My most enjoyable jobs

I had a short-term placement as a senior consultant for the Professional and Career Development Branch of the Department. My employer was supportive of staff taking on new challenges to increase their skills and knowledge.

It was one of those jobs where I felt I had at last found my niche. A range of interesting projects awaited me I hit the ground running, so to speak. It was  a time of significant change within the organisation and our section played a key role in supporting the changes.

One of the first projects was developing a scholarship program for senior staff to give them an opportunity to go overseas or interstate to increase their knowledge in a skill area and then come back and give feedback for the good of all.

Another program was to set up a Coaching Program for Executive Staff. I called for interested private providers and then the executives could choose from a panel of successful career coaches. There was a mixed response from the executives – some were too busy to learn time management 🙂

In more recent days I enjoyed working on big issues such as pay equity for women and paid parental leave – for men or women! I was working in a unit with a focus on women’s issues. I was surprised to find that a lot of the gains made in previous decades have begun to slip backwards. Not many people think we need to discuss issues of equality for women any more. I am not going to go there today.

Another job I really got a lot out of was as a regional employment coordinator. It was a ‘big picture” job – I had to work with a lot of other players to get people together to discuss unemployment issues in the region. This wasn’t a quick fix but a longer term consideration of strategies to boost employment in our region. Higher levels of employment have a positive impact on the economy and the reverse is also true.  The department’s focus was on people who faced many barriers in finding work. Having a job can make such a difference – it opens the door to social contact, housing, leisure and so on.

These days I am less focused on full-time work for myself. I find I can be very flexible with the tasks that I take on. Like many people, I find the hardest part of the job is often the office politics. Too many egos wanting to be fed!

I still haven’t worked out what I want to do when “I grow up”. I got a management qualification in the last decade but there are so many other things I would love to do. Some examples include: linguist; social scientist; web developer; counsellor/positive psychology; journalist; philosophy; and regional development…

So anyway, I will keep blogging along and take each day as it comes 🙂





Perhaps love…

Picture from Arthur Schopenhauer

Image via Wikipedia

Is the old saying true…”It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”? I have always held that to be true. A life without the love of another can be very lonely.

I have been in love a few times in my life and at times the love was lost. It was painful in the aftermath. In reading “The Consolations of Philosophy” by Alain de Botton, I discovered Arthur Schopenhauer who was born in 1788. His mother is said to have complained of  “…her son’s passion for pondering on human misery”.

It was when I read about Schopenhauer that I came to understand a little bit more about love and suffering. He asks why we are so shocked and pained by a broken heart when really the survival of our species is dependent on us falling in love and reproducing. This is no small quest and it helped me to see what an enormous drive that the need for love and partnership  is and yes, why we are so hurt when it doesn’t work out.

I have been through times in my life when I thought I would never love anyone ever again. It was just too hard, too painful and too overwhelmingly disturbing.

However, I did find love again and I am so very thankful for the experience – even though there is the risk that one day I may face loss again!

To love and be loved is worth the risk!




Why am I doing this?

English dialects

Image via Wikipedia

With the end of June fast approaching, I am drawn to consider my commitment (or lack of commitment) to blogging.

Some stats:

  • My best day was when I had 63 people view my posts
  • My worst two days were when I had zero views
  • I have written 116 posts in 176 days – that means I missed 40 days of blogging
  • I received 51 comments from fellow bloggers – all of them were much appreciated

We are nearly half way through 2011 and I am confronted with WHY am I doing this? To start with I wrote just so that I could write. It didn’t worry me if no-one read it. I took the opportunity to write-up many of my adventures around Australia or just took the opportunity to express some of my thoughts and beliefs.

The next phase was a “getting to know you” other WordPress bloggers out there. There are so many interesting people with some great writing and storytelling skills. It feels like being part of the so-called “global village”. I find it interesting when I consider the differences in our countries and even in our use of the English language – spelling especially. I don’t do “‘Z’s”!

Lately I am distracted with irregular working hours/days and seem to have lost the flow of writing . I need to think about what the next phase of my writing will be.

