I finished reading Markus Zusak’s The Messenger this morning in my hammock. I really enjoyed this book, but was disappointed by the ending. It felt lazy, and while I’m a fan of inconclusive endings, this one tried to come to a conclusion but it didn’t quite make it.
I did however appreciate the idea behind the messages, and the rest of it didn’t feel contrived at all. One passage especially stood out to me:
“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
Two weeks ago I learned that my position at work was being made redundant. As I am clearly now an expert on redundancy, I thought I’d share with you some advice about what you can expect to think and feel if you are also made redundant. I have come to the conclusion that being made redundant is similar to driving a car, so here are five phases or responses you might have if you are made redundant, presented to you in terms of a car ride: (Note: This is not a normal car ride…)
Phase 1: Rear-Ended
When you are driving a car and are rear-ended, it is never your fault. You are a victim, and you experience shock as you try to come to grips with what has just happened. You may have some injuries, and you may take some time to recover and start thinking logically. The same is true with redundancy. You usually don’t see it coming, and are shocked when it happens. You are reminded that it’s not based on your performance, that you did nothing wrong–yet it happened anyway. You are angry at the person who decided your role was redundant and wish the situation was different.
Phase 2: Broken Down in the Middle of Nowhere
This is where reality sets in. You thought you knew where you were going, you had a map, and you were on your way there. Now you don’t know where you are, where you’re supposed to be, or which direction to head off in. You don’t even know how long you will be stuck here.
Phase 3: Ring the RAC (or AAA for the Americans)
We’re past the blame game, and now it’s time to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. You’re angry. Make that insurance claim! You’ve gathered all the details, you’ve contacted the insurance company (or, in the case of redundancy, the Fair Work Ombudsman) and you’ve asked all your questions about your obligations and entitlements. You start to think about how to repair your vehicle (or your career) and browse the car companies (job advertisements) for good deals. However, you still think wistfully about your old car (job).
Phase 4: Detour
Moving forward after being made redundant is like taking a detour and never returning to your original route. You were driving along just fine towards your destination, when suddenly you came upon some roadwork which led you to turn off your planned route. Instead of detouring momentarily and then continuing towards your original destination, when you are made redundant the detour becomes permanent. Sometimes it can eventually lead to a similar destination, if you end up in the role you were working towards but with a different company, but it will never lead to the exact destination you set out to reach. However, you will find that the detour brought you some new and exciting opportunities–a lookout point or a giant wooden aardvark you otherwise would have missed. It’s at this point that you begin to think about the future and what it might hold for you.
Phase 5: Road Trip
This is the part where you realise the whole world is open to you! Before your redundancy, you had a set path and couldn’t have veered off course without disrupting your chances at reaching your goal. Now, you can do anything you want. You have received a redundancy package, which should help you through the next few months, and you can choose to continue on a similar road or you can turn onto a new road and see what is there to discover–either way, you will get somewhere good.
I stand corrected. Apparently, America does make pillowcases with end pockets in them! At least, my friend A. has some, and she bought them at a Target in the U.S. Who knew?
What is the difference between these two pairs of pillowcases?
Look carefully. Look at the ends. Look at the openings. What do you see (or don’t see)?
On the left, you see a pillow sticking out of the end of the bottom pillowcase, and a floppy opening at the end of the top pillowcase. On the right, you see neat & tidy pillowcases with pillows tucked inside the ends. How is this possible? Clever Australians!
Pillow cases in Australia are made with an extra pocket of material at the open end to tuck over the pillow. See example below:
It keeps the pillow inside and makes it look nice. Why haven’t American pillowcase manufacturers (or others around the world) picked up on this detail yet?
Needless to say, I haven’t been taking my daily photo this month. When January began, I forgot to start a new theme for the photos, and continued to take “what makes me smile” photos for the first six days. Then I got distracted. In February, which is 4 days away, I’ll start again, with February’s theme being “textures.”
Here are a few more photos I took in January:
It’s 2013. How did I do with my 2012 reading list? Pretty well, I’d say. Some categories I didn’t touch, while others I doubled my goal. Along with the list below, I also read about twelve magazine and journal articles about design thinking and human-centered design.
1 biography or memoir
- A Friend Like Henry by Nuala Gardner
1 how-to book
- Food Rules by Michael Pollan
32 short story collections
- To Cut a Long Story Short by Jeffrey Archer
- 1 book on craft
1 historical novel 2 books by authors I’ve never read 2 books by authors I’ve read and want more of
- 1 book in a new discipline/field of interest
21 book by local authors
- Fugitive Blue by Claire Thomas
21 children’s book
- 2 classics
- 1 re-read
- 1 book of great heft
64 books of poetry
- 2 literary journals
1 nonfiction/literary journalism book
- 1 travel writing
- 1 humorous book
12issues of The Sun Magazine
- January – December 2012 issues