And The Award Goes to…..

The media is full all day of memorable moments of 2013 here are a couple of mine and opinions on others: warning not noble prize-winning moments may bore some of you to sleep

I spent some of January in New York City, watching my mother and her choir Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus perform at Carnegie Hall along with another Choir from Brisbane and others from all over the world perform  Karl Jenkins The Armed Man: a Mass for Peace on Martin Luther King Day. It was bitterly cold there and stinking hot here, a very proud time of my life, the performance was worth the trip and the cold. Apparently Michael Hussy retired (he’s a cricketer) as well. Ita Buttrose becomes Australian of the Year, Cyclone Oswald hits and kills people in QLD and “the longest running Election (next to America) Campaign award ” goes to Julia Gillard who announces an election in September.

Looking at news reels of 2013’s TV stations and print media are claiming this as one of the most memorable moments and I say really, really is that it? In February this year “Jennifer Lawrence trips at the Oscars”. I know Jennifer Lawrence TRIPS AND FALLS!!! imagine that in front of PEOPLE, as well as cameras. Oh I can feel her embarrassment now!! WTF I say, I fall and trip constantly, the plate in my left wrist is a good indication of that and no I hadn’t been drinking either. I remember falling at my brothers 40th for no apparent reason and in front of PEOPLE. really that’s it for February. Let’s not forget in February Pope Benedict XVI announced he would resign. The award for ” I didn’t mean to do it” goes to Oscar Pistorius Olympic runner who shot and killed his girlfriend on valentine’s day (another alleged victim of domestic violence). On the domestic front our politicians in The House of Representatives has passed legislation recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first inhabitants of Australia.

March came and went without much fan fare, but on a world scale the Catholics rejoiced with a New Pope,  the people in Europe protested at the Cyprus bail out. Reconciliation between Turkey & Israel is brokered through Obama. Back here in Australia The award for ]”he made me do it” goes to Simon Crean as he calls for a spill backing KRudd and Julia wins, he is back benched. Whilst overseas there is an alleged scandal involving perennial entertainer Rolf Harris

April was also a big month for me I planned and did another High tea fund-raiser for the Keith & District Hospital Inc with The Amanda Blair as guest speaker. If you ever get the opportunity to see this woman live, she is funny , compassionate, philanthropic and a women many girls should see as a role model. She puts herself out there warts and all. I still laugh at her daughters comment and shall never watch The Voice again without this running through my head (taken from Amanda Blair Facebook page)

“My 3 1/2 year old just shouted “Oh F—-ing hell Ricky…..just press the button dickhead” whilst watching the voice. Mmmm. I love a child who is passionate about her television viewing…….”

We lost Chrissy Amphlett, who could ever forget her school uniform? Chris Bailey from the Angels also passes away and the worlds most famous race horse “Black Caviar” retires. The award for “it’s all your fault” goes to John (Singleton) and Gai (Waterhouse) as they forgot to play nicely at the racetrack, a bit of pushing and snide comments make us poor mortals howl with laughter at their bad behavior (well I did anyway).

May sees “sports parent of the year award” goes to “John Tomic” for head butting his sons tennis partner. The lovely Hazel Hawke passed away, we applaud the disability care package and I watch with horror at a grown man who chases a piece of leather around an oval point out a young girl and yell ‘racist’ and then we watch as she is marched off alone to be evicted from her guardians. To this day I can not look at that player without shaking my head, imagine if it was his daughter – the backlash would have been swift and loud, not to say she did the right thing but compared to some of the comments that would have gone his way that night, she was singled out, in my books OVER REACTION. Then to back this up Eddie everywhere is even more racist and gets to cry on TV to make an apology PLEEEEEEEEEASE!

June brings in the end of financial year – and we say goodbye to the “treaty Yea” man  M Yunupingu. We shed tears for Jill Meagher, and our 40th soldier who dies in Afghanistan. The award for “I’m not going to be your friend anymore” goes to  KRudd  as he topples Julia Gillard, she leaves with dignity and he leads our country to an election. Community Group of the year goes to the Victoria Police who capture, prosecute and jail Jill’s Killer.

July is my birthday month and the month KRudd tries to undo all of his and hers policies. The “WTF award” goes to all those that signed the agreement with PNG for the ‘boat people’ to be housed there and a big shout out to our sailors who constantly rescue asylum seekers, this month 189 rescued whilst only 11 die. Huz catches yet another feral kitten, brings him home, he gets called #Gatsby and is desexed.

