#summerofsunili

I finished up at The Firm just before Christmas and commenced my ‘career break’, in which I go off to do fun and magical things, and the #summerofsunili has been rather epic.

A few things to mention:

  • I wrote an article for ABC’s ‘Unleashed’ about the United Nation’s review of Australia’s human rights record (and will writing a follow up for New Matilda about the outcome of the review).
  • Last weekend I got a little offended that someone said on newsdotboodoau that Gen Y women have no ‘female skills’ and sent off a missive to ‘Unleashed’ about how Gen Y women are actually, like, totally awesome – which received some interesting feedback.
  • The WA Chapter of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights is getting off the ground and I’m helping to set up all the interwebs stuff.
  • My work on the board at CASE for Refugees is going well, but it’s nowhere as interesting as the volunteer work I’m still doing with them.
  • I was selected to be in the ‘recruitment pool’ for Legal Aid WA, which means they’ll call me when they get funding for a position.
  • Today Geordie Guy said he reckons I should be on Q&A #insteadofdevany, and put me on the same suggestion-list as Prof Larissa Behrendt, who was nominated for Australian of The Year, as well as a whole bunch of amazing people, which is an absolutely delightful compliment.
  • And I had a reeeeeeeally interesting request from someone asking if I’d done much public speaking and if any was recorded and if I could please send them something , so I sent them a link to a video I am in speaking about depression in the legal profession, so they’re going to get back to me next week (#vaguebulletpointisvague).

Also on a fun-factor I did Raw Comedy again and followed it up with some open-mic stuff which was super-fun and I’m going to do it again. Hoorays!

Whew. Maybe I might get some sleep now?

Nah.

I’m having too much fun!

The one about being a Brazen Careerist [Gen Y]

Months ago I found a great blog network for young professionals — Brazen Careerist.  I put off joining up until I sorted out my new blog here, but hurrah, I’ve finally signed up.

Brazen’s motto is “Define your career. Control your life” and it really epitomises a lot of the “Gen Y” trend about young people who use all the opportunities they’ve gotten to make their mark on the world .

My faves from the community are:

The “Gen Y” (or “iGen”, if you read The Worst West Australian and caught their stupid survey earlier this month) label is kinda controversial — discussions about stereotypes and West-centricity being key issues — and there might even be a suggestion that joining a blog network which will categorise you as being a “careerist” (and a “brazen” one at that) is a sure fire way to shoot yourself in the foot in front of employers and more-senior colleagues who’ll just look at you as another spoilt brat with a too-big a sense of entitlement and too-small a work ethic.

But let’s cut the stereotype stuff, ok?

As much as I hate to say this, I know stereotypes kinda come from somewhere.  And maybe little bits of the stereotypes are true of some people, and when they get bunched together, you get the general idea of a group.  But not everyone in the group is all of the stereotype. Ever. Unless they’re in a movie, or something.

I know a bunch of people who are intelligent, driven, energetic and want to be Prime Minister one day.  However, I also  know people who are incredibly happy to be stay at home mums or tradies. The fact I know more of the former rather than the latter sorts of people probably has a lot to do with where I grew up and what school I went to, not the year in which I was born.

This applies just as much to a group of people who are 20-25 as it does to people 40-45.  I think generational stereotyping is just silly.

But the label seems to have stuck, and if people are insisting on calling a trowel a spade, sometimes all you can do is be Roman.

So, let’s put on our togas and say that there are other traits of Gen Yers that are a lot more positive — like being passionate, socially & political engaged, educated and sensible, and having a strong desire to contribute back to society — and I think it’s really cool to be able to be part of a community that showcases these positive aspects and encourages others to take us seriously.

Brazen explains this philosophy really well:

The media often paints Generation Y in a negative light – citing high job turnover and impatience with paying dues as negative Gen Y traits. But we know better. We know that Generation Y does not want to job-hop every two years; we know that Generation Y will be the most productive generation in the history of the workforce, and we know that the single best way to connect with Generation Y is to meet them on their turf – online.

I reckon that by calling oneself a “brazen careerist” we’re actually taking the label into our own hands and moulding it into what we want it to be, rather than continuing to let others (particularly market researchers, who, honestly, have barely got a clue) control how everyone else sees us.

I’m really looking forward to contributing to the Brazen Careerist community and interacting with the great bunch of people who are part of it.

The one about my first job [life lessons]

Tomorrow is the last day of my first job out of university.

And boy, was it ever a case of “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times“!

There were definitely some exasperated Fb status updates for quite a solid period of time in the last year.  I was working long hours, holed up in a beige cubicle that had no sunlight, no air-con (seriously, we had to order pedestal fans. How retro) and no love. My boss, who’d been working on this bitch of a case for like, half a decade, was about a million times more frustrated than I was, and that rubbed off on me too.  The stress was chronic and contagious.  My co-worker and I were not getting along.  I’d been told I’d be there for 6 weeks, tops, and that I’d get to return to the fun stuff straight after.  Everyone else seemed to be having a GREAT time.  I was miserable.

But despite all that, I am still so grateful I had the chance to do what I did.

First of all, I did it. I survived. I learned a HECK OF A LOT, and not just in terms of the Work-work, either:

  • I learned about how I deal with stress (and, subsequently, how I can change things to make it better);
  • I learned patience;
  • I learned about the impact of hope (things got SO much better when we could see the light at the end of the tunnel; even though we were still miles and miles underground); and
  • I learned that even when things seem their worst, it’s probably not going to effing kill you, so [have a bit of a whinge if you must, then] get the eff over it.

I also learned a heap about grammar and proofreading (although you might not always see the impact of that on this blog…) — most of what I did involved proofreading the largest legal judgment so far handed down in this country (if you happen to find mistakes in it: STFU. You try doing it for 8 months and see if you don’t miss anything) — and met someone whom [shit: who?] I look up to in so many ways and who[m] I will forever idolise as a mentor in my career and life in general.

Oh, and, I also had the opportunity to work with one of the most brilliant minds in the history of the judiciary.  His Honour had the most amazing capacity for knowing the tiniest details about the most mammoth (and horrible) litigation imaginable (for example, facts that occurred over a span of some two decades, two decades ago) as well as the capacity to explain the most complex applications of legal principle in such a clear and effortless way.  Just being able to listen while he spoke and read what he wrote was my honour.

Then, once I emerged from that part of the year, things got exponentially better.  I can’t express how amazing the last three months have been, and what a joy it has been.  I’ve learned SO EFFING MUCH about law and writing and a bunch of other things.  Plus I have been able to work with the most wonderful colleagues who are each incredibly brilliant in their own way.  I am going to miss them incredibly but I also feel thrilled knowing we’ll always stay friends.

Gods. This is such a lame, soppy entry. I’m going to stop now.