Hey, how would you cope with being sick whilst living in the country?

What does this question mean to you?  For many people unless you live in country and rural areas it is not a question that springs to mind when you are sick. If you live in metropolis you pick up the phone and call a General Practitioners office or get to the Emergency department of your closest hospital. It’s really easy (in most cases) the biggest problem most have to deal with is the lack of appointment availability or having to be put off till the next day.

In the country we have such limited services available to us that when people go out of their way to provide services they are well supported. Sometimes you can ring a GP office on the Monday to be told only “Emergency” appointments are available and the next available is 4 days away. Not good if you need a sick certificate for work, have run out of your medication script and need a new one, or injured yourself over the weekend and need a medical examination. When you are sick and need to see a Dr it would be great if there was more than one available.

Living in the country or rural areas brings limited medical access, for some reason Dr’s can’t see moving to a country area for a couple of years worth while. Financially it is but they want what the city offers; anonymity, back up support and a rotating roster or just a normal working week, Monday to Friday is what they desire. All we need is a qualified Dr to train an unqualified Dr so that in country areas there is always someone here. We would be happy to have a stable workforce but realise this is the dream not the reality.

Imagine if you get a serious illness or are pregnant? You have to leave your area, support network and travel to the city to, in some cases languish in a hospital bed for weeks without regular contact from loved ones and family. There are people who feel un-confident even driving in the city, so this limits their ability to get to see loved ones and become reliant on others to get them there. This is a skill I will never give up, I want to be able to get myself anywhere I want without relying on others which can be inconvenient to say the least.

When you have jobs or farms to run it can take 2 to 3 hours of your day driving into see a Dr, so people must feel sick to go there. I for one hate wasting the Dr’s time, so I make sure my scripts are up to date, if I need referrals I make sure I get them and I talk about my issues. It is called streamlining my medical concerns without having to go back weekly or monthly. We take our health for granted when we are well, we take our medical services fro granted when we have easy access to them, but living in the country we appreciate our health (there is no sick pay for the self employed) we appreciate our medical practitioner and wish we had more of them. For those sitting in hospitals far away from family & friends I hope you get home soon and I hope you are well quick enough for discharge

Did the punishment fit the ‘crime’

Racism is another word which has people’s heads shaking, we are all guilty of this as well, some intentionally, some in playground fights. As children we repeat words heard from older people. I remember when “wog” was a terrible thing to say, but it was said anyway and certainly not by my parents, I heard things in the school playground, whilst travelling on trains and at other schools where we travelled to play sport. Now there is actually a really funny stage show in Australia called “Wogs at Work” written, directed and acted by Italians taking the mickey out of themselves and Australians.

As Australians we can laugh at ourselves and others and we do this well. We are also good at apologising and moving on (most of the people I associate with) This week we have seen terrible instances of racism the worst of it’s kind being the terrible murder in England of a young soldier and father, there are no words here that can ever make this ok. The other one which has my head shaking is the Adam Goodes football incident.

For fear I am going to be bombarded I will write this, my first question I ask myself “do you think he would have done it if he had known it was a 13 year old girl?” I wonder if he thought upon hearing the word he was hoping it would have been a 40 yr old Male? I also wonder if the global media punishment fitted the crime? Him yelling and pointing her out, getting security involved, having the Australian public watch (with horror) as not 1 but 3 security people escorted her out of the grounds. Now lets talk about those people who abused HER as she was unceremoniously walked out of the ground from a night football match. She took nothing with her and no one went with her, did they make her safe? was she given a phone to call her mother or adult person in her life to come get her and protect her?

He is after all a grown man, I wonder what he would have done as a father if he found out his 13 year daughter was publicly humiliated, verbally abused and then deposited outside a very large sporting arena with no money, phone or support. I can imagine, as a mother I think this is worse than the word she used. (here is where I expect verbal berating) I do not excuse her behaviour but as I said did the punishment fit the crime? there was no ‘n’ word no ‘c’ word not even the ‘f’ word was used here.

