Category Archives: Career

Hello. Round-up, round-up, gather around for a round-up!


Righto, yes I know I have been completely slack with posting lately, and while things in my life have all kinda sped up recently, I shouldn’t ignore this blog since its this blog that let me get to this point of awesomeness (yes, believe it or not kids, your ol’ Uncle Sweatpants was at one time not the effervescent font of amazingness that he is now :P).

So if any of you are really truly miffed, please take up a paddle while I assume the position

If you don't know what that's for... internet more, you'll find a video clip that will feature it eventually ūüėõ

*grin*

Okay now that I’ve covered my quota of slightly smutty commentaries on this blog, time for the roundup. Sorry it HAS to be in summary and point form cause well, this post will just get ridiculously long if I covered everything in normal detail.

– Girl B (I really should make up a new nickname for her… “Girl B” sounds like she’s some sort of ¬†back up female, let me think on that) and I are now official, she’s changed her status on Facebook (cause you know nothing’s real unless it’s on Facebook… goddamn Gen Y’ers). Freaked me out a little, but after a little bit of thinking, it was kinda nice. We’re trying to work out a way to see each other again before the July Date. Stay tuned.

– I found out the ex was cheating on me while we were together. Not mad about it, but God I hope she used protection.

– I can now play about 30 seconds worth of¬†Use¬†Somebody, beyond that my fingers get all tangled up with each other. Yes I’m still much¬†enamoured¬†with Vera (for anyone new, Vera is the name of my guitar). But I’m not really sure where to go from here, if any musicians have any advice on what songs to learn or fingering¬†exercises¬†(*snicker* “fingering” *more snickering*) that would be a real help.

– I have quit smoking. And yes I know I’ve attempted this before (and failed miserably) but this time I’ve decided to do everything in my power to quit. I bought me a pack of nicotine patches and lozenges. ¬†As I type this I have gone 47 hours without a cigarette. WOO!

– I have decided to apply for the position I posted about earlier. Actually I should be working on that instead of this entry, soooooo… Laters!

Hello career, I have a conundrum…


As most of you are aware I now work for the government.

I really had no experience in the bureaucratic¬†environment that is government, and the entire thing came as somewhat a surprise. All my “hard” skills pretty much went out the window (with the exception of the creation of reports) as the red tape that you have to jump through in government is light years away from the “get-it-done-now” mentality of the private sector. Legislation, regulations, procedures and processes all have to be adhered to with strict rigidity. I’ve pretty much had to learn all those skills from scratch. And I’m still learning, while I can do my current role now with a degree of autonomy and independence, there are still issues when I look to someone more senior than me just for that extra peace of mind.

However, my “soft” skills still come into play in this role (but they pretty much do, in every role that requires at least a modicum of client interaction) and I, after doing a workshop (the government absolutely¬†adores¬†workshops) can honestly say I could probably talk circles around a lot of other people who are at my level, maybe even the level just above.

I’m not trying to be boastful or anything (but seriously I’m awesome *grin* hahaha, kidding, kidding) but coming from the private sector environment has given me that exposure and confidence to be able to be articulate and not-at-all-be-flustered no matter who is on the other side of the table, whether they be a high-muckety-muck or my manager or an interview panel. While most of my other colleagues have been bogged down with the¬†bureaucracy of government that they just haven’t had to deal with the level of face-to-face interactions that I have. Couple that with the fact I’m naturally friendly and fairly well presentable, I do very well in a face-to-face environment.

And here’s the crux of the matter.

They’re advertising for a position which will be a huge step up for me.

Now the recruitment process for this role is a two stage process. Firstly they will assess your suitability for the role from your responses to criteria they have outlined in the job advertisement along with the details in your resume. After the interview panel have combed through those responses for who they deem suitable, comes the interview process.

I know that if I pass that first stage and get through to the interviews, I will have a very good chance of winning this role. There’s only maybe 1-2 people, at my current level, who have the same type of personality and would be able to perform as well during an interview.

