Wednesday, August 27, 2014

So, who's away today

Absenteeism is starting to take hold again. People just don't turn up. Some let the workplace know. Others don't.  All sorts of reasons for it but it puts a strain on those who are there and it undermines smooth working conditions which would be less demanding on those present and more positive for all if everyone were consistently there. It seems to be a problem everywhere. Forbes outlines the costs and causes in America. There is quite a list. There is a similar list for Australia with Tuesday seeming to be popular as the day off. That can be a bit misleading as some people work through a  week and a weekend and when they get to Tuesday they might just be too tired to get up. Long shifts, long weeks interfere with the rhythm of life. How many days straight do some people work? How long are their days? Is it a case of sheer fatigue or does the absenteeism trend go back to school attendance patterns as well? Maybe it's both. Maybe we have work place conditions which do not suit a human body and then a lack of commitment from others.Why the lack of commitment? What factors influence that? Workplace info has some interesting information about absenteeism. So, do we reward those who can be relied upon or do we just keep pushing them and being sorry when they finally break? Do we need to look at this? Adelaide is a good place to look at working conditions because we are not a huge state in terms of population and we can investigate things more easily and maybe even work out how to improve things without risking huge numbers in a big company. We also have a good history of competent sociological research. Rather than let it carry on like this , it might be sensible to take a look at what is causing absenteeism and how to address it. It is not in anyone's long term interests to allow such an obvious problem go ignored. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Winter in Adelaide

Adelaide is doing New Zealand very well at the moment which is why it is so fresh and green. I don't do grey, wet and miserable very well but occasionally we have those days where the sun pops out in between the rain and there is a touch of blue and the green is so vibrant. I can take my dog for a walk and it's not that wet underfoot and we can enjoy the fresh air and the sunshine. I have to watch for the muddy bits but even they are not that bad. It has been freezing cold for Adelaide. Icy. Others  from elsewhere might think it's okay but we are cold. We are creating an interesting winter look , though. Some are dressing up and adding nice scarves to their outifts and it looks good. Others are piling on the layers. I saw one guy with his baseball hat and a thin woollen beanie on top of it with his sunnies perched on top of the cap peak. Looked interesting and different. Those doing the layered look are coming up with some nice combinations. For once Adelaide has got away from the dark blue and grey customary wear for winter and that's usually been a fleecy top and track pants. You still need your sunglasses because every so often that sun just comes out, even for a little bit,  and can be dazzling. To see the green freshness and the gum trees looking happy is worth all of this wet and cold and so I am trying to look at the benefits of freezing and having to wear mountains of clothes. Having a dog that likes walking has helped. She is happy to get out on a walk and looks forward to it. I am trying to learn form her. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Sad loss, sad face

David Luiz © REUTERS / Eddie Keogh

france info

Such a sad face. Just the saddest face which met me this morning when I came on the Net. A team which had given it their all and had been soundly beaten on the day. Judging by the uproar on Facebook this morning , it had been quite a match which everyone had loved. I have only kept a cursory glance on the World Cup and yet it seems to have been a very powerful event where those who are following it have been very passionate about it. It has reignited the inspirational flame of soccer/football. This photo is brilliant. It says it all. He'd played hard and lost and there is a real dignity about David Luiz being able to let the emotions flow so honestly.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Adelaide Siege

Image: Sydney Morning Herald

You wouldn't expect Adelaide CBD to be in lock down because of someone  so violent the police were trying to protect everyone and get their man. Rodney Clavell had evaded them for a fortnight and there had been some interesting searches of about 80 premises. Interesting because we don't normally have to experience this in Adelaide. I remember a hold up of a bank at Marion which kept everyone quiet and busy for a while quite a few years back. We know to be careful. We know to listen and we know to stay out of the way and get on with our lives. Yesterday was quite remarkable because the siege had a specific area of the city locked down for around 12 hours. I was concerned because I had a relative in that area. One who had planned to go out. What impressed me the most was how well informed I was. From the time I found out on the way to work in the morning, to the time it was all over  ABC radio and internet site kept me, as a suburban Adelaide resident, totally and completely informed. This would not have been something the police could run from experience because it doesn't happen here. They ran it from their protocols. The media fell into step with them and  the management of the situation and the subsequent communications were exceptional.  Our Assistant Police Commissioner, Paul Dickson, came on the news later in the day and fully updated us without compromising their continued plan of action. It was confidence inspiring. It was even better to be listening to 891 this morning and they were asking some good questions to get to the bottom of why it had ended in the apparent suicide of Rodney Clavell. There was empathy for him from all sides even though he had been a violent man. There was a compassion for the situation he had found himself in and then we found out the lengths they had gone to to try and get him out of the adult services building. There was an understanding there that  he would be reluctant to deal with the police and a depth of appreciation for his situation as a human being. Some people would not worry that a violent person had lost his life. That perspective reminds us that yesterday occurred because he was high risk to the community. What was impressive is that the people in charge of this situation managed it so it was not alarming, not alarmist nor was it judgemental of someone who had a lot of problems. What was even more impressive was the woman who came on 891 to advocate for the sex workers involved. She had a battery of information which put things in place very smartly and , again, she was someone who could stand up for people who might be easily overlooked, dismissed or not taken into account. The fact the radio station thought to interview her was a good thought. There are times when things are difficult but when you are kept informed, when the powers that be act in the interests of all human beings involved and when the follow up is a clear, hard headed, humane and logical look at what occurred then you know you are doing well. Adelaide did well yesterday and those who managed and reported on the situation had very good skills sets for dignifying a tough situation competently and in a safe manner.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Book Thief