I agree the word ‘ape’ can be used as a derogatory term, but really?? There was no reference to his skin colour, his heritage nor his ability as a player. From where I sat (watching the game on TV) his performance as a player was not questioned, he was the star on the field on the night, probably the entire round. (except from my armchair I now think he overreacted and it is cringe worthy watching the replay). But we watched as he yelled and pointed out this young girl and we watched (me in horror) as she was escorted out of the stadium and then we watched as he chose not to take part in the end of game celebrations. These were choices he made himself on the backs of this action. But I stress here HIS choices, no one said he couldn’t join in, he couldn’t celebrate.

The young girl, admitted in the eyes of the media, she didn’t know ‘ape’ was a racist term, she just said it as her favourite team was losing. I can imagine there were adults there at that game that would have said a lot worse, just not in ear shot of one of Australia’s favourite indigenous players at the ‘Dreamtime’ round. I saw the presidents from the opposition team (the one which the girl was a supporter of) go to the rooms and shake his hand, I heard commentators talk about it, I saw endless reruns of the incident yet I didn’t see anyone shielding her. (she is only 13)

It was unfortunate I do not think it was ok, that she called him an ‘ape’ but what I wanted to see was the adults standing up for this young girl on the night. I can only hope TV coverage has moved on and I don’t get to see it again. We do not know her family structure or circumstance but she was forced to leave at night on her own. Thankfully there was someone there (the next day) that got her to call this player and apologise to him and we got to hear her tell us she didn’t know the term was racist. I wonder if he apologise to her for the consequence of his actions, he accepted her apology and explained why it affected so much and he then asked everyone to leave her alone. FINALLY.

Bullying

Isn’t it a terrible word? Just the word congers up so many things. In our growing years we would have seen it, been party to it, done it, ignored it and defended it It starts almost from when we want to get things others have. The classic line being “You’re not my very best friend anymore, she is and she’s coming to my house to play” or earlier still, “you can play with me in the sand pit”. How our older peers dealt with these things would have significant in the way in which we behaved as young teens going into adult hood then into our working career.

I think if anyone tells you they were not a bully, it may not be as accurate as they think. Pushing in to get to the front of the tuck shop line can now be classed as bullying. In my day it was to get in the  front of the line, pushing others was part of the course. Being a tuck shop mum later in life, there was tuck shop monitors, tuck lunch collectors and tuck shop purchasers, it all became very structured and probably good for the little ones who were dominated by the older ones. But the bullying was taken away from the line ans there is always that child who waits and jumps on the purchasers cache, taking the best lollies, getting the first crisp and or complaining if their friend didn’t share.

Later in life there was the work place bully, the ‘older’ supervisor who would give you the worst jobs. I worked in a local retail store and despite the fact I loved check out, I worked for a compnay who had the first computerised cash register in South Australia. There were no scanners and it was more like a glorified calculator but I enjoyed it, I was ordered to go out back and help wrap lay-bys, do stock take and pick clothes of the floor that people had pulled off coat hangers, or worst still have to go to the exchange counter and collect old stock or tell an ‘older’ person we couldn’t take their 2 yr old worn out tracksuit back. It was terrible, but I did it, it gave me an opportunity to earn my own money and have independence. This was the time that Saturday morning trading had just commenced as well. I didn’t see it a bullying but took it that perhaps I was a bit more competent than others at putting clothes back on coat hangers correctly (as silly as this sounds, I took pride in my work.

