Friday, October 30, 2009

I’m late – so are 1,000,000 people – hold that bus

Every family has this problem, doesn’t matter if it is Monday morning for school and work, or Sunday morning for sport. The kids can not get organised.

Every weekday I have the same argument, This argument is no longer.

I fixed it, plain and simple. I started for a week telling them that the bus into town doesn’t wait for them, so why should I?

Then that progressed to me starting the car and waiting 2 minutes. The next stage is waiting 1 minute and driving 100 metres.

I think you get the message – the longer they take – the further away you are from the front door. I suppose I have the advantage in that I live on a farm and the nearest public bus is 7km away, the school bus only 800m (which I normally make the kids walk) and my sons school is something like 20km away.

But they are getting the message – 1 bus will not wait for 1 person, because that bus has a schedule to keep and so do I – so now my bus leaves on time, more often than not with all passengers on board and I no longer have a yelling match trying to hurry them along.

Once again – have fun – children and schedules and all that fun – are just part of growing up – the less you pander – the easier your life will be ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

House ownership – for and against

I’m not sure why there is an argument regarding this issue. I really don’t know.

I’ve owned property since I was 19yo – simply because the price was right, the area was right and bugger paying someone else for me to live there.

Consequently I now live in an area that I want to – I am not yet mortgage free, but I am certainly better off paying a mortgage than paying rent – thus lining someone’s else pockets.

The average rent for an average house in suburbia is $300-$400 per week.

Using the same suburb, the median houses prices are $300-$400k – let’s assume you have $10-$20k stashed away somewhere. The average mortgage repayment would be $430.00 per week at 5.64% per annum.

The difference being $30.00 per week MORE for something that will be yours sometime down the track.

Notice I have worked on a slightly higher figure than the current rate – you have to be realistic.

Alright – so you have the maintenance costs, the rates costs, all that sort of thing, perhaps add another $50.00 per week to cover this expenditure.

The difference is now $100.00 per week (rounded up for the sake of convenience) more than renting.

I understand that some people rent for convenience, ie, their job requires that they move, they are testing the area, they are trying to locate a property in the area. There are many reasons to rent.

The problem I have with people renting, especially those that have an established income stream is that they are throwing money away.

Refer to this post Mortgages, Ownership and Interest Rates I make reference to affordability and being realistic. You can’t always have the best house in the best street, but you can be realistic and buy something you can afford and get ahead that way.

By considering a mortgage it will save you money in the long term – just like money in the bank. It won’t be easy, but I know I would prefer my money be in my pocket and not a landlords pocket.

This is a PERSONAL view, please consult a person with a financial background before committing to anything that you may see written here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Muck up (Get Arrested Day) for Students

Yup – that is what it seems the celebration for finishing year 12 has come to.

I woke up this morning to the radio news telling me that an incident occurred on and near a railway station in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. That the same school students who were doing the assaulting (Which is what it is) were under attack 2 days prior and I believe 1 or 2 students still remain in hospital. Those attackers have not been located yet.

In the railway station attack a teacher was man-handled when they tried to intervene by removing 2 cartons of eggs from offending students.

Is this considered acceptable in today’s society? – I think not. But perhaps I am wrong.

On the way to taking my son to school – who I normally drop off approx 1km from school and let him walk, I decided to drop him off at the school gates as there were students in costume yelling and screaming, with air horns and sirens, I felt threatened – I can’t imagine what my 12yo son would have thought. But knowing him – he would likely join in – which is something I wanted to avoid!!

Has there been such a drop in moral standards – that today’s children think it is acceptable to threaten, bully and attack both other students and people in authority because ‘it is their right?’

My daughter who has just completed Year 12 – and her muck-up day was Tuesday, she said that they had no problems, that everything went smoothly. Only one concern, which she did mention but didn’t seem to think odd. One of the rabbits (there were two) did not speak and no-one was aware who it was. This didn’t raise an eyebrow with her, maybe I am too suspicious, but I thought perhaps an interloper? Don’t know, but all was okay in the end.