I’ve actually sat ON an interview panel (as in I was in the panel interviewing people for a role) quite recently. So I know how much weighting the interview panel members actually give towards the interview. A lot. You can have most brilliant responses and resume, but if you can’t back it up in person, you’re in trouble.

Now couple that with the knowledge that my contract is up for review at the end of September this year, and while I know I’m doing a good enough job that under normal circumstances this would be renewed with no problems, there has been a spate of budget cuts within government which makes me a little uneasy about depending on my contract being renewed. If those budget cuts roll through my directorate, I could be jobless in 5 months! The new role, will have a 2 year contract term which means I won’t have to worry about renewal until 2014…

My mentor is adamant that I should apply.

My manager has (tentatively, in my opinion) given me the green light to go ahead and apply.

But personally, I’m not sure.

For a couple of reasons…

1) I am relatively new to the organisation, only 6 months in. And while I know I can do the job, there will be a steep learning curve in the first couple of months before I could be up-to-speed.

2) I have a work colleagues who have the experience and the knowledge, but lack my interpersonal skills. I know they will also be applying for the role.

If this role had come in another 6 months, even 3 months in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate in applying.

But is it fair on my work colleagues that have been in similar positions as mine for years and years, that some whipper-snapper who, has by dint of life experience, has had his shame-gene removed and is therefore able to talk with absolute confidence in any situation, get a role when they are by far the more experienced and knowledgeable candidate?

Then I think, these people are all at least my age (if not considerably older) should I really play nice, when they’ve had the same amount of time to develop the skills I have? They have the advantage of being more experienced in the subject matter, is it wrong for me to play my card of being more experienced when it comes to talking to people?

Then I think, do I really want this role? I’m quite happy at my current level in my team. I have enough responsibility to keep me amused throughout the day, but I have more senior people to fall back on. Am I just applying because of the money? (which is considerably a lot more than what I am currently getting. In essence it would be 25% pay increase. I got roughly that amount because of 7 months backpay, and I managed to pay off a huge chunk of debt AND buy an electric guitar. Imagine what I could do if I got that amount¬†every fortnight!¬†Whoa.)

Then I think, I really should just apply anyway. I mean what’s the chance that I’ll even make it through to the second stage?

Then I think, okay dumbass, what happens if you do make it to the second stage?

Then I think, if the stars do align, and the planets all come into conjunction and I actually get this role. I do have an out since I can withdraw from the process.

Then I think, won’t that reflect badly on me if I withdraw from a role??? What can I say? That I don’t think the interview panel made the right decision?? That just makes it seem like I know better than they do. What happens the next time I apply for a role??

Then, I think if this role had come in another 6 months, even 3 months in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate in applying.

And on, and on, and on and on…

Help! I'm stuck and I can't get off!

I still have about a month to make up my mind. The position won’t be advertised until next week, and there’s usually, at the very least, a 3 week period where they will accept applications.

So, should I step aside and let those who have had years and years more experience have a free shot without my interference?

Or should I just throw my hat in the ring along with everyone else and let the chips fall where they may (even when I’m not 100% positive that I even want the job)?

The blue pill or the red pill?

Do you have it in green?

Hello cool people, honestly I’m not one of you.


This post came about after discussions with my managers second-in-charge. She was basically giving me the low-down on the role and what I was expected to do, and the culture of the office where I will be seconded a few days out of every week. She told me it’s generally not as laid back as my current office and has a more high-level government feel.

We’re not slobby¬†or sloppy here, but people can get away with taking off their work shoes and walking around in slippers if they want. One person actually does. And we’re not in the city centre and separate from the high muckety-mucks so we’re insulated from most of the politics that goes around.

She shows me the brief that they had drawn up over there as to what sort of skills they wanted in the person. While I had all of the necessary skills, my experience was something left to be desired.

And I just had to ask.

Why me?

She just looked at me funnily. Like I had told her I had performed some gross sexual act with her 19-year-old daughter.

Then she laughed.

That’s the first time I’ve ever seen you actually nervous, she told me. And that explains why you got the job. Ever since you walked into this place, you seemed like you owned the joint. You had no qualms with talking to anyone at any level,¬†directors, clients or your co-workers. Anything we gave you got done. And you seem to have this ability not to¬†piss anyone off, no matter how bad the news is you are telling them. You just seemed unflappable.

