Out of Work

Redundancy. It’s a word that can strike fear into a grown man’s heart. The adult equivalent of The Boogie Man.

But it doesn’t have to be. As someone who was recently made redundant, I can confirm there is life on the other side – and it’s good! Okay, I’m not talking bright lights and Jesus welcoming you into his Jacuzzi in the sky, but it’s good enough.

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Fine, I’ll leave. But I’m taking the stapler.

The fact is, redundancy has become an all too common occurrence in modern life. While our grandparents and parents generally worked at one job until they resigned or retired, this generation hasn’t been as lucky (depending on how you look at it)… An ex-colleague, Karina, has been made redundant THREE times now – and she’s only in her mid 20’s! Get your shit together, Karina (I’m kidding).

Also, let’s get real for a minute – redundancy very rarely comes as a complete shock when it actually happens. The signs are generally all there. Having previously worked on a magazine that folded, I recognised all the same signs in the lead up to my recent redundancy. In short, it doesn’t take a psychic for you to sense the end may be near… You’re suddenly expected to work harder because positions aren’t being filled anymore, no one has seen a pay rise in years, and there’s a weird energy in the office. It was enough for me to start packing up my desk like a refugee, taking home whatever I could carry at the end of each day.

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The important thing to remember about redundancy though is it’s not your fault, and there’s nothing you could’ve done to prevent it. Shit happens. There are certain things in life that are beyond our control and redundancy is one of them, so there’s no point in stressing out and worrying about it.

I’ve always believed a business that is managed well should never have to make anyone redundant, but times are changing and there’s an economic crisis happening. We should all just be thankful that we’re not lining up in the streets for bread at this stage!

I know this doesn’t sound like much if you’ve just been made redundant, but believe me, it can actually be a blessing in disguise. It’s like Beyonce says – when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Also, I’m pretty sure people have been talking about lemons and lemonade since before Beyonce came along, but who am I to argue with Queen Bey? She’s got enough on her hands with that philandering Jay Z…

Here are some more reasons redundancy actually kind of rocks…

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1. The Money

Let’s just cut to the chase – the money is very nice compensation. It’s like Donald Trump tells you you’re fired, and then a leprechaun runs over and hands you a pot of gold on the way out. Thanks, little leprechaun! **SMILEY FACE EMOJI** I understand everyone’s situation is different, and sometimes, after you’ve paid off the bills and repaid some debts, there’s not a lot left over, but remember, it’s still money you didn’t have before! For me personally, I’d been at the company for just under 12 years, which means I was paid out close to a year’s salary, plus my long service leave. While this doesn’t make me JK Rowling rich, the next time McDonald’s asks me if I’d like to upsize my meal, the answer will be a resounding YES.

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2. The Choices

Quite often, when you’re busy working your ass off everyday, you’re too exhausted to ask yourself those big life questions. Where am I going with my life? What do I want to do next? Will anyone notice if I die at my desk? You get trapped like a mouse on a wheel, looking for an exit but unable to find one. Redundancy not only affords you the time to ask those questions and then answer them too, it kind of forces you to do it… and that’s not a bad thing. It means whatever your next move is, you can bet it would have been carefully thought out, and you’ll be happier for it.

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3. The Time

The really beautiful thing about redundancy is it allows you to spend more time focusing on the things you’re truly passionate about. For me, that’s sleeping, but to each their own… It might even be a chance to turn your passion into a business opportunity. So, the big question is, who wants to pay to watch me take a nap? Also, I might finally get around to watching the series finale of Mad Men now.

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4. The Freedom

I cannot describe how good it feels to wake up everyday knowing I don’t have to be somewhere at a set time. If you want to travel, the time is now! If I want to take a leisurely two-hour lunch break with friends, I can, without having to nervously check the time every five minutes. Unless you’re boring me, in which case I’ll tell you I have to go home to floss my cat or something, just so I can get out of there. Ahhh, sweet freedom… I can already feel the ulcer in my stomach dissolving.

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5. The Money

Have I mentioned the money? Oh, I have?

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So, if you’ve recently been made redundant, stop crying into your wads of cash, get out there and start living your life! An opportunity like this may never roll around again – although in this economy, it probably will. Remember, everything happens for a reason, and something better is probably waiting just around the corner. Quit complaining about the broken down mobility scooter when the Rolls Royce is on its way.

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Going to the Dogs

Once again, Australia has managed to make itself the butt of jokes all around the world… In case you haven’t noticed, it’s quickly becoming one of our favourite national pastimes.

