Tips for those seeking employment - #1

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sending out a resume stating that your email address is sexc_*your name* probably doesn't support the claim that you're “extremely professional.” Or at the very least it implies that you're a whole other type of 'professional'.

A Childhood Dream Come True

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Freeze Dried Ice Cream. Astronaut ‘Food’. This grotesque brick of crumbly pink muck, swathed in shiny silver packaging was my first ever indication that life in other English speaking countries might be different to the life I myself was living in the outer suburbs of Melbourne.

I was 11 years old, and my best friend had just returned from her first ever international holiday with her parents. America! Even the name seemed exciting. It conjured up images of palm trees and movie stars and Mickey Mouse skipping hand in hand with Minnie Mouse past the famous Hollywood sign.

With my carefully saved money, entrusted to her before her trip with a consideration that far exceeded any hand over of money I’ve made since (including purchasing my house!), she had returned with the most exciting item of clothing one could own at the time – A pair of Reebok Pumps.
There was nothing – but NOTHING – cooler than a pair of Reebok Pumps.

Can you imagine anything cooler than these puppies?!
I wore them until they fell apart.

They were a careful investment - an extravagance for a kid my age at a time when the AUD-USD conversion was very heavily weighted in favour of the US (around 50 US cents to the Aussie Dollar).

Despite the poor exchange rate, and between the wondrousness of space ice-cream and shoes with pumps, I fell in love with the good old U.S. of A.

As I grew older, my fascination with 80’s/90’s fashion waned, and my interest in novelty foods for astronauts petered out. What didn't fade, however, was my interest in visiting America. New interests replaced the old. The introduction of Costco into Australia introduced me to the incredible delight that is Reece’s Brand chocolates *drool*. My teenage years brought cute US boys with accents *more drooling*. Influence from parents and friends brought me the music of Sam Butera & the Witnesses, Bing Crosby and later Louis Prima – now one of my favourite singers.

Into my 20’s, online shopping brought me Victoria’s Secret. Blogging brought me friendship with a person on the other side of the planet with more similar interests to mine than most of the people I know in Australia. Work brought other more serious interests – and the beginnings of opportunities to visit a place I had dreamt about since I was an 11 year old pumping up my shoes as though they were an invention to rival the discovery of electricity.

And now, 19 years later, it’s time. In February of next year, I will finally visit the USA.
After all these years, you’d think I’d have the trip planned down to the last letter. But my dilemma now is that I don’t know where to start. How do you fit 19 years of interests into 16 short days? And how do you plan a trip when your interest is not so much in the tourist attractions as it is in the lifestyle of the people who live there? I'm stuck.
In all my years of longing to visit; of quiet fascination with a culture so similar yet so completely different to my own, I never took the time to think about how I'd fit everything into one holiday.

It's silly that I never thought of it before now. Especially when I think back to all of that quality thinking time wasted while pumping up my awesome, USA-trip-inspiring shoes. 

Scent of a Stripper

Friday, August 24, 2012

In a recent post, I asked everyone out there what kind of scent they associate with a stripper. No one came up with the answer I was looking for - luckily though, I only got one answer, so it doesn't disprove the theory in the story I'm about to tell you know.

Recently, we’ve been trying to hire a new admin/reception person to help us out here at work. As you would expect with this kind of role, most of the applicants were females, and our final selection of applicants came down to three or four women who fit the job description. After going through the long and difficult process of sorting resumes and having interviews, we finally hired someone, only to have her call up the day before she was due to start and turn down the job.

The following conversation between KJ, the work Project Manager and myself took place after we received that call.

KJ: I think I‘m going to have to hire the other girl I interviewed.

PM: What, the one who smelt like a stripper?

Me: Uh, what? She smelt like what now?

PM: She smelt like a stripper.

KJ: You’re right! She did!

Me: Uh, and what exactly does a stripper smell like? Or do I not want to know?

PM: Oh, it’s vanilla.

Just as the PM was saying this, another co-worker (James) walked into the office

James: What’s vanilla?

Me: Apparently that’s what strippers smell like.

James: Oh yeah! They DO!

Me: Note to self. Don’t ever buy vanilla perfume.

