Well that’s Semester One Done

As if work running into 30 June isn’t hectic enough for an accountant I’ve combined it with an exam and an assignment!

Over the last four months I’ve attended 13 workshops, 13 seminars, 9 presentations, completed 5 assignments and sat one exam, whilst working full-time. It certainly has been a challenge.

From a work perspective it has also seen one of the busiest periods we have seen for a while. Plenty of good and challenging work as I completed my second last year of professional practice.

From a study perspective, the word count is about 11,000 words submitted and countless others edited out. Numerous journal articles carefully read to extract the gems needed to support my work. Then there is the exacting task of referencing, something which after 5 assignments now seems quite straight forward – it certainly wasn’t back in March!

So what have I learnt? I know that I’m still not good at statistics, although compared to what I knew on the 1st of March I am an expert! I’ve learnt about the inductive and deductive approach. I know that method and methodology aren’t the same thing and lots more. I’ve found that writing every day does work better; that “snack writing” actually works and writing early in the day is a productive use if my time as against sleeping (which is definitely over rated)! What however is more important is that I now realise I am thinking differently and that this is not just helping my study but also work.

I’m a quarter the way through my Honours program with still many thousands of words to write and much to learn. Whilst the last few months have been challenging I’m still enjoying it.

So now a few weeks before saddling up again. Time to take in the balance of The World Cup and Tour de France on TV.

Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)

I was listening to one of my playlists and up came Peter Sarsdedt’s Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) released in 1969. I bought it when it was released as a 45 and have been captivated by the song ever since. Infact it haunts me!

If you can’t remember go to Spotify and listen to it.

The song is apparent,y fictional which I find so hard to believe, as it seems so personal and full of scorn. Read the lyrics and see if you agree with me?

You talk like Marlene Dietrich
And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire
Your clothes are all made by Balmain
And there’s diamonds and pearls in your hair, yes there are

You live in a fancy apartment
Off the Boulevard Saint-Michel
Where you keep your Rolling Stones records
And a friend of Sacha Distel, yes you do

But where do you go to my lovely
When you’re alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head, yes I do

I’ve seen all your qualifications
You got from the Sorbonne
And the painting you stole from Picasso
Your loveliness goes on and on, yes it does

When you go on your summer vacation
You go to Juan-les-Pins
With your carefully designed topless swimsuit
You get an even suntan on your back and on your legs

And when the snow falls you’re found in Saint Moritz
With the others of the jet-set
And you sip your Napoleon brandy
But you never get your lips wet, no you don’t

But where do you go to my lovely
When you’re alone in your bed
Won’t you tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head, yes I do

Your name, it is heard in high places
You know the Aga Khan
He sent you a racehorse for Christmas
And you keep it just for fun, for a laugh, a-ha-ha-ha

They say that when you get married
It’ll be to a millionaire
But they don’t realize where you came from
And I wonder if they really care, or give a damn

Where do you go to my lovely
When you’re alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head, yes I do

I remember the back streets of Naples
Two children begging in rags
Both touched with a burning ambition
To shake off their lowly-born tags, so they try

So look into my face Marie-Claire
And remember just who you are
Then go and forget me forever
But I know you still bear the scar, deep inside, yes you do

I know where you go to my lovely
When you’re alone in your bed
I know the thoughts that surround you
‘Cause I can look inside your head

(na na-na-na na na-na-na na-na na na na na)
(na na-na-na na na-na-na na-na na na na na
)

The words seems so personal, of someone looking so scornfully at a person who they must have once loved and has been cast aside.

No Time!

In earlier posts I’ve reflected on my decision to go back to University whilst working fulltime. It’s all part of an aspirational goal of completing a PhD. It’s feeling much more aspirational than real at the moment!

When I was discussing this with various people last year, it was all part of embracing the spirit of Herminia Ibarra’s fantastic book, Working Identities. It seemed straight forward – working 4 days a week with Uni on Mondays – it would be all OK. Like so many things the idea and the reality bare no resemblance.

Work is full on as Professional Services face one of the most challenging, if not the most challenging period in my professional career. Pressure on delivery, commoditisation of services, and an ever downward pressure on fees. That would all be difficult enough without an economic environment in which business is quite appropriately watching every penny.

The university workload is also substantial. Mondays at university involves a full day of contact including a dreaded workshop on statistics, a subject that I struggled at when I undertook my degree in the mid70s. Having not looked at stats since, it’s not a surprise that I am having to learn it all again. Academic writing is also new to me. Whilst I have written all my life this is a new form of writing. To be fair though, I am enjoying the research and writing aspect, it’s just that there is so much to do – 6000 words before 30 June ignoring the exam!

The upshot of all this is that I have no time. It’s a good thing I have a grown up family and an understanding wife who is very supportive of my current endeavors. It also helps the I am an early riser, as it enables me to ride 4 mornings a week and study on the others. It’s also good that I don’t seem to need masses of sleep as I need the evenings to either catch up on work or study.

Our social life has changed. Nights out during the week are by exception. I usually have one evening work function a week so there isn’t t time for much else until the weekend. On the weekend it’s also about fitting study time in, making time for coffee with my wife, going to the Adelaide Central Market and maybe trying to fit the football in.

Whoever said that I should be slowing down must have been kidding!

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This week.

What does this week hold for me?

Each week is so full and this week is short – Easter Monday and Anzac Day. Just three work days!

From a work point of view so many of the staff are in leave this week and I suspect many of my clients will be as well. It will be a great opportunity to catch up on what has got away from me in recent weeks. My move to four day weeks to accommodate study has been a welcome change however as I am working full time there is still five days work to be done. A serious week of clearing emails ahead I hope.

I also start the University’s mentoring program this week – I’m the mentor!That should be both challenging and fun.

Also whilst we are in a study break there is still so much reading to do. I really have to come to grips with Statistics. Maybe a tutor might help? Then there is the next assignment, another 1500 words on my 10,000 word challenge before semester’s end.

Time with the family, watching Game of Thrones, keeping upto date with the EPL are also important, not to mention The Crows whose season finally seems to have started! There needs to be time for all of these as well as sleeping! Ah, sleeping, that’s definitely taken a back seat in recent weeks so much so that last night I was asleep at 8.30pm – haven’t done that since I was about 10!

I also want to find some time to get back to my blog and reading other’s blogs. Both of these seemed to have been things which have fallen by the wayside in recent weeks.

Heaven forbid that something unplanned comes up!