Today’s youth, from about the ages of 15 to about the age of 25, seem to think that they can do as they please, whenever they please, regardless of who they hurt/kill/maim and it doesn’t matter.

And here we go – when I was growing up – if I EVER spoke back to my parents or an adult in authority – there were consequences. God help us if we spoke back to a police officer. I understand that not every parent, every person in authority, every police officer is always right, but what about the majority? Do normal law-abiding citizens have to cower inside their homes and cars and hope that nothing happens.

Does the ordinary citizen have to walk away from helping people in distress because of the threat of attack?

Muck-Up-Day – is not only the responsibility of the school, it is the responsibility of the parents, to ensure that they know what their children are up, that those children know the boundaries, that these children know when enough is enough.

Life is not a video game – you can’t just press reset.

Muck-Up-Day as a celebration is fine – but get it off the streets, and back in to the school yard, away from the public eye and punish those students that do things off school ground IN school uniform and bring the school into disrepute.

God save the youth of today, because it would appear no-one else has the power.

The Peanuts and the Elephants

I like analogies; they tell a lot about the situation, they tell a lot about the person.

They can convey a message without it seeming harsh, they can convey a very important message without losing the meaning.

I work in the financial field and often have to remind business owners that the elephants are not the bread and butter of business, they are the cream.

The peanuts are the small business owners – who more often than not pay their bills on time – who rarely screw you for price. Who are friendly and certainly less demanding than the big multi-national or even the national company.

How many times have you read in the news that company A has failed and with it company B and C are dragged down?

This is due to the fact that Company B and C failed to look after the peanuts, the smaller companies, the companies that pay their bills on time and are less demanding.

If company B & C had looked after the peanuts, the small fry, the small business, they would have these companies to fall back on – but often companies B & C are enticed by the lure of money, of the next big job, of the next big payment waiting to come in next week and they overlook the bread and butter.

Peanuts might be smaller, but they are far more numerous and certainly taste better than an elephant.

I would rather have 10 small companies owing me $10,000 in total, than one big company owing me $10,000. I know for a fact that 9 of those small companies can’t fail, whereas that one big one might just do that that.

If you are in business, regardless of the size, make sure you look after the peanuts, you can eat them, but elephants, they require much care and hard work before they are edible.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

I don’t like liars, I don’t like people who lie for personal advancement, I don’t like people who lie to get something over someone else, or lie for money.

I have experienced all the above and it is rare for these people not to get caught out in the long run.

Some people call it justice, some people call it truth. I call it karma.

I have come to believe in karma in a big way.

I believe in a life that let’s me lie straight in bed. If the decision you make is from the heart – then you have made the right decision.

I’ve seen people cornered by their lies and I have no sympathy. Perhaps I am too hard on them – but they lied they can deal with the consequences.

I’ve seen people who try to buy their way into the good books, by involving themselves in charity donations and similar – but this doesn’t satisfy karma.

Karma demands honesty, karma demands clarity, karma demands a clean heart and conscience.

If you lie and think it is okay. Think again. You have to live your life and the older you get, the harder it gets.

Although Karma is central to the Buddhism and Hinduism religions, that doesn’t make it exclusive to those religions. It is something that can be followed by anyone, without participating in religion itself.

Stay true to yourself and you will be surprised at the peace of mind that follows.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Old friends in a new world

Was talking to someone the other night. Someone who I never met before. We had ‘talked’ online but nothing more. This meeting came about because we both had cancelled commitments and figured waste not want not! We organized a meeting place and enjoyed several coffees. We discussed many things from book likes and dislikes to attitudes of society to employment records and likes and dislikes relating to our areas of employment.

We covered almost everything in a very short amount of time.

We had both worked contract work. We both enjoyed learning, we both disliked forced leave, we both enjoy learning new things and doing new things, or projects. We both enjoy computers, the hardware and the software and enjoy learning as technology advances.

One thing we both found hard to believe is that there are people out there who dislike change, who refuse to use upgraded programs and hardware, simply because they don’t want/can’t be bothered learning.

