Sheltered Life

I lived a sheltered life as a policeman. I saw no major gruesome scenes, some, but generally I seemed to constantly draw the long straw. When a consulate was bombed in Melbourne I drew roadblock duty rather than having to scrape the terrorists remains off the walls with an egg lifter.

During Ash Wednesday, living in the area affected by the fires, I was given permission to go home on the night the fires were burning rather than join my colleagues working through the night. That seems a little cowardly now when I hear tales of CFA workers fighting fires at stranger’s places when their own homes are burning down. But at the time, it seemed a reasonable request.

I did spend the next week working in the fire affected areas, at various times manning road blocks, driving through the fire areas along roads where trees still burnt, looking for survivors. And like my colleagues who today are doing the same things, we worked long hours, 36 of them in one stretch, then 8 hours off and back on duty again. But I saw no bodies then and I will be forever grateful for that.

Given that the fires have been potentially deliberately lit each location where a body is found is a potential crime scene and must be treated as such. In 1983 the coroner had to visit every scene and I assume that it will be the same now. With so many dead that is a monumental task before the bodies can be released from the scene and taken to the morgue for identification.

What people may not realise is that once the bodies are found someone has to stay with them. In 1983 my colleagues in some cases spent more than a day watching over the dead until they could be removed to the morgue. Some of them never recovered from those scenes and many actually left the job within the next 12 – 24 months. Man power was spread so thinly that these young men and women were left alone without radio contact or vehicles for hours at a time.

Again I had it easy, I spent 12 hours on a country road in the middle of nowhere at one stage, manning a road block no one drove through, with no radio contact, not knowing where the fires were burning or whether they were heading towards us. Eventually a Sergeant came out and apologised saying they’d forgotten myself and a colleague were out there.

So I am feeling for the Emergency Services Workers who are working in the Disaster Victim Identification role at the moment. I know that many of them will never recover from this – that they will have sleepless nights and flashbacks, some of them forever. At least trauma counselling is better now. Even in 1983 whilst it was available, it wasn’t manly to request it. You kept the stiff upper lip and didn’t show what was considered by some at the time to be a sign of weakness.

But there are times when I am grateful for that sheltered life.

****************************************************
The latest death toll is 131.

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Sheltered Life

I lived a sheltered life as a policeman. I saw no major gruesome scenes, some, but generally I seemed to constantly draw the long straw. When a consulate was bombed in Melbourne I drew roadblock duty rather than having to scrape the terrorists remains off the walls with an egg lifter.

During Ash Wednesday, living in the area affected by the fires, I was given permission to go home on the night the fires were burning rather than join my colleagues working through the night. That seems a little cowardly now when I hear tales of CFA workers fighting fires at stranger’s places when their own homes are burning down. But at the time, it seemed a reasonable request.

I did spend the next week working in the fire affected areas, at various times manning road blocks, driving through the fire areas along roads where trees still burnt, looking for survivors. And like my colleagues who today are doing the same things, we worked long hours, 36 of them in one stretch, then 8 hours off and back on duty again. But I saw no bodies then and I will be forever grateful for that.

Given that the fires have been potentially deliberately lit each location where a body is found is a potential crime scene and must be treated as such. In 1983 the coroner had to visit every scene and I assume that it will be the same now. With so many dead that is a monumental task before the bodies can be released from the scene and taken to the morgue for identification.

What people may not realise is that once the bodies are found someone has to stay with them. In 1983 my colleagues in some cases spent more than a day watching over the dead until they could be removed to the morgue. Some of them never recovered from those scenes and many actually left the job within the next 12 – 24 months. Man power was spread so thinly that these young men and women were left alone without radio contact or vehicles for hours at a time.

Again I had it easy, I spent 12 hours on a country road in the middle of nowhere at one stage, manning a road block no one drove through, with no radio contact, not knowing where the fires were burning or whether they were heading towards us. Eventually a Sergeant came out and apologised saying they’d forgotten myself and a colleague were out there.

