Two months in…

I've been at my new job for two months now, and I'm loving it!

The first month was really just about getting my bearings – figuring out who everyone was, what they did, and what I did. The second month has been about getting into the flow of work and making sure my awesome team has everything they need to get on with the business of regeneration.

I don't think I truely appreciated how stressful my previous job was until I left. With the benefit of two months of distance between me and Synapsys, I can see more clearly how difficult it had become to work there. My current job is busy, but nothing like the kind of craziness I dealt with every day at Synapsys. I would walk away from my desk each day feeling like I hadn't even made a chink in the mountain ahead of me. And then there wild be a new, bigger mountain the next day!

It's been challenging to get a crash course in a whole new subject matter, but also really interesting. What started out sounding like a different language is starting to make sense. And the staff at Regenerate Christchurch are genuinely committed to what they are trying to do.

I am so proud of what we've already achieved, and we have so many more adventures ahead. I can't wait!

Out with the old…

I start my new job on Monday. No-one was more surprised than me when I handed in my notice at Synapsys. I loved my job and I loved (most of) my workmates. I wasn't seriously looking for a new job, but when I saw the Programme Manager position for Regenerate Christchurch, I applied without even thinking about it. It's the perfect combination of what I am good at (managing things) and what I am passionate about (Christchurch recovery). 

It's frustrated me in the last couple of years that my job had become almost all-consuming – so intense that it didn't leave much room for side projects. I've blogged lots of times about cutting back, doing less, keeping life simple. I've done it, but I haven't liked it. I have seen all the amazing creative things going on around the city, but I haven't been able to get involved. I'm hoping this new job will give me a chance to get my sticky beak into some of that stuff now. I'm super excited about that! And of course nervous too … it's a hard transition to make going from being at the top of my game when I know what I'm doing, to knowing very little about the industry I'm moving into (urban planning). But I am ready for the challenge. 

I will really miss some parts of working at Synapsys – mucking in and getting things done together, knowing that when the shit hit the fan my workmates were there for me – professionally and personally. I must admit that I am surprised to find myself in the (rather large) Former Synapsys Employee Club. I thought I would be a lifer.

I'm not sorry to be leaving behind the timesheeting, the difficult clients, the travel, and most of all, trying to get things done on a shoe string with not enough time or staff. The past few years I've known I could do a better job every time if I had a bit more resource.  That's frustrating. I've had to learn to walk away from "just good enough" jobs. That's okay sometimes, but I didn't like that it had become the norm. 

So onwards and upwards for me! Eek!

What do you do…?

People ask each other this all the time. “So, what do you do?” Of course, what they mean to say is “how do you waste your time in that 8-10 hours of daylight each day?”

I never know the etiquette of asking this question. I am terminally nosy about other people’s lives, and I always want to know these kinds of details about them. In my perfect world, what-do-you-do-for-living? would be closely followed by “how do you spend your other time? What are your hobbies? What are your passions? What kind of family are you from? Where did you grow up? Do you have kids? Do you want kids? Where did you go to school? What are you doing after this? What about after that?”. Honestly, if I wasn’t being polite, I could be relentless. Once I decide I like someone, I want to know all about them. People and their lives and their choices fascinate me.

But, anyway, back to the point. At hockey on Monday, we got to the “what do you do” conversation in the locker room before the game. Some people were definitely more forthcoming than others.

Why is this? Are you reluctant to share what you do with others? Is it a status thing? i.e. you don’t want to position yourself as being of either higher or lower status than others in the conversation. That was my assumption.

For me, the only reluctance is around explaining what I do. When I taught sociology and anthropology at the University of Canterbury, explaining my job was straightforward (see how easy that was?). Everyone understands the concept of a university lecturer, even if they might be a bit hazy on the sociology/anthropology bit. So it would be a conversation starter: “Oh, what does a sociologist do?”

Now, I am an educational designer and project manager. They are vague, hard to explain terms. They don’t really sound like a proper job. Telling people what I do nowadays is often a conversation stopper. People don’t really know what to make of “educational designer” and I have trouble explaining it. Usually I resort to “I write training manuals for polytechs and other places like that”. But that’s not really what I do. A big part of my job is actually managing my own and other people’s work processes. It’s what I really love doing. I spend a lot of my day tracking work coming into my company from clients, recording it, allocating the work to an educational designer, editor or graphic designer, and then sending a beautiful product back of to the client for them to wow over.

I need to develop a slick patter for when people ask me the job question. The starting point for me? I love my job. Did I mention that? I really do.

Check us out if you like: SYNAPSYS

This and that

It amazes me how much life can change in such a short space of time. A year and a half ago, I was living alone in an apartment in the city, I had just started a new job after just having returned from an extended jaunt abroad. I was happy-ish, but a bit lost, wondering what the heck I was going to do with my life. I had a feeling of being surplus – what was my mission, my goal?

Then blamo! Everything changed. First, I became a Nana. It didn’t materially change my life much at all, but it made me feel differently about thinking-forward. I had another whole generation of people that I could have an influence on. I started to reshape myself around the idea of being Nana to baby Wyatt. What kind of Nana was I going to be? Cool, of course. Involved. Caring, present, but not ‘in-your-face’, playful, but still strict-ish. So now I was Brigid-Bebe-Mum-Nana.

And then in February 2009 (on Valentine’s Day, in fact), after seeing the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” I decided I needed to shake things up some more. I wanted to meet someone to share my time with…

I made a list. Someone had once told me that if I wanted something, I should think about what form I wanted it to come to me in, write down what I desired, and then put this out to the universe and wait. I had just read a book about a women who describes doing this: The Wishing Year, so I was feeling inspired. I made a list of all the characteristics I wanted in a potential mate. All the really big important things (intelligence, humour, looks, secure, doesn’t want more kids…) and all the little incidental things that seem like just a bonus, but help to sustain a relationship over time (wants to travel, likes nerdy things…). Some of the things on the list seemed silly to put there, but hey, it was a wish-list so I figured I might as well go all-out.

I met Stephen online a few days later, and we started dating in March. Without an exception, he ticks every item on my list.