We realized that we were both ‘outsiders’ in a mundane world. We both enjoyed learning, we both enjoying challenges, we are unable to sit at home and veg in front of the TV.

Some people who are not computer literate, can’t understand why people, strangers want to meet and talk. It is not only networking for business purposes, but meeting like this enables people of like mindedness to discuss openly without judgement, topics that can be considered taboo within ‘normal’ friendships.

This is not the first time I have gone out on a limb and decided what have I got to lose. I have met people in outback NSW, cafes in shopping centres, bistros of hotels (where EVERYONE except me turned up late!). Some interesting people, some interesting times and you know what? I enjoyed every single meeting and maintain contact with everyone.

We all lead busy lives, perhaps it’s time to get out from behind the computer screen and meet real people in the real world and discuss real topics and find people of similar ideas and ideals and smell the roses a little more.

There are often groups that meet up, once a month or similar – but the very busy people will often find these times don’t suit family or work commitments.

Often a one on one meeting in a public place is more comfortable AND more enjoyable, simply because you are not vying for attention with others.

Try it – It can’t hurt, a public place, a place comfortable and local to both parties.

I enjoyed my second ‘offline’ meeting of an ‘online’ friend – Try it – you might actually like it!

Good luck.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tattoos, piercings, and ‘other’ body art

You know what? – I must be a square peg in a round hole. But looking back over my years, I have never once been tempted to get pierced, branded, tattooed, or cut in the name of art.

I realize that ‘body art’ is a form of individualism, a form of rebellion – but when you are 50yo, 60yo, 70yo – how do you explain to your grandchildren the ear lobes which have holes in them, the size of a small family car? That the lovely piece of art that was on your breast is now somewhere near your belly button and twice the size it used to be.

What about piercings which are common these days, once upon a time it was fashionable but somewhat risqué to have your ears pierced once. Now it is uncommon. The more holes the merrier it seems.

Another thing I have trouble with is skin carving(I won’t publish pictures as they are quite graphic, but google “Skin Carving” and you’ll see what I mean) Why would you wish to go through the pain and risk the infection for something that is considered ‘art’, will disfigure you for life and can never ever be removed.

When you are 20 and drunk, getting your boyfriends/girlfriends name emblazoned on your chest in indelible ink might seem cool and smart. But what about when you are 30 or 40 and yet to find a soul mate? – Would it be considered cool then?

The funniest story that I recall occurred in 2007, a young man while overseas, decided to get a tattoo. Should be no problems we all say –he wanted a matched pair on each bicep. He drew a picture of what he wanted, he labeled each with left and right. No problems. He sits in the chair, during the procedures manages to down 15 beers. 5 ½ hours later goes back to the motel and to bed. His brother in law walks in the next morning and has a giggle – under each tattoo is left on the left arm and right on the right arm and both tattoos had the word 'gay' rather than 'day'. Imagine living with that for the rest of your life!

Then there is the child and at 16yo she is still a child who had 56 stars tattooed across her face – what can you say?

I might be square, I might be backwards, I’m sorry – but an unadorned body I find prettier than one scarred with all sorts of garbage, that some call art-work.

Maybe I don’t appreciate art, maybe I don’t understand the tribalism behind these things, maybe I am old fashioned – but stuff the lot of you – You were born the way you were for a reason and it wasn’t to join some imaginary cult – that does nothing other than harm your employability.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Morals in the employment field

I once had the opportunity to accept a high paying job, very close to home. One that on the surface, it suited me – I suited it.

The job interview was a success, the offices were nice, the parking good, like I said everything a girl could want.

UNTIL………………….. I was browsing the product lines that were manufactured and I realized this company made energy drinks. This was way before they become a fad, way before people even knew what they were and how much damage they could cause when used incorrectly.

The product was not widely available back then, the warning label clearly stated, not suitable for people under the age of 18years, not suitable for pregnant or lactating women, not suitable if you have a heart condition. So many warnings on a product that was available on the open market to be abused.

