Baby Doll – 17th August 2022

Made of plastic with a million others
Boxed and sold to potential mothers
Wrapped in cloth, put in a manger
Idolised when stolen by a stranger
Faith questioned by this random act
The perpetrator is family in fact
Purposes are being slowly revealed
With metaphors that were concealed

Inspired by the first season of TV show The Leftovers

I don’t like work – no man does – but I like what is in the work – the chance to find yourself. Your own reality – for yourself, not for others – what no other man can know. They can only see the mere show and never can tell what it really means.

Joseph Conrad

The Week That Was – 28th October 1979

Working From Cafe – 10th October 2021

Plug it in and power up
Working here with coffee cup
–Day and night slaving here
Waiting for beer o’clock

Wifi Password 9999
We got the power but not the time
–Living in a deadline fear
That must remain forever online

Twenty four seven three six five
Blown through another portable drive
–PDFs sent peer to peer
Waking up dead just to stay alive

Words were writ, emails sent
Both for and against the government
–What the fuck are you doing here?
With all the wasted time you spent

Earned a dollar, put in bank
Spent on all the coffees drank
–Your boss is making profit clear
Whilst you are just a mindless blank

Paycheck to paycheck, living for what? Every night I get drunk to get sunk – 11th February 2020

The continuum of Problem-solving:

You solve the visible problem.

You solve the problem that caused the visible problem.

You avoid the problem.

When solving visible problems, it’s easy to signal value creation to others. If you work in a large organization with a regular paycheck, few people ask if the problems should exist in the first place. Instead, everyone thinks you’re indispensable because you’re so busy solving problems.

As you move toward avoiding problems before they happen, visibility decreases. Explaining what you do all day becomes harder and more subjective. Rewarding people for something that didn’t happen is very difficult. Thus, it becomes risky for the employee to avoid problems.

From Farnam Street’s Brain Food Newsletter

“If you work in a large organization with a regular paycheck, few people ask if the problems should exist in the first place.” Reading this took me right back to my old IT office job.

I really loved that job when I first started. It was overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I worked my ass off to learn as quickly as I could. Years later I was rewarded with a technical administration position, which was better than it sounds.

It was a steep learning curve which involved a lot of testing, installations, maintenance, programming and 24 hour support. The product was a top of the range piece of software. It had just turned the year 2000 and money was flowing freely through the institutions that were supported. Work was interesting and fun.

Slowly, money started to dry up and upgrades were delayed. Often the users would demand it whilst their finance departments would not agree to pay for it. These battles went on consistently for about a decade. During that time all that I needed to do was to make sure the thing kept running. My typical work day could be over after 5 minutes of checking emails. So I made good use of the super fast internet, the office supplies and the printers.

Eventually they started replacing the product I was supporting with a cheaper alternative. Of course users complained because now their minor problems were turning into major problems. To save money, costed money. But it was more cost effective for my employer to pay penalties to the customer for fuckups than it was ensure the fuckups didn’t happen in the first place.

Eventually, after 13 years of arguing for better planning and products, sitting quietly doing my own things on company time, I was made redundant. It was an amazing relief to be honest, and it changed the course of my life. Much for the better, I like to think.

Now, wherever I am working, I can see the same redundant systems in place. The ‘work smarter, not harder’ mantra hasn’t managed to infiltrate everywhere as yet.

It won’t work,
Won’t work no more….

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for our beautiful house. It feels like a home.

I am so happy and grateful to make friends with these puppies, even though they ate my shoes.

Every everything (The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #15) – 7th December 2019

It’s taken me more than a year and a half to recover!

When I returned from the CELTA training course I found my brain had changed.  I seem to flip between data driven thinking and artistic thinking and often cannot find a good balance.  The training was very linear and intensive (as it should be) and on reflection now, some 18 months later, was easier to complete than I imagined beforehand and during.  The pressure to achieve was very high but that pressure mostly came from within.  Now, I realise that I can turn my hand to anything if I wish to.

