The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


To My Darling Jill …
May 13, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Comment, Jill, Otis, Parents

There’s no post on Monday.

Which is good, because after you read this, you’ll either be sick or shocked and it will give you a little more time to get over it.

Ready? Well here we go …

Being married to me is hard.

Not just for the obvious countless reasons, but because we keep moving countries.

In fact, in the last 6 years, we have lived in four countries.

FOUR.

Add some more years to that total and the number of countries we’ve lived in goes up again.

And again.

And again.

But that aside, the reality is we’ve kept moving countries predominantly for me.

And every time, Jill has been nothing but supportive and encouraging – even though it has meant she’s had to leave her friends, passions – and in the case of Shanghai – her successful cake business, Stir.

OK, so after dragging Jill around the world for nearly 2 decades, coming to NZ was as much about getting her closer to her Mum as it was about me joining Colenso … but even with the added benefit of family proximity, Jill had to start her life all over again.

I’ve never been in this position.

When you move for a job, you are given an instant network.

You’re in an office. With people. Who you get to connect with, talk to, meet.

You also have a ready made job … with things to do and things to change.

In almost no time at all, you feel part of the place with people who can help you overcome any question or obstacle you face.

But not Jill.

When she moves, she starts from zero.

She has no support network except her husband and son.

And given I’m at work and Otis is at school, that means she doesn’t even get us easily.

I am under no illusion how hard this is on her.

I am also under no illusion how much she has sacrificed to allow me to live this life.

It is more than I could ever expect or hope for and yet, despite all the challenges it places her under, she has never complained or stopped us exploring adventure.

She could have.

There are times she probably wanted to.

But she has done it over and over again because of us. Or should I say, me.

My wife is the most compassionate, considerate and caring person I know.

Always looking out for us.
Always ensuring we are settled as quickly as possible.
Always protecting the family.

I say all this because Jill has started taking some tentative steps into exploring a career again.

When Otis was born, she made the decision she wanted to be a full-time Mum. We were in the very fortunate position that we could make that happen and she loved every second. But now Otis is 7 … he has independence and is at school … so Jill wants to use the time she has got back in new ways.

But starting something new when you’ve been away for a while is daunting.

And for all the talent and experiences and achievements my wife has earned in the past, she is doubting herself.

I can literally see the arguments she is having in her head.

The fight between curiosity and self judgement.

The worry she may not be good enough.

Of course all women go through this.

The most evil thing men have done is make women believe they have to be perfect before they can try something new.

Which means many don’t, leaving men – who don’t give a shit about perfection because of our deluded self-confidence – to take opportunities that could be better served and expressed by female talent.

I am proud of my wife for many reasons, but for someone so gentle, she is immensely strong … and despite her not really sure where she will end up, she is starting a little design studio focused on digital art.

Not NFT’s … but just different designs that can be used in different ways and places.

She knows it’s hard to get noticed in this field.

She knows it’s a lot of work for not a lot of reward.

She knows she has to build up her portfolio of work.

And while it would be easy to point to the privilege she has in being able to do this when so many don’t even have that option … I am watching a woman seeking a different sort of self-worth. One that goes beyond being an amazing wife and Mum, but an independent person

I have never had to worry about this.
Otis is unlikely to have to worry about this.
And I wish Jill didn’t have to worry about this … but she does and so she should.

Add to that the time she has been out of the workforce – something she did for us to be able to walk forward – and what she’s doing is insanely important.

For her.
For us.
For any woman who faces this situation.

I love this woman.
I’m so proud of her.
I am watching her put so much of herself into this.

Not just in terms of designing … but thinking, considering and questioning.

This is a huge thing for her – far more than just a design project – and I want her to feel excited and proud about what she’s doing.which is why I have a favour to ask.

Not as someone’s wife. Not as someone’s Mum. But for who she is and what she does.

A brilliant, clever, talented, smart, kind human.

Someone willing to put their vulnerabilities on show and on the line in the hope it may lead to something they can’t quite define.

What an amazing person.

I’m such a lucky bugger to be her husband.

Thank you Jill.

I love you.



Depressing Inspiration …

Back in the 80’s, there was a real trend for companies to put up ‘inspiration posters’.

Corporate Yoda statements that were as contrived – and daft – as fuck.

Things like …

EXPLORE. Only those willing to leave shore can find new lands.

I’m not even joking. There was tons of them like this.

For a while they were all the range … so popular that a friend actually created a mass of pisstake versions in the early 90’s.

Here’s one of them:

They were soooooooo much better than the real thing.

And then, from the mid-90’s to around 2015, these empty statements died a death however – just when you thought it was safe – social media decided to bring them back with a vengeance.

However, if you thought they were bad before, they have reached a whole new level of terrible.

Or should I say a whole new depth.

So much of this is because of Linkedin …

I’ve written my views on the biggest fiction factory on earth before.

