PHOTOGRAPHY: Looking for Super Heroes…

One of my colleagues at work….don’t you think he looks like Clark Kent?

Photo Credit: Yekemi Otaru
Model: Very kind gentleman who gave his permission for me to take and use his photo 🙂


Top 5 office phrases you need to understand


There are many ways to express disappointment, criticism and approval in my work life. Here are the top 5  phrases I’ve heard over the years:

5. “We need to move the needle!”

My first reaction to this was, ‘what needle’??? I totally didn’t get it but I know now that it means we need to improve profitability, performance or whatever the speaker fancies.

4. “It’s revenue gone begging!”

I still don’t really get this one to be honest. I think it means that we are losing money that should otherwise be in our pockets??? If someone out there knows how revenue might actually be begging, please get back to me – thanks.

3. “We are just navel-gazing.”

This literally means we are staring at each other’s belly-buttons. So our shirts are either off or too short…. On closer examination, I think it means we are giving each other credit for work that perhaps needs external validation? Again, any geniuses out there can correct me.

2. “We need to get into bed with the customer…”

Eh, there’s no sexual misconduct happening here – promise. This means we need to get closer to the customer, show them some love, TLC. It’s an obvious one I think. I remember wishing this wasn’t thrown around in meetings so much – it made me uncomfortable.

1. “We can’t keep drinking our own bath water!”

I agree because that is a pretty disgusting thing to do. This phrase has the same naming as the navel-gazing comment but it’s obviouslymore…poignant.

Later x

What happened to the Task Mistress?


I hardly recognise myself.

A few years ago, I was rather naive about ambition and went about it foolishly – to the point of hurting myself. For instance, I once went on a business trip even though I was ill. I ended up having an operation in a foreign country and really resenting myself for not drawing the line. Then I did it again…

Don’t get me wrong. I want to be the best I can be so I keep pushing my limits on all fronts. Can I get more exposure to this? Can I be better at doing that? How can I be prepared to take on more responsibility in X number of years? I am still ambitious but I’m getting wiser about the way I fight my battles – and believe me, I do fight. I think one thing that’s changed is I know now that I can do whatever I set my mind to. But I don’t need to do “whatever”…

Occasionally, it’s not the perfect time to take a vacation but I take it anyway because I miss spending time with my kids and I want a day off to chill out with them. Sometimes, I need to stop the work I’m doing on my laptop and play a card game with my son. And that’s ok. A few years ago, I would have been irritated by the distractions. I admit that I often think, “I’m blowing that opportunity to shine with the bosses” or “I really wanted to beat that deadline so they can see what a high achiever I am.”

I do shine and beat deadlines often but it’s not the be all and end all. I’ve learnt the hard way that my family don’t care what I do. It doesn’t matter whether I work in a grocery store or clean windows or just stay home. They love me.

In my darkest “career moments”, they were there for me even when others said I was “crap” or “average”.

I will always want to do a great job but I also want to make better, fearless decisions about my life. Like I said, I don’t recognise myself. It’s almost like I grow up overnight.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

I was away from home this week. Spending three nights in Florence, Italy for work meetings wasn’t bad at all.

Hotel Brunnelleschi made me feel at home with a gorgeous bed that looked like it was meant for a Roman princess.

This Chicken Caesar salad was just incredibly tasty… Indeed, it was a home away from home.

Starting Over: Unhealthy Detour Ahead

I wanted to start over in 2013. I had plans to start a new career and build leadership capabilities. The years before now have been rewarding – no doubt – but I often felt stuck in 2nd gear (including the annoying sound and irritating other road users). Every once in a while, something would happen like a promotion or a commendation and I’d think “yeah…I’m coasting into 3rd gear.” There were a few false alarms.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I started a new job this year. This is my second week on the job and it really has been great. People are nice and I feel like I could fit into the rhythm and culture – this is good for me. However, the actual start of the job didn’t go as planned.

My elaborate list of things I was going to do to prepare and read about to help me “hit the ground running” was cut off and took a slight detour. Also, I was going to treat myself to spa and relaxation as I transitioned mentally into a new job/company. Well… on New Year’s Day, 6 days before the start of my job, I was hit with a really bad flu. Not the type that goes after 3 days. I mean, this flu took over my body and (eventually) my soul. You can guess what I spent the next 6 days doing.

I prayed hard AND sneezed harder. I didn’t want to start sick on a new job. I couldn’t breathe or think. And worst of all, I sounded like a pathetic little mouse! Everyone would say, “Oh, look what the cat dragged in!” if I turned up that sick at work. By day 4, all hope was lost. Things were not getting better and I felt like my big job plans were being attacked. How can I be at my best when I can’t breathe properly? Then things took a turn for the worst. I developed the most disgusting cough ever. I was doing things with my oesophagus that I didn’t even know was possible. I couldn’t cough or clear my throat without something gross settling in my mouth. Sorry but you need some details to understand my pain.

Day one of the new job came and I basically went in, ready or not. It was a very busy day and I remember only coughing once on my way to a meeting, at which point I turned right back to go to the restrooms to empty my mouth. I was sleep deprived and throbbing but somehow I was enjoying my first week.

I went from getting up at 7am to getting up before 5.30am as I have an earlier start at work. I’m not a morning person so having intelligent conversations by 8am was the biggest challenge!

I’m making personal changes such that I’m more organised to leave home early. I’ve gotten lots of support from family and friends, and I’m so grateful to them. They know how much I want to start over. I’m getting excited after a rocky start to my health. Things are looking up and getting brighter. And I’m growing up and getting happier about the changes – because frankly, I wanted things to change.

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