The week I became the worst employee in the world 

I didn’t do any work today. In fact I’ve been AWOL since about 3.30pm yesterday. I’ve not really done much work since Wednesday morning to be honest and no matter how many times I look at my to do list, nothing is worth starting.

Wednesday am

Department away day at beautiful out of town stately home. Despite driving in a torrential downpour at dawn, the sun peaks through storm clouds creating a very special sky. So stunning I sit in the car staring at it for a good 10 mins before realising I must look like a loon and seek out coffee. I bump into work colleagues in the café. They are surrounded by overnight bags and breakfast.

“Where were you last night, Northern Lass”

“Last night??”

Turns out the leadership team got a head start on the team building with a dinner & overnight stay at the stately home.  I should have been there but my boss forgot to invite me.

———————-

The morning is spent playing Survivor – just like the TV Show. We are split into countries, don flags as head scarves and have tribal councils ‘n’ shit. I’m in team with my boss, who I wasn’t keen on before she forgot I existed.

Our first challenge is to create a tribal chant for our team including singing, dancing, poetry and lasting 30s. Quite a big chunk of my soul dies.

How are we still doing this competitive, humiliating shit in 2015. Surely this shit has been proven not to work?! Surely it just bonds the introverts in hated against the extroverts who just compete for attention and self-gratification?! It’s all just a bit too 1980s for me. Surely we should all be sat in groups practicing mindfulness techniques these days??

——————–

There are lots of presentations as you’d expect at these things. Lots of patronising sucking of eggs, lots of mutual backslapping. Big talk of “back to core business” and defining our mission and core values. My business area is not mentioned once. Not mentioned despite being the only business area to grow year on year. Not mentioned despite a number of first to market initiatives launched. No, instead the girl who logs the invoices gets a prize and we all cheer. Not to take anything away from her, she’s got a shit job, but I have a great one, juggle 3 people’s workload and get forgotten about. By my own boss.

———————-

The final session of the day is the new department structure, unveiled as the last piece of the jigsaw for us to put our best feet forward and conquer the world. There’s much anticipation and I swear if you listened hard enough you’d hear the drum roll. 

Lots of changes. The Gen Ys freak out clamouring for answers to their very self absorbed questions. I join them.

Forget about the last jigsaw piece, this is the last straw. My role isn’t in the org chart. 

Director Lady goes pale when she sees I raised hand and I asked where me and my business area fit into the plan. Seems I don’t. Just another thing my boss forgot to give me a heads up about.

That’s why I didn’t do much work Thursday and Friday. I was busy trying to find out what the fuck is going on.

————————

After a weekend calming myself, I return to work and book in time with my boss. Note: she hasn’t attempted to follow up with me. I begin calmly expressing disappointment, seeking clarification, showing her how my disappointment could have been averted if she’d given me a heads up.

“You’re looking at me like this is my fault. This is how the corporate world works. It’s going to be 12 months of hell and if you’re not resilient enough then you need to question your future here.”

I wasn’t very calm after that. I got emotional, ranted about the irony of defining values like integrity and respect and then being excluded so publicly. 

The conclusion of our catch was I should look for a new job as my role won’t be around but they can’t tell me officially or put any timeframe on it, or even offer me alternative employment. (Well she kinda did but the roles a joke and she’s making it up as she goes along.)

And so yesterday I spent the day with my business area gossiping, leaving early to enjoy the autumnal sunshine with my fellow colleagues. Today I applied for new jobs and caught up on Mad Men.

Well there’s no point doing anything seeing how my business area won’t exist soon.

Quit while you’re ahead

Me and my new speed dating buddy decided to venture back into the pond tonight, cashing in on our half price vouchers.

We learnt a valuable lesson. Never try to recreate a good night. By the end of my 11 mini dates, I’d only ticked one bloke and I knew that wasn’t really an option as he was possibly half my height. The men were a pretty poor showing – and I’m not being a bitch. We had:

Cute but dull all promising with his sexy eyes & Turkish accent but arrogant though no obvious substantiation. When asked how he likes to spend a precious free day he recited an hour by hour account of dullness. He got a pity tick (and because he was cute and I’d like to get laid sometime this year!).

Blatant racist who spent his 8 minutes telling me his ex-best mate was also northern but had ditched him, his wife & kid, to run away with a “Chinese slut”. There were worse terms coined and little compassion shown for the real victims (wife & child) and more distress over deserting a friendship of 10 years. 

