On work, and hope, and disappointment

Exactly one month ago, I started a new job, to many huzzahs from supportive friends and family, which I heartily concurred with. The industry is new to me, the travel torments me, but the stand-out thing I’m experiencing is the unmistakable feeling of being a square peg in a round hole.

Has that ever happened to you?

If my job was a new boyfriend, and I’d spent this many hours with him over the past month, that would a) reek ever so slightly of desperation/infatuation, and b) would absolutely be enough time for me to know if there was a future with him or not. There’s not, so I would have walked away by now. People would most likely be supportive of that choice, because it would be ‘settling’ at worst, and just plain sad at best, to continue to try and make something from nothing. It’s nobody’s fault, it just isn’t meant to be. No biggie, right?

Work isn’t like that though. People have all kinds of opinions about work and what we should endure to get a wage. I have opinions on that subject, and they don’t include bowing to abusive, ill-mannered turds who think because they pay the wages, they can treat people like shit. Those days are long gone. Nobody should have to sacrifice their dignity or mental health to an employer.

You are more important than your earning capacity.

While we’re on the subject, you should click here and read about my friend Sarah’s current experience with the stress that comes when unemployment lingers. She raises some great questions about the taboos around talking about this issue. We must talk about it, I’m glad she’s talking about it. Perhaps reading her post will get you talking about it too.

Back to my square peg, round hole situation, this week I spoke with my manager about where I’m at, about how I feel ill-equipped to do the job, and how I’m finding myself despondent and blue each weekend, how there have been tears and worries. She was very responsive to me, as we have a good rapport.

I’m not quitting, but I have no intention of staying in a place where I simply don’t have the gifts to flourish and contribute meaningfully to a company, just to take their money. That’s not okay with me, never has been, never will be. And I think they’d notice my sub-par performance.

I have great skills, and I have gaps in my skill set, as everyone does. This job is almost entirely made up of the things that fall outside my strengths. Almost entirely! What they do see in me is someone experienced, someone who can mentor their younger staff, someone moderately sensible and mature and I agree with them on those counts. What they failed to consider, and failed to ask me much about, was my strengths in numeracy and in using accounting software. I’m here to tell you, I suck at those things. I have made fantastic mistakes that I can’t even begin to trace back; it’s just a black hole to me.

The school of thought that I’ll pick it up seems reasonable, but I sincerely doubt that’ll happen. I wouldn’t take a job as a translator at the Latvian Embassy, as I don’t speak Latvian. Could I learn it? Sure, technically a person can learn anything, but would it be profitable for the Latvians to hire me, not so much. I’m sure I’d look fetching in their national costume, but there are other people out there with Latvian verb conjugation skills who would be perfect for that job.

What’s a girl to do in such a situation? I don’t have a game plan or an exit strategy. All I can do is be straightforward and up front with them about where I’m at, continue attempting to learn an utterly foreign language and hope that I don’t do too much damage in the process. I may pick it up, I doubt it, but it may happen. If it does, that’s great. If not, that’s okay too.

It’s okay not to fit someone else’s expectations for you.

That goes way beyond work and out into life, don’t you think?

Non-conformism is a perfectly acceptable state of being. Not simply to be an arsehole, but there’s no merit in trying to look just like the next person. In fact, to me, it’s kind of horrifying to strive for such conformity.

Vanilla is a nice flavour, but it’s not the only thing I want to taste.

Square pegs and round pegs both have their place. The world needs both.

We need our individuality and our different points of view.


We need people who see the world just a bit differently to us, so we can think, ‘huh, maybe they have a point’ like I did yesterday, when my friend Sue was making some excellent points about the potential someone standing for the godforsaken election has to be of service to their constituents. (By the way, how effing annoying are the true believers who are milling about the shops on Saturdays handing out flyers and poorly made totes?)

These things I’m facing have me thinking again about a topic that I delve into semi-regularly, and that’s how we cope with disappointments.

What happens when we put all our eggs in one basket, whether that basket is labelled career, or a long term romantic relationship, or parenthood, or success in an artistic endeavour, and in spite of all our efforts and desire and determination, it doesn’t happen? What then?

Who are we beyond the things we strive for and want with all our hearts?

When is it time to lay a dream down?

Can we still find meaning with a broken heart?

It’s something I think about often, how deeply primal, yet potentially crushing it is to long for some thing or someone to make us okay, to fill us up, to sate all our soul’s shadowy whispers about who we are and where our worth stems from.

Happy blog post land this is!

Really, I don’t find this kind of thing Debbie Downer-ish, I just like to think about stuff.

I’m not my job; I’ve learned that lesson well. I will do my best where I am and if it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. I will be fine. In fact, I’ll be better off in a place where I can offer my strengths and smarts to people that need them.

And if you’re nursing an unfulfilled dream, a hope that seems inextricably tied to your soul’s survival, I just want to say to you, with no intention to sound pessimistic or insensitively shitty, I believe you can be okay too, with or without that thing.