 One thing I have noticed is that I have not tried to write anything outside of my blog. I had ideas about writing stories and sending them to magazines and even putting together reading books for kids. I have just upgraded my computer and software to enable me to lift my game a bit!

I still love to read other people’s blogs!

cheers for now


Refreshing – photo challenge

It is mid-winter “down under” having just passed our winter solstice. Our area has been very dry for the last few years and many of the native trees have struggled.

On Friday it rained, and rained and rained! It was a wonderful day to be home and snuggled up inside and watching the rain come down outside.

The photo was taken of a plant in my garden, the day after the rain.

Today’s reflections

On my 60 km drive to and from work in Bunbury I have time to reflect on life and the universe.

As I was going to Bunbury this morning I was feeling good but also aware of some anxiety. I realised that when I feel good I often worry that something bad will happen to spoil it. I further reflected that it was probably something from my childhood. I thought about it further and decided that any factors from my childhood were not relevant for today and that I could be relaxed about the day and just be aware of where my thoughts took me.

On the way home this evening I was in a heavy downpour of rain. I was a little concerned as visibility was very poor. I consciously made an effort to focus on the road just in front of me and the borders of the lane I was travelling in. It occurred to me that is what life is like too. If we just keep our eyes on the space in front of us and don’t stray across the borders on either side, then we can deal with whatever confronts us.

Cheers for now



Original caption: President of Zimbabwe Robert...

Image via Wikipedia

Today’s topic is about war – when is it ok? I was going to blog about this subject today any way so it is timely.

In the past twelve months I have noticed the images on our televisions are becoming more and more graphic. It is common to see the aftermath of suicide bombers with blood and debris for all to see.

We also are exposed to watching live combat on our TV’s – Iraq and Afganistan. Do we really need to know what it is like there – how bad it really is? I have a son in the defence forces and I hope that he is never exposed to such horrible experiences.

I have been a pacifist for as long as I can remember. I think it may be related to the nuns telling us primary school kids about the early christians being fed to the lions. They seemed to enjoy going over the grissly details. One of my biggest fears as a child was of being eaten by a lion!

A child can have ideals and be puzzled as to why people go to war and kill each other. Surely there is a better way to resolve our differences.

I was challenged recently by events in Libya and their calls for help from the United Nations. Of course we want to protect innocent people being hurt and held captive. Does that then make us a party to the battle. If I support the rights of the Libyan people does that mean I support killing their opposition?

These are tough questions. If we fight against Gaddafi then what about the likes of Robert Mugabe? Who decides who is good and who is bad – who shall live and who shall die?

Did we rejoice at the death of Osama Bin Laden? Does that make us a party to war? 

Are we really all that advanced in our civilisation if killing each other is still the prime way of resolving major problems? Surely with the advancements in technology and science we have made some progress toward a better world.

I don’t want it to become NORMAL that we watch killings in the evening news. I don’t want to be pleased to hear when someone is killed – no matter who they are.

Can’t we find a better way?


Chilled out…

Some days there are just so many things to think about and to do. Where do I start? I haven’t written a proper blog for several days – how frustrating. I just don’t seem to be in the flow at the moment. What to do?

Fortunately I remembered how important it is to sit down and write all the things that are on my mind. Once I wrote down my list I felt a bit better. Then I took it to the next stage and did a mind map so that I could see how all the different things impact on each other. It is often surprising what comes out of an exercise like this.

I looked at what choices are open to me. I realise that the decision over a year ago to give up full-time work and move to the country is a mixed blessing. I love where we live but there are not the (part-time) work opportunities to match my skills. I feel I still have a lot to offer to the work place but I don’t want the high level of pressure I had previously. I want to be my own boss.

Others in my family have been self-employed quite successfully, however I don’t want to take on a lot of financial risk at this time in my life. If only I knew how long I had to live, I could ration my resources accordingly! But, I don’t have that information – and maybe just as well 🙂

I am so fortunate to have such a problem in not knowing how best to spend my time! So many people in the world have much greater worries than mine. I don’t envy their lot by any means. I realise I am very fortunate in my life, having the choices I do, but with choice comes responsibilities. I am afraid of making mistakes that I will regret and so I find myself stuck in indecision.