James: I’ve dated girls who wore vanilla perfume and it never made me think of strippers.

Me: Oh, so all strippers smell like vanilla, but not all vanilla smells like a stripper?

James: Right.

PM: I used to date a stripper. She smelt like vanilla.

James: That must have made things confusing.

Me: Ok, I’m leaving now.

Some Feedback Please

Thursday, August 09, 2012

I've written a whole thing about a weird conversation I had with the guys at work recently; but before I post it here, I thought I'd do a little internet study type thing to see if this was just an isolated peculiar conversation, or if the estimations expressed in the conversation are in fact universally held.

So here goes:

Is there a specific scent (of the perfume variety) that one would associate with a stripper?

I'm interested to hear some replies on this before I go ahead and post about my conversation.
Don't be embarrassed to know the answer to this (if there is, in fact, an answer). There are worse things in the world than having sniffed a stripper. But if you are, feel free to post your response in the comments anonymously. Comments beginning with 'A friend of mine told me strippers smell like..." are also welcome.

Toast & Tits

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Recently KJ headed interstate for work. He was there making sales calls, however his visit happened to coincide with an installation that was taking place over there; so rather than being alone as he normally is, he found himself in the company of two burly installers.

Being on the largish side, these installers like to eat. And that fact is crucial to the story here-in.

Being men of large appetite, what they truly cannot resist is a cut-rate breakfast. For a $10 full English breakfast, they would rise at the crack of dawn and run bare-foot over broken glass.

Luckily on this particular trip there was no need for that, as a local pub was serving cheap breakfast seven days a week. So up they got at 7am, waking KJ and dragging him along for a big breakfast.

The breakfast was everything that had been promised and much more; the ‘more’ part being provided by the waitress and her ‘uniform’. It turns out that the three of them had happened into a bar serving a breakfast special known as ‘Tits on Toast’. Cheap meals served by topless waitresses.

Now, I’m not a prude by any means. I understand the appeal of a topless barmaid. Late in the day, when all the boys have had a few drinks, it seems somewhat appropriate. But topless breakfast? Isn’t breakfast a little early for that sort of thing?
I asked this of a co-worker, and he cleared this up for me, saying ‘there’s no bad time for tits’.

I can only assume most men would concur with that statement - but I have to disagree. Because to me, there seems something kind of wrong with having mammary glands waved in your face while you drink milk beverages and eat eggs.

I suppose this just goes to show that the appeal of boobs to the opposite sex truly knows no bounds.

More Mirror Mirror

Friday, June 22, 2012

I’ve mentioned before how there are no mirrors at work. In the three years since I wrote that, there hasn’t been any great upwards shift in the vanity of the (still all male) workers, and thus my workplace remains a mirror-free environment. Today this presents me with a unique dilemma, as tonight I’m leaving straight from work to head off and enjoy my birthday present from KJ – dinner and jazz music aboard the Historic ‘Puffing Billy’ steam train.

The dilemma is that Puffing Billy leaves from the train station in Belgrave. Belgrave is about an hour from my home, and at least an hour and a half from my work. The train leaves at 7:15pm, and I need to be there 20 minutes beforehand. I’m also picking up my sister and her boyfriend on the way. I finish work at 5pm. Do the maths on that and it will tell you that I’m left with just 15 minutes to get ready. 15 minutes to get ready wouldn’t be a problem if only I were at home – but alas there is no time to go home and prepare. Instead I’m here at work with no mirrors and a short 15 minutes to attempt to apply makeup, do hair and get changed.

I suppose the best that I can hope for is that my skill with a makeup brush is above the necessity of a mirror. But given that I’m not one to be heavily made-up day to day, this seems unlikely. So really the actual best I can hope for is that good old Puffing Billy will be so distracting that no one will notice that I look like Marge Simpson after Homer tested out his makeup shotgun on her.

Would you notice this?

My Favourite Feature

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Recently, KJ got himself a new car. Like all new cars, this one is chock full of fancy-schmancy features that people never knew they needed in a car until some bright spark decided they could sell convenience for top dollar.

