It’s rare to hear someone believe they’re set to change the world. Usually those doing so are yelling their proclamation at a passing pigeon, whilst not wearing any pants. I remember probably six or seven years ago, a friend left me dumbfounded by saying he thought we both shared the same belief. I’d always privately thought it, but no one had ever been so grand, so bold and brash enough to actually admit it. Out loud, as well. And I wasn’t a pigeon. And he was wearing pants.
In books and films, we’d form a bond, discuss our mutual passions and, despite shadowy figures in dark alleys and behind the scenes corporate bastards hatching a takeover, we would be victorious and become braziliones!! We would then help others too to reach their goals, each one of us taking over the world, passing a baton between us like Atlas carrying the world on our back!
I Am Iron Man!
But this declaration had the absolute contradictory effect: I realised that most people probably shared the same dream, and that most people will fail, including myself. The fact is not everyone can be Albert Einstein or Leonardo de Vinci, it just doesn’t work that way. At the time I was trying to complete my magnum opus, punishing myself to publish by the time I was 30, and miserable at my failure. Writers exult the importance of finding your voice: mine wasn’t even a dead-parrot’s chirp. Then followed years of avoiding writing, getting regularly drunk and sleeping with a tremendous amount of . . . ermm, woman. I mean, perhaps solving the world’s problems and being the beacon of light for mankind maybe a step too far for someone that regularly locks himself out of his own house. My girlfriend now leaves me reminders.
Chatting Up Birds
I think many people start off with the same ideal, but don’t know quite where to start. Not knowing what to do or how in fact to do it, you bumble along for a few decades and then poof! Life has passed by and you realise the only life-changing vision occurred after a particularly dodgy vindaloo. This adds nothing but regret, unhappiness and a blocked cistern. Yet the realisation of perhaps not taking the world and spinning it on its axis like a basketball, flicking it around my back and shooting from downtown for a 3-pointer was a bit of a sigh of relief. It’s a lot of work! Over the years, I came to realise that most successful people probably don’t set out to change the world at all: that way only leads to one place, and the pigeons have confirmed they’re sick of hearing about it.
Change itself is a funny one. We are taught in a corporate environment to embrace change. There are Change Managers, Change Analysts and even Change Agents that . . . well, they rent out change, or something. You must be seen to love change, to hug it like a puppy until its eyes bulge. I am not one of those people, unfortunately. If I come to work one day and someone moves my desk into a toilet cubicle and puts ten-inch nails on my seat, I shall not raise a vigil in thanks to the Change God. I like improvement, not change. They are NOT the same thing.
So let’s change (ha!) the phrasing: improve the world. Now we’re getting somewhere, that’s clearer. Perhaps we should be a bit more specific on the world too: who’s world exactly do you want to change? I mean, you can’t even see the world unless you’re in space, so if instead of the entire world, what if we focused purely on the world around you? You can see that, for a start. It’s far more tangible and a truckload less daunting. This ultimately leaves the original Change the World Atlas-weighted statement to simply “Improve the World Around You.” No longer are you taking on Goliath, but perhaps a few kittens that have big wellington boots on. Yeah, I’d embrace that.
The World Around You could just be you. As the sage Michael Jackson said, perhaps start off with the Man in the Mirror. Compassion for others is one thing, you need to be compassionate with yourself. Or it could be the world for you and your family. What could you do to improve the lives of the people around you? Be a millionaire and move everyone to a huge mansion! Well, yes, you could do that . . . but how about starting with the washing up? How about mowing the lawn? How about lifting people up when they’re down, and giving a kindly word when you see someone feeling the weight of Atlas.
What about helping those in your immediate vicinity such as neighbours, community, school, hospital? Does someone in your street need some groceries once a week because they find it hard to get out at their age? There are many things you could do to improve the world around you, and if you did that, perhaps others would too, and you’d each make the world a better place to live. Pigeons included.