 *** no spoilers ***

The Book Thief is enjoying a well deserved wave of success both as a novel and film with Geoffrey Rush. Markus Zusak is a Sydney author and is undeniably one of our best. I was given the book as a birthday present in March and must be the only person in Adelaide who hadn't heard of it, hadn't read it and hadn't watched or wasn't planning to watch the film. It has gone around like wild fire. Adelaide loves a good book and will share easily which is how I came to receive it as a present. Adelaide people will not let you miss a good book. It is beautifully written the more so because it uses such simple language reminiscent of the style of Anatole France to tell a tale which draws you in bit by bit and then pushes home some unforgettable messages at the end. It is masterful in the way it has been constructed and deals with at era of Nazi occupation well. I have read a number of writings from that era in German and the one thing which Zusak has achieved is the German capacity to tell the truth but demonstrate the inspiration and irrepressible nature of good human beings. The Germans are a culture which can contrast light and dark well and Zusak has managed this in English so it is quite an achievement. Unlike others I could stop reading it. I read it in bits and could lose myself in it but I wanted it to last, I suppose, and I knew it would make me sad, but sad in a good way. It reminds you to stand up for what you believe in. This book will endure, I am sure, because the message is timeless and the style is not locked into a time frame or era. I recommend it to you, if like me, it somehow missed you.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Adelaide Oval



Everyone I have met who has been to the new , redeveloped Adelaide Oval is raving about it . About half my friends are AFL fans and they just love being able to go into town to see the footy. There have been capacity crowds. One friend said he was a bit worried the bridge would collapse because there were so many people on it, but he had reasured himself it wouldn't! This is how unused to  bridges we are in Adelaide. At Darling Harbour or on the Yarra you never think those sorts of thoughts. You just cross over and enjoy the view. There have been a lot of posts in my Facebook feed about the Adelaide Oval and how great it is. Driving out to Football Park has always been a chore for those in outlying suburbs and the parking has never been the best nor has it been easy to socialise there before or after the event. This way so many people can catch a bus or train into town, tourists can easily find it and see either the cricket in summer or the football in winter and they can have a meal before or after the match in one of our great cafes or restaurants.. There is tweaking to be done, but on the whole, this has given our city and our population so much joy already. There was so much discussion, and rightly so, but this new venue has now been welcomed with open arms. Our cricket pitch at the Adelaide Oval was picturesque and historic. We have let it go because we are not a rich city and we need to make the best use we can of our amenities. The bridge is a bonus. It is something which has really cheered everyone up. We need to make our city easier to be in and a place for people to relax and feel at home. I am pleased it has worked so well because it will help mitigate the pain of what was a very tough decision.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

No train is bad train

Yesterday we were all standing at the station waiting to go to the city. Two  new trains went in the other direction to Seaford. One was out of service. At 8.30am the train did not arrive, nor at 8.40am. At 8.50am there was a very quiet message over what was supposed to be a loud speaker system to tell us there was a problem with the switch and the train would arrive at 8.58am which it did more or less. It was packed. It was standing room only and it just got more and more ridiculously packed. Shoulder to shoulder. We became more and more squashed. To our credit, Adelaide people showed just how nice they could make such an uncivilised journey. We started talking to each other about different things and warning each other not to lean on the door because it was inevitable at times that some got pushed that way. We achieved the impossible of letting an old lady with a walking frame get to a seat and have it all to herself. We breathed in, we made ourselves tiny, we helped hold the lady and her frame. It was all too close for comfort and hard on those who stood for such a while. We were all so thankful for having a really good driver who was not throwing the train and us around.The old lady could see out the window and we protected her so she wouldn't feel threatened so encircled as she was and then sitting much lower than us and no easy way out. It was an exercise in trust and social skills which we accomplished well. Adelaide people just do things in such a nice way sometimes. Adelaide trains need to lift their game. I was late for the start of my film. Others might just have been  going shopping. Others would have had to be places...like work... on time. No train and then a squashed , unpleasant journey is not good enough. Nor is it Adelaide. I am thankful the journey back was up to our usual standard.