Monday, October 18, 2010

Confessions of a Gen Y

There comes a time in every Gen Y’s life when the universe delivers a well-deserved, gift-wrapped slap to their smugness. Let’s be frank, these aren’t one-off events, these are necessary course-corrections. Like the recession we had to have or the election we had to live through, they are the discomforting moments that remind my generation that we are indeed mere mortals. Some of us go to rehab and some of us wake up with a facial tattoo. Some wash out of reality television and discover no one can differentiate us from the last 3 blondes that could sing and cook at the same time. Some of us are clever enough to have a blog, and stupid enough to think people won’t come across it.

Guess which one I am.

It could have been worse. I could be that girl who made up a superbly private power point presentation of all her sexual exploits only to have it go viral (yes, ‘viral’, I haven’t had to show this much punning self restraint since a friend who lives in both Australia and Germany referred to herself as ‘dual-rooted’).

There’s nothing more clichéd that a Gen Y getting caught out by the fact that they’ve lost the ability to differentiate between the private, the public and the social network. Is there a switch that gets flicked in us that turns off our ability to stop sharing minute, superfluous details with the world? I am writing this online, so I suppose the answer is yes. I almost feel like I should start a Facebook group for fellow over-sharers (I assume that like riding a segway, starting a Facebook group is something that can only be done ironically).

You know what else is clichéd? Gen Y types bitching about work online. I thought I’d try something a little different.

The Top 3 Reasons My Workplace Rocks Are…

3. Cheesecake Day. A day dedicated to eating cheesecakes. Work was also done this day, in between the consumption of cheesecakes.

2. The field trip to a Gold Class cinema in the middle of business hours (ignore the fact that it was to see the utterly pointless, effortlessly boring Eat Pray Love – oh woe is me, I’m middle class and white, suffering through the indignity of living in one of the most glorified cities in the world, pity me as I travel and narrate my convenient life lessons!)

1. The Boss who didn’t lose her shit, and was indeed rather cool in general, upon discovering I have a blog… in which I may or may not have described her (vaguely).

In my defense I am a horrible judge of first impressions. I am also a horrible giver of first impressions. Knowing both of these things, Communications really does seem like an odd career choice. A few key lessons – word choice is everything, 1st impressions should never be recorded, cheesecakes are forever.

Painefull Out

P.S. I was saving these up and have no where to put them…

How many Chilean miners does it take to change a light bulb? They don't care - they’ve got sunglasses on, they can’t see shit anyway.

Name two global events which provoke religious fervor, but which Australians don’t fully understand or care about, unless there’s a chance an Aussie might win something? The World Cup and Canonization.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Someone Else’s Seachange

Making massive life changes requires balls. These balls are metaphorical and genderless – that’s why I can say with complete confidence that my sister Elspeth is sporting a giant, enviable pair. She has recently taken up my father’s offer to become a partner in his small business, leaving her old job at a large, inner city, triple-name* firm to do so.

She’s doing it for awesome, old school reasons like having the chance to tuck her kids into bed each night and being her own boss.

But even her old school sensibilities haven’t prepared her for the positively vintage nature of dad’s business. He is the only lawyer I know of that doesn’t actually use a computer. Or a laptop. Or a blackberry. Or his own email account. Or a mobile phone at all. In his personal office the only word processor is his brain. When he works on a matter there is one font, and its name is ‘longhand’.

Don’t you worry, his mind is as sharp as the pencil he uses to make notes. His pencil is sharp because there’s an old-fashioned winding pencil sharpener attached to a bench just outside his door. The only thing sharper than that pencil, is the pins dad uses to attach documents to each other… you see in his own way my father is rather PPC. Pre-Paperclip. Anyone who receives mail from him with any regularity knows never to simply shove their hand into the envelope, unless they want to draw blood.

My father’s business is so old he occasionally still receives payment in the form of produce. Dad’s firm has been around for so long Elspeth found a whole section of legal forms in the back room that aren’t actually used anymore. His practice has been running for so many years he has 3rd generation clients.

Obviously you can’t run a business for that long without be ridiculously smart and good at what you do.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a severe case of culture shock coming Elspeth’s way – after all ‘the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’. They say fortune favours the bold. It also favours the beautiful and the benevolent. How fortunate indeed that E fits into all 3 categories.

Watching someone else make any sort of seachange is like watching them unwrap a present. You really, really hope they’ll like it. In this case the gift being unwrapped is rather like a heritage-listed knitted jumper. It’s a niche fit. Luckily Elspeth is the sister that looks good in anything.

Painefull Out

* Why does having 3 names in the title make a business seem instantly credible and established? If I said I was working for the accounting firm of Them, They & Those I can guarantee I would find a group of suits at Friday drinks who would nod approvingly in response.