My Day in Pics #nofilter

Fossicking around for some #inspo some months ago and came across this. And then did precisely nothing about it and got writing about other shit I was cross about. Until now, where we (I) bring you my day in photos. Yay, #phonesoncameras!

6.30am shine and rise, home

First thing I see in the morning are our dogs, Bob and George, who prefer to stay in bed as long as possible. Similar to LAH, who prefers not to have his picture taken. This was taken on my way out the door.

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7am: Heatherdale train station. Coolish morning, in a coat, wondering why I don’t do the sensible thing and drive to H.dale every morning, where I have the choice of many more trains and don’t have to take the dumb replacement buses. Train deserted, so I get seat. Good start to morning.

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7.40am coffee, Little Bourke St. Skinny latte from Higher ground. Very nice people here, and hipster AF, but the reason I go is their coffee is strong and delic. That’s better!

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8.30 now in office, CBD. This is what I look at most of the day. Living the dream….

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10am boss puts up today’s The Age word scramble. It took me many hours to get today’s puzzle.

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12pm, Latrobe St: daily lunchtime walk around the streets – lovely clear day but cool wind. Here is an old w class tram on the city circle tourist route filled with tourists. Bless.

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1pm sushi for lunch, back at desk: Quite ordinary sushi actually but filled the gap!

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3pm, at desk: check fit bit – 6324– not heaps. Might walk to Richmond

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4.30, Yarra River: walk to Richmond down the Yarra and over the bridge to the MCG. Lovely afternoon…Coat now off.

And some random stuff, near the Princes Bridge:

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6pm get home. Greeted by Bob who is more awake now.

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Check on veggie garden also – Kale going nuts. What to do with it? Am a bit over frittata.

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7pm Dinner served by Chef LAH. He breaks the news he ate my last skinny cow icecream last night! This is his cauliflower and hot smoked salmon one pan wonder (so he’s forgiven now). Bloody yum.

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9pm, couching n chillaxing infront of the ABC… cup of tea and dogs. Bed soon!

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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.

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).

Sexism in the Workplace: yes it still happens

Particularly in the workplace, it’s still a man’s world. I am reminded of this as we watch Mad Men and we shudder at the misogynist behaviour towards the likes of Joan, feel pain at what she is subjected to in the 1960s office, feel disgust that Peggy has to work ten times as hard as any male in the office to have her talent recognised, and then think, perhaps, ‘God, we are so LUCKY to be born in this day and age, look how far we have come.’

Well, yes, we have come a long way. Noted. But there is still quite a bit of room for improvement.

So often, it’s easy to shrug it off. Be a good sport, you tell yourself. You’re fun, you’re easy going. People in the office like you. Does it really matter? Are you just getting offended for the sake of it from such comments or behaviour, or do you really actually care?

Answer: I actually really care.

There are so many examples of the sexism I have been subject to over the years in my 15 odd years in the workforce. I have been expected, pretty much always, to take it like a good sport. Like the creepy come ons from men in the office, often not bothering to hide their wedding bands, who thought a single woman in her 20s was fair game. Gross, but ‘be flattered’ someone said to me. Huh?

Or the respected owner of a successful consulting agency, whose comments were expected to be taken as light-hearted jokes. Things like ‘could you get Bridget to put her tits away?’ (within my earshot), or his comment ‘the worst thing New Zealand ever did was give women the vote’, (#hilarious); not to mention his comment to a colleague, whose partner was about to have a baby in two weeks in the middle of an important release; ‘do you think you could get  to keep her fuckin legs together until the end of next week?’ (#cannotevencomment)

Then there was the reverse, when I (and the company I represented) was a potential client and a consultant came to sell us something. I was essentially the person he had to impress, but he didn’t bother to hide his disappointment when I confirmed that, yes, I was the only one he would be meeting with today – not my boss or my EGM, both of whom were men. Conversation went like this:

‘So, they won’t be joining us then?’ this guy, suited, in his 50s, computer bag under his arm.

‘No, I’m afraid not,’ I apologised. ‘Just me today.’

‘Are you sure it wouldn’t be more appropriate for someone higher up to join?’ he persisted.

‘Yes, perfectly sure,’ I said, feeling embarrassed and annoyed, like I just wasn’t good enough, by virtue of my age and sex. He had no idea what my role was or my standing the company. It was about what I was ( a woman, relatively young for a manager) rather than who I was.  What I should have said is, ‘Look, David, I am the one you have to impress her. If I am not good enough to meet with today, no problem, I won’t waste your or my time any longer.’

What I did say was: ‘let’s meet and see what happens, shall we?’ (We didn’t end up buying his services either, so small victories I suppose.)

Then there was the two years I worked for a management consultancy firm in Melbourne. I accepted as bottom shit kicker, office manager, I would be the one filling stationery supplies, organising travel, putting together end of week drinks for clients and staff. B, only a year older than me, would sit back with self-satisfied grin at work drinks and say ‘yeah, a cab sav for me thanks hon’ and wait for me to pour it for him. I wanted to snap at him ‘look, mate, are your arms painted on?’ but I didn’t, I dutifully poured the wine for him (rather than into his lap).

One of the best example comes again (unsurprisingly) from my consulting days, when we hosted some drinks for clients in the office. The bar fridge was on the ground and I crouched down to get a bottle of wine from it, one of the client’s managers (a middle aged, well paid public servant in his pinstripe suit) looked down at me, leered, and said ‘gosh you look good down there Bridge’.

Makes your stomach turn doesn’t it? So when I was told last week ‘not to worry too much about (current work structure) ’ because ‘I had something else much more important to focus on’ my brows darkened a bit. The ‘other thing’ this person was referring to was the event next year when my partner and I are legally married. Our wedding – a daylong event, a year away, is apparently much better to focus on than my long term career. Do you think anyone would say that to my fiancé? I doubt it.

#Sigh.

Jogging update: 5k yesterday in 40 minutes on the new fangled treadmills at the gym. Surprisingly doable. The new screens provide access to youtube so I jogged along to the best of kiwiana in 1980s. Choice!