We aren’t just the things we pursue, no matter how pure they are, or how deep the desire is.

Life has taught me that redirection and detour can be the best, most fulfilling paths, even if they are paths we would never, ever choose for ourselves.

We humans are a resilient bunch, even when we don’t feel like it.

Gosh, how am I going to tie this post up in a neat bow? I’m not sure I can.

Perhaps I’ll just leave you with this: thoughtful reflection never killed anyone, as far as I’m aware. If you’ve been pushing down a niggle or an eruption of questioning where you’re at, of feeling dissatisfaction or hurt, of feeling trapped or defeated by delays in the things you want from life, you’re not alone.

We have all been there, or will all be there, more than once.

Reach out to someone. Talk to someone. Talk to yourself, honestly, about what’s on your heart.

I believe we are strengthened by being vulnerable and honest with ourselves.

I believe we can find new paths when the paths we’re on fall out from under our feet, or get covered by brambles. Do I believe this is easy? Fuck no.

Most of all, I believe in you. In your soul’s beauty, in your worth as you are, at this very moment.

You make me hopeful and I write for you.

I write for you and I cheer for you.




Annette xx

PS. I really value our conversation. Drop me a line, how are you? What’s good? What’s challenging? What are you proud of? Braggers welcome!


Double PS. Don’t forget to do this, okay?




Taking Stock – January 2015

I know I’m not alone in this, but gosh, how fast did January seem to zoom past us? We’re already one twelfth into 2015. Seems an appropriate time for a Taking Stock post, given that Easter eggs are already on sale.

Have you succumbed and snuck a sneaky six-pack of hot cross buns into your trolley yet? Those marketers want us to rush from one holiday to the next don’t they. You’d think they’d put the Valentine’s Day stuff out before Easter stuff.

I’m going to pump the brakes on February for a minute and take stock of the first month of the year. I’m using the list that Pip always posts at the end of her Taking Stock posts on Meet Me At Mike’s.

Here’s what’s happening in my world. If you want to get on the Taking Stock bandwagon, you can use the blank list at the bottom of this post. Credit it back to Pip please: credit where credit’s due, it’s easy and nice to do. 

Making : Lots of art, and enjoying it so much. You can follow my ‘progress’ here.



I’m also doing another round of an online course called Inspiration Information, and I’m joining in with a month long creative challenge called #Tinkersketch, which you can follow on Instagram.

Cooking : I roasted a couple of capsicums today, I think I’ll put them through some pasta. I also made my first ever lamb roast for Straya Day. It was super tasty and fed me all week long.

Lamb Roast = Strayan
Lamb Roast = Strayan

Drinking : Soda water & cordial. I haven’t had a drop of soft drink all year. Feeling lighter.

Reading: how to look at a painting by Justin Paton. It’s a great book about art, and seeing what’s there.


Wanting: Work. I just ticked over a year of unemployment. Sheesh, enough already.

Looking: At clouds, everywhere I go. I’m obsessed by their shapes and colours.

2015-01-16 20.40.04

2015-01-28 12.58.41

Playing: If I can find a recorder, I’ll be playing With Cat Like Tread for Eden. I hope I can remember it properly. By the way, have you been watching Eden’s weekly newscast? You totally should. It’s awesome – check it out here.

Deciding: I’m trying to decide whether to write a bit about the highs and lows of being on Newstart.

Wishing: For a money tree, those bills aren’t going to pay themselves, and Newstart doesn’t cover them. Not even close.

Enjoying: The cooler days. I’m longing for autumn!

Waiting: I’m waiting to hear back about a couple of jobs I went for last week. Come on!!

Liking: Instagram – there are so many great creative people out there.

Wondering: Whether I’ll ever be able to accept the generosity of others without crying. It’s one of those things that is wonderful, and difficult. I’m looking for the lessons in it. I’m sure there are lessons in this season and I want to learn them all.

Loving: The sky. Instagram. Bed. Creativity. Making things.

Pondering: What else I can do to create some kind of income stream…. am I brave enough to try copywriting, offer my services in organising/decluttering, or maybe I should join a travelling band of ragamuffins.

Considering: How much I could make as a ragamuffin. It might not work, I’m a bit of a homebody.

Watching: The Block Triple Threat, for now. I love Scotty Cam, but all the redundant editing could be too much to deal with!

Hoping: I’m hoping to continue to be hopeful. Hope is a choice. I choose it, again.


Marvelling: That my blog is almost one year old!

Needing: Quite a lot, and not much. It’s a paradox.

Smelling: The aroma of #sundaybakingsunday – today’s scent was zucchini bread.

Wearing: Fave trackies today, with my trusty #teamstripes 17Sundays tee.

Following: A bunch of artists and painters on Instagram.

Noticing: That once you open your eyes to it, beautiful things are everywhere.

