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Posts Tagged ‘work’

I am an entrepreneur and my work is as a sexologist. It is good to be able to say that with confidence now, although it has taken a while to get there. My employment life transition is just one of many global transitions at the moment and the zeitgeist is not a happy one overall. I am endeavouring to make a positive contribution to the world through sex-positive and pleasure-focused education, as well as through being kind in my daily interactions. What is good for me about the change is that I can teach with integrity and good pedagogy in my own business and not have to comply with a university system that is being run as a business and not as an educational institution.

Letting go of the place that was a key part of my identity for 14 years was hard. There is a grief that comes with change, even if the change is wanted, and that is how it was with me letting go of the university. It took a conscious effort to focus on good things and not on the negative aspects. I was known and valued at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University, and being there was part of my identity. I did some excellent teaching. Students remember my lectures years later, and as recently as last weekend a woman told me her language use re body parts with her daughter (using accurate terminology for genitals) was influenced by the content of my sex education lecture and the theatrical drama with which it was delivered. There is a greater freedom to teach using transformative learning while being self employed. I had huge fun with lecture writing; these slides are from 2011’s lecture.

Lots of things helped me be grounded and move on.  Claire, my admin assistant, has been a champion of my work and linked me to some useful ideas and resources, as well as giving practical assistance. An aspect of the job she loved was helping to care for Flynn and Fergus, the rescue dogs I fostered for nine weeks. Her support is making a big difference.

Joining the Synergize Hub gave me a new community, one which includes and values me, and where I can access business support. It is a co-working space in central Bendigo. The people are diverse, with shared values and a range of business types. I love going there, and am now treasurer! That is an opportunity outside my comfort zone where I will learn new skills. Every time I go there I receive a nugget of wisdom, and lately I realise I am contributing as well. It is an awesome place to be nurtured and supported as I develop my business, and to offer support in return.

The business is growing slowly. I’m getting more confident to put myself out there, do promotion, and make things happen rather than wait for them to come to me. The pace is ok for me, and I’ll step it up as I become more settled. I have beautbusiness cardsiful business cards designed by Dale Harris of Studio Ink, and have re-vamped the website I established during my NEIS course in 2014. I painted the artwork in the background.

Putting myself out there includes submitting an installation to the Queer Country art exhibition, associated with the Bendigo Queer Film Festival. It is a positive statement on ageing and sexuality, with a bedside table holding a reading light, glasses and case, copy of Joan Price’s Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50, lube, and a flogger.

Note that on the windowsill behind me is a business card holder with business cards. There is a hustle here, and a hustle there, everywhere a hustle hustle. The holder (which Claire refers to as ‘couches’ as they look a bit like a psychiatrist’s couch) was 3-d printed by the fabulously supportive Jim.

I’m feeling really grounded in my business now. I have something valuable to give, and people from all walks of life are supporting and encouraging it. The counselling practice is taking off. My ideas are flowing and I’m writing and delivering good workshops, with plans for lots more. Check out my website for details. Invite me to speak!

It is a good place to be.

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I listened to a radio interview with Alain de Botton today about his new book, The pleasures and consolations of work. He spoke of how in most novels people don’t do what people usually spend their lives doing, that is, going to work. Instead they do all the dramatic and interesting things people do in novels. Because we wouldn’t want to read about the minutiae of most people’s working days. Alain de Botton’s life is not restricted by an external routine because he is a writer and has an independent income, so he doesn’t have to go to an office if he doesn’t want to. In my early studies of Foucault he explains how the socially imposed order/discipline of the school/workplace/prison routine is a means of social control and in its own way the imposed routine of a prison is a punishment. My life over the last few years has been one of erratic working hours, with few compulsory times, but enabling me to choose when I worked and even how much time I put into a task. I usually put in much more than I was paid for, but did it because I enjoyed it or wanted to do it well. ‘It’ in this context includes attending to the wellbeing of student residents in a uni student residence, or preparing lectures and tutes or marking as a casual lecturer. Being a casual lecturer gave me a lot less money but a lot more time freedom. I like the time freedom, the ability to walk or see a movie when I want, to work into the night if that’s what suited, too. I spoke to a friend this week who is now her own boss. She loves the freedom of living her life to suit her own needs, the weather, availability of gym classes, and not having to fit it all in around a rigid, imposed schedule.

But I’ve also been reflecting on having a career, a goal, a structure that gives purpose, and even social status. How important is that? Life is episodic, not linear, and the expected educational pattern of school, uni/apprenticeship, job, relationship, kids, mortgage, hanging out for annual holidays is only one way to live it. Is it a luxury to have the choice to not seek to work full time? Or a reasonable option and one which can lead to more happiness for me?

I’m currently trying to start a PhD as well as caring for a seriously ill ex-husband. Is the caring work an interference in the PhD goal, the immersion and obsession I was looking forward to, or an episode that gives me the opportunity to be with someone I care about at a critical time? Attitude is everything, and as I write this it’s obvious that the caring is what matters. Also if I don’t have status or a hot shot academic career, does it matter, as long as I’ve managed to support myself and given back to the world when I can.

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