Tuesday, October 14, 2014


It’s spring, and although everything is green, I was surprised that when I actually looked at the garden, a huge amount of weeds have sprung up.

It was a good reminder that in times of growth, we have to be really on guard about what’s establishing in our lives.

Are you learning – pushing yourself – getting out of your comfort zone?  
Or are you being challenged – feeling stretched – making lots of tough calls?

Whether it’s growth you’re choosing, or that’s being imposed on you, while you are concentrating on everything else, just take a moment to look at what’s established during these times … your sleep habits, eating habits, stress relief… Is there some weeding to do?


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I was 'one of the boys' and it made me a bitch

The danger of the boys club is not the fact that there’s multiple men in one space, it goes code red when a girl becomes ‘one of the boys’. How do I know? Because I used to be the chosen one. I was one of the boys with a bunch of guys that I absolutely adore and who really are great people – except that privileged position made me feel like a queen bee. And did I use that power to break open the gender restriction and bring in more women? Hell no, why would I want to lose my incredible position of being their confidant, spoilt bitch and special chosen one? Any other woman was competition (except when she was a mate's target, because I'm your wing man bro!!). And I cringe at it now, because it goes completely against my ridiculously raging feminist core – but it also obviously pandered to my total adoration of acceptance and feeling ‘special’.

Why do I tell you this? Because from my experience, I don’t think women particularly change a culture just by their mere presence in a merry band of men. In fact, any hint at change will whip a queen bee into a defensive frenzy, afraid that the new order will mean she’s not the chosen one any more. What can I say - I'm just not that confident in measuring culture by numbers.


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Forgiving yourself for your full time job

How amazing are biological rhythms that we just accept, like REM cycles, tides, moons, seasons – flowers that open and close at certain hours of the day. We say “yes of course, these things should have this rhythm because they are from nature and part of nature and are participating in the natural order of things.” But when it comes to ourselves, we forget we are from nature, we forget we are part of nature, we forget we are in a natural order of things. We must compete and fight and find glory and excellence in ourselves. We think we tap into our wild side, all the while forgetting what the wild is really like. A plant doesn’t strangle another plant for its own glory, it has no concept or interest in glory, it merely does so for survival. It is fulfilling the purpose of being that one particular plant. So why fight and work tirelessly to seek out things we neither need for survival or fulfilment of our purpose?

I’ll tell you why – because we hear about things like portfolio careers, and see the current dotcom boom as websites are snapped up for $1 Billion Dollars, and are people who have weathered recessions and GFCs and terrorism and wars on terrorism, and have seen the hard work of our qualifications melt into the new status quo, and can wake up and read the news, celebrity gossip and see our vain friend’s selfies all before 8am. The competition, the fear, the intensity, it’s all right there - a relentless beating of the drum. We keep getting told over and over that our purpose is not enough, that we need to aim higher, be harder, better, faster, stronger. ‘All’ isn’t the job and the family, having it ‘all’ is the job, the family, the blog, the daily jogs, AND the adorable dog.

I dunno, this is just a really long winded way of me saying, if you work a full time job, go easy on yourself that you’re not also writing a book and running a blog and living in a hospital-grade-clean house and having a fabulous social life to publish on Facebook. It’s ok to just do the simple things like surviving and fulfilling the purpose of being you. And survival doesn’t have to mean that whole bullshit happy clappy business perk up of ‘don’t just survive, thrive’ – it can also mean the very basics of being a human being – working for a roof over your head, food on your table, being with people you love and using your natural gifts for good. I have never looked at a plant that has survived an Adelaide summer and thought, “if only it had pushed itself harder.” I don’t know why I keep looking in the mirror and saying the same thing to myself.  


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When Friction with Leadership Pays

The 2 key points to working with leadership

A leader acts like a grinding stone sharpener - you know that huge wheel of stone that you hold metal objects to and it sharpens them down to a fine edge? There's some that come with finger guards, some that are just one big round wheel and you have to know how to approach the bugger. Whether they have a bit of user friendliness, or are just old school gruff, there's no denying one thing about a grinding stone - it will destroy you if you don't leave it alone.

Point One: Get sharp, get effective, and then move on.

You see people who like to carry baggage and go back for more goes at the grinding stone - whether they perceive there's an injustice that's happened to them, or they're in a pride showdown - they just keep going back to the grind. It's like they perceive a debt needs to be paid, and they'll get repaid if they just butt against that grinding stone enough. Maybe in some delusional state they feel the stone will eventually make them sharp enough to destroy it.

Point Two: Rock always beats scissors.

So if you're taking on the leadership, well there's no problem on giving a little push back. You need some friction to create your edge. But if you're taking on the leadership yet again, as in, yet again, maybe start looking for your motivation. Because if you're out to destroy it, refer to point 2.


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Image from http://thesmilecollective.com.au/paper-rock-scissors-super-samurai/

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Happy Death is the Worst Death of All

Have you ever heard of hypoxia? It's the starvation of oxygen from the body, you know, like when you'e at high altitude. My partner who is training to be a pilot had to do a test of how long he could function effectively without oxygen. He explained it to me as a "happy death" because despite the fact he was dying, he was perfectly happy.

Here's someone explaining it a little better:

'"Two whole minutes of my life had disappeared, simple as that," he says, throwing his hands into the air. "What was extraordinary was that I had no fear or concern or distress, just this massive self-belief. I believed I had beaten the system, but I had fooled myself." This is the crux of the issue. With hypoxia there is no raging against the dying of the light, more a friendly welcome.'