What? Ok, I’m back. I’ve been in Australia over ten years, and during that time I’ve seen some irreverent beasties: this is their environment and they do not give a flying fu** about anything because they are poisoned up to their eyeballs. The most-deadly snakes and spiders on the entire planet inhabit these fair shoes, and so it was with some distinct alarm that, finally, I realised I had succumbed to a classic boobie-trap: being bitten on the ankle after putting on my boot.
I should bless my cotton socks I haven’t had to cut off a limb. Yet. I would love, dear reader, to adumbrate my accoster, but unfortunately they have vanished without a trace, only to leave small marble size swelling near my ankle that ached all night and only started to reduce after two days. Without any guidance as to what my attacker looked like, I set upon the shadowy figure of a small phantasmagotric shoe-panther. It’s the only explanation.
The swelling was in fact fairly minor, but for illustration purposes I had intended on showing an entirely different spider bite of what it could have looked like . . . yet when I googled the images on offer were so horrifically grotesque that it has quite put me off my tea. I patiently await my next transformation.
Obsessed by Achievement
But all this excitement aside, it did stop me striding about a bit since my entire leg was painful and stiff the next morning, which in turn made me rest and relax. Well, as relaxed as one can be wondering if I will need to amputate my own leg with a pair of chopsticks left over from last nights takeaway. To paraphrase Captain Oates, I may be some time.
As people we are obsessed with doing things, and I certainly fall into that category. What did you do on the weekend? What are your goals for this year? What have you achieved? Yet the antonym of that is not achieving relaxation, it’s almost the antithesis of doing. No one says they achieved doing nothing. Only a real pedant would point out that doing nothing is in fact doing something, but let's ignore that.
Relaxation has become almost a myth on occasion, like the g-spot: many people talk about it but very little proclaim to have found it. Performing pursuits can appear relaxing, yet they are paradoxical: there are very few times when you actually do nothing. Yet this is exactly what I crave on occasion, and it’s something that has led me to travel far and wide searching for that quiet escape on some hallowed outcrop to simply sit.
When I talk to friends and family that claim they did nothing, it often transpires that they did quite a few things: they read a book, chatted with friends or played with their phone which basically equates to a million things such as stalking, porn, reading the latest news and gossip, and watching porn again. But that’s my mum for you. It is immensely rare to actually stop and just sit, yet it has become one of the things I most adore in the entire world. At some point, at least once a week, I will spend five to ten minutes simply sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and do nothing. I will stare out at the people passing by, I will look through the window at the cityscape, I will let the mind run wild. Yet I will not touch a phone, make a mental note, write anything down on one of my many to-do lists. It is pure joy. And lets my mind relax. It’s like a slice of paradise.
This slice of paradise is proudly brought to you by the Shoe Panther. Roaawwwrrr
This month has been one of the most productive months my team have ever had. During September, rebadged Steptember, my team aimed to walk over 10,000 steps per day and raise money and awareness for Cerebral Palsy . . . but it was easy to forget that when middling in the mire of competition between teams, as too it seems to a few other hundred teams in the organisation since only a few days ago, with $0 raised, our team were languishing in 450th place. Having chucked in $50, we immediately left to 250th. More on that later!
Harassing For Money
We also had exercise bikes set-up in the foyer, with 8 of us taking 30 minutes stints and imploring our passing employees to give generously. And indeed they did, raising an incredible $800 on the day in our hefty plastic donation bucket. I for one found myself particularly adept in badgering, harassing and cajoling my colleagues into giving away any extra coins. There was something extravagantly wicked in shouting someone’s name from 30 metres away across an echoing foyer, that this person, this person right here, was a generous and wonderful human with a big heart and would of course donate to such a wonderful cause. Embarrassed and humbled, they would of course have no other recourse but to donate. It was wonderful. For my past life as a Town Cryer still rings deep in my veins.
Enhancing Your Team
Whilst the team have thoroughly enjoyed the competition amongst one another (being a team of 16, we had 4 teams), there was another interesting side effect. We had numerous team members that initially believed the entire task was too daunting, immediately writing themselves off when I told that 30 minutes of walking only equated to about 3000. However, as the days rolled by, the team upped their game, often exceeding the step-count. This in turn increased their confidence, which made them walk more and believe in themselves. As they walked more and exercised more, they lost weight, and seeing the difference, some started taking gym-classes, riding the wave of their new-found self-belief.
