Finishing with work & the Christmas "silly season"


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December 18th 2009
Published: January 4th 2010
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Chrimbo


My last day of work was on Friday the 18th of December...

The last fortnight didn’t seem much like 'work' at all - in fact the Aussies also call Christmas the ‘silly season’ - for ‘tis the season to be silly, namely endless Christmas parties, lunches, morning coffees, secret Santa’s...

One particular day in mid December was the university’s Christmas lunch a three-hour outdoor event where all staff received a staff token for a meal at one of the food vendors (Greek, Turkish, Vietnamese etc.) and a beer/glass of wine - which of course was taken advantage of to the utmost effect. Oh and I was also given a free university water holder - the type you take on camping trips... how very thoughtful of them! It didn’t stop there however, earlier that morning, library services in my section has a secret Santa round where we all bought each other Christmas presents costing five to ten dollars. Workmate Simon dressed as Santa (being a part-time Santa with child-protection Blue Card and all) and we exchanged pressies - my gift was a book by eighteenth Century French philosopher Rousseau - something I probably wouldn’t have read before but travel brings out the existential in me. There then followed tea, coffee, cakes, buns and finger food - basically a long tea break - or a lazy morning.

So it was with incredulity that when we returned in dribs and drabs from the three hour free lunch courtesy of the university more stuff was on offer. We were all lassoed together once more and our names called out - mine was called out first and for a split moment I cringed but thankfully everyone else’s names were called out. The envelope contained a Christmas card and within that a Coles Supermarket gift card to the value of thirty dollars. I told you: the silly season.

It’s a tough life: the following week our section in the library then had had our own Christmas lunch at a French restaurant in Brisbane CBD called L’Acadamie - getting there and back via group taxis. The food was pretty average but it was nice to get out of the office with everyone. Also, the build-up to Christmas when it is blue skies and 30 degrees outside - is a novelty that shall never wear off for me. God I’m boring myself with how spoilt I am now. One last Christmas freebie, this time just for our team - about 14 people or so all dealing in research online. This time it was at the campus pub, a modern large barn of a thing sitting in amongst bush, the gum and eucalyptus trees just an arm stretch away - far removed from the beer soaked carpet affairs I am used to in universities. It was nice for all of us to be together one last time; the team would be losing people due to the university’s lack of understanding at the crucial role the team plays. Free beer again and I got acquainted with a beer I actually quite liked: John Squire’s. Over the previous couple of weeks I’d gotten to know quite well certain team members, including one who was also writing a screenplay - and was taking ages in finishing it too!

Shake that Tamborine


The team-building exercise to Mount Tamborine a week before, in my view was a great success. I shared a car with a musician who’d made a few records; a former physicist at the Department of Defence and a PhD candidate with an encyclopaedic knowledge of music - I didn’t know for example that the first punk band wasn’t the Ramones or the Sex Pistols but The Saints - from Brisbane. Coffee and cake first - and then a journey through the canopy of the rainforest and down into the forest floor. Later on we stopped at the MT Brewery with its speciality beers and home-made cheese where I sampled a fair few Czech, Stout and German style beers. Delicious - and something that would be a huge success if it were planted in Brisbane.

I’ve discovered that despite the lack of totty in my line of work or rather in my barren field of work there is plenty of intelligent and interesting people with which to interact and for that I am grateful. I can safely say that I’ve had a great time working here, it’s been stress-free and I’m sure as the weeks and months pass I’ll look back on being a slave to the wage with real gratitude and fondness.



What I'm reading: Les rosbifs abroad: British travellers in the nineteenth century - mackintoshes, three-decker novels and knickerbockers


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