Like most, I can take a bit of disruption (actually probably a lot). I can usually cope quite fine when my Uber driver forgets to end the ride and I need to remedy the overcharge. Or the late fee email notification from Telstra when I have a receipt from paying 2 weeks earlier. Or even the extra ‘housemate’ taking up residence in my house. Combine those things, no dramas. But then an unexpected delivery truck of anxiety, frustration and sheer anger pulled up and dumped it in my lap on Friday 4pm. And then I woke up to the news of the tragic death of a guy from home to make me stop and put things into perspective. Cue complete ignorance of my ‘don’t drink to feel better, drink to feel even better’ proverb, a few nights of broken sleep and total impatience ensued. At work I lacked motivation and struggled to concentrate. It was time to do something. Last night I texted my manager. My request was not unexpected and swiftly granted. I am thankful I work in a supportive environment where I can be honest. I give 110% at work. I don’t have performance issues (unless it’s over-performance?). I have taken 5 days of sick leave in 2 years – 4 for my wisdom teeth extraction. I take annual leave regularly. I consider my mental wellness to be good and stable. But following recent events I needed a day to stop, reset and recharge in order to give at that same level again. Why am I being so transparent? Beyond Blue recently found 1 in 5 Australian workers took time off last year because of mental health issues, although the reported reason for the leave is considerably underreported. Where workplaces and management were supportive of mental health, self-reported absentee-ism halved. That is – employees took less time off because of the positive perceptions of mental health and physical safety and no surprise, reported higher respect from colleagues and increased productivity. Unless Jesus returns sooner, I anticipate I’ll work until about my mid 60s, putting me at about 10-15% through my career. And when I look around at people in similar stages of their careers, across many industries, I see exhaustion. I see a pathway to burnout. I hear of 7am starts and 10pm finishes. Being ‘busy’ is worn as badge of honour. I aspire to a career of nurturing people and seeing people be constructive members of society. I’ll be working until close to 2050 and I hope in that time Australia sees a dramatic decrease in the current 3 million adults with depression and anxiety. Gen Y’s are regularly tormented for silver platter syndrome, so please I welcome your thrown stones. I accept many gone before me have worked incredibly hard in awful conditions. But we’re now living in 2017 when this can be changed. A time when mental illness should not be stigmatised.  Managers need to model responsible mental health. Employees should not fear showing weakness or falsify a physical illness instead. We have the opportunity to reshape mental wellness in the workplace and self-care overall. With haste, I sent off a pretty pointed email on Friday night. Amongst other things, and after some consideration, I pleaded with my organisation to not deliver bad news on a Friday again. Most organisations have no idea of the other concerns of their employees. (Unless you’re my colleagues and you have a pretty good idea because *arm up high* classic verbal processor and chronic over-sharer right here.) Sending an employee home into the weekend devastated could end in tragedy. For example, redundancies are best done on a Tuesday and if done on a Friday should be considered sheer negligence. (Correction: Sorry folks for leading you astray, I was not made redundant! Just using that as the extreme example). However back to today. What did this mental health day entail? A sleep in, baking, an hour stretching (leg day yesterday) over episodes of Utopia and then a few hours in the sun exploring a new area of Brisbane on my new set of wheels. All things that I enjoy. All things that enabled me to de-stress and reset – literally, thanks endorphins. And then because I think it’s the best treatment, I spent time reflecting and praying. I also went to listen to a podcast on Romans 3 from a local church but failed (don’t podcast + drive) and ended up with 40mins on a brilliant section of Romans 8. Verses 18 through 30 of which extracting one verse for this post was impossible. Australians are great at the olde ‘sickie’, and to the outsider my day looked exactly like that – an absolute cop out. We can’t abuse the privilege of improved working conditions. I know what gets me back from the brink – sunshine + water + exercise, but perhaps you’re best at home on couch, or chatting to a professional. Either way I felt a little odd explaining to my housemate why I was home early, and then to a weekly group of my church community.  But I know and I know my manager knows that the one lost day of my productivity will pay dividends to my current projects thanks to today’s rejuvenation. Don’t be ashamed. Ask for a day, or if it’s beyond that, talk about it and find a solution. And if a recruitment agent calls you wondering if you’re interested in a role during the mental health day, laugh – it’s good for the soul. Not even kidding, if I wasn’t stopped already the coincidence of it may have knocked me off my bike. Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