So I am feeling for the Emergency Services Workers who are working in the Disaster Victim Identification role at the moment. I know that many of them will never recover from this – that they will have sleepless nights and flashbacks, some of them forever. At least trauma counselling is better now. Even in 1983 whilst it was available, it wasn’t manly to request it. You kept the stiff upper lip and didn’t show what was considered by some at the time to be a sign of weakness.

But there are times when I am grateful for that sheltered life.

****************************************************
The latest death toll is 131.

Sheltered Life

I lived a sheltered life as a policeman. I saw no major gruesome scenes, some, but generally I seemed to constantly draw the long straw. When a consulate was bombed in Melbourne I drew roadblock duty rather than having to scrape the terrorists remains off the walls with an egg lifter.

During Ash Wednesday, living in the area affected by the fires, I was given permission to go home on the night the fires were burning rather than join my colleagues working through the night. That seems a little cowardly now when I hear tales of CFA workers fighting fires at stranger’s places when their own homes are burning down. But at the time, it seemed a reasonable request.

I did spend the next week working in the fire affected areas, at various times manning road blocks, driving through the fire areas along roads where trees still burnt, looking for survivors. And like my colleagues who today are doing the same things, we worked long hours, 36 of them in one stretch, then 8 hours off and back on duty again. But I saw no bodies then and I will be forever grateful for that.

Given that the fires have been potentially deliberately lit each location where a body is found is a potential crime scene and must be treated as such. In 1983 the coroner had to visit every scene and I assume that it will be the same now. With so many dead that is a monumental task before the bodies can be released from the scene and taken to the morgue for identification.

What people may not realise is that once the bodies are found someone has to stay with them. In 1983 my colleagues in some cases spent more than a day watching over the dead until they could be removed to the morgue. Some of them never recovered from those scenes and many actually left the job within the next 12 – 24 months. Man power was spread so thinly that these young men and women were left alone without radio contact or vehicles for hours at a time.

Again I had it easy, I spent 12 hours on a country road in the middle of nowhere at one stage, manning a road block no one drove through, with no radio contact, not knowing where the fires were burning or whether they were heading towards us. Eventually a Sergeant came out and apologised saying they’d forgotten myself and a colleague were out there.

So I am feeling for the Emergency Services Workers who are working in the Disaster Victim Identification role at the moment. I know that many of them will never recover from this – that they will have sleepless nights and flashbacks, some of them forever. At least trauma counselling is better now. Even in 1983 whilst it was available, it wasn’t manly to request it. You kept the stiff upper lip and didn’t show what was considered by some at the time to be a sign of weakness.

But there are times when I am grateful for that sheltered life.

****************************************************
The latest death toll is 131.

Josie’s Interview Part 3 – Specialisation is for Insects

Firstly, apologies Josie for taking so long to get through this interview. I’ve had too many weekend meetings at work to actually find a few hours in a row to finish it. For those who don’t know Josie from Picking up the Pieces has sent me five questions and along the way has also interviewed a number of far more interesteing people than I whose replies you will find links to here. So here is Question 3 and my response.

3. You have been involved in some fascinating careers thru the years. What was your original intended career when you came out of college? Which job turned out to be the most fulfilling and why? What do you like/dislike about the position you have now? Where do you see yourself ten years in the future?

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, con a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Lazarus Long – “Time Enough for Love” by Robert Heinlein

Throughout High School I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be. I toyed with the idea of being a doctor when I was really young but found out during High School that I wasn’t smart enough at the time to fulfill that ambition. So in deciding I really didn’t know what I wanted to be long term it was an easy out to actually take a year off before going to University.

In those days it was easy for a school leaver to pick a career in the public service or a bank, to sit an exam and be one of hundreds chosen postitions vacant with those organisations. So in 1975 I commenced my first job as an Accounts clerk in what was then called the Ministry of Conservation. It was a good place to work with good people but some of them had been there for decades and for a 17 year old the prospect of being in the one place for so long was anathema so after a few months I decided that I would indeed take the place I had deferred in an Arts Degree at Monash University and in 1976 I began my first of four years at that old alma mater.