Tight shirt man who talked about TV shows for 8 mins. Yes I’m partial to a HBO or AMS or BBC drama. I may well have cancelled all Monday evening activities for the past few month to accomodate The Walking Dead into my life but no I don’t watch Big Bang Theory – it’s on ch9 aka Devil’s vomit – and it’s not remotely funny. I’m aware I’m being a snob but I’m ok with that. Move along tight shirt man, nothing for you here.

Party Dude flummoxed me. He’s opening question was had I read Joe Hockey’s recent paper? What did I think of it? Wow! Really?! Politics at speed dating? Was this a test? I tentatively bashed Hockey for the egotistical liberal monster he is then caught myself…”oh let me check are you a liberal? If you are, no offence but we probably won’t get on.” Oh you’re not, ok random question but OK. What’s that? You thought tonight was going to be a party and not speed dating and so hadn’t prepared? Wow OK, well here’s a tip; maybe don’t open on politics it can be quite divisive.

Hilarious Indian dude was there again. We met him at the last event. We greeted each other like old friends and he showed me his Easter holiday snaps. Hilariousness. I get the sense the poor guy is struggling to find his place in Australia. He doesn’t conform to his Indian heritage and community but also doesn’t embrace western ways do just does his own thing. I envy him but think it’s a lonely path.

Last but not least was pissed up twat borderline 50s going on 25, the guy had no shame, walking from table to table with a commandeered bottle of bubbly. I was his last date, by which stage he was smashed, sat next to me (rather than opposite) and asked me no questions. Instead told me how perfect we were for each other. 

Me & Buddy made a sharp exit afterwards preferring the autumnal rain to the shower of men served up to us tonight. While it’s been a nice little ego boost I’m not sure I’m going to meet my man this way. The girls all rock but the men…all seem an olive short of a pizza.

Time to try another tack.

A phone call from my Dad

Context: the last time I saw  my Dad was Easter 2011. 4 years ago. We swap emails maybe 3x a year, birthdays, Christmas and it’s all very civil. I never used to be like that but I’ve stopped trying. It takes two to be in a relationship and when he explained that kids “are an 18 year contract” it all fell into place for me. I’ll never change him so I should stop trying.

Last night I got the following voicemail message:

” hello [northern lass]. It’s Dad. I’m in Melbourne until Monday and staying at the YHA hostel. If you want to meet me, email me or leave a message at the hostel desk. Best of luck!”

So I emailed straight away saying I was free most of Saturday and listed a few very melburian activities such as brunch, the comedy festival, the footie & a Parma, cycling the capital trail & asked him to choose one and I’d organise it. The response:

“Sounds good. I’m online in the state library for 34 more minutes or will ring you from a pay phone at 7pm”

7pm on the dot:

“Hello [northern lass] it’s your Dad”

“Hiya. How are you?”

” I’m really well but I’m in a pay phone so don’t want to waste time on chit chat. Have you got a plan for tomorrow?”

“Have you been to the Yarra Valley?”

“No.”

“Would you like to go? It’s going to be a nice day so….”

“Should I come to St K…” Phone line goes dead.

5 mins later he rings again.

“I ran out of money $1 doesn’t last long but I’ve put in $2 this time but don’t tell me any news as we can talk tomorrow. Plus I don’t want to talk about my holiday as it’ll be boring for you as I’m sure you’ve be there many times.”

“Well I’ve no idea where you’ve been so I’m sure I’d like to hear about it.”

“So shall I come to st Kilda on the tram?”

“No I’ll pick you up as its on the way to the freeway – sort of..”

“What say that again!”

“I’ll pick you up outside the hostel at 12.30pm”

“Oh ok brilliant so I don’t have to go anywhere.”

“No….”

“I’ll buy you lunch -cos I always do. Do I need to dress smart or is shorts OK?”

” you don’t have to dress up but you might get colder later….”

“I’ll bring a bag of options….so 12.30 tomorrow is 12.30pm? Like dinnertime?”

“Yes Dad, lunchtime.”

“What? In the afternoon?”

“Yes, I’ll see you then.”

“Ok that sounds okay. I think I’ve got 50c left so don’t want to run out and miss any of the important info. So 12.30pm outside the hostel. It’s good to hear your voice. I’ve had a brilliant holiday but won’t waste money talking about that, we can talk about other thi……”

That was my first conversation with him in 4 years. Tomorrow should be entertaining if nothing else.

Plus little does he know he’s buying me lunch at a fancy pants winery. Result.

When like minds collide

I must have had “sad loser” tattooed on my forehead as I walked in the door of the bar. I tried not to cringe too much when the barmaid asked if I was here for speed dating in front of the normal bar-frequenting clientele. I knew they were being all judge-y woodge-y from their bar stools.