Then she pats me on the shoulder, it’s nice to know you’re human though.

This stunned me. As you readers are aware, I’m a bundle of neuroses, duct taped together with a lot baggage, and then smeared generously with crazy. Lots and lots of crazy. Then sprinkled with nuts. Hmmmm “nuts” *drool* (… I didn’t mean for that to sound as gay as it did… not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

The fact that they see me like this:

I am the master of my domain... Oh wait I forgot about last Sunday... (think Seinfeld... *waits for the "ewwww gross!" thoughts* ha-ha!)

 
When in actual fact I’m like this:
 

Oh my god! What am I doing?!?! I don't even know if this is right! Hell I don't even know if it's wrong!!! Argahhaggrhhh!!!

¬†Is mind-boggling. I didn’t think I was that good of an actor. Okay, I don’t actually scream out my neuroses out¬†in the office, and I still haven’t done anything sweatpants-esque at my new role, but still! While yes I can do the work, I’m not even two months old in this organisation and they’re going to¬†have me advising other people about processes and procedures I wasn’t aware of 8 weeks ago.

Then I got to thinking. Is this just nerves?¬†Is this just me? Or does everyone have an inner duck paddling madly under the surface? Are we all just acting like we know what we’re doing? If for some whatever reason the inhibitions that force everyone to act the way that society perceives they should act, all fell apart and we were free to say and think exactly who we truly are…¬†would I be surrounded by like-minded people who seem to be so in control when in fact they are a shoestring away from plunging into madness? Or would I be a lonesome crazy man, surrounded by the sane and the capable, pointing at the great big faker in their midst.

..

.

I’d like to think that we’re all of us,¬†just a little crazy… despite the fact we rock it in a suit. ūüėÄ

Hello promotion (sort of), what the?


As I’ve written about before, I scored a government job here at Australia’s capital, Canberra,¬†a little less than 2 months ago.

I can honestly say it is the one job in the last¬†10 years that I have been both proud of and enjoy.¬†Before it was either one or the other. In my previous role I was a manager, while I was proud to say that I was in a management role, but¬†the work itself was thankless and mind-numbing. Before that, while I enjoyed the role(s), mainly because I wasn’t the one in charge and making the hard decisions and¬†could therefore¬†cruise, it wasn’t anything to write home about. And while coasting through¬†you job makes for a less stressful lifestyle, there’s always something missing.¬†

Enter today.

My manager asks me to come into his office, with his serious face. I walk in and he shuts the door. Uh-oh, I think. My manager usually runs with an open door policy and only really shuts the door for “serious” discussions. So I sit down and he leads of with “We’re going to have to let you go…” I just say “Oh. Okay then.” He then bursts out laughing.

My boss actually looks a lot like him too...

The utter bastard.

But in hindsight, I think this may be a good thing. I MUST be doing well enough that the thought of letting me go is not something that warranted serious consideration, but something that is so ridiculous it could be made into a joke. Well that’s how I’m looking at it anyway. ūüėõ

So after he quietens down, he asks me if I would be interested in a high pressure role a little above what they hired me for. A little intrigued, I tell him to continue. He outlines the role to me, and that it will be a high-profile position that would be overviewed by a relatively high muckety-muck in the government.

I had actually thought about this role in a previous staff meeting. The role itself hadn’t been defined and there wasn’t really any clarification whether or not it would even exist. But from the reports that they were showing, I thought that the role itself was warranted and that I could actually do amazingly well at it. I didn’t want to blow my own horn, since that meeting took place while I was still in my first month in my current role, so I kept my trap shut and hoped that the issue would come up again in another meeting down the track and then I would put my hand up.¬†

So what does this all mean?

Well no, I’m not getting a pay rise and yes I’ll be working longer hours.

The only benefit is that I will be exposed to a multitude of other departments within the Government and will have the opportunity to build up a lot of contacts. And in government, the more contacts you have the quicker you can get things done (although not necessarily better). Also, the more opportunity for your career.