However, I still didn’t have too much of a clue about what I wanted to “be”. There was a vague idea of becoming a park ranger and I therefore studied Geography with minors in Psychology and Anthropology. My double major included units in geomorphology, climatology and biogeography and that eventually lead me to an honours year where I studied palynology, which for those who don’t know [and it’s no shame not to] is the study of fossil pollen grains. In a nutshell I spent a year staring at a microscope counting pollen grains I had taken from a sedimentary core of a bog I called Caledonia Fen on the Snowy Plains near Mt Howitt in Victoria. This gave a climatic record stretching back at least 30,000 years into the last Ice Age and was the basis for my thesis. I think that it is still the oldest continuous highland site studied in Australia.

I studied the same subject matter with three other people, all of whom stayed in Academia and went onto gain Masters and PhD’s in the same areas of study. By 1980 I was getting sick of study and decided that it was time to enter the workforce on a full time basis. I had of course held several jobs during my university studies – as a factory worker, storeman and packer, shop assistant, cleaner and part time office clerk. So I started to put in for jobs and found out fairly quickly that a knowledge of climate change didn’t really qualify me to be a park ranger. What I really needed to know was how to trap a rabbit or skin a feral cat or how to build a bush dunny.

I ended up working full time for around 18 months at a department store called Waltons and had the job of counting the takings and doing the banking every day with a couple of other companions. But as with the public service job several years earlier I was not convinced that I had a long term future there. So I applied for both the Air Force and the Police Force and the application for the second came through first and within six weeks of applying I found myself in the police academy having had my shoulder length hair and beard shaved off the night before my induction.

I spent 16 years in the police force and loved most of it. I was trained in close personal protection, became a hostage negotiator and the last eight years was a Counter Terrorist specialist. I count myself lucky that I didn’t leave the job bitter and twisted like many seem to. There was never a morning when I woke up and thought that I didn’t want to go to work. It was always challenging and interesting and I was good at what I did. If there was a trigger for wanting to leave it was disappointment at failing Detective Training School under unusual circumstances which I have detailed here.

Perhaps the first signs of my midlife episode manifested in the itchy feet that lead me to leave the police force and to buy a franchise. We did a lot of homework before taking the plunge into business and I learnt fairly quickly that I actually knew nothing at all about running a business. The pity was that it also became evident that the franchisors were also struggling with the business as well and six months after we bought into it they went into liquidation. Whilst we struggled on for another 18 months we ended up having to follow the same path having lost close to $200k in the failed venture.

Fortunately for me, a former police colleague had set up his own business and he hired me as his Chief Intelligence Analyst and I had three good years working for him back in an area that I had a lot of knowledge in. But the toll of losing the money in the business meant I felt a great deal of pressure to try and recover financially and it wasn’t long before I found myself with a second job running the Victorian Basketball League. As it turned out, it wasn’t worth the hours I put in and was the beginning of my true neglect of my family. Relationships have to suffer when people work 80 hour weeks and whilst I enjoyed the work I was in some ways oblivious to the slack my wife had to pick up in looking after the family and I certainly wasn’t aware of the impact on my kids. It was head down and bum up. The response of a man to mistakes he made and a desire to provide financially for his family but totally unaware of looming problems.

The second job lead directly to my current role as CEO of Knox Basketball here in Melbourne. I count myself lucky to have a full time job in sport and to have turned a hobby into a career. If I was to say what I like best about the role it is the challenge of being able to build an organisation and to have had some input into it being regarded as the best of it’s kind in the country. Conversely some of the inherent enjoyment one gets from being involved in an organisation as a volunteer is lost when it becomes a paid position. Or maybe I should say that the nature of the satisfaction changes.

What do I do as CEO – actually a bit of everything, sort out problems, troubleshoot, write and implement business plans, apply strategies to our growth, answer phones, clean dunnys at times, wipe up spew, sweep floors, stack chairs, pick up rubbish, listen to parents, referees, players, coaches and anyone else who has a complaint or suggestion. As Lazarus Long said “Specialisation is for insects!”

