Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Hello from the couch

Most times I write something for this here ol bloggeroni I'm sitting on the couch. This is a really good couch, you know. We bought it with the paid parental leave money (not all of it), from a shop that sells second-hand furniture that's been shipped here by the containerload from Scandinavian countries. This couch is a three-seater, just over two metres long, and my theory* is that before it was forced to immigrate to Australia it lived a long and contented life in a dentist's waiting room.  If you can overlook the horrendous expenditure of fossil fuels involved in bringing it here, it's all good: old furniture continues to be useful and not chucked into landfill, pre-stained and pre-scratched leather means you can do pretty much what you want on here without feeling guilty, and it's just nicer to look at than most modern things. Nice simple clean lines. When the nights are too hot to sleep in the bed, I sleep on this: the leather is cooler on the skin than soft bedding. And, well, it's just comfortable.

Anyway I am sitting here instead of attending a birthday party I was invited to. Happy birthday ST if you happen to be reading, and thanks for including me - I would have liked to go. This makes 2/2 parties I've been invited to and passed up. Maybe I don't have FOMO after all?? This evening it was a simple enough calculation: go out and perhaps have some fun, but be dead tomorrow and probably the next day because I am already pretty knackered, or stay at home and be reasonably likely to be able to handle the rest of the week.

I'm a bit stuffed right now because of Wednesday yoga (spine nicely loosened, thanks for asking) and because I was out lateish last night. There was a panel discussion at work, after work, on the future of the place. It was great. Really great. All day today, through dealing with a typically messy and bitsy day of emails, phonecalls, meetings, solving little crises, conversations with volunteers, working with schoolkids, and trying to sort out the blizzard of little scraps of paper with stuff scrawled on them that covers my entire desk, I kept thinking about how great last night was. It wasn't so much the things the speakers said (though they were pretty interesting) or the discussion after, more just the whole ambitious enterprise of a public forum devoted to imagining a vision for the future of a place like this. It'd be easy enough, I guess, to operate this place along the lines of the Australian War Memorial, which is led by Brendan Nelson** and that is probably all you need to be told to grasp how they do things there. But the director who organised last night and who manages my area has an actual vision for the future, one that is deeply ethical and boundlessly ambitious. I've been thinking this evening how rare that is, the leader of an institution whose 'vision' isn't just about the balance sheet.

I've wondered a bit recently whether I should plan to stay long in this job.  The pay is quite desperately shithouse, you see, and the opportunities for advancing to a position of greater autonomy and influence are very limited (and this is something I'd like to do if possible, career-wise, before it's just too late altogether). But I think now that I definitely would like to stay on, and try to contribute to the doing of something genuinely worthwhile.


*based on nothing at all

** I have always enjoyed Brendan Nelson and have blogged about him many times in the past, he's always been good value and with hindsight, his tenure as opposition leader was a relatively toxoplasmosis-free period in the recent history of the liberal party

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