Seriously, it’s about as professional as me … that’s how bad it has become.

In fact, it feels more like a home for wannabe Tony Robbins than a place for professional interaction.

Nothing sums this up more than an ‘inspiration’ photo I saw on there a while ago.

Take a look at this.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I mean, just how depressing is that?

Sure, I know it’s trying to be deep and meaningful but christ almighty.

And they are using a photo of Jim Carrey to demonstrate the point.

But I’m not quite sure why him.

Yes, I know he has suffered loss and yes I have heard he supposedly doesn’t try to ‘impress’ people anymore … except he works in Hollywood and has a history of being an attention-seeking, approval-needing, soul-sucking individual.

Maybe he’s past that.

Maybe I have to stop using the term ‘Jim Carrey syndrome’ … which is how I used to describe people who are successful in one field, but are so desperate to win the respect of their peers, they change their actions and behaviour to try and win their approval, only to fail because that’s not who they are or what they’re good at.

I hope he is.

I hope that is the case.

That would be good and healthy for him.

But even with that … it still wouldn’t clearly explain WHY he is the star of this ‘grimperation’ poster, WHY the creator thought this approach would motivate people or WHY the person who posted it on their Linkedin, thought it may make them look like a guru.

That said, when I saw it, I genuinely burst out into hysterical laughter so maybe … just maybe … that was the whole point of the thing and if that’s the case, it’s bloody genius.

You wait. Depress yourself to happy will be on Linkedin status updates any day now.



Build A Cliche, Not A Life …

I recently had to go to a DIY centre.

On a Sunday.

For anyone who knows me, this is literally my idea of hell.

Fortunately I asked Jill to go inside instead of me to avoid having to kill myself.

I know that sounds like a shitty thing to do, but she LOVES DIY – and is amazing at it – so it was really a gift.

Anyway …

While I was waiting in the carpark, I saw their sign. This was it …

I don’t know about you. but when I looked at it, I didn’t notice the 15% off price guarantee, I noticed they had designed it to look like it had been done by hand.

Oh I get it, DIY store = DIY sign.

But …

Apart from this falling into the ‘cheeky Chappy’ tone that Uncommon destroyed with their [still] best work for B&Q, I can’t help thinking that if anywhere should have perfect signage and store interiors, it’s a DIY retailer.

Sure, there’s something ‘human’ about the imperfection of creation, but faking it doesn’t make me connect to the brand more, it makes me look at them and wonder what the fuck they were thinking.

Yes, it’s a minute thing.

Yes, Mitre 10 are pretty good.

But – as I am seeing a lot in NZ right now – this obsession with reinforcing stereotypes isn’t actually removing barriers for people to feel they can step in and step up with the ambitions or aspirations they have for their life … it’s keeping them, and treating them, like nothing ever changes.

NZ is an amazing place and has so many things the rest of the world could/should learn from … and we genuinely are grateful for the wonderful opportunity the people here have given us to live here – but for a nation that needs ambition and entrepreneurship to maintain a positive future, it’s amazing how little of that spirit is championed or celebrated by society, government and brands.

And while many will claim it’s because of the humble spirit of this great nation, it’s probably – and terrifyingly – because of this.



Death As A Business Model …
May 10, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Corporate Evil, Marketing, Marketing Fail

We shouldn’t be surprised reading this.

As I wrote a while back, McKinsey had a similar point of view when working with the Sackler family to keep the deadly Oxycontin drug selling in its billions.

In fact the only thing that is a surprise is how McKinsey keep their ‘sheen’ when more and more reports come out as regards their ‘money wins’ approach to consultancy, regardless of the potential outcome.

Of course the reason is many of the organisations who use them, revel in the ‘no limits’ approach to making cash that consultancies bring to the table. And why shouldn’t they when they know that for all the talk of wanting to align with brands with purpose, customers will go with anyone if the price is low enough and the illusionary optics are good enough..

What a mess.



Let Them Go …
May 9, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Dad, Daddyhood, Education, School

One of the things that does my head in is around 3pm on weekdays when parents pick up their kids from school.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with them collecting their child – even in their cars, we do it too – but it’s the attitude they can leave their car wherever they like regardless of it blocking traffic or being placed in a no parking zone.

The level of entitlement of some parents picking up their kids is 70’s Rockstar standard.

Which is why I loved this passive aggressive sign at a school near where we live …

Love it.

Especially the ‘love them and leave them’ message underneath, because for me, it’s really saying this:

By all means drive your kid to school.

By all means give your kid a kiss and hug as they come/go.

But don’t get out the car … don’t dress your kid at the school gates … don’t hang around and talk to other parents

Come in. Kiss them hello/goodbye. Leave.

And while that may sound a bit harsh, it’s simply reminding parents that while your child means the World to you, the World doesn’t revolve around them.

Jesus … I’m coming in hot for a Monday aren’t I.