As for ten years from now – all I’ll say is I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Josie’s Interview Part 3 – Specialisation is for Insects

Firstly, apologies Josie for taking so long to get through this interview. I’ve had too many weekend meetings at work to actually find a few hours in a row to finish it. For those who don’t know Josie from Picking up the Pieces has sent me five questions and along the way has also interviewed a number of far more interesteing people than I whose replies you will find links to here. So here is Question 3 and my response.

3. You have been involved in some fascinating careers thru the years. What was your original intended career when you came out of college? Which job turned out to be the most fulfilling and why? What do you like/dislike about the position you have now? Where do you see yourself ten years in the future?

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, con a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Lazarus Long – “Time Enough for Love” by Robert Heinlein

Throughout High School I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be. I toyed with the idea of being a doctor when I was really young but found out during High School that I wasn’t smart enough at the time to fulfill that ambition. So in deciding I really didn’t know what I wanted to be long term it was an easy out to actually take a year off before going to University.

In those days it was easy for a school leaver to pick a career in the public service or a bank, to sit an exam and be one of hundreds chosen postitions vacant with those organisations. So in 1975 I commenced my first job as an Accounts clerk in what was then called the Ministry of Conservation. It was a good place to work with good people but some of them had been there for decades and for a 17 year old the prospect of being in the one place for so long was anathema so after a few months I decided that I would indeed take the place I had deferred in an Arts Degree at Monash University and in 1976 I began my first of four years at that old alma mater.

However, I still didn’t have too much of a clue about what I wanted to “be”. There was a vague idea of becoming a park ranger and I therefore studied Geography with minors in Psychology and Anthropology. My double major included units in geomorphology, climatology and biogeography and that eventually lead me to an honours year where I studied palynology, which for those who don’t know [and it’s no shame not to] is the study of fossil pollen grains. In a nutshell I spent a year staring at a microscope counting pollen grains I had taken from a sedimentary core of a bog I called Caledonia Fen on the Snowy Plains near Mt Howitt in Victoria. This gave a climatic record stretching back at least 30,000 years into the last Ice Age and was the basis for my thesis. I think that it is still the oldest continuous highland site studied in Australia.

I studied the same subject matter with three other people, all of whom stayed in Academia and went onto gain Masters and PhD’s in the same areas of study. By 1980 I was getting sick of study and decided that it was time to enter the workforce on a full time basis. I had of course held several jobs during my university studies – as a factory worker, storeman and packer, shop assistant, cleaner and part time office clerk. So I started to put in for jobs and found out fairly quickly that a knowledge of climate change didn’t really qualify me to be a park ranger. What I really needed to know was how to trap a rabbit or skin a feral cat or how to build a bush dunny.

I ended up working full time for around 18 months at a department store called Waltons and had the job of counting the takings and doing the banking every day with a couple of other companions. But as with the public service job several years earlier I was not convinced that I had a long term future there. So I applied for both the Air Force and the Police Force and the application for the second came through first and within six weeks of applying I found myself in the police academy having had my shoulder length hair and beard shaved off the night before my induction.

I spent 16 years in the police force and loved most of it. I was trained in close personal protection, became a hostage negotiator and the last eight years was a Counter Terrorist specialist. I count myself lucky that I didn’t leave the job bitter and twisted like many seem to. There was never a morning when I woke up and thought that I didn’t want to go to work. It was always challenging and interesting and I was good at what I did. If there was a trigger for wanting to leave it was disappointment at failing Detective Training School under unusual circumstances which I have detailed here.

Perhaps the first signs of my midlife episode manifested in the itchy feet that lead me to leave the police force and to buy a franchise. We did a lot of homework before taking the plunge into business and I learnt fairly quickly that I actually knew nothing at all about running a business. The pity was that it also became evident that the franchisors were also struggling with the business as well and six months after we bought into it they went into liquidation. Whilst we struggled on for another 18 months we ended up having to follow the same path having lost close to $200k in the failed venture.