The scary thing about hypoxia is the blissful unawareness and therefore, unwillingness to fix the problem.

'"Flick the switch, Michael," orders Dr Ted Meeuwsen, acutely aware of how much Portillo's brain and other vital organs are being starved of oxygen. But the former politician, still capable of sight, sound and coherent speech, does not reconnect his oxygen supply. Meeuwsen tries again. "Put your oxygen mask back on or you will die," he says bluntly. Again Portillo ignores him as he continues the journey to the edge of his existence. A few seconds pass and then the scientists can wait no longer. Physiologist Hans Wittenberg, who has been monitoring his subject in an altitude chamber mimicking atmospheric conditions at 29,000ft, snatches Portillo's mask and clamps it back over his nose and mouth.'

We experience this personally, and in our workplace, when we obliviously continue down our merry path of everything being 'nice'. Being nice to our customers, being nice to our colleagues, having a nice atmosphere... it's so nice to be nice. But niceness is just another form of a happy death, when there's no movement towards sustainability like making a profit. Is it our job to be nice to customers, or to sell to them with intelligence? Is it our job to be nice to our colleagues, or to ensure the right decisions are being made?

And so it doesn't matter whether we scream "change now or die" to those that we're leading who are in a state of nicepoxia. They don't care! Why change when everything is so nice? Change only means one thing - that the niceties have to go. It means accountability and challenge.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to survive? Are you up to the job of snapping people out of it? Can you be the grim reaper of their (or your) 'nice' lives? Can you deal with the fact that survival might mean a lot of unhappiness?

A 'happy death' is the worst death of all, because there's not even a fight for that valuable life - it's just an acceptance of the needless inevitability of it all. How freaking lame.


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Passing the High Performance Buck Back

This guy would have saved so much time if he just asked the dog to try opening the door first...

If we really value our stars, we give them that opportunity to have a go, then we offer the support.

I don't think it matters what size your HR team is, or even if there is HR. The point of having a star is about giving them the space to create, launch and learn. Why develop a specific program for stars, when you don't even know if they need it? Why build the dog flap before they've tried to open the door? Anyone can spend a bit of one-on-one time and test a few doors. There's just simply no excuse for not nurturing stars, and don't accept it from your leaders. Fancy development programs, and big rewards add some glitter, but it's the opportunity to do something themselves that is the real content for stars. Any leader worth their salt can make that happen, and they don't need a learning team or even HR support for it

Do your leaders know that?


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Career Planning is for Schmucks

The common method of career planning is to write your career goals for 5 years time, then to see what the differences are between your current situation and that vision, and planning on how you can bridge the gap between them.

But, I ask you in all honesty, how the fuck does one plan for 5 years time?!

5 years ago, I just returned from France. I hadn't graduated from Uni. I hadn't met my partner yet. I hadn't lived in Singapore. I hadn't started drinking gin. I hadn't ever really seen a game of Rugby. I hadn't worked a full time job. I never purchased a luxury item. I had never tasted Thai street food in Thailand. I hadn't fallen in love with Batik fabric. I hadn't started writing and connecting online with a crazy bunch of HR folk.

5 years ago, I joined in a model UN conference, just because HR should be interested in politics, and I dunno, maybe I always secretly wanted to study International something. I was Mexico, because, I dunno, I don't really know enough politics to be a serious model UN player - but I'm a good partier - it seemed to suit me well. I met Canada, she has become one of my very closest friends. We went out to a club with France or something - I don't remember, he was just a bit creepy and I'm pretty certain gay. But whatever, he hitted on me like crazy and I ended up ringing up a friend I met in (actual) France who happened to study at the same Uni as me in Australia. And he happened to bring along his housemate, who once saw me throw a huge tantrum out the front of a pub at 2am in the morning because my friend wouldn't hurry up - he was not impressed by me. But that night, we got talking and something just clicked.

And a few months later, I basically clinged on to him for life moved in. Then we moved to Singapore for 3 years, and I met with his family, and lived with them for a while too. Then we applied for his Australian Permanent Residency, and a year later he got it. And then we actually moved to Australia, and for a second time, packed up our whole lives, said goodbye to our friends, and arrived to family (mine this time), no job, and not much savings.

So here I am, 5 years later, with life experiences I could never have planned. I wasn't even that interested in South East Asia, and now my life is intricately linked with it. I wasn't much of a writer, but now I feel bound to it, like it's oxygen for my choking brain. I wasn't much of an adult yet and the experiences that have formed the start of my adulthood have been completely out of my ability to create. It all just happened.

And that's why I say the question we need to ask ourselves is not, "where do I want to be in 5 years?" We just simply will not, can not, and should not know. The question we need to be asking ourselves is "how can I open my life up to the next big thing?" Is it paying off debt to allow some financial freedom when the next opportunity arrives? Is it honing in on some skill that feels part of your fabric, that makes you you? Is it really nailing that part of your job that takes you to the next level of capability? Is it solidifying relationships that will support you during your next risky venture? Is it getting in a program of recovery to finally move on from a way of life that's keeping you in bad habits? How can you open your life up to the next big thing?

Talk to anyone with an absolutely amazing career - the journey enriched their work, and they could only take the journey because they were able to say "yes". Not some huge, life altering yes that tore them away from their children. I'm talking about a series of little yesses, because they were open to a series of events to occur, and then, you know, it all just happened. Life happened, and a career was strung together in the meantime.

Seriously, 5 year career plans are for schmucks. Developing whole lives (i.e. relationships, finances, spirituality, health, passions, work) is for the people going places.

My holiday in Singapore, that turned into 3 years.


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.
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