Raising Money for Charity
It was a wonderful month to be part of, and hopefully something that will have a lasting effect on my team. Since I first enrolled in a step-competition over two years ago, I have stuck to the regime, where, initially, I struggled to make 6000 steps a day. During this month of Steptember, I have tried to lead by example, nagging my team and increasing my own steps to 15-25,000 a day, in one particular occasion notching 30,000 in a single day which was the biggest total I have ever walked. I lost 2 kilos in the process and often caused lots of pain to my aching feet – but never mind that!
So Steptember increased the confidence of my team, made them address their own health, made them take more meetings in the park or skip a train-stop on the way home, raise awareness for a fabulous charity, and helped the company and its employees donate over $200k for a worthy cause. Probably one of the best month’s work I’ve ever done.
For more information please view https://www.steptember.org.au/ - every dollar raised will provide vital equipment, therapy and services to children and adults living with cerebral palsy.
Ready? Sell more products! Boom! Please send the dinner invitations to my secretary, put the champagne in the fridge, what’s the phone number of that Nobel Committee?
Oh you need more than that . . . let me see, how about half the costs? Boom! Phone the Dinner Committee, put the champagne in the secretary . . . erm . . .
There is a story that I often repeat from the time the Global Financial Crisis swept through the world in 2008 and arrived at Germany’s doorsteps, am unsure if it’s hypocraphyl or not but let’s say it’s true. At a time when companies were either going bankrupt or letting go of employees like emptying your waste paper basket, German companies were reducing work days to four days a week. Why increase unemployment and make a few people suffer immeasurably? For a 10% cost cut across the board, implement a 9-day fortnight. Need some drastic cost saving, implement a 4-day week to save 20% of your costs.
When you make cuts across the board rather than at just a certain, specific group, people care more, people buy into it. “Hey everyone, we’re not doing so well, so we’re all going to take a pay-cut, no exceptions”. Yeah ok, seems fair enough. The more common corporate view though is if we’re deviating from our route, someone is going to suffer. If I’m an Executive driving a Mercedes and start erupting about the need for redundancies, what kind of reaction would you expect from the employees? I know what I’m thinking, and it’s laced with titillating expletives.
The awesome Simon Sinek related the story of another company that, in times of financial turmoil, decided to give all their staff four weeks of unpaid leave that they could take any time they liked. The result? Without prompting, employees traded with one another, so that the more fortunate exchanged holiday with those that needed the regular income. How amazing is that? Put up the bunting people, humanity isn’t just a bunch of washed-up selfish bastards after all!
Another way many companies have tried to reduce the cost of their employees is by process improvement (saving costs) or offshoring. The latter is a model that can work, but which requires substantial investment to be successful, far more than a company thinks is necessary, which is why it often fails. It’s effectively like buying a cheaper pair of trainers then after 6 months buying glue for the sole (or soul, eh?), and then some new laces, and the tread has worn quicker and then when you’ve factored the time taking for doing all that stuff . . . oh my God you’ve spent how much?!! I’d hazard a guess that when a company offshores, instead of saving the 40-50% on wages, when you factor in quality, speed, efficiency, training, you’re probably saving 5-10% at very best. At worst, you’ve just tanked your company.
There are of course complaints to offshoring in that jobs are lost and pushed overseas, and yet eBay and Amazon have been offering that for years. Globalisation seems to be one of those things that is considered favourable until it impacts you directly. The talk of the town is now near-shoring, or as everyone else calls it, regionalisation. Same problem, but less costly as you’re not travelling as far and the time zones may work more in your favour, yet the wages are higher.
But essentially companies must simply balance cost and revenue, supply and demand. Simples. Which is why there are millions of companies worldwide and only a handful are successful because that balance is bloody hard. But if you’re company are going through lean times, think creatively to reduce costs rather than recouping for the short-term. Reduced working days and even more working from home days (reducing the cost of your real estate) all help the cause. Oh, and sell more products. Where’s that damn champagne?
