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Monday, October 17, 2011

Emulating the Village People

The Village People were a great advertisement for choosing a career to love. We know these days that we'll probably embark on six or seven various vocations throughout our working lives. Well, the Village People, as old-school 1970s mentors, were doing it all; wearing dress ups to work, being proud Naval officers, and getting everyday satisfaction from volunteering with the YMCA. A diverse representation of all walks of life, they spoke to the common man, and didn't mind going the extra yards to pump iron (probably at the YMCA) to keep themselves nice. I was one of those kids strutting my stuff in front of the black and white tv, in my halter-neck top and frayed jeans shorts, vying for position alongside my six siblings. I worked those moves, I knew those lyrics. I wanted so much to be an indian and a construction worker that I forgot I wasn't a man.

I've had quite a few careers, straying off well-worn paths to taste other fruity callings, searching for the Edenic work place, only to find myself brooding in the Garden of Gethsemane. But I believe I've been redeemed by virtue of hard-earned wisdom, and only today stumbled upon confirmation of this by wise words spoken, or course, by a man who is recently deceased. 

Steve Jobs said about work: The only way to do great work is to love what you do...Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.

Ahhhh, at last I can tell my parents I'm okay!!! Because Steve Jobs said so. He also said something about work being like a valued relationship. I've heard too many musician blokes saying that a band is like a marriage. I guess in some ways, a preferred work environment will, like a good friendship, have its misadventures; will rely on a degree of faith, fortitude and the willingness to negotiate for the bigger picture love-fest. 

If you're familiar with the rumpus vagaries of narrative writing, you will have figured out that, yes, I'm about to talk about myself, as a happy worker.

A few months ago I went back (again) to work for an organisation that has for the last 6 years been the work affair of my life. We've had a few separations over the years, and through those I've wisened up. 

Though its the best, sometimes it's a grind. Being in my forties, there's an arthritic twinge or two, a few workplace injuries (repetitively strained brain cells) the occasional need for a mid-afternoon nod off, etc... But on the whole I LOVE IT. Consider the metaphor of a lover bringing flowers. It's very rare, especially when its a long haul gig. Today I had a 'bunch of flowers' moment. My colleague Julie brought in a bunch of hats. 

For the last few days, I've been excited about hats. Rob, my partner, asked me this morning before I left for work: 'what's with your stupid hat obsession?' And I said, it's not so much about the hats.

Last week I invited my team mates to join me on Melbourne Cup day at the Lomond Hotel in East Brunswick. Its a hokey neighbourhood pub, famed for folk and Irish music. For the last few years I've bowled up sometimes on my own, wearing a self-made ridiculous thing on my head. It's a tradition I've established for myself. The Lomond hosts a chicken, sausages and salad brunch, some old-timey musicians play some tunes, and the tensions rise prior to the race being run, the pub presents awards for hats, frocks etc. Now, its only fair that I boast and say that for the last three years running I have won the best hat award! 

So my work colleagues will be joining me at the Lomond! I've got a vision for the Australian Cork Hat restyled as an Australian Horse Hat, and there will be Fascinators that Exasperate! This morning I awoke early, again, with ideas for a cornucopia of foolish headwear.  

I wonder if the fiddle player knows any Village People tunes. 

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