Hello to you all!
I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
2016 is almost upon us. May it be a great one for everyone who calls this blog home from time to time!
Take care (and forgive the same photo as last year…why alter perfection?).
My more committed readers may recall a post I did some time ago about what it is like to work in New Zealand (do click here for more).
A number of months ago, I decided that working for the large financial business I was in just wasn’t right for me any more.
Question: What is the collective noun for a group of bankers?
Answer : A “wunch”!
I suppose I have been a member of the wunch (a wunchee? a wuncher?) for many years.
This was a decision which had been brewing for some time…I don’t want to bore you too much – you are incredibly lucky if you love your job and of course we all have gripes – but I do want to say that I have found that a number of “leaders” in that particular business gave minimal or no direction and you ended up with a scenario wherein middle or lower level managers (often in multiple and independently) were in essence telling senior people what they could have rather than being asked for what was required or having a decent strategy laid out. Empowerment is one thing but this was quite another. Completely bizarre!
When eventually thinking about a next step, I am concerned that this first experience may be repeated but I can’t comment too much just based on one workplace. That said, other Brits and a Spaniard have made similar observations to me over time about other employers…something to be aware of perhaps. When all is said and done though, there are good people working there (who I am pleased to call friends) under trying circumstances – and the people are the most important part of any job.
I ask myself if I need to change my expectations and my outlook and I think the answer is “probably”.
Anyway, after a call to immigration to check it was OK to leave my job (which was incredibly good humoured for a government department), and doing some maths, I am now getting involved in some voluntary work linked to conservation…more on this in future no doubt! It is a privilege to be able to do this and one I will not squander.
Time is an amazing luxury which we often do not notice or take advantage of…just imagine how much time is “wasted” on an international scale every day as people switch off their brains to watch soap operas or some other such vegetative task. Imagine how much time is spent zoned out on Social Media (guilty as charged!) where people spend their time liking stuff. Imagine what the world of work would look like if everyone stopped sending emails all day (you have to admit it is really ridiculous when you think about it). We all do it when maybe we could do more with our time.
I have made mention previously about visiting various filming locations used in “The Lord of the Rings” films. The films have spawned a tourism industry in New Zealand which, with the release of the inferior “The Hobbit” series, shows no sign of ending. I wanted to talk about the fact that I recently re-read the novel for the first time in almost 20 years. During the intervening period I have watched the films so many times that they have become the story. So…what of the book?
I was very surprised by just how much was changed for the cinema. Not only were a number of sections missing, new storylines were added, some storylines were changed for no obvious reason, some characters (notably female ones) were given larger roles and it is curious, when you consider the rather graphic violence that is present at times in the films, how little of this Tolkien actually describes. Tolkien almost gave freedom of imagination to the movie-folk so it is a credit to them in what they achieved. But it almost feels that in many ways the films are a dumbed down version of the book…but then when has a film ever been anything else?
It is rare to love a book and a film to be able to compare the two, and to still love them both afterwards. Actors are seldom good enough to truly represent a book on film without narration and you lose so much of what made the book so great…but what you get instead is an amazing visualisation of one of the greatest books of our time.
So, for anyone who may be interested, yes, the book is better, but I must also say that I think Peter Jackson did an incredible job of turning 1000+ pages of literature into an accessible movie masterpiece.
For my final post about my trip to Australia, I thought I would end with something about visiting the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Having never seen opera before, while you can pay for a tour of the Opera House, we figured for a bit more money, we might as well go and watch the opera and (hopefully) be entertained. So off we went to see Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”.
The songs are all in Italian and thankfully they gave out a synopsis before the show and had English surtitles above the stage so you knew what they were singing about. It was much better than I expected, was funny in places and very enjoyable. At over 3 hours long, it needed to be. I am not sure I would want to see a serious opera, but this one was great.
Curiously, there was no fat lady singing. I can only assume that as it is only over when the fat lady sings, perhaps the show is still going on.
The building itself is unlike any other. It cost massively more to build than originally planned and took a lot longer…but the result is there to behold. Supposedly, the pieces of the building are designed to represent a sphere when put together. You have to love architects. And here ends my Australian posts…now back to life in NZ.