It does also mean, if I screw up, I will screw up MAJORLY. Like front page of the newspaper screw up. Maybe not national front page, but definitely front page of the city’s newspaper.

The above thought is scary enough that as I finished typing it, I got some heart palpitations and my ass started sweating…

What have I gotten myself into!?!?!?!

Hello multi-tasking, I’m male… wtf are you?!


Okay I know it’s a stereotype, but for me it’s generally true.

I’m not saying that in the mundane work-a-day sense, of not being able to chew gum and walk at the same time. I mean it in a more all-encompassing view of life sort of way.

Basically, I can only concentrate on one aspect of my life at any one time, if I attempt to do more than one, it just turns into a half-assed, phone-in, mess of epic proportions.

Take for example debt repayment. I am trying to keep this a priority, this includes keeping up this blog with PF type of posts (HAHAHAHAHAHA! PF posts… what the hell are those? :P) but as you can see that’s not happening. It’s because I am currently concentrating on work and building a career. And while the two do tie in to each other (without working I don’t earn the money to pay off my debts, which is why I don’t feel too guilty about writing about it on here) I can slowly feel the debt repayments taking a backseat.

As for my excercise regime, fuggedaboutit. I haven’t done a good work out in about¬†a month. Oh I’ve gone to the gym, and gone for a few short runs, but not to the extent that I was 3 months ago (when I still had hope of becoming a firefighter) and I can feel the belly expanding underneath the suit and tie.

Social life? HA! What the hell is that? I just don’t have the energy or the inclination to go out. Again, yes I have gone out a few times, but usually it’s because I’ve been dragooned into doing so, or I feel obligated. I don’t go out of my way to actually keep it up, usually after work I’m so¬†exhausted that I only have enough energy to cook dinner, read a couple of pages of a book, watch a couple of episodes of a dvd, and I’m off to bed. As for relationships, better that I don’t inflict myself on anyone at this point in time.

This is why I think all you people, who can and do balance all these things are so damn awesome. I mean there are people, who talk about paying off debt, going to work, going to school, getting healthy AND socialising with friends. I feel exhausted just reading their blog, let alone even considering living that life.

So how do you do it kids? How do balance things out, so that everything in your life is awesome.

Yes, you. I’m looking at you. (you know who you are)¬†Speak now!

Hello payday + tax refund… holy crap I’m rich!


So I’ve been ill the past couple of days. And when I get sick I become an anti-social crotchety old grump, well more so than I usually am anyways. I don’t even like interacting with people via email and text while I’m sick. I just sit in a darkened room and feel sorry for myself until I get better. Yes, I’m one of THOSE people.

So today is the first day back at work, I’m feeling about 1000% better than I was on Tuesday, but only about probably only 50% normal. But I got a metaphorical¬†hop, skip and jump in my step, along with an energy drink intravenous injection when I opened up my browser to do the fortnightly bill payments.

What I was in my bank account was actually double what I was expecting.

So while I did my Snoopy Happy dance (see above), to the bewilderment of my work colleagues, I realised something. I have just stepped into a veritable minefield, and I’m tap-dancing my way across.

I’m good with consistent budgets. When I know how much money is coming in, at regular intervals, I can stick to it and usually come out on top (unless I get sick of it of course, but¬†that’s¬†a whooooole other issue). But when it comes to budgeting for those unexpected windfalls¬†(note: I always thought the word was “winfall”but apparently it is windfall. Basically¬†in reference to the olden days when fruit would be blown off a tree by the wind, therefore providing you with a tasty treat, but without the work… the things you learn from this blog… ūüėČ )¬†I tend to go all gooey-brained.

I mean my budget takes into account if any emergencies which may crop up, but I don’t think I’ve sat down and actually thought about what would happen if I got more money than expected. Okay, I was expecting this money, but its one thing to expect nearly 2 grand to be available to you, it’s another to actually see the extra¬†moolah in your bank account. And I’m not quite sure what to do with it. ¬†¬†I know I said I would keep it aside for paying off the lease amount of my old place, but I have these little voices suggesting the oh so many wonderful ways I could dispose of this money.