I made a decision, right there, right then. Regardless of the outcome of the interview, regardless of the pay conditions, regardless of how good the position was – I would not take this position.

I could not take this position on moral grounds.

I would be interested in your thoughts and what you would have done in the same situation.

Would you have refused the position, as I did on moral grounds? Would you accepted the position and figure it was for everyone else to look after themselves?

What would you do?

Comments please!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kids and Discipline

I love my children, I would like to think they are the best out there – we all want to think that – we all wish for that.

The difference between my children and the next is often only in the beholders eyes.

I would like to think my children are perfect, but in my heart I know they are not.

I would like to think my children can do no wrong – but that is not possible

Every child and every adult on this planet has faults, that is human nature.

Often I find that children that are classified as troublemakers or similar, aren’t necessarily bad at heart, they are just confused. They receive mixed messages from home, from school from someone they look up to.

One of the worst things a parent can do is contradict the school and the teachers. An example of this was a child that didn’t wear his blazer, school policy requires that he wear a blazer, when in school uniform off the premises. That was a condition of attending the school. The child was subsequently caught NOT wearing said blazer and received a detention. The parent decided that it was only a small ‘infringement’ and the child shouldn’t have to do the detention. This causes two problems. The first being that school knows nothing and rule breaking is no big deal, the second is that the parent shows the child that rules can be broken and it’s okay.

I disagree completely with this attitude, if my child decided not to wear his blazer (different school, same policy) I have asked him to consider how he is getting home after the detention (we live 25km from the school and 7km from public transport). My thoughts being that if he chooses to break the rules, he can sort out the consequences and repercussions of such behavior. 12 months in and still no detention for not wearing his blazer, which indicates one of two things, either he is wearing his blazer OR he hasn’t been caught yet.

Another example, was my darling daughter, you have met her before, was caught wagging, she received 3 lunchtime detentions and I had to sign a note indicating that I was aware of this. I signed the note and then added please double said punishment. Didn’t hear anything back from the teacher, but my daughter in the 3 years since has never been caught wagging again, so once again I can only assume that either she hasn’t been wagging OR she hasn’t been caught.

Children need boundaries, they also need to be able explore their environments and be able to suffer the consequences (as long as those consequences won’t harm them) as often as possible.

I have blogged about bits and pieces of this previously – here are some examples:-
I hope this will save my daughter’s life sometime in the future – a little pain now – might save a lot of pain later on:- Children, Roos, Seatbelts and Windscreens - Childrens, Roos, Seatbelts and Windscreens

I hope this shows my children that yes I can be hard, but there is a reason for being so and sometimes, you think life is pretty hard, well this shows that you have it pretty good by comparison:- Kids and Life

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kids and the internet

We’ve heard it all before – put the computer in the main part of the house, monitor the time the kids spend on the computer. Discuss with them all aspects of cyber-bullying.

The government some time ago – supported a program called K9 – now what is K9 you ask? It is a program that allows you to monitor what your children are doing, where they are going and what times they can access the internet and what they can access.
K9 web protection as it is called can be located here -
I have used K9 and I can recommend K9. Once the program has been trained it is an excellent nanny – regardless of where the computer is located. It barks when something is accessed that is not permitted. It blocks access to the internet when directed to do so.
Overall it is a good simple program that is understandable and easy to use.
This doesn’t mean that your job as a parent now ceases, it is a tool ,that enables you to be a ‘better’ parent. So that you can have a shower and not wonder if the kids are checking out the ‘biggest willie’ site or similar.

You can access the program directly and check where the children have been.
The only thing that you are not warned about – make sure that email address used to join is not accessible by the people you are trying to monitor – That is the only warning NOT issued and perhaps should be.
I have used K9 and can recommend it as a tool – remember it does not replace real parenting, it will not stop cyber-bullying – but it may help assist you with these problems.
Good luck and best wishes! – Kids will be kids – but with you as a parent – I am sure they are better for it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Children, Roos, Seatbelts and Windscreens

Setting the scene

8.00am, dropping teenage daughter off at bus-stop because I am passing. I’m not normally so nice. It’s only 800m!