August sees the fire starter from Quakers Hill sentenced after the death of 11 elderly, KRudd bring the election forward by one week and the award for “did you really support this program?” goes to Essendon football club as they are charged by the AFL as bringing the game into disrepute. The stories have us all scratching our heads with their supplements regime. Huz finally has a birthday and we are now the SAME AGE (AGAIN)

September sees “the winner of the election” award goes to Tony Abbott as he is installed as our Prime Minister. KRudd looses and quits as Leader

October sees Mark “Chopper” Read die, the worst bushfires since 1960 hit the Blue Mountains. ACT passes same-sex marriage law and WA wins the “dog ate my homework excuse of 2013” after losing over 1375 votes from the Federal election.

November sees our friend Gai (Waterhouse) win the Melbourne cup (after 20 yrs plus of trying) Bart (Cummings) to be fair didn’t have a horse running. The world becomes slightly safer after 66 people are arrested in child pornography ring. The “please explain award” goes to Tony Abbott to explain why Jakarta was bugged by the Labor Government. Joe Hockey denies the Archer Daniels Midland take over Australian grain handler GrainCorp and the award for the “great escape” goes to Dr (said very loosely here) Jayant Patel gets two-year suspended sentence for lying to gain employment. Not for allegedly killing and maiming people allegedly. KRudd also get the “I’m packing up my bat and ball and going home” award as he quits politics.

December sees the High Court squash the ACT same-sex marriage law and devalue people all over Australia. Qantas announces its broke and jobs are being axed, Holden announces its leaving the country and giving it’s workers 4 years to get a job and finally the award “play nicely in the playground” goes to the Liberal Government who agree to the rules and regulations to stop ‘spying’ on Jakarta. We also mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela

I hope you all enjoyed your year, for those that lost loved ones, who face challenges daily and those that just feel isolated or the disenchanted look forward to tomorrow. Let there be a tomorrow for you and those around you that love you and care for you get the opportunity to do it daily not just at this crazy time of the year.

Tomorrows blog – my take on New Year’s Resolutions..

what do socks, scissors and sticky tape have in common?

I know it is that time of the year and there is a tradition that drives me mad. It is not wrapping the presents to go under the tree, I love doing that but the problem with this and any time you need to give a gift is looking for the bloody sticky tape and scissors. No matter how many pairs of scissors you buy or rolls of sticky tape you can put them in drawers, glove boxes and in the kitchen, when you want them you can NEVER find them.

It’s quite mysterious in that there may only be two people in the house but I can never find scissors. It’s like the socks and the washing machine, despite matching them up before they go in, there is not equal numbers coming off the line or going back into drawers, how does one do that?  There is no evidence that the washing machine absorbs them but somehow they go missing.

I looked up the dream dictionary about these items, because I am sure at some stage people have dreamt of these items, if not dreamt of finding them to reduce the cost of repurchase.

To dream that you are wearing socks signifies warmth & comfort. To see socks in your dream indicate that you tend to yield to others wishes. You are flexible and understanding in your thinking. To see a single sock in your dream is a pun on hitting someone or being hit, or perhaps the dream means that you have been hit with some surprising information or news.

” To dream that you are using scissors denotes decisiveness and control in your waking life. You need to get rid of something in your life. It also represents your ability to cut things or people out of your life. Also perhaps you are being snippy about some situations. To see a pair of scissors in your dreams indicates that your focus is being divided into too many directions. To see or use tape in your dream represents your limitations. On the other hand, the dream may be telling you that you need to show more restraint in some aspect of your life.”

My upshot of this trival post and drawing the long bow to marry them altogether is that this is a time of the year where you want to surprise someone or be surprised as well as being forced to limit time or money on the things you want.

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas day, we spent ours fixing water troughs so that 400 cattle would not be out of water instead of travelling to have lunch, but we made dinner with the family and then spent a wonderful lunch with my great friend KateSwaffer who’s blog is worth reading daily as a great advocate for dementia and her family. Cherish the times you have together and ensure when you have them it’s full of laughter and good cheer. I shall today be putting the scissors and tape away today in the office drawer for next year.