Fortunately for me, a former police colleague had set up his own business and he hired me as his Chief Intelligence Analyst and I had three good years working for him back in an area that I had a lot of knowledge in. But the toll of losing the money in the business meant I felt a great deal of pressure to try and recover financially and it wasn’t long before I found myself with a second job running the Victorian Basketball League. As it turned out, it wasn’t worth the hours I put in and was the beginning of my true neglect of my family. Relationships have to suffer when people work 80 hour weeks and whilst I enjoyed the work I was in some ways oblivious to the slack my wife had to pick up in looking after the family and I certainly wasn’t aware of the impact on my kids. It was head down and bum up. The response of a man to mistakes he made and a desire to provide financially for his family but totally unaware of looming problems.

The second job lead directly to my current role as CEO of Knox Basketball here in Melbourne. I count myself lucky to have a full time job in sport and to have turned a hobby into a career. If I was to say what I like best about the role it is the challenge of being able to build an organisation and to have had some input into it being regarded as the best of it’s kind in the country. Conversely some of the inherent enjoyment one gets from being involved in an organisation as a volunteer is lost when it becomes a paid position. Or maybe I should say that the nature of the satisfaction changes.

What do I do as CEO – actually a bit of everything, sort out problems, troubleshoot, write and implement business plans, apply strategies to our growth, answer phones, clean dunnys at times, wipe up spew, sweep floors, stack chairs, pick up rubbish, listen to parents, referees, players, coaches and anyone else who has a complaint or suggestion. As Lazarus Long said “Specialisation is for insects!”

As for ten years from now – all I’ll say is I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Josie’s Interview Part 3 – Specialisation is for Insects

Firstly, apologies Josie for taking so long to get through this interview. I’ve had too many weekend meetings at work to actually find a few hours in a row to finish it. For those who don’t know Josie from Picking up the Pieces has sent me five questions and along the way has also interviewed a number of far more interesteing people than I whose replies you will find links to here. So here is Question 3 and my response.

3. You have been involved in some fascinating careers thru the years. What was your original intended career when you came out of college? Which job turned out to be the most fulfilling and why? What do you like/dislike about the position you have now? Where do you see yourself ten years in the future?

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, con a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Lazarus Long – “Time Enough for Love” by Robert Heinlein

Throughout High School I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be. I toyed with the idea of being a doctor when I was really young but found out during High School that I wasn’t smart enough at the time to fulfill that ambition. So in deciding I really didn’t know what I wanted to be long term it was an easy out to actually take a year off before going to University.

In those days it was easy for a school leaver to pick a career in the public service or a bank, to sit an exam and be one of hundreds chosen postitions vacant with those organisations. So in 1975 I commenced my first job as an Accounts clerk in what was then called the Ministry of Conservation. It was a good place to work with good people but some of them had been there for decades and for a 17 year old the prospect of being in the one place for so long was anathema so after a few months I decided that I would indeed take the place I had deferred in an Arts Degree at Monash University and in 1976 I began my first of four years at that old alma mater.

However, I still didn’t have too much of a clue about what I wanted to “be”. There was a vague idea of becoming a park ranger and I therefore studied Geography with minors in Psychology and Anthropology. My double major included units in geomorphology, climatology and biogeography and that eventually lead me to an honours year where I studied palynology, which for those who don’t know [and it’s no shame not to] is the study of fossil pollen grains. In a nutshell I spent a year staring at a microscope counting pollen grains I had taken from a sedimentary core of a bog I called Caledonia Fen on the Snowy Plains near Mt Howitt in Victoria. This gave a climatic record stretching back at least 30,000 years into the last Ice Age and was the basis for my thesis. I think that it is still the oldest continuous highland site studied in Australia.

I studied the same subject matter with three other people, all of whom stayed in Academia and went onto gain Masters and PhD’s in the same areas of study. By 1980 I was getting sick of study and decided that it was time to enter the workforce on a full time basis. I had of course held several jobs during my university studies – as a factory worker, storeman and packer, shop assistant, cleaner and part time office clerk. So I started to put in for jobs and found out fairly quickly that a knowledge of climate change didn’t really qualify me to be a park ranger. What I really needed to know was how to trap a rabbit or skin a feral cat or how to build a bush dunny.