The starting point for a first home buyer is to get a good job that pays good money. If you’ve got a good job and it pays good money and you have security in relation to that job, then you can go to the bank and you can borrow money and that’s readily affordable. – The Hon. Joe Hockey, Treasurer 9 June 2015 Dear Mr Hockey, I have a good job, one that pays good money, and I have relative job security. But all that considering, dropping into my local bank branch and applying for a loan for a little slice of Sydney is not something I can do in the near future. You see, Mr Hockey, in your comments yesterday you belittled my efforts and came across as, well, a bit of an insensitive dick. I have a good job and honest job. I work hard. I’m a typical Aussie. I studied hard for five years in order to graduate with distinction from one of the best universities in Australia. It set me up to start full time work the week after I submitted my final assessment. I’ve now, by all measures, been working hard at my good job for 18months. During that time I pushed myself to understand the grown up world of money and strived to make wise decisions. I currently earn about the average amount among working Australians and above the average income for someone of a spirited 24. After making a small super contribution to meet my employer contributions of 17%, I diligently pay my taxes and a chip away at my $30k HECS debt. I’m left with just over 55% in net earnings. Of that I save 35%. How? I live with my parents. I then pay them 20% for the roof over my head, the food I consume and to insure my wellbeing. As for the rest of the money, well I’m a spendthrift. Wrong. I catch public transport to my job and use my car only on weekends. I give generously to others, including those who will never afford a roof over their heads. And with what’s left, about 20%, I enjoy life as a young wealthy woman: I eat brunch, I shop, I travel. I made a pretty chart to show you where my money goes. No drugs. No cigarettes. No alcohol…okay scrap the last one. But here’s the deal, even after intense saving I’m at least 3 years away from walking through the door of my local branch. And that’s if I continue to live under my parents’ roof. It will be more like 5 once I fly the coop in the coming spring. The price of a 2 bedroom flat, heck even a studio apartment in Sydney, and within a 30minute commute, is $500 000. The minimum deposit is 10%, a responsible deposit almost double. Add on stamp duty and a few other bits and bobs and I’m looking at a hefty $100k before I step in the direction of a mortgage broker. The loan will then be 4-6 times my gross income, a little less if my income grows as I hope it will over that period. My debt-to-income ratio will be unrealistic and rely on leasing a room to meet the repayments. Of course I could fast track efforts and find me a suitor… Mr Hockey, when you say I need a good job, you overlook my efforts and the barriers in my way – some of them you have contributed or propose in your recent budgets. There are less first-mortgage applications now than 10 years ago, prices are now unrealistic and outright ridiculous, and there are more foreign investors than ever before. But i mean you did caution me, Captain Obvious. Yes, it is a big financial risk to buy your own home. So if property is proving unaffordable for people with interest rates at record lows, then they should think carefully about how much they really can borrow, because you should always plan on in this situation interest rates potentially going up over the long term.  