Air conditioned glove box – for those sales reps who can’t go a whole day without their egg salad sandwich .
Dimmable footwell lights – so your feet can share the spotlight.
Tracking Headlights – so you can see around corners as you turn into them.
Size adjusting cup holders; voice controlled stereo; parking assist – you name it, this car has got it. Each and every feature left me giggling at their excessiveness.

But there is one feature – oh, this one feature that after initial scoffing has got me so hooked that I have considered selling my car to get my hands on it; or I should say – my butt on it.

Heated seats.

Ohhhhhh the gloriousness of heated seats! Those of you who have never experienced seat heating cannot truly understand the wonder of a warm, snug bum, or a gently heated spinal column.

Any man who shares a bed with a woman will know how the female derriere can often be like a firm, round block of ice. So to have a seat that warms it gently without screeching about how cold it is can only be a winner in my book.
Not only does the base of the seat warm, but the back does as well. At the end of a long day, aching muscles rejoice at the touch of the gloriously warm bucket seats.

I’ve found myself making excuses to travel in KJ’s car just for the seats. Where before I would have driven myself to work, now I find myself suggesting car-pooling most days. When we arrive at work, it’s a struggle to drag myself from the warm embrace of the car into the chill morning air and icy desk chair of my office.
Every other seat seems inferior. Even my beautiful, comfy couch has lost some of the lustre that it once had.
Even now as I type this, I’m painfully aware that my bum is quite cold.

Oh, heated seats. You’ve ruined my bum for all other chairs.

Bewitched by an email

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I just got an email from a guy whose name is Darren Stevens. This made me giggle, so I told some other people at work. None of them understood why it was amusing. Suddenly I feel quite old.

Also, I can't get the theme song from 'Bewitched' out of my head now.

Parental Advisory - Explicit Content

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

**If swearing offends, I suggest not reading this. Or at least not complaining when you read it and become offended**

For the best part of the last two weeks, KJ was on a work trip overseas. While this meant many things, (of which I've tried to write; and failed) one main thing that came about was that it left me at work with no well-mannered influences.

I’ve written before about the fact that I am the only female who works in the company, and the ill-effects of a primarily female-free environment on the general hygiene and behaviour of the men around me. What I probably haven’t mentioned before is that in this building, there are really only three office staff – KJ, the company owner and myself. But KJ and the boss both headed to the USA for this work trip, which left me with just the guys in manufacturing. And the guys in manufacturing are the ones who seem to be most affected by the lack of female influence.

I am fully aware that you shouldn't judge people based on stereotypes; however, in the case of my workplace the stereotype that factory workers tend to be slightly more foul mouthed than their office co-workers is fairly apt.

Now, I’m no angel normally. I have been known to let a profanity or two slip on occasion. Many occasions. Okay, I'm a little foul-mouthed too. But with restraint!

Ordinarily, bad language only slips in when I’m really annoyed, or being very vocal about something that has upset me. But without the influence of the other office staff who are very carefully restrained with their language, and now that all my time has been spent with the factory guys, I have found myself swearing like a trooper. And the more time I spent without KJ, the more profane my language seemed to become.

To prove my point, here are three sentences that I spoke last week that I managed to slip a profanity into that really didn't need one - and that ordinarily wouldn't get one. Through these, you can clearly see my gradual decline into the profane over the course of the week.

Factory Guy 1: We're going to get kebabs for lunch, do you want one?
Me: Awesome! I fucking love kebabs!

Factory Guy 2: We have a problem - we just got a delivery of hardware, and there are 5000 dynabolts instead of 500. It looks like recently-fired-projects-guy stuffed up the order.
Me: Oh for fucks sake, is there anything that fucking idiot didn't fuck up?

Factory Guy 2: Factory Guy 1 is complaining about doing his job again.
Me: For fucks sake, can no one fucking do their fucking job without fucking having a fucking whinge about it?

Now it’s Tuesday, and KJ and the boss are both back. The trouble is the swearing wants to stick around. The vulgar side of my language centre has been released – and it doesn’t want to go back to its carefully kept prison in my brain.