The Night Before Christmas

T’was the night before christmas and all through the farm-house, every creature was stirring even the mice

The tinsel is wrapped around chimneys with care, to prevent anyone creating a fire in there

The kelpi’s are nestled snug in their beds, while visions of cattle & sheep dance in their heads. The retrievers inside along with the cats all settling in for a hot summers night nap.

When out on the lawn there is the ewe, with baby lamb trampling through               Looking for a feed or a blade of green grass , with the farmer hoping summer will soon pass. There is a cloud less sky with stars all ablaze, the cattle are mooing all looking to graze.

We hear the crickets and the croaking of frogs as we have the pumps going to fill all the troughs. This is a sunburnt country with hot summer days, which we want our animals to get through it seems a long way a ways.

There are presents under the tree for the long trip away, we shall make the journey to family to spend Christmas day.

It takes us a while to prepare to leave, there are animals to check and all the dogs to feed.    The chooks need to be checked and the tomatoes watered, gates to shut before heading off to see daughter.

Car to be refueled all for the trip to town, once we get there it’s almost time to turn around.

Quality time we will spend as it’s not going to be too hot, but we can’t stay long so we always pack in a lot. We love to see family & friends, spending time comes quickly to an end.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope to catch up with more of you in 2014





The Christmas break up

It;s that time of the year isn’t it? Where people who can take holidays do, office parties, Christmas lunches and shopping. It’s a great place to be if that’s your thing, taking the last working day to have a long lunch or just a short lunch and having a couple of drinks with the people you spend most of your time with, whilst you work, if you’re lucky the boss may even shout (pay) and then allow you to go home early. I love this sort of thing, in my medical rep days, we all use to meet at a pub and lunch together, all those reps that worked from home and didn’t have colleagues within the same state met and we lunched.

It is an opportunity to share the highs and lows of the year, to wish each other joy and to get to take a break. I miss this and I suspect many people do, to some it gives them time to spend with families and enjoy the weather and plan for the coming year, for others it represents periods of forced loneliness. Some people suffer at this time of year and dread it, some may feel totally trapped at home and work was a relief to go to, where others may find that distance – through changing states or countries for work or families them just that little bit more homesick.

For others it represents nothing but a day in the year, looking at farmers it is not a pleasant time of the year, it’s hot, it’s humid, we wait for rain as the land dries up and so too does the feed. It is now time to check stock daily for water problems, feed hay out, check fire fighting equipment is working  well  and having plans in place to try to get out for Christmas day knowing that it is only a 24 hr stop over “just in case”.

Doctors, nurses, police and service station attendants all work rotating rosters and are on duty as well, my Huz favourite saying is “weekends and public holidays are only for the general public.” This is true for all farmers, there is always something that needs doing and they don’t get paid for it. Working for somebody even the government gives people an income and on the public holidays, penalty rates, so for the 8 hours people miss out on being with family it’s not so bad (I was a nurse and did many a night duty over Christmas so I could see my daughters delight on Christmas morning). No one pays the farmers an hourly rate for their hours of work and dedication.

Yesterday watching my face-book news feed of my city friends having Christmas lunches and parties made me feel melancholy, wanting to be part of it, knowing I wasn’t. What I am not is not ready for Christmas this year, I have not planned as well as I have every other year, I feel very naked of gifts, there is nothing wrapped under my tree, it’s weird. There must be others like me, work from home, live in the country or city, no work colleagues, that want to have a lunch to celebrate the end of the year? Perhaps over the next 12 months we should start a network and plan one, a meet up, a chance to wish each other well and raise a glass to a year almost gone (and for me to travel to the city to Christmas shop). Next hurdle New Years Eve…….



There’s always a kicker

I have discovered late in life about tyre kickers or time wasters it depends on how you view things. It’s like watching a TV show and you get 5 minutes to the end and someone tells you the ending or worse still comes and changes the channel on you , “but I just want a sports score.” that sort of thing. But can you detect these people in your everyday life?

I think I can comfortably say that at some stage in everybody’s life they would have been a kicker. This is a term I learnt from my Huz in referencing some one and I had to ask what it meant, he explained it like this, “it’s those people who come along, hang around the peripheries, ask questions, waste your time and move on like a tyre kicker.”  They waste your time or take something from you under false pretences.

It makes sense, I have seen those people in my life and I am slowly being able to identify them, confront then and move them along. They are not only time wasters but once you engage with them (in conversation) they suck information from you or tell you their opinion of you or something that you are involved in and are able to take the shine off  something for you. They pretend they don’t know what you mean when you front them, but are then affronted if you tell them how disgraceful their behavior, speech and or attitude is.