So, today I didn’t make any decisions. I took some time out and read the papers; watched the football; and did my fingernails. It was a good day!




Reading between the lines…

Recently I overheard a conversation about the types of employees the agency was seeking. They summed it up in saying that they (potential employees) must be able to “read between the lines”. I thought that those few words said quite a bit!

It is about knowing the ins and outs of the industry and having the discernment to know what clients are trying to express and be able to get them to open up and share what is on their minds or hearts.

This happens a lot in all sorts of situations. For example, “I don’t feel like cooking tonight” could really mean “can’t you go out and get some take-aways” or better still, “you could offer to take me out to dinner tonight!”

On the other hand, if someone says “I am feeling a bit down today”, they may be trying to tell you they are feeling really miserable and would love the opportunity to talk about it.

Language can be so oblique at times. Even when we think we “say it as it is”, there is still the chance of being misunderstood. We talk to each (and write) but we are inhibited in the words we use because we may have been frowned upon for words we used in the past. I know that I always hear my mother saying “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all”, whenever I go to complain or be critical of a person or situation.

We also have the cultural differences within our own communities, let alone our own countries! It is amazing that we manage to communicate as well as we do! We have personality differences and different life circumstances.

I have often spoken the truth as I see it but I now recognise that I may have offended people. For example, if someone is unwell, I am likely to ask them what is wrong with them; is it serious; can I do anything to help etc. In some company that is considered rude as it is too personal. My questions stem from caring about the person’s welfare, not meaning to pry into their personal circumstances.

And so we have it! I hope you understood what I am talking about 🙂 Why can’t we just say what we mean and mean what we say?




Hamersley Range Pilbara Region Western Australia
Image via Wikipedia

Early in the 1990’s I started a Newman (Pilbara Region) group of ITC – International Training in Communication. It was great fun! From memory, there were at last half a dozen of us who met on a regular basis to improve our public speaking skills.

I was particularly interested as I had recently been elected as a Shire Councillor for the East Pilbara Shire Council. I was the only woman and there were around about ten or eleven men. These men either worked in the mining industry or in the pastoral industry – apart from one who was a school teacher. He later became Shire President and I was his deputy for a short time before we moved out the district.

I am not particularly out-going and I’m not used to pushing my way into a conversation or debate. If I couldn’t improve my skills there seemed no point in being on the Council. Mind you, most decisions were made in the men’s loo and I didn’t have equal access to that.

So the local ITC was helpful for me. We would pick random headlines out of the daily paper and ask someone to stand up and tell us the story behind the headline (inventing it as they went along). It was fun.

I learnt how to get a word in at Council meetings. I actually had to talk over someone else to be heard. Being on Council helped my confidence quite a bit and developed skills that would later be useful in my career. It was an exciting time in my life and a real learning curve too.



IBS – with discretion


IBS – I first heard of this syndrome about twenty years ago. Since then I have read heaps of books on it; I have searched the internet for clues; and I have changed my diet drastically several times.

It only took one visit to a dietitian to sort me out though! I can’t believe that  no-one else had told me such a simple fact! People with IBS are most times encouraged to eat a high fibre diet however that didn’t improve my well-being one bit – in fact, it often made me feel worse.

So, I learnt there is high fibre and then there is high SOLUBLE fibre! That knowledge  improved my health considerably. I now peel fruit and veggies before I eat them. I don’t eat foods that have seeds in them. And I feel a lot better.

Other tips include:

*avoid bubbly drinks – they are not helpful at all.

* reduce stress because that tenses the body and slows the digestion process down.

* drink lots of water

If you are not sure what foods have soluble fibre then do a search on google and it will give you a list. Obviously it is best to avoid fibre that is not soluble such as seedy bread and lots of food promoted as “health” food.

I hope this is helpful to even one person. Such a simple way to better health!