Moving into my big girls career i chose nursing, now here is where bullying, sexual harassment and glass ceilings are hidden under the veil of being a caring professional. I was once at a work Christmas party just after the anti-discrimination laws came in and sexual harassment laws were being implemented and an anaesthetist said ‘well they have taken sexual harassment out of the operating theatres so it’s time for me to retire.” I was shocked at this not because it was said out loud but we didn’t consider things like ‘dirty jokes” to be sexual harassment. But we all moved on, these laws gave some of the bullies a louder voice. I worked with one nurse (actually many) who believed it was her/his “turn” for a promotion as she had been there the longest, despite job promotions asking for qualifications or to be working towards them if your face didn’t fit you were not selected for the role. I did extra curricular study and worked towards all the promotions I applied for and I never got one, I was loud, I was opinionated (still am) and I realised that I was never going to get one. The last role promotion I applied for I was acting in (and felt for sure I would get the position) and the Director of Nursing called my home where my younger brother happened to be babysitting for me that day and without asking him who he was she told him over the phone I didn’t get the job. He didn’t tell me straight away he just said she had called, so imagine my surprise (as I KNEW I was going to get the role I had been in) when she had to awkwardly tell me in person I didn’t get the job, OVER THE PHONE. I jumped in my car and fronted her, it didn’t end well and I left the institution not long after.

I have tried from that day not to bully people, to be conscious of their needs and assist them. I worked as a medical rep for years and in one of my last full time paid roles I worked in an office with other staff members. No matter how many times I would ask if there was anything wrong, I would not get an honest answer “nothing’ or “I’m having a bad day” it took me a long while to work out that this staff member would never tell me anything. As with a lot of bullies they hide behind “I can’t speak to you.” “I find you unapproachable” or “I need help to have meetings with you” or worse still you start hearing the complaints that are being made behind your back and when you try to address it, they take sick leave, deny it or go over your head to more senior staff and drag as many people into it without ever addressing the issue. As I said I am not perfect but if you can’t address the behavior and how to have a good working environment then everybody looses.

I have witnessed another form of bullying in my recent days, and have felt very sad and powerless to assist the person on the receiving end. Corporate bullying takes many forms from many people and can involve committee members, staff members & Board members. A group or posse of people can willingly make or break a career for no other reasons other than they make dislike the actions of others, they may not agree with them and they may been seen to have more power. Without a strong Chair or leader this will go unchecked and leave no protection to the person at the receiving end. It is these types of events that divide people and never good for any organization or workplace. Staff become divided, it can then become an us versus them group and leaves everybody feeling terrible, without good mechanisms to address things they become whispers, rumors and also sends people underground, fearful for their own jobs. They become silenced as speaking out can bring attention to ones self and a swift reaction from the upper powers and comments then go into the community, warranted or unwarranted.

There are no real studies on corporate bullying, if anyone knows of any please feel free to post. If there are articles on how to handle the bullying leader I would also love to have them, it may help being able to start to put things into perspective.

 

Functions, numbers and payments

I am still amazed in this day & age with face book & twitter that more functions managers & venue’s have not embraced this media and made more of an effort to connect with their clients, potential attendees and interested parties. I have spent the good part of the last couple of years fund raising for the Keith hospital and have found this medium great to work with.

There are web sites that offer group text’s at small costs so that your personnel phone number is not bombarded with messages. This gives the recipient time to find out about your event, time to think about a response and the opportunity to reply without feeling obligated. There is also fantastic sites that are for free that you can set up your newsletters to go out to the email addresses that allow people to unsubscribe. Function venues have great opportunities to gather this information and create databases for people.

I have one, I protect mine fiercely, I do not give out any of my contacts without seeking permission first. I have been asked numerous times for my database but have never released it. I have spent years cultivating it and maintaining in to a professional level that I find it laughable when i am actually asked for it. Though functions is not my profession I have just learnt over the years the value of assisting others and in a manner assisting myself.In the planning of the events I hold, I factor in the time to text message, the time to email and the time to call. I want to confirm for the venue the numbers, if someone tells me they are coming I make another list and from 1 month before hand I will follow up and even in the final week I will make calls at my own expense to ensure the numbers. We all know if you book a function for 150 and 120 turn up you have to pay for them, the venue has ensured there is enough food etc to cater for that seat. This means that the cost is taken out of your profit, it is not the venues place there were no shows. It is in fact yours.