In my company, and probably most companies, there has been a huge drive to target the customer. “The customer at the centre of everything” was the last CEO’s moto, and the livery and bunting still pervades. It’s a world dominated by service industries. The Customer is King. The Customer is always right. If we do this, what will be the customer impact? We are entirely enveloped in a society obsessed with the customer. The customer wants this, they’ll get it. If they don’t get it from us, they’ll get it from someone else. It’s a customer centric universe. We live and die by THE CUSTOMER! That’s one important customer, but we get the gist.
The Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score, the global industry standard for measuring customer satisfaction, is a company obsession. It is updated daily on the company home pages and spruiked at every event. KPIs are rest upon it, bonuses are paid on it, livelihoods depend on it. And yet, it doesn’t mean it’s right.
But the engagement of the employee is seemingly less important than the customer feedback, which sets a precedent that the customer has priority simply because they have the cash. The customer, which you may have never met or even heard of, their happiness, outranks that of your employees. Can you have happy customers and miserable employees? Yup, Amazon. Happy employees and miserable customers? Possible but unlikely. If people are happy and engaged in their role, customer satisfaction will also follow.
How many people buy a new computer or a new drone or a new phone and ridiculously happy with it? Oh my god this thing has amazing voice recognition, it has the best battery life, the colours are incredible! With products like that, you barely need marketing because people do it for you. Free advertising purely by word of mouth. That’s power. What could be more influential than the recommendation of a trusted friend, spouse or family member? If your husband comes to you and says “try this, it’ll change your life!” are you going to listen? Damn right you’re going to listen!
How about if that was a company? A mother comes home to her husband who is cooking dinner – it’s the 21st century people, time to change our story templates – and she is raving. Not about how bad her boss is or how awful the project is, but how amazing the people are, how their products will change the marketplace, how inspiring her leadership is, how she feels empowered to do her job to the best of her abilities because she has the trust of her management. Makes my eyes tear up just thinking about it.
In turn, those employees will be advocates themselves, promoting the business because they love it. They will go on to attract other like-minded brilliant individuals that want to work for a company that has happy employees, that lead and inspire. The true wealth of a company then isn’t about Net Promoter Score or even Employee Engagement, it’s about Employee Promoters. Of course customers are important, but if you have no one to do the work, what’s the point of having them? They won’t be customers very long. Conversely, if you have a great team that love what they do, customers will be knocking down the door to work with you because you have a workforce that are energised, empowered and inspired to create great products, and will naturally find ways for that product to be used in the marketplace to impact and benefit the customer. Focus on employees, the rest will follow.
I was at a recent company event, something I’m privileged to join and which champions women in business. I generally love these sessions as they have someone from the company or a successful business, usually the higher echelons, come and share their wisdom and experiences. The topic for this one was about resilience and confidence, the latter summarily distilled to simply the Australian motto ‘give it a go’. However, it was the resilience side that piqued my interest.
At the end of the discussion there were plenty minutes left over for questions, and since I was sitting on the front row, I out my hand up – if I hadn’t been sitting on the front row, I’d have probably chickened out since unbeknownst to me probably another 150 people had arrived behind me. The question I asked was an important one for me: has your resilience ever been broken and what did you do to recover? Naturally it wasn’t as straight-forward or as elegant as that, and being the first question and absolutely naïve to the microphone, I had to say ‘is this thing on?’ <sigh>. One of the leaders promptly smiled and responded ‘every day’, and the other relayed a time that they had a challenging time at a certain point but they got through it. Neither really helped, but perhaps it was too much of a public forum to announce. It would have taken a lot of courage.
Having been through an arduous time personally, I wanted much more of an answer, for I am one of the ones that broke. Not for any cataclysmically awful reason, just that lots of things ran away from me at the same time and I felt I couldn’t cope. I lost confidence in myself and my abilities, and after having always thought of myself as resilient (I’ve even presented presentations on it in the past) and able to conquer anything, it was a foundering of myself and my abilities. Oh, and it hurt like hell. Like having your brain torn apart and wandering around in a shell of yourself. I distinctly remember being on a conference call, one of the 9 or 10 that day, and someone pinged me a messaging app from a Senior HR role asking some usual business type question. Within 3 lines I was telling someone I barely knew that I was about to cry. There are a myriad of reasons and points leading up to that moment, but I knew then that I was fucked.
