The Voice: a conversation

A seal
By Liam Quinn from Canada, via Wikimedia Commons

Friend: “You should write a Benign to Five column about The Voice.”

Me: “What’s The Voice?”

“Are you jok- ? Oh, you’re not. It’s a reality singing show. On Channel 9.”

New Faces?”

“What? New Faces hasn’t been on since 1985.”

“But like New Faces?”

“No! Nothing like New Faces! Not at all. Not really. Well… a little bit, I suppose. No! Not New Faces.”

“But my columns are about work and toilets and cassowaries and stuff.”

“What if… you… wrote about what would happen if job interviews took the format of The Voice.”

“YES! Brilliant! Bert Newton would be one of your interviewers – it’s gold!”

“IT’S NOT NEW FACES! IT’S THE VOICE!”

“OK. OK. Who’re the judges then?”

“There’s four. Um… Delta Goodrem…”

“The piano one.”

“Uh – yeah. And then there’s… uh… Seal.”

“A seal? One of the judges is a marine mammal? I’m definitely watching the show now. Why haven’t you told me about this show before?” (more…)

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My email to The Goodnight Society

goodnight card

For Mother’s Day I decided to get my wife some pyjamas. I did my online research, found a company by the name of The Goodnight Society and, with plenty of time to spare before the 1oth of May, I bought some sleepwear.

It never arrived.

Australia Post told me they’d delivered it weeks before Mother’s Day so I got in contact with The Goodnight Society by email. A woman by the name of Kathryn Tyrrell, whom I later found out is the founder of the company, confirmed that they had delivered the clothes to the correct address shortly after I’d ordered them.

Minutes later she followed up with this:

Hi again!

I’m worried about leaving you in the lurch for Mother’s Day if the parcel has gone missing! Do you want me to get another set in tonight’s express post while we see if the other one can be tracked down?

Cheers

What a lovely offer, I thought. And how entirely unfair that a small business should have to make up for the mistakes of another, much larger organisation. So I thanked Kathryn, declined and pursued Australia Post. (more…)

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ParentHaught: how to introduce your baby to the office

Crispy-skinned stork
Stork goes exceptionally well with coriander.

Here’s the ParentHaught story so far:

I’m a father. A year ago, to this day, the stork came. It was 2.30pm on a Sunday. That evening we were cuddling a snowy-haired girl and eating stork for dinner. Well, you know how bad hospital food is.

Anyway, barely a month had passed before colleagues began the inevitable bring-her-into-work campaign.

Although these are dressed up as cuddle-fests, they’re one-baby beauty contests plain and simple.  (Hey, I don’t invent society’s perverse and superficial games; I just give you very smart tips on how to make them work in your favour.) (more…)

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The Haught guide to “driving”

Driving value and efficiencies

If you’re reading this having set out with me on the Haught journey right back at the start – the very first post – thank you. You’ll no doubt remember that I long ago compared modern journeys to the wonderful (although admittedly futile) adventures that took place in the 1970s Japanese TV series, Monkey. (I think of you, dear reader, as my loyal, lascivious and temperamental Pigsy.)

You’ll no doubt also remember that I have already removed obstacles on your path to better in-office (and, let’s be honest, in-life) communication by revealing to you most useful words in the English language.

In the category of Most Outstanding Noun, the incomparable “learnings”.

In the category of Most Outstanding Adjective, the unimpeachable “strategic”.

And now for the blue riband Most Outstanding Verb. (more…)

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“Forget you, pal…”

homer-simpsons-155238_1280

I understand the world through the prism of early episodes of The Simpsons. Who between the ages of 25 and 40 doesn’t? (If you just put up your hand or sheepishly whispered “me”, I’m frankly suspicious of you and will regard you as a degenerate until you present me with evidence to the contrary.)

Anyway, there’s an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer discovers a miracle hair regrowth formula and uses his now-thick mane and new-found self esteem to rise up the corporate ladder. (If you’re a Simpsons fan it’s the one with Karl, one of the finest non-recurring characters to ever appear in the show.)

Don’t worry – this isn’t a column about developing your career via follicular enhancement or rug propagation. It’s about a moment in the episode where Homer gets told by a doctor that the ointment is well out of his financial reach: (more…)

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The Haught guide to choosing your spirit animal

lion-boring601961_1280

Ten years ago, if someone had asked you what your spirit animal was, you’d have moved to the other end of the tram, dialled 000 into your Motorola flip phone and sat, quivering, with your thumb poised over the call button. Today it’s as unremarkable and pedestrian as pulled pork on a brioche bun with whipped kale and a pfeffernüsse crumble served in a terracotta pot.

You’ll have it asked of you at work, in job interviews and sometimes even during medical appointments. And it’s true: the answer you give to the question says a lot about you. So here’s my guide to deciding on which animal best represents you: (more…)

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My email to Facebook

facebook-76536_1280

If you’re one of the people who follows me on Facebook (thanks by the way), chances are you almost certainly don’t see every one of my posts – or more to the point, don’t even get the opportunity to see all of them. There’s also quite a good chance you get the chance to see fewer than half. In fact there’s some chance you see none at all and you’re reading this post because you also follow me on a more dependable service like Twitter, Google+ or email.

And it shits me up the wall.

This Guardian article gives a really good summary of how and why it happens. It also reveals that I’m by no means the first person who’s thought of writing a letter to Facebook about this very topic. (But let’s be honest, blogging smart-arse emails was never sparklingly original, anyway.)

Anyway, I wrote one. It’s undoubtedly my most self-indulgent, tangential and metaphorically jumbled yet. You’ll bloody love it.

(more…)

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The Haught guide to the word “strategic”

A strategic waterfall
A strategic waterfall

In this ultra-cynical age, the word ‘panacea’ has been splashed with negative connotations. The 21st century has no time for the idea of utopia, and there is, admittedly, something slightly utopian about a remedy for everything in the universe ever. For that reason ‘panacea’ is a word – not unlike ‘alchemy’ and ‘Vodafone’ – that today evokes reflexive scoffing.

But we are wrong to sneer, for a panacea is theoretically possible. Indeed, it already exists. The corporate sector has known about it for at least a decade, and it takes the form, believe it or not, of a humble adjective.
(more…)

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