This is why I try and pre-plan as much as I can to the nearest seat and budget for the no shows, I have in recent days and it is my fault, I said yes then was unable to attend. I was sent the invoice before I knew I could not attend and did not pay it. I also didn’t let the organiser know but sadly here is where their systems fall down. It is evident by the receipt of an email today

“We are obliged to provide final numbers 3-5 days before such events and we are then charged against that number.

 Even though you didn’t attend we still had to pay hence we expect to also be paid.”

I was not sent a reminder email, follow up call, shout out on twitter or face book (I was a follower of their accounts) that payments were due. There was messages on these pages it was sold out, no more seats and a waiting list (hmmmm) so in light of the fact there was no one in charge 3 to 5 days before they had to give final numbers to check up that all booked attendees had paid and that those on the ‘waiting list’ could fill their seats. In my dealings with venues there are numerous calls & emails leading to this final cut off date so that I have chased people and then called an end to numbers. There really is no such thing as walk ins for these type of functions.

I am annoyed at myself for not letting them know but really annoyed at the association who obviously likes empty seats and no policy or person in place to spend half a day ensuing numbers and acceptances. As this function was at the Adelaide Convention Centre the organisation would have been confident in the layout that they could have spent time doing this, I now have a $170 invoice which I am obliged to pay. I will pay it and lesson learned. It is interesting I supplied 2 tickets to them for the Keith Hospital High tea and was sent an email 4 days after informing me they would not be attending and there was not an offer to pay for these tickets, they were not free either….

this fixes everything

I spent a nice afternoon yesterday helping the farmer inoculate seed which is being sown into pasture later today. For the uninitiated the wind has to be right and the sun HAS to be shinning following the soil testing that indicates there is moisture in the ground enough that when you dig with your fingers (remember doing this at the beach when you were little and before ‘false nails became a fixture on many people’s fingers) the ground appears damp or wet? Well that appears to be the exact science of crop sowing and I am not trying to make light of it, there are days he can not sew as conditions are not right.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (truck in shed behind it)

There is placing the auger over the Gason bin which the seed will be delivered into which is attached to the air seeder which is attached to the tractor. There is a truck that is backed up to the bottom of the auger which has no brakes so my weapon of choice a sophisticated block of wood. I was to drop this where the truck should stop and get out-of-the-way incase it didn’t. I can do this with ease now (do not try this at home kids it is dangerous)

Then we fashion a tub that holds the liquid that is sprayed over the seed as the trucks tray is tipped over the auger which is turned on and turns the seed and liquid up in to the Gason. It is a precise science of guessing and should the inoculant gun clog up everything has to stop. You can not hear each other over the noise of a truck, an auger motor and the actual rotating swivel of the internal auger. You would easily loose a hand if you put it in there, so yelling is not an option, turning everything off is the only way one can get attention. As we both wear ear plugs it is easier to swear without him hearing and makes the stressful working environment much more pleasant.

It was at the gun delivery section that failed us, it is a thick black like tar mixture that needs to go on this seed and when it wouldn’t work he asked for a stocking. I walked back to the house and grabbed my last pair. The last symbol of my ‘glamorous’ pre-farm life. They were a silk pair and navy blue and as I walked them back to the shed I felt a tinge of sadness and I slightly marvelled at the ingenuity of the stocking.

I bet in the 1940’s when the nylon / silk stocking was invented they would never have guessed how this simple two-legged invention could fix almost everything. Wallace Carothers & Julian Hill would never have placed ‘these make great sieves’ to their list of reasons why the DuPont company should go into mass production to sell them to farming communities. No they were intended for everyday wear for comfort and durability. I can not think of another invention which has had so many uses next to a plain roll of sticky tape.

