Sunday, 16 January 2011


A new year, 2011.

For me, it marks two years of amazing marriage, a year living in and discovering Australia, and a change in attitude which I can’t say has happened to me, before.

If I am honest, I have been the sort of person who often says they’re going to do something life changing, and five times out of ten, never does. Forty percent of those goals that I see through to fruition tend to be pleasurable ones – travel plans, for example. The remaining ten percent are completed slowly, fists beating, heels dragging, lip-curlingly grudgingly.

I am not proud of this. It may be normal, I suspect that lots of plans and promises made at the start of a new year are not seen through by those who make them. This year, though, enough.

This year, I have A List. And this year, I will complete those things on my List.

1 – Run a half marathon. Specifically, this half marathon

Now, those who know me personally may already be mopping up the tea that they’ve just blown out of their nose. For a girl who’s idea of exercise for the last 15 years has been running to the pub before happy hour finishes, this is a pretty big deal. But I have already started training. And miraculously, I enjoy it. It leaves me wincing in pain and hobbling around like an octogenarian, but the satisfaction I gain from pushing myself to put one foot in front of the other, is my overriding motivation. Who knew?

To many, it’s just a run. To me, though, this is bigger than big. It means a great deal.

It symbolises a big ‘up yours’ to my lazy, unmotivated past – and not only – it also embodies my hope for a healthier and more active future. Which brings me to my next goal.

2 – Lose weight

How many years have I been saying this? Since I was about ten, probably.
I am no longer concentrating on this - it will be a by-product of my running, inevitably. I have realised that the moment I take the heat off myself and stop THINKING about it, is when the results come.

The moment I stop focussing, analysing, denying myself that chocolate/beer/pizza (and ending up having it anyway), is the moment when my body actually takes charge itself. The scrutiny is gone. The guilt, the moaning (oh God, the moaning) – it disappears. I have something in its place to put my energy into, something which is a huge personal goal and actually WORTHWHILE, rather than the wasted time and words, the empty vacuum of guilt and promises which I know I will never be able to keep, because quite honestly, I am weak.

3 – Teach abroad as a volunteer

I have found a teaching program in Bali which is very reasonably priced and which offers two week volunteer programs, rather than the standard four weeks. I have been doing some voluntary teaching at the University of Sydney Refugee Language Program since I arrived in Sydney, but my promise to myself before I came away was that I would spend some time volunteering. For the last six months, something has been nagging me in the back of my mind, telling me there’s more to be done. So I am listening to it, and this year, I am going to do something about it. Two weeks is not a lot of time, but it’s a small step forward. It will teach me some new skills, brush up existing ones, and give me an idea of what it’s all about. More importantly, it will educate people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn.

4 – Be true to myself

I am struggling to find a role here in Sydney which suits me, and which encompasses even some of what I am looking for, in a job. I’ve been extremely lucky with my temporary roles in a way, and made some good friends through the three places I have worked. Temping has given me the opportunity to gain experience in areas I would not otherwise have considered and has also given me a clearer idea of what I *don’t* want from my next job.

These are valuable lessons. The most valuable lesson, however, is that clutching at straws of desperation only leads to unhappiness. I guess you could apply that to many aspects of life. ‘Settling’ for something in the short term is fine, but be true to yourself – is what you’re doing sustainable?

At first, I applied for everything and anything. I considered a foray into PR, Community Management and even editorial – all roles that I probably *could* do but that a – I have no direct experience in, b- wouldn’t be all-encompassing enough for me or c – wouldn’t be connected to an area which held any interest for me.

One of the big problems I have come up against regarding employment in Australia is this ‘direct experience’ issue. Potential employers seem to have a ‘tick sheet,’ which doesn’t seem to take transferable skills into account.

For example, I was a teacher for five years. It is clear that I am competent, confident and articulate enough to be able to present information to a group of people – after all, that was a huge part of my job. However, if I don’t include ‘presentations’ on my list of skills, then forget it. Because clearly, if it’s not there in black and white, then that’s not within my remit. Please.

I have a plethora of other examples of transferable skills which I could bore you with here, but I won’t. Suffice to say, it makes job hunting / getting interviews that little bit more difficult.

I’m an all rounder – if pushed, I would say that I specialise in teaching - but only because I did it for five years. I have many other strings to my bow. I am good at providing administrative support. Juggling a variety of tasks at once. I have proved time and time again that I can get a project done well, and do it to deadline. I hit the ground running because I do my research and I am not stupid. I understand and use social media, I keep abreast of trends, current affairs and new developments in technology. I speak Italian, a bit of French, have a good grasp of languages. I enjoy people, communication, the written word, philanthropy.

Where am I going with this? Well, aside from masturbating my own ego, that is?

This year, I *will* find a role that suits me. And I will not compromise. I have spent too long feeling frustrated to launch myself back into yet another job which doesn’t make me smile when I get up in the morning. For those who say that that’s not what work’s about, I say ‘You’re wrong’. I’ve been lucky enough to have that twice in my life, and I will find it again. Unless it finds me first.

So. Just another ‘New Year’s Resolution’ blog to you – to me, the next twelve months of my life.

Wish me luck.

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