There is a ‘dog-leg’ in the road, and often as you approach or come out of the ‘dog-leg’ there can be roos, jumping over the fences, generally getting in the way – It doesn’t matter what speed you do – It ALWAYS happens.

As we approach the corner – I notice that my daughter is not wearing her seatbelt – I thought I had drummed into my children, get into car, close door, put seatbelt on; in that order. They are now old enough that I shouldn’t have to check. I commented to her “Are you comfortable?” – She replies “Yeah”

I touch the brakes, a light tap, she head-butts the windscreen. The abuse starts. By this time we are at the bus stop. I stop car, she gets out and then the REAL conversation starts via SMS.

Daughter – Thanks a lot now my head I pounding n I feel really dizzy I hope your happy with yourself
Reply – Failure 2 wear ur seatbelt is $180 fine and points off your license. Even as passenger. Besides that I thought I’d always taught you – get in car put seatbelt on
Daughter – wells that’s a great reason to attempt to put my head through the windscreen
Reply – No. That’s the whole point. I want you alive
Daughter – So u smash my head against the wind shield and have no thought that it will actually hurt
Reply – Personal Responsibility! What’s difference between my car and yours? You drive yours. Wear your belt 100% of the time or prepare to die. Who will you blame then?
No further reference has ever been made to this conversation – but I notice now that she always puts her seatbelt on.

So a Win? A Life Lesson?

I can only hope it is enough of lesson to teach her – no matter how short the distance, you can die 400m from home.

**All names have been changed to protect the guilty

**All texts are presented as sent

**Any spelling mistakes are the fault of modern day TXT speech!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Sad Passing of Common Sense.

This ode was sent to me in 2006 and after recent conversations - I thought it topical to post.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Panadol, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student; but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

(I'm not sure of the origins of this little dedication - but thank-you to the person who composed it)

If you know the origins, please post it would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Barking mad

Set the scene – Rural average, 11 houses in total, every house has dog(s). Everyone is pretty happy with their lot in life.

One house seems to attract all the dogs in the street, be it big dogs or small dogs – they all end up at the house at some time during the day. Being fed and generally just rolling around on the back door step until the owners come home and then the dogs disperse!

There is a new couple on the street, the dogs are treated like children, birthday cakes when they turn of age etc. Some of us dog lovers think they are mad.

Imagine a long weekend, Imagine from a property emits the sounds of barking dogs, not for 1-2 hours, not for 8 hours but for the entire 72 hours, dogs bark.

It is not the Bassett, it’s not the Springer Spaniel, it’s not the German Shepherd, it’s not the Bitzer or the Boxer. It’s not the Jack Russell nor the Blue Heeler or the Rottweiler. It’s the two ‘Children’ they have been left alone, left alone is something they are not used to, it is something foreign to them. They are not used to amusing themselves, they are not used to not being doted upon. They are not used to being locked out of the house.

They are driving everyone in the street mad. They bark day and night, they bark night and day. They bark without stopping. I pity the people next door to them. Their bedroom is less than 20m away from the kennels. My bedroom is perhaps 100m from the kennels. The people in the valley 4 doors down ring me and ask which dogs are barking?

It had got to the stage that a mutiny was declared. A poison pen letter was composed and dropped in the mail box.

They get home, they take offense at said letter, they decide the street is the enemy.

The noise continues, the neighbours move out because of the noise. They are burgled and because they have ostracised the street are unable to ask if we, the neighbours saw anything. They can’t even ask the neighbours to collect the mail now – they have to pay someone to do that.

If you have dogs, it’s fine to treat them like children. But if you treat them children, that means they will behave like children. You don’t leave Children unattended for 3 days straight do you?

Think of your neighbours, think of yourself. In times of need, you need your neighbours. Do not ostracise those that may one day be useful

Take it from someone who knows! **wink**

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mortgages, Ownership and Interest Rates

The news today is saying that interest rates are going up on mortgages. I see people are already panicking about this.

