebratory bottleored and flash dinner and think, yup, I am in my mid-30s after all.

When TF did that happen?

Sigh, a long weekend with house to myself. Is anything quite as delicious? No races, no partying. Just hanging out with dogs, doing chores and faffing about in garden. The zukes and toms already going gangbusters with this warm weather and lots of rain.

Running update: not much to tell you honestly. Still go for a long one most weekends. 7 k on last weekend, good speed, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious I am going to have to take some weight off in order to gain momentum and save joints from dissolving into each other. Reduction more of a wip now.

Also, this is the truest thing I have read all week. Not that I am a particularly avid reader of women’s mags.

This Is Not a Wedding Blog, Ok?*

This might sound a little silly, but the one thing that gives me more worry than anything else wedding wise is not balancing my peanut butter addiction with fitting into my wedding dress; but the guest list.

The fucking, sodding guest list.

In the past, my dream wedding was to have a small registry office affair and then head to the pub for drinks. What this dream didn’t factor in was falling in love with a man who had a larger circle of friends than myself and a large family; who liked tradition and wanted people to help us celebrate. He argued (quite rightly) that our mothers would love to be included; as would our close friends, and I agreed we would probably regret not having a bash.

After we got engaged we spoke to the Ns, newly married. Gorgeous, sociable, and highly pragmatic people, they were cut and dried about their wedding guest list which they kept to a demure number; less than 100. ‘If we hadn’t caught up with that person in a year, we didn’t invite them. Simple as that. You can’t invite everyone’, says Mrs N.

For us, the crux of the matter was that we met at the ages of 32 and 36; at such a time as we had friendship groups firmly established (mine runs to several countries). The Ns had, in fairness, been together for 10 years, and in those 10 years their friendship groups may have merged a little, as often happens. But for us, things were just slightly trickier. This, coupled with my fear of upsetting or offending any friends we have, makes for some worry.

I don’t have a big family, most of them are in NZ or the UK; but BBF’s family is comprised of many close uncles, aunts and cousins. And then there are the friends of my parents and my in-laws – people I couldn’t imagine getting married without. I got even more worried when the initial guest list, including every friend we would like at our nuptials, came to something in region of 160. Far too many to fit into venue, or indeed, pay for.

So it emerged that we were going to need to do a bit of slashing and burning. Clearly, I ran to sis for support (sister, the poor darling, also has a formal title on event day, and she is very very good at placating my frazzled nerves.)

‘Bridge, people really don’t care. And if they do (and therefore make your wedding about them) then they really are…kind of an asshole. If a friend of yours who you had a beer with say, once every 2-3 months, was getting married – would you expect an invitation? Don’t take this the wrong way, but people don’t care that much about other peoples’ weddings. And we all understand these days that when you invite someone you are paying $100+ for them to eat and get pissed and that is a whole heap of money’.

Another friend, B, offered a similar opinion. ‘You cannot invite everyone. You can’t. Fact. You would if you could, but it’s unrealistic. Unfortunately it means creating a rank of people, it’s not personal against particular people it’s just prioritising who you are in contact with OR more close with.

Take, (couple we know), they are your friends, you have a great time when you are together, but you simply can’t include them. Their manners are such that they would wish you the very best for your special day and not at all begrudge you for having no invite. And that is how everyone should be.’

BBF and I had some discussions. And came up with the following to assist in our decision making:
1. Co-workers – BBF and I each have one on either side that we regularly socialise with outside the office, and that’s it;
2. Children – blanket ‘no’ on this apart from very small ones that will need to be with mums (it’s an adult venue, not an English country church wedding, and just no.)
3. Teenagers – we have one, the bestman’s daughter, who is superb;
4. Plus ones (unless we know them) – blanket ‘no’, to keep numbers manageable (and when I was single I never got a plus one either)

See? We can be pragmatic after all. We now have a guest list that is more manageable, and even assuming we will have a few RSVP regrets, we will have a lovely group of people to celebrate the day with.

So, my advice to anyone having similar pre-wedding anxiety? It is probably worth remembering you get married at a certain time on your life and at that particular time you are close friends / whatever with whomever. At the end of the day, it’s a celebration of two people. And all that shit. I’m sure guilt will abate in time.

There’s only one person I am worried about – not that I would cull her. B, who offered in the postscript to her email above: ‘But if you cull me, watch your back.’

*just this post.