Thursday, 3 March 2016

Word Wankery

Miss 15 informed me that her Humanities teacher had set the creation of an AVD for homework this week.
A what?
Audio…Visual… something?
Alternative Virtual Doodad?
Altered Voice Description?
You know what it was she had to create? On paper—paper that was stipulated must be larger than A3 size. 
Yep… you’ve guessed it.
A poster.
A common All-classroom Very-old-fashioned Device for presenting information, now apparently referred to by the pretentious acronym AVD : Annotated Visual Display.
Call it whatever highfaluting truth-obscuring name you like, it’s still a damn poster.

I hate word wankery.

Dr Dad, the international roaming guru of Accounting Standards also known to immediate family members as Lawnmower Man, has recently participated in a workplace pilot programme for ‘ the Agile Workspace’. No kidding. That’s what they call it.
WTF is an ‘agile workspace’?  I hear you oh-so-sensibly ask.

Well, basically, it’s a super-expensive funkily-decorated open-plan office where nobody has a walled off area to call home, and, on a daily basis, only the exceptionally fleet-of-foot and sharp-of-elbows get to have a desk.
Sorry. That’s wrong.
Not a desk.
A workstation within the workspace.

In the name of increased efficiency and reduced rent, every morning the members of his team have to set up their computers, connect up their phones and portable headsets, put all their other stuff in a locker — not a designated locker of course, just whichever locker real estate is currently available — and settle down to begin the day in the focus zone of the agile workspace.

Unless, of course, they need to indulge in some idea collaboration. Then they have to ensure that they have pre-booked a collaboration zone.
This photograph is real.
Or perhaps they might discuss the latest troublesome audit over a game of ping-pong. Or better yet, in the environs perfectly suited to creative problem solving: the LEGO corner.
I shit you not. 

And if they have an extremely sensitive phone conversation to have with a top-secret client …well…  perhaps they could pop into the sleep pod? It may be a just a little like Max Smart’s Cone of Silence, but at least they can be sure nobody else will be using it. Who’s going to let anyone know they sleep on the job?

in recognition of the latest universal understanding that sitting down causes cancer, the agile workspace is, of course, equipped with both standing workstations and treadmill workstations, which, of course, are a very popular choice with women in heels and men in ties. (Margin note: me trying to  type and treadmill would be akin to me simultaneously patting my head and rubbing my tummy.)

Professionals comfortably collaborating in agile workspace (Photo:Sydney Morning Herald)
The firm has gone beyond mere wankery with words in creating the agile workspace. It's taken highfaluting truth-obscuring to a whole new level and crossed over into WTFsville.

Why does a spade have to be an individual void manipulating device?

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The gratitude vase

Instead of making a new year’s resolution, I started a gratitude jar. Well, it’s more like a bowl than a jar. Actually, to be utterly accurate, it’s a vase — a gratitude vase. I knew there was no point in promising to give up vino, or cut down on food, or step-up in the exercise stakes… all of which would have been wise choices, but I know me. All of those things were also predetermined not to succeed. Willpower is not my middle name. So, in a moment of foolhardy enthusiasm, I opted to celebrate 2016 with a gratitude jar.

You know how they work. Every day I note down something for which I’m thankful or that makes me smile. I put the date on it and then drop the little coloured billet-doux to life in the vase with its predecessors. I know gratitude jars have been around for centuries. They’re no doubt generally regarded as utterly twee, possibly even totally passé by now. But I’m a slow learner. It takes me a while to catch on to things. Especially if they are new habits.

And that’s where I seem to be falling down. It’s not noticing the good stuff. That’s the easy bit. It’s the regular, do-it-every-day, make-it-a-new-part-of-the-routine bit that’s doing me in.  

You know how when you take antibiotics, the doctor and the chemist and the person at the cash register and your mother and your bestie and your neighbour’s second-cousin all remind you that you have to take every single one of the 10 or 12 or 14 or however many are in the prescription or they won’t work? Well, I never do. I never manage to take every single tablet and the last few rattle around somewhere unnoticed until their use-by date is a distant memory.

Other things I regularly fail to make a part of my daily schedule include:
  •  30 minutes of exercise
  • making the bed
  • sweeping the floors
  • meditation
  • being nice to my husband.

The great and ubiquitous ‘they all’ tell me that just doing something every day for thirty days ensures that it becomes as natural as cleaning your teeth.  To be honest, I don’t know if this theory holds true. I never make it to thirty days.

What’s happening with my gratitude vase is that I seem to be stockpiling my expressions of approbation into clumps of half-baked thanks instead of neatly sautéing one each day. 

I’m a little worried that my gratitude vase is judging me.

I have a list of dates and reminder words scribbled on a tatty envelope next to the bed. There’s another one on my phone. And I’m wondering whether a pen and paper in the drawer in the upstairs loo mightn’t be a good idea too. 

The comments all make it into the vase eventually. 
Every day is acknowledged. 
It’s just that I tend to complete and deposit several days’ worth of notes at a time… a week's worth even… 
I guess, on the upside, I should be glad that I haven’t given up on my gratitude vase.
I’m not a total fail at gratefulness yet.

My gratitude vase in its natural habitat