They curse the banks, they seem to think that it’s the banks fault they are struggling with their repayments. People look for others to blame for their problems.

Here is my story:-

**Purchased first home November 1987. A 10sq 1970’s brick house, close to amenities and schools, ripe for renovation and new carpet and paint
· Interest rates 17-18%
· Paid off March 1990
· We went without new cars, we went without new furniture, we went without renovations, we went without dining out, we went without entertainment.

**Purchased second home June 1996. A 8sq 1930’s weatherboard house, miles from anywhere with 5 acres attached. Or what is known in the industry as a ‘Renovators Delight’
· Interest Rates 5-9%
· Still paying off, but there has been illness and accidents
· We lived in the old house for 7 years, whilst saving and collecting for the ‘new’ house. We still did without new cars, new furniture, dining out and entertainment and had two children to support.

Now you are sitting back and saying that we suffered, that we did it too hard. That we must have had parents help, that we must have good paying jobs. Ummm sorry to shoot you down, but we had none of that. If fact we were 19yo and 23yo. No university degrees, no qualifications, nothing other than the desire to move ahead in life and do it with minimal distress.

What I am trying to impress upon my readers is that – to move into the ‘best’ suburb, to move into the ‘’best’ house in the ‘best’ street , may not actually be in your ‘best’ interests.

I will be able to when I am 50yo sit back and not have to worry about where the next rent payment is coming from, not have to worry about the where the next mortgage payment is coming from. Everything should be paid off soon.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

You must make your biggest life purchase, with the thought in the back of your mind, what happens if something goes wrong? What happens if there is a car accident? What happens if we accidentally become a family?

Life is interesting, life is fun, life is also unpredictable and you must be prepared.

There is no way possible that we would have been able to achieve what we did without finance. But we approached the idea of finance with the respect it deserves.

Be the interest rates of 5% or 17% you must be able to afford the worst case scenario. If you are unable to afford them, then perhaps you need to consider selling and moving into something smaller. Or starting again, using the period that you were paying the mortgage as a period in your life you lived rent-free.

We now can go out to the occasional dinner, the occasional movie, we even bought a new car or two. But we looked at each major purchase and the ramifications of each purchase before purchasing.

Many people think that money comes easily.

Money does not grow on trees. It grows through hard work and respect.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Workplaces and ‘Workplaces’

Let’s first quantify my experience. Just so you know that I am speaking from experience.

I started my working life some 20 years ago. I think I have been unemployed for 1 week in that entire time and that was only because I didn’t take a job that was 2 hours by car from my front door. So you could say I have never been willfully unemployed in my entire life.

There is not much I haven’t done, from packing boxes, to balancing tills, to managing companies, to organizing procedure manuals. I can do anything you throw at me. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve waited on tables. Sometimes I have one job, sometimes I have two . Just depends on what is on offer at the time.

Mostly my work has been contract, but there has been some full-time positions thrown in for good luck.

I’ve had some good employers, I’ve had bad.

I find that companies that insist that because they pay you, they own you, are those companies that have a tendency to fall over.

Companies that treat each and every employee as an asset, are an asset to themselves and create a better work environment and consequently the employee is a better employee.

Companies that use the mushroom policy (Keep you in the dark) tend to think that they are in control, but are in fact companies that are so full of politics and bad apples, that once again, are not worth working for.

I’ve worked for all 3 types of companies, I worked for the controlling boss,(not happy unless everyone is tip-toeing around) I’ve worked for the seagull (Flies in, shits all over the place and leaves). I’ve worked for the tortoise, (The boss that hides in shell the minute something goes wrong)

It is hard to find a job where you can care – simply because if the people around you don’t care – they bring you down.

I’ve left jobs simply because the boss has crapped once too often on the front door step and made the whole company smell. I’ve left because the darkness is just too oppressive. I’ve left because other employees don’t care and I got sick playing salmon and fighting for my life going upstream all the time.

