Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today was "RUOK Day". The purpose is to raise awareness of suicide prevention, and introduce small kindnesses such as asking someone who is stressed, troubled, in a crisis, etc if they are OK.

Then, of course, you have to be prepared to listen - really listen, not just stand by looking at your watch with one foot poised for take-off. That's the hard part.

You'll never know how much you can do for someone in a crisis situation, until you listen to what they have to say.

The three objectives of RUOK Day are:
(1) Help employees and students feel good about themselves by connecting with, and supporting others.
(2) Increase connection and support within groups.
(3) Through reducing stress and depression, help reduce Australia's suicide rate.

Stress and depression are the largest contributors to lost productivity in Australia, directly costing employers an estimated $10.11 billion a year (Medibank 2009).

The R U OK? at Work initiative is intended to help combat workplace stress by urging employers and business leaders to actively encourage positive, meaningful conversations between staff and ensure they know who to turn to when they’re not OK.

Every workplace can choose how they would like to run R U OK? at Work, all we ask is that when employees take time out for a coffee or a break on Thursday September 15, they're encouraged to start a conversation with someone they care about.

Interestingly, just a few weeks ago I was told - officially, and in writing - that under our employment conditions, there is "no entitlement to a morning break". This was in response to a number of other questions I asked ... I didn't even raise that issue, only those of parity and natural justice. Is it any wonder there are increasing instances of stress in our profession?

I really really wanted to make a few phone calls today, and just let a few people of my acquaintance know that its people like them, with their bullying, intimidation, inflexibility, self-serving selfishness, pettiness and abuse of their position are the reason why there are so many work-place related suicides.

I didn't make those phone calls. But I have third-party documentation witnessing that a number of workplace bullies read this blog - ironically so they can use it as fodder for their whining, trite complaints. It's possible that I'll be told to remove this posting. Also possible that I'll get yet another reprimand, and maybe worse. Guess what? I still figure that my employment arrangements do not negate my right to have an opinion and express it publicly. Last time I looked, Australia was still a democracy.

I will await the inevitable, and share the outcome.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shame File: School Library Expenditure

How can a school spend $0.00 on their library, and then bank over a million dollars? These figures are from a school's annual report. Just to let you know that this is a government high school in NSW, but not one where I am employed (nor ever have been).

This is a public document available through the Internet, without any password etc requirements. You can locate it through a Google (or other search tool) search for "NSW school annual report" [insert year]. You will get a clearer image by clicking on this one, which will enlarge it.

At the bottom of the document it says "the school" invites you to contact them for more information. I wonder if anyone did.

Sort of makes me want to go check out some others ...

Hey! Just for comparison, this is the library expenditure for the geographically closest school to the one above. Interestingly, the schools are about the same size.

You can see this one spent more than $25K on their library, and banked "only" $708, 000.

Their income was $3,285,896 for 1165 students ($2820 per student). Library expenditure was $25231 ($21 per student).

Notably this school excels academically.

The first example's income for the same year was $2, 999,720 for 1200 students ($2499 per student). Library expenditure was $0.00 total, or equal to 0.00 per student.

Both schools are in an area of socio-economic advantage. Both are for the 2010 school year. Go figure ...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's so hard to get good help these days ...

... but when you think about the fishy pay, lack of training, not actually caring too much about the outcomes, toilet facilities, etc, then I suppose it's only to be expected. So here's a tip - don't expect much from your cat, except cat hairs in your printer. Sigh.