A few years ago a colleague put it to me that you wouldn’t trust someone to build you a bridge if they’d never done it before: it was the experience that you needed. Not the theory, not the reciting of dissertations, best practice or quotations of famous architects, it was the person that had gone there and built the damn bridge. So back to the leaders teaching of resilience. How much advice can someone offer you on resilience and confidence, if they have never not only had their resilience tested, but found the limits of their resilience?
Learning About Yourself
For me, a year and a half on, there is still real fear and a real sense of confidence loss. Thoughts that it will happen again are common, and it is scary. It’s the realisation of vulnerability, finding you’re not invincible and can break. You’re not infalliable. This may seem obvious, everyone knows they can fail, but experiencing it is another.
One thing I did take from the talk was of survival. I made out alive with a few mental scars to help me along the journey next time, and the end results mean that mentality needs to be treated like a muscle: it needs to be flexed, but also nurtured. Do things that push yourself to your limits, but also take time to massage that big brain and let it have a rest day. Meditation, music, sleep, relaxation, something to take away the every day stresses.
In turn, what have I learnt about my own resilience? That I have limits.
Financial Brain Freeze
What puzzles me though is why this is the case: why do not only I struggled, but many others? Other than being a good human being and learning to communicate successfully, I cannot fathom anything else more important. This is the first time I’ve made positive steps to learn about money and how to make it, save it, invest it for the future so that it worked for me. Is there a more fun way of getting that information? Probably. Have I found one? No way. In saying that, there is an excellent 30 minutes video about financials by Ray Dalio, someone that a few weeks ago I had never heard of, and I now revere.
Learning - Not Always Fun!
I’m learning Spanish as well at the moment, and I confess that I find listening to that less galling. There is nothing wrong with how Tony Robbins writes - his voice drips from the pages as does his endless enthusiasm. Anecdotes and quotes interlace well, yet the topic, for me at least, is like tucking into a dry cracker with filling made of sand. I have long, long understood that financials are effectively a tranquiliser harpoon for me: a kryptonite made of pure snooze. I have always believed this is because of lack of comprehension. And yet now I understand them more (being two-thirds of the way through the book), I have learnt and incredible amount and will endeavour, nay, make damn certain, I will pay attention to my finances and how to get the best out of them. . .but I still think finances should come packaged with radiation warning levels of ennui.
Never Too Late
And yet at 37 I'm cursing that I didn’t learn financials sooner, and am clinging to the hope that it’s never too late and that if the going is good, I have 40 more years of work and potential income to take matters into my own hand and rescue the situation. Here is hoping! <Kerrriissst, 40 years!>
They key principles I do aim to take are these: save more in long term bonds; risk more in stocks through index trackers instead of gambling in individual bonds; waste less on things I hold no value for – to be balanced though with time, and the latter is something entirely new to me. Let’s tackle the first thing.
Spend On Things Of Value
One of the things I don’t care generally for is food. My partners loves it, yet I eat to live not the other way around, so I can quite easily have some bread and tuna for lunch with an apple and orange and be more than satisfied. If lunches usually cost me $10 per day, I can usually change that to less (5 apples and 5 oranges are about $6, loaf of bread about 3.50, can of tuna 80 cents - my lunch now costs me about $2.50). So that saves $1600 a year . . . which really isn’t much! But if I can save a $1000 a year, about $80 a month (so only a 3/4 of my lunches are my own), invested at 5% return compound interest for 40 years . . . now we're talking. You'll have $129k as a nest egg. Not bad from putting away a few extra dollars a month. The calculator is actually pretty addictive once you get into it. Unfortunately kids, mortgages and any period of not working will heavily impact. But start small and look at the big picture, which is probably the biggest take out of the entire thing: think long term.