I have found that a majority of the people only turn up to work because they get paid. They don’t care about the work, they don’t care about the company. They can’t see that their behavior/actions/inaction can create a work environment which is pleasant to work in.

Many people only start to care once their jobs are in jeopardy and by then it is often too late. Why must people be threatened when they know what has to be done, but choose not to do because they don’t want to?

Personally, myself I prefer working for a company that cares about the customers and the company’s image and not about the money – yes money is important, but it is secondary to the company. Failure to look after the image of the company, means that the money will not come in the front door.

I have seen customers abused, I’ve seen customers shamed into accepting goods that are not 100%. I’ve seen customers intimidated. I’ve seen customers abandon a company because the one person they could turn to for answers in that company, no longer works for that company.

A good employee will not stay with a company that does not care. A good employee will not stay with a company that can only see dollar signs and not the ultimate goal of business, which is to service the customer. Without customers a business does not exist.

And a good boss, isn’t a seagull, a tortoise or a stand-over man.

A good boss understands that sometimes things don’t go to plan. A good boss understands mistakes do happen. A good boss understands that customer relationships are just as important. A good boss will address customer concerns and complaints and not sweep them under the carpet as ‘just a problem customer.’

A good workplace is reflected in the employees and this gives the customers a sense of well-being and value that often is missing in the dog-eat-dog world of commerce.

A good workplace will value its employees along with its customers and treat both equally.

Here is a toast to all the good business owners, the good managers, the good employees. Keep up the good work and remember you are not alone.

There are other oddities out there just like you.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kids and Life

Yes I am qualified to blog about this topic – I have two wonderful children and have had many pass through my front door in their times of need. (I am not a foster parent), but when a child needs somewhere to retreat from the world for 2-3 days – they seem to find my place and my children!

Anyway, back on topic. In the almost 18 years that I have been a parent to my own children and the various strays that I have picked up. There has been a common thread in all the problems. That problem is a dysfunctional family unit. It is common for people to blame the dysfunctional family unit on divorce. This is not always the case. There are often other factors causing the problems that I see.

Case 1 – A grandparent of a child approaches me at day care and aks if I wouldn’t mind picking up grandchild because she is unable to make it there before closing. NO problems, I am not going to leave the child because the parent/grandparent/carer is busy. This child becomes one of the family and often would inadvertently refer to either myself or my husband as mum or dad.

It turns out that the grandmother was not in a happy relationship with her partner, instead of addressing this issue and moving on, she persists and had many boyfriends, whilst her daughter is growing up. The daughter in turn can’t resolve personal problems/issues and turns to drugs to cope. When it was requested that we care for this child, the natural mother AND father were both in jail for drug offences.

Moving forward some years, the grandmother, who was once the main carer of the grandchild has dumped the child, the natural mother is once again in jail after having a further 3 children to different fathers. The child is now residing with the stepmother and natural father, the alternate was state care. We still see this child after 15 years of being involved as her carer. I only hope that one day if something goes bad, she remembers her ‘other family’ in her time of need.

Case 2 – Once again a grandparent approaches me from my street and acknowledges that both the children are of the same age and perhaps they would like to become playmates. I have no objections, the grandparents concerned are wonderful giving people, who would give the shirt off their own back if they had. Once again this child integrates into our family unit and would spend every weekend and school holidays at our place.

One more mouth, one more child is not an issue for us.

It turns out that the natural mother in her teenage/young adult years smoked marijuana. Which everyone claims is safe. Unfortunately I don’t believe this is the case, as the mother now has psychotic episodes that affect her ability to care for her child and subsequent children.

Moving forward, the child concerned was labeled a ‘problem child’ because the mother insisted she was, is now often so high on legal drugs that she is unable to communicate effectively and because of issues at home can no longer look a person in the face.

It is sad to see a child so down trodden and unhappy. She still comes to our place, but would rather sit secluded in the bedroom away from daily family life as she finds it too hard to deal with normal family issues. I have trouble seeing what future lays ahead for this child.

