Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The employment agency

After four years of irregular doula-ing and a then couple of months with no inquiries whatsoever I decided that I had to look for a more regular job. (I have decided that I am a great doula but a poor business person so not a total failure but not successful enough)

So, for most of this year I have been applying for all kinds of work. After my bitterly disappointing experience with the guy who thought I would be unable to cope with the job on offer (here) I decided to register with a disability employment agency because at least that way I am guaranteed to be applying to people who are willing to engage someone who has some limitations, rather than bashing my head against a wall with the arrogantly able and unimaginative.

The agency experience has not been surprising but it has been a close up look at some issues. And looking closely is different to knowing what happens in a theoretical kind of way.

Last week I met a man with mild cerebral palsy, he is tertiary educated with a good work history and an air of competence but his impaired dexterity eventually means he can't work at the speed required of an experienced operator in a call centre. It seems bizarre to me and inefficient, to get rid of an experienced employee and take on all the costs and uncertainties of new hires. And that is without thinking of the costs to the individual and the public purse. Does nobody take a long term view? does nobody invest in their business by investing in their employees?

Today I went to a "workshop" as required by the agency. I drove to the agency, which just happens to be close to me but serves clients from a wide area, parked, waited 15 minutes past the appointment time and spent another 15 or so filling in a form I could have emailed to them. That whole process also seems silly: requesting unemployed people to spend money and effort on travel, which might be quite challenging for them, just to do something that could be done online or through a phone interview. Now, I understand that getting applicants to come in person may allow better communications and guarantees that the applicant is doing their own work, I guess it would also weed out anyone who was not very committed to the process but all the same it seems inefficient and not particularly sensitive to the needs of the clientele.

At this point I am wondering what oddity will show up at next weeks workshop.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Bring in the Clowns

Today I watched a little of the presidential debate which led to some discussion with my son, Keaghan (who has been interested in politics and justice since about the time he could walk.)

I wondered how the republicans could have ever thought Trump was a good candidate and Keaghan thought that Trump did well in the polls and therefore the party thought he was a  good idea, not thinking of what kind of person he is.

My next thought was about the way that some people are more confident feeding their babies by bottle than by breast because bottle feeding gives us numbers, measurable intake.

Yes, it is an odd association to make but brilliance is demonstrated in the ability to make connections, or at least that's my story.

Anyways, it all lead me to the idea that maybe the world is obsessed with numbers, measurability, stats and performance indicators at the expense of trust, instinct, character and other more abstract qualities.


Friday, 7 October 2016


In July I was asked to be guest speaker for a group of elderly ladies who meet at church each week to sing a couple of songs, drink coffee and have some kind of light "food for thought".
I received a very warm welcome in July so this week, with a break in the play group routine, I was free to visit the ladies.
I was running a little late and missed the morning tea (which I was counting on to supplement my breakfast) but I was there in time to get involved in the conversation about kindness.
Part of the conversation included being asked to compliment the person to our right. Some people were specific "I think you are wise" or "There's not a quiz question she can't answer".
Others were a lot more vague "please don't change because I just like you" or "thanks for making coffee for the congregation every week"
It made me think about how to give a good compliment, noticing the areas where somebody is talented or makes an effort, being specific and being genuine.

Whats the best compliment you ever received?