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.

The one about blogs and branding and bitching, oh my! [online shenanigans]

Yesterday, via Twitter, I found my new favourite blog: Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist.  Now, I’m not sure how I hadn’t found this blog earlier, because it is written by a co-founder of my favourite blog-network, Brazen Careerist, but as the old saying goes: better late than never.

Penelope’s blog is on a bunch of topics relevant to a young, vivacious upstart such as myself (the tweeted post was entitled 5 Career tips women should run from; and my fave post is 5 Time management tricks I learned from years of hating Tim Ferriss — about hating that knob who wrote 4-Hour Work Week, which I stupidly bought and now refuse to finish) but this one particular post, called My name is not really Penelope, got me thinking about myself and my decision to start a new blog/website (I know, I know; it’s not a very hard task– what blogger who writes about their life online and has a vanity domain doesn’t think about themselves every 3 seconds? Also, I am a Leo).

The post is about how “Penelope” changed her name a few times to accommodate (among other things) her views about patriarchy, her boss and her editors, and also mentions the whole “personal brand” thing as well as how she got busted for mentioning stuff that was recognised by others and the shit hit the fan.

Returning to me (of course) let’s start with that last thing.  A bit over a week ago, I was (figuratively) hit over the head with the revelation that people had read some things I had Tweeted or blogged about and, as a result of what I had said out there in the public forum, became upset or decided that I was not a very nice person (or something like that).

I was quite surprised because I didn’t think anyone who wasn’t registered on Twitter would be stalking me (because I get notified every time someone properly “follows” me) and for about a nano-second it crossed my mind that I should protect my Twitter updates. But I realised that doing so would defeat The. Whole. Point of Twittering (I am looking straight at you, @mattkeogh) and I love Twittering so I would never actually to do that.

This happened on the very day I registered my new domain name, but it was entirely coincidental as I did not know about the shit-on-fan issue until after I’d already signed up (and the decision to do was made well before that), so I hope nobody thinks I did the whole “it’s time to grow up” thing because I got told off (but boy, did I get Told Off).

Now, I don’t think I said anything defamatory, and I feel as if everything I said was justified in the circumstances (which weren’t very nice, for all involved) but I have promised not to be mean and stuff anymore.

Which sucks, because, as I have said, I am not one to hold back on an opinion and, as I tweeted the next day, self-censorship makes Baby Jesus get butt-raped my gay-pedophile Catholic priests (oh yes, I went there. Again).

But that little event was a good lesson about how “my brand” comes across to people who come across it.  And as I really have no control over who stumbles across my blog or my Twitter because it’s just Out There (you know, in the ether, floating around there with The Truth) it was a sombre reminder than I need to control what I can control.  That makes my stomach churn because it sounds like that lame Irish blessing/prayer thing, but meh, I don’t like paying taxes either, and sometimes we’ve just gotta do what we have to do. Sigh.

I know what happened shouldn’t surprise me too much since I had been (and, of course, continue to) blog and Twitter under my real name.  But it’s kinda funny that I (apparently) came across as mean when there’s that popular school of thought that suggests using fake names on the interwebs promotes more, unnecessary bitching.  The “Greater Internet Fuckwad [sic] Theory” is presented in this diagrammatic formula:

I know you’re more likely to bitch about someone when you know they can’t hear it, or it won’t get back to them. At least not with your name attached to it.  But saying stuff on the internet certainly isn’t the same as whispering behind someone’s back.

There’s that other old saying: if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

I was asked whether I would have said what I said if I had known that it was known that I was saying what I was saying.  My answer was an unequivocal yes.

I don’t think what happened was purely about me bitching.  I felt attacked, and I attacked back.  Because I did not have the opportunity at the time to attack directly, I vented on the internet to keep myself from blowing up and, as I thought at the time, making things worse.

It turned out that I made things worse, only that happened a week later.  Frankly, I think I was being polite by not making an issue out of it when I could have.  If I was being purely selfish, I would have said what I wanted to say and let it all out, there and then; and I do think that would have been worse than what I did.  If I’d had the opportunity to say what I had to say before The Shite Hiteth The Faneth, this probably would not have blown up the way that it had.

(This is my blog and I can rationalise if I want to, thankyouverymuch.)

So it got me wondering: what’s going to happen to me by saying what I have to say (and saying it online)?

I have made assurances to people who have asked to be kept offline that I won’t say stuff about them.  That’s fine.  But what about everything else?  Because, essentially, everything else that I say online was also called nasty and horrible.

I don’t change anything on here. However I may appear is It.  That’s all, folks: nothing more, nothing less.  As my old tagline said: I tell it like I think it is.  And I don’t regret that and I don’t intend to change that.

But what happens when what I say gets me into touble? Will I lose friends?  Will I lose the respect of people who “know” me in real life?

I guess the outcome depends on whether I respect their reasons for disliking what I say.

Because if I don’t respect their reasons, I probably don’t respect them, and if one more cane toad under the tires is good for the country, one more schmoe who’s opinions don’t matter is good for me.

It also depends on whether I respect them for bringing their issues to me and explaining them to me and discussing them with me.

Because if I don’t even know they have an issue with me? Psh, bitsch pleez, how could I possibly lose sleep over it?