The trick is having money that is going to get you 5% returns. How do you do that? Through a balanced portfolio. Yes, every financial self-proclaimed guru talks of a blanaced portfolio, but what the hell does that actually mean? In this case portfolio meaning the money and assets you have i.e. don't gamble everything you have on one horse which may get shot at the first hurdle. Buy a house as an investment; invest in bonds; buy assets that don’t depreciate (brand new cars are a ridiculous waste of money, for example); and take some risks. And finally, probably one of the bits that I am guilty of and that I should do more, is treating myself – everyone likes that bit of the advice! Tony Robbins suggests that if you get a bonus, split it in thirds: one for the risk bucket (stocks); one for the growth bucket (bonds or guaranteed investments); and one for yourself.
I have been trialling something entirely new this week. No, I haven’t given up being an idiot, that’s still there. Being smelly? No, no that’s not it either. I am instead testing the absence of something altogether (Ed – Body Odour? Am I not helping?) My day usually involves waking up, lying idle for a few mins trying to get my brain to focus on the day ahead, and then leaning over to the phone to check the news – and bang, an hour goes by and I haven’t moved. So for the last 6 days, now a week, I’ve resolved not to check the news. Hardly revolutionary, but it’s a small step.
Read All About It!
No Guardian, no BBC, no Washington Post, no NY Times, no Al-Jazeera, no The Age . . . although the latter should be flattered to be mentioned in the same company, it’s my fault for occasionally blustering onto it for local Aussie news really. I used to check these websites several times a day generally – when making tea, walking to work, waking up, going to bed, cleaning teeth – really whenever there is some titillating fancy that garners a moments interest. Trump is 95% of it seemingly, with headlines screaming “Impeachment!!!” always worth a look despite the inevitable disappointment. Sport reports and latest football rumours get an airing, and some obvious click-bait misleading headlines such as “Why I don’t believe in marriage equality” and “The Day I cut my own head off was the best day of the year” i.e. bile so quintessentially dull that I can’t bring myself to digest more than the opening paragraph.
But one week has passed and no news has happened in my household. I have instead spent my hour every morning on topping up my Spanish vocabulary (check out Duo Lingo if you’re keen, it’s excellent) and then reading a book I’m trudging through i.e. time well spent learning things of value, which is essentially the argument – what is the value of news? I mean, there is so much of it, there is news everywhere about everything in the world. There is news being reported all the time, in a thousand languages across the globe and constantly being spruiked to the masses vying for your attention through news desks, newspapers, billboards, advertisements, magazines, radio, podcasts, websites, apps, games, film and music. It's not so much breaking news, it's already broken.
The News of The World
Not just a catchy Queen song. My friends, if I had any, would tell me it’s important to keep up with current affairs, to keep abreast of impact worthy announcements that will affect your everyday life . . .and yet, most of it doesn’t, and people thrust their news on me any chance they get, so why bother checking? It’s like emails – if someone is going to phone you about an email anyway, and in this day and age doesn’t seriously expect you to read the many, many emails you actually get, what’s the point of reading the email? Most of the news, about 99% of it, has no effect on you whatsoever, other than having a talking point to discuss whilst having a cup of tea at the office. Perhaps if it’s really startling you may drop your biscuit in the tea, which is of course quite the news and worth discussing, but other than that your day carries on as normal. If the world is going to end, I imagine there’s not much I can do about it anyway.
This is a trial of course (the non-reading news bit, not the world ending bit), but I have long held the belief that news doesn’t really give you anything, and you’re better off looking for things that you’re genuinely curious about such as how to remove surface rust from vehicles - lemon and a hard scrub, apparently – or how to make the perfect cup of tea, something of unquantifiable value, or even learning the best way to edit out friends you no longer talk to in an otherwise impeccable photo. I don’t know why you’d want to do that of course, perhaps they talked of the news too much.
There is generally very little I get angry about. The dear Seneca would probably cite that anger comes from a challenge of your own perception, and that it’s entirely my fault I am angry in the first instance. Which doesn’t really help. It’s the philosophical equivalent of telling your partner whilst in an absolute fit of pure rage, to perhaps calm down. And mop that unsightly froth from their mouths.