I try not to be a kicker in other people’s lives, and I have taken to thinking before I say things, as I look at some of these people and the words I want to say are just terrible and when you know you have to live in the same place with them it will not end well for me or them, so I try to react with more consideration and dignity that the speaker has dished out to me.

I have even heard of them doing this by stealth (phone) things like “can you just read / edit input your knowledge into a business proposal I’m doing?” When they get told no or happy to… my rates are.. you get the surprise answer “what, is this a wrong time to talk with you? or surely you can help me, or worse still I don’t have any money, I am doing this to get money.” So I say again why is someone’s time worth x amount and yours is worth nothing. Tyre kickers they come when you least expect it, but they are there, time wasters and not worthy of being entertained.

The worst type is the underground type, they engage you for work, sign a contract and then after you deliver said contracted work and hours they disappear. The phone is never answered, emails seem to magically not get responded to as if you never sent it, if you call the secretary they are ALWAYS in meetings. They are thieves, they steal not only your time but IP. These should be referred to a debt collector straight away, or reported to their industry body and then named and shamed till money is handed over, but what I recommend is hold off the vital part of the report you are doing and only hand it over when you get paid.

As for volunteers this makes it difficult as you have given your time for free and out of the goodness of your heart so getting satisfaction out of time wasters is difficult. It also depends on any and all conversations you have with them, but do not be fooled by false adoration or constant praise this is to lull you until they kick. They do it by exclusion from committees and boards as well as social events, then they have other people defend their behavior. There are many and wide excuses for their behavior but will use your own abilities against you, things like “you don’t have the skills required” “we asked the brainchild” “we know you are too busy” all of these are just excuses for bad behavior.

Next time you want to engage with someone do it, don’t beat around the bush or hide behind your position or social standing. Stop wasting other people’s time and trying to elicit information, contacts or ideas because you want to appear more knowledgeable than the person you are taking them from. Giving people the opportunity to be involved, included and consultative will work to everyone’s benefit.

A 4 Year Retrenchment Notice – is that not enough?

I am writing this starting without a heading, I am hoping it will come to me as I go but I want to talk about retrenchment and Holden closing in Australia. I agree it’s sad an “icon” gone from our shores but I am a little over the media coverage and the tales of sadness and woe. We are hearing about 30+ year employees being without work, supply chain and ancillary companies telling us they will close. We are watching these awful politicians blaming each other for this, I would like them to stop it, isn’t it time to Govern our country?

All that money millions & millions in fact $2.1Billion dollars over the last 12 years from the Government and then they asked for more and they never diversified, never changed the model of car to be made and employed the select few. They were importing parts and sold 82,000 cars this year at less than the cost of production. Really this was a business on its knees years ago. Watching our Premier, it is almost farcical blaming the Federal Government, they need to look at the state of the economy, cars are an expensive purchase and with the cost of living especially in Australia, people I know want value for money, like clothing & other items purchasing a car is rarely done without research and yes cost does come into it.

Look at the business model that Holden presented, they wanted more money to remain here, they have not updated the plant they just used the money to stay in existence, how did that help the economy? They asked their workers to take pay cuts over 12 months ago, surely this was the writing on the wall. There was no change in-car model being produced, no rethinking the downturn and making cars that people could afford and wanted to buy. Then we hear that there was a large-scale and long-term ‘stealing and selling of engines’ not just one but several that went unchecked and undetected for a long period of time.

Living in South Australia it is the most taxed state in Australia it didn’t make sense to keep putting money in, the State can not afford it and relied on Federal money,  who looked at the figures and went, we need a business case to justify the amount they were asking for. Surely this makes good business sense, these weren’t short or long-term loans, there were ‘incentives’ from where I sit more like subsidies. Nothing to pay back, no justification of where the money was being spent, they just stuck their hands out and the money was placed in it, unthinkable. Surely the Premier could get out there and say well “it’s sad but we have Homeless, Aged, Disabled, unemployed that we can support with that money or perhaps look to reducing our electricity bills and water rates”. That will not happen, all we are hearing is the ‘blame game’. Imagine what could have been done with $2.1 Billion dollars in the Australian Economy not just going to one company.