I have to pay incredibly close attention to everything that I’m saying so that I can appear to be the same no-nonsense person that I am without coming off like I hate everyone and everything. And it’s hard! I’m not sure I can go back from here. I’ve been trying very hard to rein myself in, but these little profanities keep slipping their way out. I’m worried this might permanent – and what do I do if it is?

Basically, there’s only one thing I can say about my new found language skills at this stage.

I’m fucked.

Hunger & Sickness

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Up until a friend mentioned it to me recently, I’d never even heard of 'The Hunger Games’ books, or the movie. In fact, it wasn’t until he had mentioned it that I noticed the film was being advertised everywhere. The media was completely saturated by hype over this film. So, as usual, I figured I would ignore it and let the hysteria subside before I even bothered to find out what it was all about.

But that was before I got sick. For the last four days, I’ve been curled up in bed with the worst cold I can remember having in a very long time. On the second day of lying in bed feeling sorry for myself, it was my birthday. My 30th birthday, actually, but let’s not get into that, because I’m still very much in denial of my age. My sister in law gave me three bookss a birthday gift – the ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy. She told me that she’d just read all three of them in the space of a week, and that they were great and I absolutely had to read them.

Now, I’m not very good at having time off work. I find it hard to relax, because I feel like I’m shirking responsibility. So I figured reading one of the books would help distract me from that, even if I wasn't entirely motivated to get into them.

So I set myself up on the couch under a comfy blanket, and started reading.

Now, I know that when a book gets hyped the way this one has, you often expect it to be kind of predictable and mass market gratifying. And maybe that’s what it is. Maybe it was the sickness that made me emotional and moved me more than I would have otherwise been moved; but I have to tell you – any book that can make me cry only two chapters in has got something going for it. Sickness or not. I could not put it down. Over the course of that day, I read everything except the last chapter - and I only stopped there because I had a dinner obligation that I couldn't get out of (sick or otherwise). I spent the entire dinner thinking about the book, and hanging to get home to finish it off.

I finished it at about 10pm last night, and honestly, I have to say that thinking about that book kept me awake for hours. I was so, so tempted to get up and start on the next one. An now, i'm here at work, and while I have a mountain of work to catch up on, I kind of wish I had brought the book with me so that I could get started on it while no one is looking.

So I guess you could say that sometimes (and only sometimes) the hype around these things is probably justified.

To all the men out there

Friday, March 23, 2012

Never, ever underestimate the value of putting the toilet seat down.
I work in a building full of men, and constantly having to put the toilet seat down drives me crazy. it does, however, make me truly appreciate that I married a man who puts it down after use every single time.

So for all you know, putting the toilet seat down could be the difference between a good relationship and a great one.

Just don't underestimate the importance of this small task. That's all i'm saying.

Sleepless Monday

Monday, February 27, 2012

Right now I’m functioning on a total of around one and a half hours of sleep. After a weekend of fitful and restless slumber, it’s left me a lot more weary than I would normally feel on a Monday.

I feel a little like I do when I’m slightly drunk, only not in a fun way. My brain is having trouble forming thoughts as succinctly as it would were I well rested, and I’m experiencing that same odd behaviour as I get when intoxicated which means that all of the simple words have eluded me, and I can only speak to people as though I were first running my thoughts through a thesaurus. A limited and poorly edited thesaurus, that is. But missing is the buzz of good humour and the warm, lovey feeling that envelopes me when alcohol is to blame.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that I’m feeling things more intensely, the way you do when you’re drunk. The trifling little day-to-day nuisances that I usually ignore are grating on me; I’ve laughed a lot harder at any jokes I’ve heard that was really warranted; and for some inexplicable reason, hearing about a friend’s weekend has made me completely and utterly melancholy.

As fate would have it, of course, there is no chance of getting to bed early tonight as the recent resignation of a co-worker has left me with so much work to do that overtime is inevitable.

I see in my future a large quantity of overdue work projects, copious amounts of coffee (and other caffeinated beverages) and ultimately, an imprint of a keyboard on my forehead.