I ended up working full time for around 18 months at a department store called Waltons and had the job of counting the takings and doing the banking every day with a couple of other companions. But as with the public service job several years earlier I was not convinced that I had a long term future there. So I applied for both the Air Force and the Police Force and the application for the second came through first and within six weeks of applying I found myself in the police academy having had my shoulder length hair and beard shaved off the night before my induction.

I spent 16 years in the police force and loved most of it. I was trained in close personal protection, became a hostage negotiator and the last eight years was a Counter Terrorist specialist. I count myself lucky that I didn’t leave the job bitter and twisted like many seem to. There was never a morning when I woke up and thought that I didn’t want to go to work. It was always challenging and interesting and I was good at what I did. If there was a trigger for wanting to leave it was disappointment at failing Detective Training School under unusual circumstances which I have detailed here.

Perhaps the first signs of my midlife episode manifested in the itchy feet that lead me to leave the police force and to buy a franchise. We did a lot of homework before taking the plunge into business and I learnt fairly quickly that I actually knew nothing at all about running a business. The pity was that it also became evident that the franchisors were also struggling with the business as well and six months after we bought into it they went into liquidation. Whilst we struggled on for another 18 months we ended up having to follow the same path having lost close to $200k in the failed venture.

Fortunately for me, a former police colleague had set up his own business and he hired me as his Chief Intelligence Analyst and I had three good years working for him back in an area that I had a lot of knowledge in. But the toll of losing the money in the business meant I felt a great deal of pressure to try and recover financially and it wasn’t long before I found myself with a second job running the Victorian Basketball League. As it turned out, it wasn’t worth the hours I put in and was the beginning of my true neglect of my family. Relationships have to suffer when people work 80 hour weeks and whilst I enjoyed the work I was in some ways oblivious to the slack my wife had to pick up in looking after the family and I certainly wasn’t aware of the impact on my kids. It was head down and bum up. The response of a man to mistakes he made and a desire to provide financially for his family but totally unaware of looming problems.

The second job lead directly to my current role as CEO of Knox Basketball here in Melbourne. I count myself lucky to have a full time job in sport and to have turned a hobby into a career. If I was to say what I like best about the role it is the challenge of being able to build an organisation and to have had some input into it being regarded as the best of it’s kind in the country. Conversely some of the inherent enjoyment one gets from being involved in an organisation as a volunteer is lost when it becomes a paid position. Or maybe I should say that the nature of the satisfaction changes.

What do I do as CEO – actually a bit of everything, sort out problems, troubleshoot, write and implement business plans, apply strategies to our growth, answer phones, clean dunnys at times, wipe up spew, sweep floors, stack chairs, pick up rubbish, listen to parents, referees, players, coaches and anyone else who has a complaint or suggestion. As Lazarus Long said “Specialisation is for insects!”

As for ten years from now – all I’ll say is I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

You know you’re really in trouble when…

One of the regular blogs I check is by a friend Seiche, called simply Seiche. In an item this week he told of how after months of training for a martial arts tournament he got rear ended on the journey to it and ended up having his car written off and not actually making it to his destination. It reminded me of an incident that occurred way back in my previous life as a cop around 1986.

I was stationed at the Protective Security Groups and one of the roles we had was to look after crooks who were in the witness protection program but who wouldn’t be actually set free with new identities because they were either doing time, or because they were required to appear in court. At this particular time we were looking after a number of people who were involved in the disappearance of anti drug campaigner Donald McKay.

At that particular time we were baby sitting some of them in what appeared to be a derelict city Hotel and, as was normal, we were working 12 hour shifts. This particular time I was on night shift and the nights were long and boring. Generally we’d pass the time playing cards and drinking copious amounts of tea or coffee [no donut jokes please, that seems to be the realm of American coppers, not Aussie ones].