This time, the world is laughing at our aptly dubbed “War On Terrier” after Johnny Depp and Amber Heard found themselves dragged through Australia’s court system for failing to declare their dogs, Pistol and Boo at customs. While there’s no denying Johnny and Amber were in the wrong, let’s face it, there’s a higher chance of Johnny having rabies than his well-groomed pooches.

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The dog sits on a cushion – enough said.

The Australian government’s gross overreaction to this situation irks me for a number reasons…

1. We’re not exactly renowned for taking a harsh stance on criminals in this country. Murderers are regularly given 15-year prison sentences, and parole violators go largely unpunished (we were founded by convicts, after all – criminals are our forefathers). I feel like threatening Pistol and Boo with death all because their somewhat irresponsible and entitled owners stuck them on a private jet may be a little extreme…

2. There are criminal rings who smuggle exotic wildlife in and out of the country every day – and unlike Pistol and Boo, those animals don’t have the luxury of sitting in the first class cabin on a private jet. Why doesn’t the government shame them so publicly? I feel like they were determined to make an example of Johnny and Amber simply because they’re “Hollywood celebrities”.

3. Barnaby Joyce… What a guy! Aside from the fact he’s clearly an inbred redneck (the inbred part may or may not be true, but most likely is), does anyone else feel like he’s out to cash in on his 15 minutes of fame using Johnny Depp as a facilitator? Did he not get enough attention as a child? This is your time to shine, Barnaby! I’m so sick of our politicians embarrassing us with their outdated views and opinions, which clearly does not reflect the majority of Australians. Here’s an idea, Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources – instead of fixating on Captain Jack Sparrow, why don’t you haul ass to the Great Barrier Reef and work out what we can do about coral bleaching? Or stop selling off our farmland to Chinese investors?

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How can we take this man seriously?!

4. Way to live up to the stereotypes, Australia! Does anyone else feel like they’re living in that episode of The Simpsons where Bart is flown to Australia for a “booting”? Johnny Depp is Bart and Barnaby Joyce is wearing the boot.

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Bend over, Johnny.

5. That apology video with Johnny and Amber is nothing short of a hostage situation. Call the police! I’m almost certain Barnaby Joyce was standing just off camera, puffing on a cigar while grinning manically and clutching a machine gun.

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SEND HELP.

Do better, Australia! Between our stance on gay marriage, Sydney’s lockout laws, and our crumbling infrastructure, it’s like we’re hell-bent on being decades behind the rest of the world – and we’re succeeding!

While Johnny and Amber should never have brought their dogs into the country undeclared, surely there were better ways to go about it, and more important issues to focus on.

One Armed & Dangerous

For the last month (and counting), I’ve been trapped in a sling following my shoulder surgery in March. I say trapped, because it’s like wearing half a straight jacket (not that I would know). I have to wear it when I sleep, and I have another sling I have to wear when I shower. Basically, I’m stuck with this thing 24/7 while my shoulder heals. I’m worried that when it does come off in just over two weeks time, I’ll have separation anxiety… Don’t leave me, sling! But also, do. For the love of God, please leave me alone!

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In hospital, the morning after surgery…

Here’s the thing – everything is so much harder in a sling! By the time I manage to get dressed in the morning/mid-afternoon, I’m exhausted and ready to go back to sleep. Even as I type this, I’m sitting on the couch, surrounded by pillows propping up my arm, trying to get into a position that’s comfortable and supportive. I’m literally buried under a pile of pillows – send help.

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Me right now…

If I add up all the weeks/months I’ve spent in a sling over the years, I might cry… (Around seven months, FYI.) It’s my right arm too, and sadly, after so much time slingin’ it, I can confirm I am definitely not left-handed, despite having two lefty parents. Thanks, genetics.

I’m usually obsessive when it comes to my skin care regimen (it’s my thing), but lately I’ve found myself having to wash my face like a cat – one hand, hoping I can reach my right cheek. For the most part, this has resulted in me just slathering on some coconut oil and calling it a day. I did however manage to put a sheet mask on my face the other day, and for some reason, then decided to attempt trimming the excess edges with a pair of scissors, using only my left hand. Because sheet masks aren’t terrifying enough, I had to throw sharp scissors into the mix…

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HORRIFIC.

Here are some more things I can’t do with my arm in a sling – because if I have to suffer, you should too, it’s only right…

1. Tie up my hair…

I’ve tried – believe me, I’ve tried – but it’s impossible. If you’re having a bad hair day, you just have to wear it. Literally. This may have been an opportune time to shave my head.