My conclusion is that if people are happy to let me keep saying what I say, or refuse to ask me why I say it, they can either stop reading what I have to say, or forever hold their peace.

The one about growing up and my new blog [online shenanigans]

We’ve come a long-long way together, baby.

And by “baby”, I am adoringly referring to– of course — “the internet”.

From my first X-Files fan site over at Geocities or Tripod (or where-ever-the-hell-that-was) (hey, give me a break, it was 1997!), to Blogger, to LiveJournal, (back to Blogger) and then, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter(with a few others places in between) (OMFG!!!), I have basically grown up online.

I’ve gone through (and/or described) a rainbow of human experiences on some sort of online public forum, from puppy-love, family dramas, deteriorating and blossoming relationships, depression, work, politics, activism…  anything and everything.  To this day, my best friend in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD is a lovely young woman I met online over 7 years ago.  If I’ve lived it, it’s probably happened or documented online.

Some may call me a geek, but I like to think that I was more of an “early adopter”.  Because if MC Hammer uses Twitter, and then re-Tweets me, how on Earth can you call it “geeky”, huh, punk?


Anyway. I was talking about growing up. And becoming mature and stuff.

Because, yes, I’m getting older and accruing the odd responsibility that I need to start taking seriously.  The time has come for me to settle down with my internet shenanigans; to assess and consolidate my online presence and to set myself up for what the future holds for me.

However, that by no means involves quitting the internet or passively waiting for work, mortgages and come-what-may to smash me into boringness.

It just means thinking about things like “branding” instead of just blogging my brains out for no particular reason (or, like, because I’m angry at a politician or freaking out about my career), and setting my online-presence up in a way that works for me rather than against me.

Oh, gods. That sounds horribly boring, doesn’t it?


But, honestly this was inevitable.

As they say in Swahili, my favouritest language ever: Hakuna matata, the Circle of Life (™?), et cetera…

Because I am old, now, you guys. O-L-D. And I am about to work for a large, influential corporate entity that works for other large, influential corporate entities, and, yeah… I have to be responsible and sensible and stuff so that I don’t get fired or sued or whatnot.  While the property market might be Just Where I Want It as a flash-hot young law grad at a large corporate firm, it will not be so nice to be unemployed or a freelance whinger who does not even have a Google AdWords account.

So while I am not quitting the internet, I am just going to be a bit more grown-up in the way that I use it.

Phase One of this grown-up online makeover has been completed: about a month ago, I quit Facebook.

Oops, sorry, did you spit out coffee all over your screen? Um. I probably should have put a little warning before that little announcement, I guess. Anyhoo…

While I may have been referred to as The Queen of Facebook on more than one occasion — what, with all my friend-approving and blog-importing and link-posting and group-joining and event-creating and wall-writing — it got to a point where, just like for Gretel Killeen, it was Time To Go.

(And we all know what happened there after Grett-Grettz left, don’t we? Just sayin’…)

As cool as it was to see what people were up to, and to have “ambient awareness” or whatever they call it about all these people that I know, Fb was turning into an epic time drain and the people that I interacted with the most on there were people I would see, or call, or text message, or Twitter to, on a regular and more meaningful basis.

And because I don’t have any photos of me drunkenly groping a life-sized cardboard cut-out of a boss’s opponent that might one day cost me a promotion or something (like this guy) (because I am, we’ve pretty well established, a square) there was nothing Fb had to offer me any more.

So buh-bye!

I was told I wouldn’t last a week, but a month later I am doing JUST FINE! I may have Twittered a wee bit morethan I had done so while I had Fb, but otherwise, I have not missed a thing. (Or if I have missed them, I have not noticed I have missed anything, and that suits me fine.)

Upon the successful completion of Phase One, I have continued to push the cogs rolling ever forward.

I now present to you, Phase Three [just work with me here]:

Spiffy, huh?

Yup, I went all-out and invested in a domain name and hosting and all that fun stuff!


Phase Three is still very much a work in progress.  I now need to save up so that I can pay the awesomeness that is Aja West, designer extraordinaire, of Swankmob*  to design me a website and business cards and some other peripherals (note to self: ask her if she does personalised stationery) so that I can launch my brand — that is (pay attention, children!), ME — so that those who so wish to do so can hire me to write stuff and be fabulous (which is something that I want to do some day, down the track).  But it’s happening.

*Aside: You guys, if you’re looking for a designer and don’t have to get a second job making coffee to pay for one, HIRE AJA!! Because then she’ll give me a cheaper rate and my site will be done sooner, and you’ll have an awesome site too! WIN-WIN-WIN, people, it’s all WIN!

And now, in case you think I am a moron who cannot count…

I wish to take you back a step to Phase Two:


With the power vested in me upon the installation of WordPress 2.7 (hot!) I have set up a new blog in honour of the New Year, and more importantly, the New Me.

I’m going to leave all the old stuff there without migrating it over because I want to make a fresh start of it, and I’m really excited!

So change all yer bookmarks and subscriptions and stuff, and start looking forward to joining me on this next step in my life online.  I’ll see you here!!

Peace out, Team Awesome Readers of Sunili’s Blog — I ♥ you, each and every one!

xoxo Sunili

[Cross-posted @]