Anyway, the shift finished and somehow I ended up driving the car to get back to our home base after we were relieved by the day shift. It wasn’t a long drive, maybe ten minutes, and about halfway back I was making a right hand turn into Kings Way at a green light. The view to my right was obscured by the building line and the street I was turning into actually met at an angle of about 60 degrees so I wasn’t able to see anything coming from that direction. Still I had a green light so anything coming along there had to be facing a red one. As I entered the intersection there was an almighty whack in the drivers side of the car and we ended up doing a 360 turn twice ending up on the tram tracks in the middle of the road.

Like Seiche’s tale, fortunately no one was seriously injured, but imagine the look on the other drivers face when the five people who got out of the car he’d just cleaned up were all wearing police uniforms. And imagine the look on my face when he said that he didn’t see the red light because he was lost and reading his Melways [for those who don’t know that’s a Melbourne Street Directory]. And yes, I had to be restrained from punching him in the nose.

You know you’re really in trouble when…

One of the regular blogs I check is by a friend Seiche, called simply Seiche. In an item this week he told of how after months of training for a martial arts tournament he got rear ended on the journey to it and ended up having his car written off and not actually making it to his destination. It reminded me of an incident that occurred way back in my previous life as a cop around 1986.

I was stationed at the Protective Security Groups and one of the roles we had was to look after crooks who were in the witness protection program but who wouldn’t be actually set free with new identities because they were either doing time, or because they were required to appear in court. At this particular time we were looking after a number of people who were involved in the disappearance of anti drug campaigner Donald McKay.

At that particular time we were baby sitting some of them in what appeared to be a derelict city Hotel and, as was normal, we were working 12 hour shifts. This particular time I was on night shift and the nights were long and boring. Generally we’d pass the time playing cards and drinking copious amounts of tea or coffee [no donut jokes please, that seems to be the realm of American coppers, not Aussie ones].

Anyway, the shift finished and somehow I ended up driving the car to get back to our home base after we were relieved by the day shift. It wasn’t a long drive, maybe ten minutes, and about halfway back I was making a right hand turn into Kings Way at a green light. The view to my right was obscured by the building line and the street I was turning into actually met at an angle of about 60 degrees so I wasn’t able to see anything coming from that direction. Still I had a green light so anything coming along there had to be facing a red one. As I entered the intersection there was an almighty whack in the drivers side of the car and we ended up doing a 360 turn twice ending up on the tram tracks in the middle of the road.

Like Seiche’s tale, fortunately no one was seriously injured, but imagine the look on the other drivers face when the five people who got out of the car he’d just cleaned up were all wearing police uniforms. And imagine the look on my face when he said that he didn’t see the red light because he was lost and reading his Melways [for those who don’t know that’s a Melbourne Street Directory]. And yes, I had to be restrained from punching him in the nose.

Praise and Blame


Richard Carlson writes in his book “Don’t sweat the small stuff” that praise and blame are all the same. That when we learn to accept that we will never be able to please 100% of the people 100% of the time, that the times when people do express disappointment with us will be easier to bear.

One of the major challenges of midlife is that we often struggle with self esteem – perhaps we are not as successful at work as we would have liked, or relationships begin to break down, all of these things are bruising to the ego and often small criticisms are taken on board to the point where we begin to question other aspects of our lives where we have been successful.

I have had my share of failures – in fact I wrote about one of them here, but there have also been others and I have no doubt that those failures lead to the situation where my marriage failed, not through any fault of my wifes, but simply because I did not cope with failure as well as I could have, and I tended to blame myself for those things that went wrong.

I will write another time about my failed business venture, a time during which I learnt a lot about myself, but which lead inevitable to extremely long working hours and a neglect of family purely because we were trying to keep our heads above water from an economic point of view.

Oddly enough I have also received my fair share of praise for the work I have done, but it was always easy for me to overlook that praise and concentrate on the blame rather than accept the accolades.

