Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Today I did the most frightening, exhilarating, exciting thing I think I have ever done.

I handed in my resignation from my steady, well-paying tenured public sector job to concentrate on establishing my own business.

Those of you who read this blog regularly probably knew this was coming. And honestly, I probably knew for the past six months or so - but finally started listening to my heart instead of my head.

I have wanted to be a freelance writer/editor for more than 20 years.

As a naive uni student, I thought I would work a few years, then strike out on my own. Travelling the world and filing stories from all sorts of exotic locations and getting paid buckletloads of cash for the privilege.

Then reality hit. Journalism is hard slog, and crap money. And about 0.0000001 per cent of journalism students actually become international household names. I'm not one of them.

So, after 10 years in journalism, I moved sideways into public relations and corporate communications. Still intending to do it for a couple of years before returning to my passion - writing.

And here I am, 12 years later FINALLY doing it. And the good thing about my years of experience outside journalism is that I now also have experience at business writing. This means I can actually earn a crust - there's more money in writing annual reports, corporate profiles, policies and other business documents than there is in pure freelance journalism.

I have had some great support from my friend and family. Even the Winemaker - the most risk-averse person I know - is cheering me on.

It's a great feeling - I recommend it.

Life is too short to be swallowed up by bureaucracy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Craptastic week

Ever had one of those weeks where you can't possibly imagine things will get worse?

Then, they do?

Well, that gives you a bit of an idea of where I'm coming from this grey Thursday.

As if the winter gloom wasn't enough, the universe has decided to throw a few curve balls my way and see if I can handle it.

The week started off great, with a girls' night at the movies. Bridesmaids - see it. I laughed so hard I nearly peed. (Champagne+Maltezers+good friends+chick flick = Made of Win!).

Then, the little annoyances started piling up - traffic, lost shoes, a kid with a cold. Hyperbole-and-a-half's Sneaky Hate Spiral explains this much better than I ever could.

So,  I arrive at work on Tuesday to pretty much learn that the Executive has completely devalued the work our project team has done over the past six months or so., Apparently, when you are trying to market/promote entirely new legislation to a state, you can just grab marketing collaterol from other states and rebadge it.

Tuesday night was spent caring for a kid who couldn't sleep due to coughing/stuffed nose etc and Wednesday morning required an early call to my mum to care for said kid for the day (thanks mum - and thanks mum's friend who also had her plans changed!)

On Wednesday, I sat on a interview panel where one of the applicants was the person who has been doing said job for nearly 18 months (New slogan for the public sector "We're accountable, not efficient").

Then, a meeting with the boss in which I receive confirmation on what I already suspected - strategic communications to deliver new legislation is a skill that the agency doesn't think it needs, and I have two months to go back to my substantive, frustrating, annoying, stress-inducing management role (with all the responsibility and no authority - again welcome to the public sector) or leave. The first is not an option.

Then, just to make my week even more craptastic (literally), this morning, the cat poos on the couch and Gromit sits on it.

Really Pepper? You had to pick this week?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Winter blues

The weather has turned chilly and the gloom that has descended on me matches the grey skies outside.

I hate winter, always have. But as I've grown older it's become worse.

My preferred place in cold weather is bed, wearing thick socks and flannel jammies and reading some chick lit. But I think my family might complain if I hibernated for three months every year. Not to mention what the boss might say.

When I was younger, I had field hockey to keep me going in winter. It was something to look forward to each weekend and, even though I felt like curling up with a good book, I had the team to think of. Oh, and the after-game session at the club, which, if I'm truly honest, is probably what kept me on the field long after my used-by date.

I haven't played in about four years and, with my creaking bones and dodgy wrist, I think I can finally say goodbye to the Hockeyroos dream.

It also hasn't helped that I have moved from a town with very cold - but sunny - winters to a town that is milder but grey, grey, grey.

I've heard that Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD - how perfect) may be related to low vitamin D, so I'm pumping in the supplements, but to no avail so far.

I try to get out for a walk as often as I can, and take the kids to the park. And I have some great friends and workmates that often make me laugh out loud. But the fog inside my head remains.

Throw in some pre-menopausal mood swings and hot flushes, and I must be so much fun to live with right now.

It was about this time last year that I had the near breakdown in my boss's office which led, eventually, to my stepping aside from my substantive staff management role to work part-time on a self-contained project.

I have felt pretty good since I made that decision, and the working part-time is doing my mental state the world of good - plus I actually get to spend some time with the family.

But then winter returned and with it, the gloom.

Anyone else out there suffer the same way? Maybe we can start a support group - "SAD not sad".

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sugar and spice and ...oh look, something shiny

I am so not ready to be the parent of a girl child.

Yes, yes, I realise that I should have thought of this several years ago, and it's a bit late now, but it still scares me.

Taking aside all that pinkness and hair product, and forgetting about the mean bitch and teen witch thing for the time being,  it's the vagueness and dreaminess and on-another-planetness that will drive me insane.

OK, so I'm generalising a bit here, but after spending a day volunteering at an all-school excursion (what was I thinking?) I can confidently say that girls are more likely to to ... oh look there's a shiny thing.

What I meant to say is that the girls I saw tended to be more easily distracted by things other than what they was supposed ... hey there's that shiny thing again.

So, girls seem to concentrate less on the project at hand and more on the birds, flowers, people, buildings and shiny things off the beaten track.

I had six kids in my group - three boys and three girls. You've heard the phrase herding cats? Herding seven-year olds is like that times infinity. And with the knowledge that if you lose one of them, there will likely be a parent out there who's a bit pissed off.

And the girls were the worst. The boys tended to stay on the path and follow the crowd, while the girls? Well, they danced to the sound of their own drums, so to speak. And the drummers were way off in the other direction from where we were heading.

And the complaining? My Lord, you would think I was chaperoning an outing of the old folks home with the "my bag's too heavy", "My shoulder hurts", "There's a rock in my shoe", "My hat is scratchy". And yes, all from the girls.

My girl is currently lying on the couch next to me, having her night-time bottle. I adore her stubborness and her bossiness. She's cuddly, and imaginative, and challenging, and frustrating, and hilarious, and seems to have just two moods -  happy and furious.

As much as I'm not ready for it, I'm nuts about my girl child and I guess I won't trade her in. Yet.