The little voice in the tweed jacket, bifocals and smoking a pipe says I should just pump it all into debt repayment, and stay for as long as possible in my current untenable living situation.

The voice in the slim cut, single breasted black suit with the red silk lining is shouting the word “suits” at me repeatedly. And emailing it to me. And texting it to me via his iPhone.

The greasy haired, sweatpants-wearing, pimple-ridden gamer voice in me wants to use the money to buy a new gaming desktop.

The khaki-wearing, polo-top aficionado, who is in “nesting” mode, wants to use the money to go out and buy some new furniture.

And the sane voice (har¬†har¬†har, yes there is ONE sane voice in my head. He’s usually gagged and tied up by the others but he’s there!) is mumbling through his gag that I should stick with the plan.

The thing I really don’t want to do, is to not listen to any of these voices and just slowly eat away at these funds, with NOTHING to show for it. If I’m going to blow the money, I’d like to have at least something to show for it, rather than spending it on crazy nights out.

Isn’t it funny, we plan our budgets, our spending, our life to cater for the bad things that could happen to us (“emergency fund” anyone?), but we seem to be at a loss, well I am anyways, when¬†we get a windfall.

I guess when it comes to money,¬†it’s not that often that we think¬†someone will give us more than expected, but¬†we fully expect to be charged a whole lot more than we thought.

Hell job, I love you. And yes I’m a little drunk. And yes it’s 1:34pm on a Friday.


Okay this government job rocks.

I’ve had three weeks (actually exactly 3 weeks 2 days ago) for the shine to come off, and everyday perception to come to the fore.

But I can tell you right now, I am still excited about being here.

Okay I’ve had 4 beers for lunch, and that might be colouring my perception on things but seriously, even without the beers. I am enjoying myself immensely.

There is a lot of opportunity to learn, opportunities to advance, opportunities to branch out to other works. My manager seems ecstatic about my current work¬†output but at the same time is able to identify places where I need improvement. The training progresses well. I’ve made significant connections with a few of my workmates. One has already offered me use of his gym membership for free! Which I am taking up. And I seem to be complimenting the team well in view of my skill set.

Today one of the guys took me out to the pub for a few drinks, the second time since I’ve started that I’ve gone for Friday lunch drinks. And I can see this continuing. It basically lets me see the office politics, but relaxed enough that I do not need to join in. It gives me the background information on the relationships that have already been established, but I still feel free to either act on the opinions voiced, or maintain neutrality.

Let me say first of all that I suck at office politics. I am the one person in the office that WILL treat everyone the same (unless you’re a complete douche bag to me, or you are actively stupid) I will treat my manager the exact same way I would treat the most junior member of my team (apart from myself that is). I just physically cannot treat anyone differently unless they are stupid (or a complete asshole). My previous managers have actually commented on this quality of mine, that I seem to be able to socialise/talk to comfortably¬†with anyone within an organisation. It’s not that I consciously¬†do it to pander to management. I usually just realise that I can do what you other people are doing given enough experience and/or training, and anyone could do what I do¬†if they had the same level of experience.¬† And its hard to kiss the arse of someone when you know they’re fundamentally like you except they’ve just been in the business more, or look down on someone just because they haven’t had the same experience as you.

Apparently this is a trait that is rare. Enough so that I tend to usually do great in career development reviews merely cause everyone in the office loves me.

I actually never thought this was rare until I landed my first office job, when I would get invited to meetings, and everyone would bitch about someone who¬†wasn’t present. And I sometimes wonder¬†whether or not I get the same treatment if I’m not around “that sweatpants, he kisses EVERYONES ass”. But such thoughts I rarely dwell on. If they do they do, if they don’t they don’t. Nothing in my power could stop them from doing it. I’m not going to act differently just cause a few people have an issue with it (which has become an issue in previous roles when CEO’s/General Managers believed I should pander to them).

So in conclusion I’m drunk and you’re all sexy. I love you kids!