I never considered myself to be a good policeman – academically I excelled – but I was never a good street copper, I don’t think I really had the instincts for it. I did find my niche as an intelligence officer and I was very good at that, but in specialising I narrowed my career choices, and finding that I had been pigeon holed I began to look around for other things to do. So in 1997 I left and bought a business which only lasted around 18 months before, through many reasons not our fault, we then found we had to close the doors and walk away. Fortunately, we managed to keep our house at that time, but the debt that is still there is directly related to that failed business venture.

In order to try and recover I worked two jobs and around 80 hours a week for a few years, all the time not seeing that my family was suffering.

I eventually came to work in the sports industry, after having been a volunteer for many years, I found myself as the CEO of the largest basketball association in the country. The organisation has continued to grow and flourish since I’ve been there, some might say in spite of me being there, but I think overall that I will be judged kindly for the work I have done. I have been named Basketball Victoria Administrator of the Year for the past 2 years, the Association was named Association of the Year for the State last year and next week I am travelling to Sydney to accept a national award [details of which I will announce next week].

Yet still I struggle with the belief that I am actually not that good at my job. It is I suppose a matter of balance – hard to accept to praise in one area when you spend a lot of time blaming yourself for failures in the personal area. It is a very fine line between having a healthy ego and allowing poor self esteem to creep in and affect other areas of our lives.

Carlson writes that it is far easier to deal with praise than blame and that the more content he has become with his life the less he needs to rely on praise to feel good about himself. Easier said than done methinks.

[Image from despair.com]

Praise and Blame


Richard Carlson writes in his book “Don’t sweat the small stuff” that praise and blame are all the same. That when we learn to accept that we will never be able to please 100% of the people 100% of the time, that the times when people do express disappointment with us will be easier to bear.

One of the major challenges of midlife is that we often struggle with self esteem – perhaps we are not as successful at work as we would have liked, or relationships begin to break down, all of these things are bruising to the ego and often small criticisms are taken on board to the point where we begin to question other aspects of our lives where we have been successful.

I have had my share of failures – in fact I wrote about one of them here, but there have also been others and I have no doubt that those failures lead to the situation where my marriage failed, not through any fault of my wifes, but simply because I did not cope with failure as well as I could have, and I tended to blame myself for those things that went wrong.

I will write another time about my failed business venture, a time during which I learnt a lot about myself, but which lead inevitable to extremely long working hours and a neglect of family purely because we were trying to keep our heads above water from an economic point of view.

Oddly enough I have also received my fair share of praise for the work I have done, but it was always easy for me to overlook that praise and concentrate on the blame rather than accept the accolades.

I never considered myself to be a good policeman – academically I excelled – but I was never a good street copper, I don’t think I really had the instincts for it. I did find my niche as an intelligence officer and I was very good at that, but in specialising I narrowed my career choices, and finding that I had been pigeon holed I began to look around for other things to do. So in 1997 I left and bought a business which only lasted around 18 months before, through many reasons not our fault, we then found we had to close the doors and walk away. Fortunately, we managed to keep our house at that time, but the debt that is still there is directly related to that failed business venture.

In order to try and recover I worked two jobs and around 80 hours a week for a few years, all the time not seeing that my family was suffering.

I eventually came to work in the sports industry, after having been a volunteer for many years, I found myself as the CEO of the largest basketball association in the country. The organisation has continued to grow and flourish since I’ve been there, some might say in spite of me being there, but I think overall that I will be judged kindly for the work I have done. I have been named Basketball Victoria Administrator of the Year for the past 2 years, the Association was named Association of the Year for the State last year and next week I am travelling to Sydney to accept a national award [details of which I will announce next week].

Yet still I struggle with the belief that I am actually not that good at my job. It is I suppose a matter of balance – hard to accept to praise in one area when you spend a lot of time blaming yourself for failures in the personal area. It is a very fine line between having a healthy ego and allowing poor self esteem to creep in and affect other areas of our lives.

Carlson writes that it is far easier to deal with praise than blame and that the more content he has become with his life the less he needs to rely on praise to feel good about himself. Easier said than done methinks.

[Image from despair.com]

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