A Bit of Perspective

Friday, February 24, 2012

It really puts your own life into perspective when you find that your co-worker is quitting because right after he was left jobless by a company that went into administration, his father died, and the stepmother he’s been living with is selling the house, so he’s soon to be homeless and he wants to go and stay with his lesbian mother and her long-time lover in Wales because he’s getting divorced, and his soon to be ex-wife has found out about his girlfriend (whose soon to be ex-husband wants to kill him because he blames him for the break-up of their marriage) and things have turned nasty, and now he really needs some time away from everything.

It makes my own problems seem kind of trivial. It’s a good bit of perspective for a Friday.

It doesn’t, however, make me feel any less annoyed about the fact that his quitting has just increased my workload. So I guess when people tell you ‘what you need is a bit of perspective’, you can just tell them to get stuffed. And that is much better advice for a Friday.

Recommendations for a successful start to the week

Monday, February 20, 2012

  •  Don’t bring a milk drink to work, then drink it ‘shortly after arriving’, only to realise once you’re done that it’s actually been sitting on your desk for 3 and a half hours.
  • Don’t follow this milk drink with a spicy Sri-Lankan curry for lunch.
  • No matter how tight your budget may be, never consider single ply toilet paper a valuable money saving idea.

You want a what now?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I’ve posted before about the ridiculous things that one finds themselves typing daily when you deal with playground equipment.; Mis-spelling things to make them sound more ‘kiddy’, my dyslexic fingers turning regular words like ‘sun’ into ‘sin’ – conversations with customers about squeezing balls (of the kind that you put in a ball pit, that is).

But there is another thing that I find myself typing numerous times per day that you would never expect someone at a playground company to be typing. Something that seems to be more the kind of thing an employee at an erotic publisher would type.


I type it at least 20 times a day. Hundreds of times each week. Cock, cock, cock. And why? Why on earth would someone dealing with playgrounds be typing ‘cock’ all the time?


When designing playgrounds, often you want to put in a ‘cockpit’. And when you’re doing this multiple times a day, typing the word ‘cockpit’ becomes time consuming. So you streamline. You chop the end off of the word, until you find yourself typing the word ‘cock’ more frequently than an a cybersex junkie.

I often thing that if ever a phone tap was placed on my work phone, an unwitting listener might easily think they’d tapped into a phone sex line, what with all the ‘cock’, conversations about ‘balls’ and today’s lengthy discussion with a customer about fixing his 'knob'.

Leaky Sponge

Friday, February 10, 2012

People say that children's brains are like a sponge, soaking up information anywhere they can find it. If that’s really the case, then I feel sure that at some point early on, someone picked up my information sponge and wrung it out a little.

Often, very basic information about the world and how it works seems to have trickled its way out of my brain and been left somewhere in a puddle of abandoned information. And I’m not just talking about the kind of information you never use, but also very basic things that you learn at primary (elementary) school. Things like basic multiplication tables and long division; why there are seasons and how electricity works. Want to know what 8 x 8 is? Don’t ask me! 245 minus 73? Hand me a calculator then!

It’s a very strange thing to find that you’re lacking in basic skills like these, especially if you’re not a stupid person. I may not be able to do long division, but I can design a playground that meets four different kinds of legal standards, fits into a small space and know exactly how much it will cost all in the space of about 20 minutes. I can read an entire novel in less than a day. I can use just about any computer program you put in front of me, and have it mastered within an hour. So why on earth do I have to think so hard about things I should have learnt when I was five?

Perhaps it's just that since I've been a nerd from the day I was born, I’ve come to rely too much on digital devices to provide these kinds of answers for me. Calculators and computers have made that part of my brain that deals with basic maths obsolete. My brain has decided to expunge all the information that it didn’t really need to hold on to, and as a result all that is left is a mind that has a firm grasp on vocabulary and technology, and little else. It would explain all those other blank areas in my mind where things like ‘history’ and ‘geography’ subjects should reside.

Is it too late to reverse this kind of knowledge loss? Can I bring it all back? And is 30 too old to be learning things that could be taught to me by my eight year old niece?

When you feel low

Monday, February 06, 2012

When I'm feeling down, and it feels like there is nothing that can cheer me up, there is one place I can turn to. One thing that never fails to make me smile, no matter how often I see it. And though you might expect it, it's not something deep and meaningful. It's not something that puts my life into perspective. It's a movie. A cheesy movie. It's Bridget Jones's Diary.