Now the decision has been made we are bombarded with the names, faces and voices of those workers who are going to be out of work, they will be retrenched once the plant closes. We are talking in 4 years time mind you, 4 years!! I don’t know many people who have been retrenched, fired, made redundant, terminated or given notice, never alone 4 years, it normally is a matter of minutes or perhaps hours. These people have ample opportunity to find work, they are going to be given money to retrain, go to TAFE, learn other skills and this seems to be lost on the sensationalism of “Holden to close” I guess it doesn’t make news worthy stories. There will be many that will leave with very generous financial packages for all their years of loyalty.

I wish all of the workers well and hope they take advantage of the offers on the table to be retrained, as for the news grabs, please move on, I’m a little over it all, they have 1461 days to work, earn a living, retrain and look for employment. Now I have found my title A 4 Year retrenchment notice is that not enough?



How much are you worth then?

Following on from my blog on Tuesday, I had many positive responses so obviously there is a whole lotta people out there asking for business tips and services for nothing (and it annoying the askee) the asker at this stage has not weighed in. I have had no one come and ‘defend’ their position of if you do it for free it’s good advertising for you.. hmm

So then what are you worth or I should say what is your time worth? How does one calculate their worth in dollars per hour? What is reasonable in order to get people to ‘hire’ you? In setting your goal of income and expenditure do you start with a figure in mind and work backwards? Calculating how much you need to cover bills, living expenses and carrying other people’s debts? or do you pluck a figure out of the air based on what you would like to earn and work out a rate from there? How does one put a figure on their skill and then ask people to ‘buy’ into it?

I do laser hair removal on a Wednesday (I am a Laser Certified Registered Nurse) and I do need to calculate how much per treatment I get. I travel over 100km’s (return trip) to the place I work out of – small distance in the country and then I have my over heads, so I have to cover these. I use to give out price lists but I found this puts people off, they look at a price and never contact you or speak to you again. As I am in a customer service business I now ask them to come in so I can access things such as skin colour, medical history past & present and then do a patch test. Then I assess how much I would like them to pay and then work out what that realistic figure is. As I explained to one person yesterday who came in and struggling to get her business up and running, we talk price point and I told her I barely have 10 minutes for lunch as I am so busy, she asked if I was going to get a second day and I said no. I had a shop where I was available 6 days per week and people didn’t come, so being available all of the time wasn’t good for my business, now it’s my time, my terms and I am busier than ever. I also told her that I look at the cost of living and calculate that telling someone $90 per treatment is better than $100 and it is just a figure. People can justify $90 over $100, for some reason I can say $100 and people say no where I can say $90 and I get bookings.

So as an independent consultant actively engaged in your own business is that figure $50 per hour or $45 that gets you over the line. Most people when they engage you are probably happier with $45 and that person who comes in at that will get work versus $50 is it the gst loading that make the difference? I have no idea, I just see and know a lot of talented, self-educated people struggling to get buy in from businesses that call them up and ask for ‘free information”. I have also seen that ‘free no obligation 1/2 hr consultation” used by a potential employer and then there’s no buy in after that. Should as independent consultants this time be better used with the potential consultant asking all of the questions instead of giving answers? I think so but not everybody has sales skills. Would you look at this time like you would a job interview?

It is nerve-wracking ‘selling oneself and one’s abilities” as the “proof is always in the pudding.” People who do not know you haven’t seen this proof, perhaps you should have a bio with you for these consultations, recommendations and thank you letters from people and companies you have worked for and offer these to your future ‘business’ or at least have a list of names that you could hand over that they can call to see if what you are saying and selling is what they want.

I don’t know the answers but any tip is better than going blind and waiting for a call that may never come or worse still, giving someone all of the answers and they go back to work and give YOUR information to the junior office clerk to do. This means your hourly rate has gone from $45 to $16.80, but this is what some employers do, they scope the market and ‘use’ their connections to find you, call you, pretend they will hire you and go and not look back.

So here’s the shoe on the other foot , turn the tables find your price point, develop a plan and make sure the information you give even in an interview leaves the listener with more questions than answers. Stick with what you know for that will make you more successful and happier. I go away from interviews and job prospects writing down all of the questions, mine & theirs, then put in the answers and work out next time better answers so that I appear a better proposition than the junior clerk and more value for money. What do you do? I would love to hear from some independent consultants as to their tricks to get hired.