So, you’ve got to be careful, it is a big financial risk to buy your own home. – The Hon. Joe Hockey, Treasurer 9 June 2015 Perhaps my good job isn’t good enough for Sydney. I do love my city. I boast about it, but loving it isn’t going to change the reality I may not be able to afford it. Yes, as you said state governments could approve more developments, supply is likely to curb some of the pricing pressures, but then we get ourselves in hot water over infrastructure support for population density or its expanse. It’s not as simple as you presented it to be. After weighing up my options, I have decided I don’t want to keep commuting 2.5hours each day in order to save money more quickly. I also don’t want to be living with my parents at 25. I have decided to go out into the renters market, albeit if it will take longer to save for a deposit. I’ve come to accept I’ll probably be 30 by the time I have enough money…or perhaps I’ll just have to leave Sydney. Mr Hockey, I beg you, please don’t belittle this problem. You are privileged. You are also in a privileged position as a member of parliament. Use your position to make an impact and not the one you’ve made over the past 24 hours. Use your words carefully. Use your brain wisely. Use your purview to see about change. Don’t be an insensitive elitist.   Regards, A fellow Sydney-sider. Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
If you’ve ever been traumatised by the white tube of death, you’ll understand. On Tuesday, after three months on consistent pain, a specialist with an OAM (#legit) finally told me I’d earned an MRI. Woo! (I’ll spare you the story that involved 13 phone calls to get a bulk billed MRI that wasn’t in May, but know I totally #crushedit) A quick trip down the Hume to Bowral, checking ‘no’ for every box on the poorly formatted, photocopied one-to-many-times form and then a 40min wait (I mean seriously, appointments were invented to avoid waiting), and I found myself babe-in’ it a hideous smashing canary gown walking towards it. It looked the same as the one in the brochures I’ve made, the website I’ve edited and the video I uploaded. But I’ll tell you it sure looked a whole lot more friendly when a cute kid pushed his teddy through it. (0:43) “No, I don’t have any metal bits in my body” – for the fifth time. “No, no pacemaker.” “Yes, my hairtie is metal free.” “Hop up here…Shimmy down further…Legs in here,” he said before Velcro-ing the baby-making-organ protector on my stomach. Oh no, my legs are totally uneven. So not going to be able to stay like this. :: Awkwardly attempt to adjust foam leg holders while strapped to a bed :: Nope, that totally didn’t work. Perhaps I’ll try again. :: Awkward lean that makes the actually injury hurt. :: Screw it, I guess I’ll cope. Hands on chest? Hands above head? Oo tough choice. Hands above head. Yes, this is good. “Okay it will take about 30minutes, so just stay very still and I’ll see you soon.” Okay, calm. Still. Don’t move. Heck, telling me to stay still is like asking the fat kid not to eat the last donut. Woah this is hard. My stomach is moving. The baby-making-organ protector is moving from my breathing. Maybe I’m breathing too hard. Yes, good idea, shallower breaths. Crap, it’s still moving. Okay perhaps breathing is okay. Mel! Of course breathing is okay – they cannot not let you breath. Idiot, Mel. Hmm I wonder how long it’s been. Mel – it’s been like 30 seconds, the noises have barely begun. Ooo air blowing on me. I really should have gone to the toilet before this. Damn it, I already have pins and needles in my foot. Totally should have persisted on the leg foam readjustments. Crap. I just moved. I wonder how big that leg twitch was. I hope I haven’t screwed up this whole thing. Damnit. “Dear God, help me stay calm and still.” Wow, this is taking a lot of concentration. Think of something else. Yes, good idea: brainstorm. Nothing to click or tap. Brainstorming was definitely a bad idea. Cannot make repetitive movements. Wow, I must actually be the most annoying person to be around. I cannot stay still. Dead arms. Need to move arm. Lost all feeling. I wonder if it’s okay to move my fingers. Your fingers aren’t even in the stupid tube, of course you can move your fingers. Since when were fingers connected to your hip bones. :: moves fingers :: Ah the relief. I still have fingers. Something else.  I need something else to block out the weird air blowing and mechanical beat making. Quick Mel, think of something. Pray. Brilliant, Mel. You slept in a missed your quiet time this morning. Praying is a great idea. Wait, why didn’t I think of this 2000+ bleeps ago. #guilty :: Prays assortment of prayers :: Okay surely this is going close to 30mins now. Beep #50081. Beep #50082 Beep #50083. :: Silence :: Oh my goodness, I reckon totally aced this. I wonder if it’s over. :: Silence :: :: Technician suddenly appears to remove the ear muffs. :: “You did very well staying still. We got great images.” I won! It’s over! Arrive home and shamelessly tell of my bravery non-moving accomplishment to my sister. Laura: “You do realise they take multiple images because people move.” 😳 Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)