In case 1 – I believe that due to the nurturing of the stepmother, she will be fine and should be able to get ahead in life as long as she stays away from other dysfunctional children and families.

In case 2 – It makes me cry - because I saw the child that was, and I see the child that is. I believe that in this instance, care should have been granted to the grandparents as was requested, but denied. The reason for the defense? Because the mother needed the family payments to survive. Yet to gain custody from the natural father – she claimed that she was staying with the grandparents, which she moved out as soon as custody was awarded.

My two children in seeing these children are very aware of how lucky they are, very aware that they have it pretty good, very aware that we are strict but at the same time reasonable. There have been other cases, but these are the two that we as a family have been involved in the longest. I would like to believe that both my children are well adjusted and know right from wrong. Only time will tell.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Road Rules/Law

Australia has road rules for a reason, many people choose not to abide by these rules, which are in fact law. They complain when they are fined, they complain when they lose their license and then continue to drive whilst unlicensed, justifying this action with “But I NEED to drive to get to work” This doesn’t wash. You should have thought of that before you committed the offence(s).

I am sure many of you reading this are nodding your head, but at the same time think that the police are too hard. You can’t have it both ways, either you have a license or you don’t. A license is a privilege not a right of passage when you turn 18.

My biggest bug-bear and the reason for writing this article is that I can travel upwards of 600-700km per week. I am not a sales rep, I am not a professional driver, this is just normal driving hours as far as I am concerned. I get extremely upset and frustrated when people on a dual lane highway think it is their god given right to travel in the right hand lane and then cut across lanes of traffic to access the off ramp. The most upsetting thing about this is that on the two occasions it has occurred this week both of the drivers were ‘P’ platers. It wasn’t that long ago that they sat for the driving test and managed to pass, what has happened in the intervening 12-18 months? Have they decided to adjust the rules to suit themselves?

It’s not just the young drivers that are at fault – I know of a case where a driver was pulled over for driving too slow in a 100km zone. The drivers response was “it’s safer for me to drive at 50kpm than to speed.” The sergeant that had pulled him up said “you had 7 cars behind you, they were unable to pass because of the road conditions, you may have caused an accident if they attempted to pass you”

This is a true story – now the fact at hand which the above did not convey. The driver had not secured the load properly, the trailer was slightly overloaded, the driver needs glasses, and refuses to get them because he is too vain to get them.

The sergeant in this instance let the male driver off with a warning. This is not the first time that this driver has been pulled over for driving too slow and yet the police haven’t acted. I am aware I sound harsh, but imagine this scenario – you are driving behind said driver and you go to pass, the road ahead is clear, until a ‘P’ plater pulls out of a driveway in front of you and you have nowhere to go.

Who is at fault? – The slow driver?, You? Or the ‘P’ plater?

I can tell you right now – it is not the slow driver, even though he ‘caused’ the accident, it will not be the ‘P’ plater because no matter which direction he was travelling, he has done nothing more than pull onto a road fit for public use, possibly he mis-judged the distance, but that is not the problem.

The problem is YOU – YOU failed to assess the situation correctly, YOU failed to pass safely, YOU were probably on the wrong side of the road.

For this you will probably lose your license, have to attend a court session and possibly be seriously injured in the process and that is JUST YOU, what about the P-Plater? What about the slow driver? All because of YOU, these people may also be injured, they may also be dead.

The same scenario can be adjusted to fit the not staying in the left lane scenario unless overtaking, the same theory can be applied to drink driving, it may not be your actions that are wrong, but because of choices you made – you are made to be the culprit.

Road rules/laws are there to protect everyone and yet everyone complains when they are applied and then people expect the police to be everywhere and enforce the law.

You have to be responsible for your own actions – failure to do this whilst driving and in every other aspect of your life may result in death. Plain and simple.

In some instances - Rules are NOT made for breaking, there are there to protect everyone.

Please follow the laws of the road, the laws of life and even the laws of common decency and the roads might just be a little safer.