Knowing: This too shall pass. Most days I have pretty easy access to that mindset, some days, not so much.

Thinking: How great it is that I am part of an online community of people who practice encouragement, kindness and generosity. Their juju holds me up.

Admiring: Taylor Swift’s songwriting abilities. I’m an out and proud TayTay fan. #shakeitoff

Sorting: I still have to sort through my shoes, but I think #hoistthehangers has been a great success. Did you follow along? You can read about my adventures in decluttering here, here and here.

Buying: Just the essentials. Yes, essentials often includes chocolate. I’m settling for the Coles brand at the moment, it’s two-fiddy.

Getting: Ready for autumn, it’s my favourite time of year.

Bookmarking: I’m not much of a bookmarker, I’m a Bloglovin kind of girl.

Disliking: Counting every cent, every week.

Opening: This week I know I’ll be opening some awesome mail. I’m so excited about that.

Giggling: The babies in tunnels videos that are doing the rounds are pretty cute.

Feeling: Calm again. I’ll be okay.

Snacking: on #sundaybakingsunday goodies and corn relish dip and crackers.

Coveting: New bed linen, or trying a new moisturiser, or being able to buy anything that catches my eye. I miss being able to shop for pretty things. Speaking of which, I wouldn’t say no to this awesome dress by 17Sundays.

Wishing: For instant recall of every person who has done me a kindness in the past year. I’d love to be able to list you all. I really would.

Helping: Naomi pass time at the Apple Store last week was fun. You can check out her January Taking Stock post on her lovely blog here.

Hearing: Harry Connick Jnr today, while I was reading. I’m loving him on American Idol.

Would you like to take stock too? Go for it. You could do this on your Facebook page, or on your blog if you have one, or you could even take photos of all the things and make it a photographic essay on Instagram or Tumblr. Here are Pip’s latest prompts. Remember, credit where credit is due…


That’s all from me for now.

How are you enjoying 2015 so far? Tell me just one thing, or all of the things, that you’re enjoying or working on so far, in the comments.


Annette x



Hope is a dangerous thing.

We need it to survive, to do more than merely survive.

Some of us hope for love, or for good news from the doctor, or that our kids won’t have to live through the hell that we lived through as children.

Some of us hope that nobody will notice us, that we can just fade into the background, almost ceasing to exist.

Others hope for the spotlight, the roar of the crowd, to be trending on Twitter and written about in the papers.

Hope. We all need it.

Lately I’ve hoped for it not to be so cold that I have to have the heater on all day, I’ve hoped for opportunities and good news.

And I’ve found hope really, really hard to hang on to.

I think I let it go for a while there. Shut down that dangerous force – it’s unpredictable and it hurts like fuck when your hopes aren’t met.

On the weekend, out of nowhere I realised that I have to want, I have to let myself open that locked down vault. I have to hope.

And do you know what, that scares the crap out of me.

You see, wanting and hoping are utterly impossible without vulnerability. Utterly, infuriatingly impossible.


So I put on my carefully selected clothes, I put on make-up, I drive across town and freak out that the traffic is crazy, I find a park and walk quickly up the street.

While I walk, I try to calm myself down and focus on the fact that I’ve made it this far. I know people are hoping on my behalf, and I hope their positivity is powerful.

I hope that the person I’m going to meet sees past my nerves. I hope they see me.

I hope. And I feel like I have absolutely no control over the outcome.

We talk, we have a drink, there’s easy banter, we do our strange getting-to-know-you dance – an hour flies by.

I sit in a cafe after it’s over, wishing I had a friend to debrief with.

I lamely post stuff on Facebook.

I’m wired and nervous.

I can’t believe I said that, didn’t say this, forgot to mention that… but I can’t change it now. I resist the urge to go back across the street and apologise, or try and take back that thing, or amend that other thing.

I finish my coffee and walk back to the car. I can’t tell if I feel relief or anxiety – I think it might be a weird cocktail of the two.


I actually shed a few tears on the drive home – not because I’m a lunatic, but because of the hope.

It’s out there now, suspended in time, I’ve hoped, I’ve put the hope into action and now it’s out of my hands.

Will he call?

I hope so.


It hurts to let that out of the bag… but I know I have to – both the admission about the tears, and the hoping.

I have to want, I have to hope.

And no, I wasn’t going on date – I was out at another job interview.



The trouble with this one is that I really want it. I think it could be awesome.

So I’m forced to hope – hope that makes me feel all kinds of unprotected and vulnerable.

What this knots in the guts hope reminds me of is that I actually truly want a job I can love, and throw myself into. I want to work with and for people who are passionate, driven and pushing the envelope. I do. There I said it. Are you satisfied now, inner voice?

So I probably will cry a bit more than is usual while I wait and hope, and while I do I’ll keep telling myself… I have to hope. I have to.


For now, I think I’ll put a movie on and make myself a toasted cheese sambo.


And keep hoping.