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An early attempt at styling my hair…

2. Wash my hair…

While we’re at it, washing my hair is no walk in the park either. Thankfully, my mum and sister gave me a series of vouchers to get my hair washed and blow-dried professionally. When you’re in a sling, this is the best present you could ever hope to receive. It would be the equivalent of gifting Kim Jong-un with a nuclear missile.

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Someone’s a happy boy…

3. Putting on socks…

It’s official – I’ve regressed. My mum now has to put my socks on for me, a situation I don’t think I’ve been in since I was four years old.

4. Tying up my shoelaces/doing up buckles…

Same goes for doing up the straps on my sandals. Not that I wear socks with my sandals, because… Ew. Also, I’ve never been THAT high on painkillers.

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This is NOT okay.

5. Wearing clothes…

Okay, so while I’m not running around naked, declaring myself one with nature, I haven’t been able to wear anything that doesn’t have a zip or buttons down the front/low-cut arm holes for easy access.

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This is what my wardrobe looks like right now…

6. Cut my food…

I’m a messy eater at the best of times, so you can imagine how much worse it’s gotten since my arm’s been in a sling… Yesterday, I had to discreetly try and brush quinoa from between my thighs. In public. Also, cutting my food requires me to stand up and move my whole body back and forth with the knife so as not to move my arm. It’s easier for someone else to do it for me… And while you’re there, I’d like my sandwich cut into squares, not triangles.

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My NIGHTMARE.

7. Jumping jacks…

Not that I’m in the habit of doing jumping jacks, but it’s nice to think I could if I wanted to.

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Out of the question.

8. Pick up babies…

I realised this when I was at my friend, Lea’s house shortly after my shoulder surgery (where she kindly made me crepes for lunch and cut them for me, too – see number six). Her eight-month-old baby, Sebastian was rolling around on the floor, and when he started to cry, all I could do was stand over him and offer a sympathetic, “There, there.”

9. Chase after the cat…

My strictly indoor cat has a habit of bolting out the front door the second she catches a glimpse of freedom. Call her an opportunist. You have to chase her around the front lawn and launch yourself at her in order to catch her and put her back inside her cage, I mean, the house. Fun for everyone. If she does this while my arm is in a sling, she’s gone forever. I won’t even put up a fight.

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Don’t be fooled – she’s not that innocent.

10. Put in earrings/do up necklaces…

While I haven’t even attempted putting on a necklace (it would totally distract from the sling), if my memory serves me correctly, this is a two-handed kind of job. After having to remove my earrings for the surgery, I’ve had to put them back in because the holes kept closing up (let’s just say there was blood – lots of blood). Unfortunately, I struggled to do it with just one hand, so I once again had to enlist my long-suffering mother for help. I knew getting my ears pierced was going to be a pain in the ass when I did it at the ripe old age of 21…

11. Try on clothes…

Although this has been great for the bank account, as an avid shopper, I can’t even begin to describe my pain at knowing there are clothes in shops I can’t even try on… I had titanium screws put into my shoulder, and that hurt less.

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Every time I walk past Seed.

12. Shave…

This may be TMI, but I haven’t been able to shave under my right armpit in weeks! For all I know, it looks like the Forbidden Forest under there (yes, that’s a Harry Potter reference – binge watching those films is the only thing that’s gotten me through).

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Spiders might be breeding under there – who knows?!

13. Put on a shower cap…

Showering requires me to get topless and then call my mum or my sister – whoever is around – to come into the bathroom to put on my sling and shower cap. My dignity left so long ago, I wouldn’t even recognise it if I saw it again.

14. Apply makeup…

Thankfully, I’ve mastered the art of applying a face of light makeup using just one hand. I can now apply BB Cream, liquid blush, and – if I steady my hand against the mirror – mascara using only my left hand. Eyeliner is a no-no though – I value my vision too much.

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It’s a delicate operation.

15. Put on a bra…

It was a good two weeks before I even attempted to put a bra on, leaving me no option but to let the girls fly free. When I did decide to attempt the almost impossible, I had to grit my teeth as I pulled the strap up over my stitches.

16. Drive…

Given how much I complain about driving (and parking) in Sydney, I never thought I would miss it until it was no longer even an option. My shoulder has me placed under involuntary house arrest, and unless I can walk there or you’re willing to come pick me up, I won’t be going many places anytime soon. See you all in a little over two weeks.

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Whenever I sit in the passenger seat of a car now…