What’s currently attracting my ire, nay disgust, is the Australian Government, in particular the ineffective, manakin-esque Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Useless bastard.
Vote for Equality
The government, in all their industry, has decided to ridicule itself even further by proposing marriage equality is put to a plebiscite by postal vote next month. A colossal waste of tax paying dollars (purported $120 million) which, since it’s a plebiscite not a referendum, Parliament can then ignore if they want to do. What a bunch of fuckwits.
Perhaps this is my fault, due to my perception (thanks, Seneca!). My viewpoint would be that I vote to elect a government to make decisions on my behalf on how the country should be run. We have mandatory voting in Australia (something I do genuinely love – people fought for this democracy, so you’re going to bloody well vote!) in general and local elections, and although my chosen party didn’t get in, I expect that the government will take it upon themselves to make the hard decisions that we elected them for.
What I don’t expect them to do is chicken-out on making a decision, which isn’t even one of any particular largess, and waste $120 million that could be spent almost anywhere else.
Living in Australia
.There are only a few things Australia needs to really work on, as they predominantly are a very lucky country. The climate is warm and varied, meaning we can grow food in abundance and variety with outstanding quality. The Australian Police are famed for their easy-going attitude, the healthcare is generally some of the best in the Western world. The education is good, there is little violence, there are lots of jobs available and the minimum wage is a whopping $19 or so. Melbourne and Sydney are consistently rated as some of the best cities if not THE best cities to live (voted by a panel of experts residing in Melbourne and Sydney, so it's got be impartial!). The air is clean and generally very little pollution or rubbish about anywhere. What I mean is, it’s a very good place to live.
Australian Government Man-Date
The only thing the government really need to do is sort out marriage equality (which they’re screwing up) and the approach on climate change which should be embracing more solar, wind and tidal power instead of fossil fuels. They also have a small race issue, but nothing that can’t be worked out. Otherwise, apart from these three things which may take perhaps a solid 3 weeks of work, go on holiday for the rest of the year - mission accomplished, take a nap ladies and gents! All I ask though is that you do the job you’re paid for and make some decisions that ensures this country is better by passing marriage equality for all. Just like the rest of the world already has. An argument I have heard before is that I shouldn't impose my will on others, which is exactly what opposing this bill would do. Marriage equality doesn't effect myself or my girlfriend, yet makes millions of Australians and visiting tourists happy. It's an easy choice.
The ever-downcast and put-upon Tony Hancock, in trying to benefit the country as a whole, was either going join the Young Conservatives or Give Blood. His legendary riposte to being asked to donate more than just a smear to test, “A pint? . . . why that’s very nearly an armful!”
Giving blood has never been easier, and is vital at replenishing the stocks of our hospitals to ensure that when we need transfusions, there is plenty left to ensure we stay alive. No blood, no life, no us. Fairly simple.
On Saturday I was very pleased and proud to escort my girlfriend (willingly, I might add – and by willingly I mean her, not me) to the Red Cross in Melbourne to hand over the better part of her handbag carrying limb. Naturally as ever I get questioned as to whether I’m also giving blood which, unfortunately, I cannot. At least, not in Australia. This probably tells of Australia’s ultra-conservative views in all things medical, but since I lived in the UK during the late 80’s and early 90’s I may have contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, otherwise known as CJD, or more famously known as Mad Cow Disease. Therefore, my blood, plasma and platelets are spurned in the land down under. I did request from the nurse was there any way to detect if I had CJD, and she said yes, through autopsy. Next time, I might feign ignorance as to what an autopsy is and insist I get one immediately. Surely it's in the Constitution!?
As the good nurse said, much to the chagrin of her mother, she has plenty of mad cows in her family but none that have lived in the UK. There is a great tv advert in Australia about the best biscuit in the world being the one provided after you give blood. Am not sure what it says about not giving blood directly but dragging your spouse along instead, I imagine much less worthy. The advert may run more along the lines of ‘help yourself to a sheepish biscuit you mad bastard’.
It takes about 8 weeks for your body to completely replenish itself, not much really given it’s saving a life. What did you do this weekend?