Hey internet babes, I’ve been away.  Miss me?  Huh?  Didya?  Didya miss me?

Yeah, well, I was lounging around doing beautiful things and liking it enough to consider taking up a full time residency in the beautiful things conference hall, but then I picked up this year’s BRW Rich List and realised I wasn’t on it.  So here I am back again, trying to find ways to get myself through the working day.  I guess it just wasn’t my year.  If Jamie P can watch his billions more than halve in less than two years, then it’s probably unlikely I’m going to suddenly find a few hundred million I’d forgotten about, having fallen down the back of the couch. 

So hey, maybe next year.  We’ll see.  After all, my chosen industries (libraries, books, writing, publishing, culture stuff) are where the money is made in this country …

Or not.

It does strike me, as I toddle through my studies one assignment at a time looking to expand the horizons a bit, that the overriding message the industry wants to give us as writers, editors, publishers and the like, is to make sure you love doing this stuff, because you ain’t never going to make much cash from it.  Whether you write or whether you publish writers, you’re going to get shafted monetary wise.

But hey, if I wanted to make billions, I’d have stuck with management consulting.  Ah, the professional services sector, it’s just all about adding value to our world, don’t you think?

No, me neither. 

Anyway, speaking of management consulting, I have to confess I lied.  You know how I said I was off doing beautiful things?  Well it’s not true.  Yeah, I know, it’s a shock to think that I might choose to bullshit my darling readers for the sake of a weak joke, but there you go.  Sorry to disillusion you.

What I have been doing is corporate strategising.  Think a circus, but without the clowns, acrobats, ring master, animals, side carnival, or fun and laughter, but retaining the chaotic stupidity.  It was several days of funky facilitators and pointed energisers and coloured felt pens and butchers paper.  It was break away groups and post it notes of every colour and tortured analogies and management tools designed to help a middling sized group of vastly different people all come to a shared decision everyone can “own.”  You know, as if we were buying a house together, except I would go into a financial arrangement any one in the room, so instead we all get together to ‘own’ the corporate direction.

Yes, it is as silly as it sounds.

Look, I know the adult learning theories, I know the facilitation techniques.  I don’t actually need coloured paper and pens to be able to remember key information, but if you want to cover the walls in butchers paper and post its, then so be it.  I would recommend you get in an interior decorator myself, but you guys are running this thing and I can live with it.  Just please, next time, can we avoid the twenty minute energisers five times a day which cater solely to the attention seekers amongst us by forcing everybody to mime, sing, dance or otherwise humiliate themselves in the name of lifting the energy of the room during that mid-afternoon slump?

It was, of course, all off-site.  Deliberately away from internet, email or other incidental distractions, like families and loved ones. 

(And just to burst another balloon, we weren’t gathered in any kind of beautiful things conference hall either.  In fact, such a place doesn’t even exist.  Yeah, really, I made it up.  Live with it.) 

But my favourite – *cough* *splutter* *cough* – part of the strategising is the management speak.  I’ve come out of the experience needing to relearn the English language.  Between black swan events (something unforseen) and leveraging our intellectual capital (making the most of the smart people in the company) and knowledge optimisation (oh, don’t ask me) and maximising business development interests (going and talking to the client), we seem to have developed some kind of strategy for the company.  I’m just not sure anybody will ever understand it.  But that’s okay.  I doubt the purpose of these things is to be understood in the first place.

The best part?  When at the end of the last day we were told one of the guys who had disappeared some hours earlier had gone home diagnosed with swine flu, so if we could all just be concious of any flu-like symptoms, that would be great.

Um.  Is my cynicism showing?  Too much, do you think? 

Ah, time for me to toddle off, methinks.  One minute a girl’s just flashing a sly bit of cheeky cynicism and the next thing she knows, she’s wallowing in flabby public sarcasm for all to see.  Just not a pretty sight.  And I’ve been off the keys for some days now.  There are words in need of writing, lots of ‘em stacking up there.  Granted, not stacking up with lots of cash or just waiting for me to write them so the funds flow freely into my bank account, but anyway. 

It’s writing and arts and culture stuff.  It’s not management consulting.  Which is how we got into this mess in the first place.

*Sigh*

Catch you next, peoples. 

Kath