Well for all intents and purposes by beautiful stockings were a flop, only in my opinion as the master farmer wanted to leave a small sock at the end. This then meant that one (me) when pumping the gun to get the liquid out sucked up this spare sock and it added to the problem. Needless to say we did get the job done and my last expensive pair of stockings were unceremoniously discarded on the ground, black, wet and still intact and no longer needed.

loving facebook today

Interesting I have a love hate relationship with facebook as I am sure we all do. It shows snippets of our lives, it invites us into the lives of people we admire, love and care for or want to be apart of like celebrities and look at businesses without being bothered by sales people or it helps people look into lives of others so that we can keep track of them.

I have had a girlfriend recently re-unite with a step daughter with whom she had been looking for for a while. I used it to create a page and orgainse a 30 yr High School reunion. That was fun, we posted pictures of our school graduation, school formal and then pictures in between. There were pictures from our 20 yr High School reunion and now our 30th. The fun and laughter and the rekindling of friendships would not have happened without facebook. Doing the 20 yr was hard as there was no face book, I sent letters and relied on others to chase people up. We have shared 30 years of our lives, a group of students who spent the formative years together, apart and now back together, even at the 30 yr reunion there was tears of opportunities lost. A lovely tribute to the closeness of a 200+ people where when meeting up after all this time, it felt like time had melted away, faces hadn’t changed that much but pathways lives and loves had. Isn’t that the beauty of it all, we can come together and feel like we had not been apart.

Face book has been great for those of us wanting to stay in touch with family & friends but what about the other side of it. The side where you don’t know who is watching, reporting and passing comment or judging? This is the part I don’t like, I also don’t like the bullying part and even at my age (I am the demographic that is on face book) it comes in a different form and that is of the passive aggressive veiled comments posted. These comments generate comments and questions but the person never answers honestly they just move on.

I followed the good advice of http://prakkypedia.prakky.com.au she has a great blog follow her, where she suggests that one should up date or delete their face book friends and twitter friends every now and then. I followed this advice as there are people or I should say were people that have moved out of my life and also had friends that I didn’t want my updates to be shared with. There is that lovely tool where you can block random people ‘friends of friends’ making rude or derogatory comments on your photos and status posts.

Today I found the blocking tool, boy did I have fun, my blog has been a problem for some people and yesterdays was also one. This was the passive aggressive comment on another ‘friends’ update so I private message her to see if she was ok, but that was ignored so I thought, I will block her.

See that is the beauty of our lives, don’t read me if you don’t like it, contact me direct if you want to comment, I would be more than happy to share the reasons why I blogged it, my contact details are easy to find, I will be more than happy to send them to anyone that wants them. Better than that block me! I blocked people that don’t even follow me but are friends on other people’s pages that I just don’t want them to know my business, troll into my page and make a judgement on my life. Is this over kill? perhaps but I enjoyed it 🙂

I didn’t even bother taking the time to check out their page I have no interest in face book stalking, I have plenty more I can do. I have been out this morning and helped my husband build a new sheep race. I have built a fire and pulled out the book work and have 3 cats inside and Pete the golden retriever asleep at my feet so, I find more pleasure in this than looking into the lives of others I wouldn’t necessarily ask them about if I were face to face with them.

I even went through and ‘unliked’ pages, sometimes the feed it too much or too often or just not relevant to my life. I also can stop stupid (in my opinion) unfunny jokes likes the ones from Mrs Browns Boys. It may just be me, but I don’t find it funny. Men dressing up in women’s clothing is really becoming passe really unless they are professional impersonators who just wow a crowd with talent and class. Mrs Browns Boys to me comes across as crude, rude and sexist, as I said could be me). Facebook gives me the opportunity to hide them, report them (which I have never done) and completely ignore them.

I am good at finding trouble

As I dip my toes back into this world of blogging, I have missed it, yet I feel trepidation in taking off my training boots & socks and putting them out there. Of course this is a metaphor for myself. So much has happened since my last blog and I feel I have tempered and double checked myself and stayed out of trouble but this last couple of weeks I have found it.