Of course, the circumstances since the training have mostly helped me arrive at this conclusion.  First I started doing some free teaching with students from the local university.  This gave me a little self confidence though I was often shocked at the students poor language levels, in the language they are studying for their degrees, whatever the subject.  I can suggest to myself that I could probably easily complete a degree at the university here purely based on the fact I can use the language fully.  Anyway, that’s by the by for now as I’m not really considering that as an option at the moment.

After a few months kicking around and enjoying much free time I ended up working with Grade 5 students at a nearby provincial school.  I have a million stories from there, many which I would like to forget.  I soon discovered the crazy dysfunction in the education system here.  If it’s obvious to me, an unqualified teacher starting their first job then the system must be pretty poor.

I don’t intend to tarnish the education system as a whole as that would be unfair.  The circumstances I was in influenced a lot of my impressions and I try to understand that what I saw was not indicative of other places.  It was, however, the belief of many others teaching here that things are not much better elsewhere in the country.  There are a million reasons for this and books could be filled trying to explain.  The main down side for me was that I felt that I was unable to do a good job and provide useful learning for the students a lot of the time.  I hate doing a bad job – especially when eventually someone else is going to suffer for it.  So that was the other down side – watching willing students deal with the inadequacies of the system which lead to inconsistency in almost everything.  Frustrating beyond belief.

Beyond that though I have found myself with a passion and love for the students that has made me incredibly happy.  It’s a job that I really love to invest my time in and to go to work to do it.  I’ll talk more about this in future.

Just a short one this time as I push myself to get back into this.

“Every heartbeat, every movement, every moment, every sigh.”

Gratitude Journal

I am so grateful and happy to go to school on Friday, which was hard as I had been sick this week and had a bad experience on Monday. The kids also drove me crazy and made me quite angry but I survived and talked to Kru Noon about strategies to get them to listen more. I will take her advice and try this next week!

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #15

Music from Hamster Theatre, Super Thief, Infidel-Castro!, Arm, Kultur Shock, Captain Beefheart, Fugazi, Bogshed, Brainiac, Neon Rose, By The End of Tonight, Rafter, Huggy Bear, Jimmy Two Hands, Zu/Mats Gustafsson, Secret Hate and The Ex.

No windows, no ceiling or floor – 30th September 2019

Woke up just before my alarm. In my dream, I was trying to enter a password for something but kept getting it wrong. Things are fairly normal at home. Normal is good. Why I write this is because all our cats are happy at the moment.

All the humans are happy too.

My last week at school. Very relaxed. Not sure about what is coming up next – well, actually, I am. It’s holiday time. LIve in the moment. Your job doesn’t define you.

Gratitude Journal

Playing sport with some of the school kids made me smile, even when I fell over and hurt myself! I smiled and laughed with Amy a lot this week, feeling better about things in general. I smiled coming to school knowing that a holiday is coming and I will be leaving this environment. I smiled at Kim Chi and Cap chasing each other around the house. I smiled when the big dead lizard made Amy jump a mile into the air!

9th Mar 2021 – When I think about working at schools in Thailand I can’t help but believe that I am there for the student’s education and I care more about them than the ‘adults’ working there, who I can generally take or leave. The Thai staff at the schools I have worked at have a different agenda entirely as far as I can tell.

We got that attitude! – 27th September 2019

Even though a new job feels like it may involve more work, it is a relief to leave this current job.

When I think back to my other jobs I can identify a person who made life difficult in many of them. Sometimes I could handle it well but I have a great sense of injustice with many of them. I can’t control their personalities but find it difficult to control my own reactions.

I will try to improve.

Gratitude Journal

I am grateful for my mother and the respectful characteristics she instilled in me. She taught me to be independent and showed me how to do it.

27th Feb 2021 – It’s inevitable we start to see our parents in our own actions when we are older and have stopped fighting against them to find our own way. I was lucky my mum was a good one. I sometimes think about my old friends and their parents and wonder what quirks they now enact.