“The host is running late, but grab a sparkling and those two girls are here too.” I didn’t need to be told twice.

After making small talk intros with the two other girls awaiting the men of dreams, the first man walked in. He was gigantic. In all the unhealthy ways. He was grossly obese and our collective hearts thumped back down to reality. The small talk continued where I discovered I used to compete against one of the girls back in northern hometown swimming club. And here’s we were possibly 30 years later competing once again. Talk about small world!

B joined us with his tallness and witty banter. Promising. Possibly a little older than my 45 limit but definitely the best of a bad bunch. The I saw the big guy sat on his own, not talking to anyone and in the spirit of “we’re all in this together” I went over and introduced myself. This was my 2nd mistake.

My first mistake was worrying so much. So what, I’m single and I’d like to meet someone nice to create and share some memories. Ideally they won’t turn out like the last fuckers and the idea of a shared future will not terrify them to the core. This isn’t an unreasonable request. More than one bloke in the blur of our 8 minute chats, asked what I was doing here? How come you’re single, with your quick wit, cute accent and youthful good looks? 

I know – hilarious- only in Australia is my northern accent “cute”.

I shouldn’t have needed to pay $90 to realise that about myself. I should have faith that I’m a good catch blah bla blah, but sometimes you need to be told. And sometimes you need to hear it. From someone other than your mother and your best mate.

During the break, I squeezed off a sneaky toilet text to PRP to reassure her I was still alive, wasn’t a drunken incoherent mess on the floor and hadn’t fallen for the first man to show me a sniff of attention. I returned to see B at the bar and thought I’d try pick up the banter where we’d left it. That’s when my 2nd mistake caught up with me. Literally. The big guy cornered me and was glued to my side for the rest of the break. My friendliness had been interpreted differently. Thank god for the speed dating bell, saved and off I went to the next man.

Afterwards, I debriefed over a glass of wine with the girl at the next table. We agreed they’d been no one of interest except hat man (her) and B (me). She was a country GP, 38, smart, sassy and right up my street. It was like the night I met WW as we spent the next 6 hours exchanging life stories and putting the world to rights. Hopping from bar to bar, boosting each other’s ego and basking in our bravery for going speed dating alone.

We may not have found the men of our dreams but after too many wines and too little food, we decided fate had forced us both speed dating that night so we’d meet. I love it when you meet someone you feel you’ve known all your life in a sliding doors moment. It may have been the sheer relief of us both getting through the night. It may have been the wine. It may have been the adrenaline rush of the ego boost but I know I met a great friend that night.

We swapped numbers and became Facebook friends, arranged to do it all again in a couple weeks. She’s invited me out to the country next time there’s an event. I’m going to do work experience in her clinic. She bought me a hot dog & a coke because we needed food and are old and can’t hack it anymore.i got us a cab to her mates’ house and waited til she gave me a thumbs up in the window before heading home myself.

I’ve made a new friend who knew nothing about me but accepted me for me. And if she can do that, then it’s likely an man can do that too. And that’s all the reassurance I needed.

I’m normal and I’m single. These two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

Not sure that was the plan…

Sometimes fate just takes over.

Only I could go speed dating, miss the point completely, ending up eating wieners on Chapel St at 3am with a new best mate.

Jumping out of your comfort zone works. Every. Single. Time.

Fate rocks.

Am so proud of myself.

And guess what – I’m so normal its painful.

The speediest of dating

In a bid to shake up my world a little bit, tonight I am going speed dating.

I’ve paid $90 to meet 8-12 eligible bachelors for 8 mins each in the back room of a bar. 

I’ve cast off the stress of the week, pushing my grumbling stomach to the back of my mind & dolled myself up. Well, as dolled up as I get these days but make up is certainly involved.

I now building up the courage to leave home and venture forth out of my comfort zone. A sip of Dutch courage is not sitting well in my churning stomach but I’ll force a glass down before the cab arrives. Wish me luck!

The wonderful world of Tinder

I’m not going to list the pros or the cons. It is what it is. The point of this post is just how lazy can blokes be not to put a bit of thought into their profiles? FFS it’s only a picture make it work for you.

Here’s a sample of the choice pickings of profiles served up to me in the last week.

Looks like Dale’s not even human he’s a boat! Or boats.

Which one do you reckon Shane is?

This one must be a keeper, he’s after excitement, can cook AND can take a call and a selfie at the same time!

I guess this proves our Keith is attractive to other women…

Not sure what the bloke looks like but Andrew comes with a ready made family…

Rohan has a light for a head! Handy.

