The world is a bad place… a terrible place

Just on twelve months ago I wrote a post <a href=”http://www.browney237.com/reflections-of-my-life/“>Reflections of my Life</a>. It was inspired both by The Marmalade’s song of the same name and a visit to Berlin’s Topography of Terror. However, the last week coupe of weeks have caused me to reflect again on the two lines which were the central theme of that post

<em>The world is a bad place, a bad place

A terrible place to live, oh but I don’t wanna die.</em>.

In recent weeks we  have had reports of the terrible happenings in Iraq, the continued and seemingly never ending challenges around Israel and The Palestinians whilst in Australia, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-unravelling-of-harriet-wran-20140816-104xfb.html“>the sad report about the daughter of a former state Premier facing murder and attempted murder charges </a> which are allegedly linked with her need to fill her drug habit.

These are all awful. Each in their own different ways.

What have the “run of the mill” people of Iraq, Israel or the Palestinians done to deserve this? How can it be that a young, apparently intelligent women brought up in a well to do family find herself allegedly involved in such a mess?

What is becoming of our world? We simply seem to be unable to learn from the past. For heavens sake, it’s 100 hundred years since millions of people lost their lives for the “war to end all wars” so ironically now known as the First World War.

It’s just all so sad.

Relevance deficit syndrome – the road to retirement

My last week or so have been interesting to say the least. Whilst there has been no secret about my retiring from my firm, it’s now common knowledge amongst my staff, partners, clients and associates. No hiding anymore and no denial!

At one level it’s liberating. My replacement is intact and as he takes over the reigns I am not feeling the slightest resentful but it’s certainly different. As one of my friends, and more importantly a major influence on my career said, it’s coming to terms with your lack of relevance which is the challenge. He’s definitely right on that one. No one is coming to me to make the decision, it’s the new breed’s role. My advice is being sought on occasions but it’s all happening around me.

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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.

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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