Judge me if you will, but hear me out; it's not the romance story that does it for me (though that's nice too). It's not the mischievous sexiness of Hugh grant, nor the inexplicable attraction of Colin Firth. It's not the image of an awkward, relatable woman finding love. No - it's the fight scene.
It's the greatest fight scene of any movie ever made. It's ridiculous, it's crazy, and it's so real that it makes me laugh out loud no matter how low i'm feeling.

When life is feeling like a bad drama movie, the only thing to cure it is romantic comedy. You can switch off your brain and let the images of two very proper English men trying to have a fist fight pull you out of your slump.It works for me every single time.

So before you judge me - try it. When you feel like crap and nothing appeals to you, watch the movie. I guarantee it won't fail to make you smile, even if only a little.

Hell Pants

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Many moons ago, deep in the fiery pits of Hell, a disgruntled fashion designer plotted his revenge upon a world that lacked appreciation for his vision. Perhaps his time in Hell was a result of some dispute with a woman. Perhaps she was cellulite-ey, with thighs like oak trunks and an arse like a balloon full of cottage cheese. Perhaps, as he burned for his sins, he came up with the perfect revenge upon this woman. A revenge so sweet that not only would its malevolence affect this one woman, but all women the world over.

That Hell-dweller schemed and plotted, and with the consent of a gleeful Devil, he gave the world leggings.

But leggings alone were not enough! He needed to do more! So he foisted upon an unsuspecting world the desire for all women to wear leggings, regardless of her body dimensions and fitness levels. The shinier the better! And to cap it all off, he instilled the desire for these women to wear those leggings not below skirts or under dresses; but as pants.

And thus, the world became a little bit worse, a little more grotesque, as people like me and you were forced to be privy to this affront to our eyeballs.

And so it will go, until the day that Hell freezes over and the spell that has been cast upon the Earth is broken - and in a shattering moment of clarity, millions of women look down to realise that while they thought they were looking good, they were in fact sharing with the world the most intimate details of their bodies by essentially going pant-less.

That day cannot come soon enough.

Breaking the Stereotype

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Contrary to the age old stereotype of the evil mother-in-law and her hatred for her new daughter-in-law (and vice-versa), i'm lucky enough to have a really fantastic relationship with my Mother-in-law.
I think that it may have something to do with me being the same age as her daughter, but being slightly distanced from the family because of that lack of childhood years spent together that means we relate well to each other. We can talk; often about things she wouldn't talk to her kids about.

Today, we all gathered at her house to pack up all her belongings, clean everything from top to bottom, and move her and her new husband into a house they recently purchased together. We rose early to get everything done, and slogged our guts out to finish packing boxes and load the mixture of trucks, vans and trailers we had collected to facilitate the move.

By 2pm, all of their worldly possessions were packed and mobile, ready to leave their past and head to their new home. Settlement on the new house was scheduled to happen at 2pm, so we were expecting a call at about 10 past to let us know that we could move everything in to the new place. At 2:10 on the dot, the phone rang. As my mother-in-law took the call, her happy grin slowly became a frown, and shortly after, she dissolved into tears. Somewhere along the line, something had gone wrong. The solicitors had the wrong paperwork, and the settlement couldn't go ahead.

I couldn't help but be upset myself as she crumpled into tears on my shoulder. She's a tiny little thing, small and petite, with not a scrap of fat on her, so as i hugged her, i was put in mind of hugging a tiny little sparrow. She felt fragile to me, and it made me glad that i was there for her - because if I were her own daughter, that fragility would be hard to bear. Parents are supposed to be the strong ones, and I think even as we get older, we find it hard to come to terms with the idea that our parents aren't infallible.

So tonight, my Mother-in-Law and Step-Father-In-Law are sleeping at my place. All their belongings are sitting outside my house in trucks and cars. And I know it could be a few days until they get everything settled - but that's okay with me, because while it may not be the expected reaction, i'm really very glad to have my Mother-in-Law in my life, and to share my home with her when she's trying to sort out her own.