Cripes Marouf has a likeness to a very famous American actor. Uncanny.

He must be very proud of his receding hairline.

No don’t want to think what choosing the Psychopathic Joker as your profile says about you Ryan.

A is for Awesome Tshirt but not sure I want to date it.

Seriously, a lizard? Is it any wonder I’m losing faith.

The Wish List

I’ve never made the list before now. It goes against the grain of being open-minded and non-judgemental. Of course the reality is, I’ve always have a mental list of criteria even if it was a loose as male, tall and over 35 with own teeth.

After watching the TED Talk I sat down to create my list of criteria. The list of attribute I thought would form the perfect partner for me. I thought it would be easy. I found it quite hard. Once I’d got the obvious 4 or 5 points listed out, the rest were all ‘nice to haves’ but certainly not deal-breakers. I’m really not picky at all. Which is probably not a good thing as it means I’m not focussed enough and willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt and then wasting my time. This is a brilliant project and one I should have done years ago.

Here’s my wish list.

  1. Fun(ny). Both fun to be with, create fun and be funny.
  2. Dry wit or similar sense of humour
  3. Intelligent
  4. Sense of family values but understands/has experience with a fucked up family.
  5. Tall
  6. 35-45 ish
  7. Geeky
  8. Gives back
  9. Good banter (will challenge power i.e. me ;))
  10. Curious
  11. Likes to travel – but not too intrepid.
  12. Healthy – non smoker, own teeth, balanced diet etc
  13. Sporty but not obsessively so.
  14. Does not spend more time in the bathroom than me.
  15. Well built i.e. will not make me feel like an elephant.
  16. Enjoys his work
  17. Financially stable
  18. Grounded
  19. Compassionate
  20. Left of centre
  21. Solid friendship group from over time and life stages
  22. Honest
  23. Loyal
  24. Reader
  25. Self-aware
  26. Ready for commitment
  27. Independent but will make time for me
  28. Learnt from previous (long-term) relationships
  29. Kids if it happens
  30. Loves the beach/beach life
  31. Has creative traits
  32. Can teach me things
  33. Likes good food and wine but is equally happy with a bowl of cereal or beans on toast.
  34. Comfortable with spontaneity

So that’s it, my 34 steps to the perfect man. Now I feel very picky or maybe for once I’m just being honest but I reckon they are fairly generic.

Anyway so now this will become the basis of a fake online profile. I will create and set my perfect man free onto the single scene of Melbourne. Or go fishing for my competition. As this is borderline unethical I have created some ground rules:

  1. I will not pro-actively contact anyone, I will wait to be approached and simply collect data on those girls.
  2. I will not st a dialogue with these girls or lead them on in any way (except by creating the profile).
  3. I’ll keep the profile up for one month and then cancel it.
  4. I’ll use a number of dating sites but will exclude Tinder (because this is looks based rather than profile based) and eHarmony (as matches are controlled by their algorithym not by humans – than and you have to pay).
  5. When reporting back, all data will be desensitised to protect the identity of the girl.

Seem fair? Feel free to add any feedback in the comments below.

Now all I have to do is give him a name and a face….

This year I have mainly been watching…

Some times I wonder if I watch too much TV, then I remember my modest 22″ flat screen is switched on for an average 1.5 hours a day. Generally to watch the 7pm news on ABC and followed by 730. Sometimes with an episode of QI or  Would I Lie To You? on either side. When I’m not reading or studying I’ll be found glued to the iPad watching the latest box set. Here’s what I’ve watched this year…and where I discover where most of my time is spent. I’ve tried to avoid SPOILERS but apologies if I let something slip and ruin your lives.

The West Wing S1-7 (bought from iTunes)

Extraordinarily late to the party with this one and since rectified by watching all seasons right through – twice. It’s genius and catapulted to my all time favourite TV programme. Yes, that’s above The Wire and Breaking Bad. I want to work with Josh and Sam and learn from Toby. I want to be one of President Bartlett’s advisors. Hell, I want to be CJ and fall in love with one of the press core. Bloody brilliant in every way.

Game of Thrones S4 (streamed online via Timblr site)

Bizarrely I can hardly remember this season. I watched it early in 2014 and it’s certainly not burnt itself on my brain. While it was lovely to see Joffery get his comeuppance and Tyrion rightfully established as star of the show, I think I’m losing interest in GoT. I kinda don’t care about the Stark kids and certainly find my attention wandering when the 3 eyed crow storyline comes into play.