It’s a bit like “where’s Wally” I am jumping, waving, yelling (in high visibility clothing) “here I am, bring it” Then BAM, it is in front of me and I have lost sleep because of my frustration and feelings of powerlessness caused by others. Its crazy in that the power of some can influence others into being irrational, thoughtless and well just plain mean.

I have been asked this week to remove tweets, face book postings as my words were taken as “being suggestive of others doing something illegal” This was not the intention what I was saying was what they did was immoral & unethical, but I took them down none the less and purely in respect to the writer not to those that found me controversial. Some of you would say I conformed, the posts were left for an entire 12 hours before I was given a call out. So for all intents and purposes it worked, it tweaked the conscious of those that were involved and made others begin to ask questions.

I am still getting messages about it, I can not for the life of me sit back and watch people or women not having ‘contracts renewed’ by others who should know better. Or for my thinking perhaps they do not know better, it is bullying and it is unprofessional. This was done with no notice and after original contract had already expired and there is nobody qualified enough to take her place. How does this make good business sense? how is this NOT bullying? the majority of voters were male, there was one sane voice on this panel (a woman) that said “it didn’t make good business sense” but unperturbed they went ahead and made not only a woman jobless, a single mother jobless there was no performance based assessment here either by the way. In fact the previous meeting she was congratulated on her work, sadly this committee in both Constitution & Polices do not have any mechanisms in place to protect the workers (or each other). There is no bullying policy, no access & equity, no organisation chart where the CEO is in control of operations, it has no equal opportunity policy and no disability policy, in fact these documents read like they were when incepted probably back in the 70’s. There has been no forward thinking officer here that has introduced them, made themselves and the other members accountable for actions and worse than that has perhaps not seen a need if they themselves may be like it. See you can all read the trouble that is coming my way once I post this. I wanted to be part of this group as I originally felt they were working towards a good cause, fighting the good fight as they say but the leader dissuaded me, I was too weak to say hang on “I’m doing it”.

I have had numerous people ring, email, call wanting to know how to change it as this panel is making decisions that are going to affect the entire community with NO consultation what so ever. This will never work out fairly, nor in my own opinion, be of  benefit to anyone, so why do others do this? Perhaps they are tired of the fight and instead of putting their hand up and asking for others to step in they put their heads down and stumble along, sitting biding their time till their time is up. Perhaps they could be megalomaniacs where there has to be an outcome and their outcome is the only outcome that can be reached? Perhaps they have the rescue syndrome in that they see themselves on a white horse, sword waving, long hair blowing in the wind not seeing themselves popping fingernails as they are clutching onto some else’s tried & tested ideals that are slowly sliding off the cliff. I don’t know I am only assuming but really if you don’t want to do the job, why stop others who are performing? Why grunt at them instead of greeting them, it’s rude and terrible behaviour for adults in (supposed positions that deserve respect).

There is no shame in stepping down, paving the way, creating opportunities of succession, really there is none. So why do we hang on to old ideals, ‘go with the flow behaviour’ or  follow the leader no matter how ill-advised this can be. Even leaving early is better than being the last one standing. No one thanks you for staying late as the mess is still there the next day when you could have started to clean earlier had they gone home. Being a good effective leader is having the ability to move aside, everyone is replaceable no matter how important you are (or think you are) or what position you create or are in. There is always someone who can step up, they may (luckily) not have the same qualifications as yourself but they may also come with great forward thinking ideas.

When you work in an industry where ‘best practice’ is expected on a daily basis then it should be expected on the Panels, Boards, Committees and workers associated with that work place and those same rules are applied to themselves. A good committee, Panel or Board works well with CEO’s and staff to ensure that operations are run well, they should not step into the Operations arena  at all. I am yet to find a document on google that says this is a good idea. This not only under minds their basic roles constitutions and policies, but that of the CEO, why have one (a CEO) in the first place if their decision is not going to be reflected and respected?

To those that want to know how to change it, become involved, make your voice heard, write to those involved, call them, make it known how you want them and yourselves treated. Don’t sit back and watch become engaged and engaging of others