Band of Brothers (watched on the plane from Aus to UK)

This kept me gripped on a 24 hour flight and ensured I had no sleep whatsoever on my trip back to the UK. Great cast, great story and early HBO at its best.

Homeland S4 (started on Ch10 but couldn’t bear the ad breaks so bought on iTunes)

I was sceptical this show could survive without Brody but it still sat unwatched for a while. There’s only so much mad Carrie I can take so as soon as she started wailing I stopped watching and didn’t pick it up again until later. To be perfectly honest, the only reason I tuned back in was the many posts on Facebook declaring how good it was. So I followed like a sheep. It was good but not gripping. So in conclusion, I don’t think Homeland survived without Brody.

House of Cards S2 (Bought on iTunes)

There’s very little I don’t like about this show. It’s so clever and manipulative – so much like Frank Underwood. I’ve come to love shows where I hate most of the main characters and certainly mix a bit political drama in there and I’m in heaven. Episode one left me and dumb struck and Red Wedding in GoT S2. I’m hankering for more.

The Killing S3 (Bought on iTunes)

I love Linden and Holder so much and their fucked up lives, meaning they obsessively turn to solving crimes for self fulfilment. This series is no less thrilling than earlier seasons although it does get pretty intense in parts.

Mad Men S7 (Bought on iTunes)

I have to be honest, I didn’t like the first half of this season. I’m particularly irked that it’s been strung out over two years in an act of true Don Draper arrogance. I don’t like the bi-costal setting. I’m much preferring 50s Mad Men to late 60s Mad Men. There wasn’t enough Roger Sterling (my favourite character) but there were gorgeous moments like when Don literally goes back to the drawing board and Bert’s passing.

Orange is the New Black S1&2 (Bought on iTunes)

Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Another show I despise most the characters yet love them too. Except Crazy Eyes, I love Crazy Eyes, but wouldn’t want to be her wife…Red is also a firm favourite. As season 2 progressed I lost interest in Piper and genuinely started to hate her as they real her started to shine through.  members are more than capable of holding their own without her.

True Detective (Bought on iTunes)

I’m loving the non rom-com version of Matthew McConaughney. Yeah he was easy on the eye and all manly with his southern drawl but I’d never class him as a serious actor. Now I think he’s a serious actor. Love the script, love the format, love the cast. Love everything. I think there’s a second season on the way. I hope so, I’ll be tuning in.

Vampire Diaries S5-6 (bought from iTunes)

Don’t judge me but I love this vampy trashy nonsense of beautiful people in the same way I loved Hollyoaks back in the day. It’s fun, dramatic with ever ridiculous storylines but doesn’t take itself too serious. It’s great light relief and a guilty pleasure. Don’t I’m really not a fan of splitting seasons nonsense the American are imposing on everything!

Sherlock S3 (streamed via a Tumblr site)

The Cumberbach lives. Sorry that could be a spoiler but if you’ve managed to read this long, then you’re bound to have known that. Definitely the best thing to come out of the BBC this year and Stephen Moffat pulls it out the bag with these 3 episodes. I definitely think this is his favourite out of his two pet shows.

The Walking Dead end of S4, start of S5 (Bought on iTunes)

Another one that likes to split seasons over too much time. Why don’t they just have shorter seasons?? Anyway, the journey to Terminus was arduous but also arduous to watch. I almost didn’t want to get invested in S5. But it got its groove back in the opening episodes. It jumped back to its gory, gruesome best with the group (almost) all back together again. There’s also a cross-pollination from The Wire to keep me occupied but I was a little disappointed with the mid-season finale. SPOILER. I’d forgotten all about Beth and even the entire episode dedicated to her didn’t raise enough emotion for me care much when she died. It was well done and the fall out huge, but as a character I’d forgotten about her and so didn’t care. I’m sure if I watch early seasons back I’ll recapture it but that what splitting a season over 2 years does to the audience…just saying.

The algorithym to love

Watch this TED talk, it’s fabulous.

This makes perfect sense to me, especially the market research side of things to suss out the competition. My lack of success in dating, online or otherwise is well document in this blog and I think having been out of the dating game for 6 months, I’ve built up enough resilience to dive back in the pond…all in the name of research obviously. I too get the “you’re being too picky” remark when offered up the one single male friend a friend or work colleague can muster up.

I love the idea of my own personal framework and scoring system. I also love the idea of setting up fake male profiles to suss out the competition – although it’s bordering unethical. But what business isn’t launched without comprehensive market and competitor research?

Best of all, for Amy, it ended happily and I love a good success story. So what have I got to lose? The rest of my summer holidays will be spent coming up with my own algorithm to love.

Wish me luck.