The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Short Stories and More…

Outside the Box

I’ve been for plenty of job interviews where I’ve been asked to demonstrate a time I’ve thought outside the box.

Let me begin by saying, I like ‘the box’. It’s a comfy place to be. It’s worked for people for the last x number of years, why do they want me to think outside the box?

Once, conformity was something everyone did. If you were a rebel, bad things happened to you (even worse if you were a Rebel Without A Cause). In business, they require you to be in a box. If McDonalds employees thought for themselves, imagine the mess we’d be in. McDonalds works because they have  a business model, which is adhered to all around the world. Love it or hate it, you cannot deny that it is one of the world’s top recognised brands and top-selling businesses.

Sure, we also need pioneers. Richard Branson has done quite well for himself whilst not following The Rules. If an employee has a suggestion, he listens to it personally (or reads it via email, more like) and has been known to incorporate ideas into Virgin business. So aside from the free thinkers, the rebels, the pioneers; do employers actually want you to think outside the box? Would they reward the employee? Good ideas and selling techniques is something they all want- but to what cost to the smarty pants who thought of it? Maybe I should go into commission-based sales intead.


January 22, 2010 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Are tattoos the new black?

Once upon a time, in a little place called Australia, the tattoo was a small, black symbol easily concealed under clothes. It was worn by a select few, usually bikies, gang members and other people rebelling against society. A few people had tattoos from an earlier time: WWII.

Fast forward to 2010. The once easily concealable tat has become large, colourful, intricate and available for the world to see. They appear covering a whole arm (the “sleeve”), backs of necks, lower back (the “tramp stamp”), ankles, wrists, shoulder blades, necks, ears and even eyebrows can be tattooed on. No longer are the tattooed rebelling against society; they are becoming the norm. It is not confined to ‘bogans’- those in socioeconomic sub-societies akin to the US trailor park set.

Whilst bogans seem to have the monopoly on certain types of tattoos (namely the tramp stamp), tattoos in general are popping up in the least likely of places. Everyone from the checkout chick to the top executives sport tattoos. Hopefully the tats bear witness to sacred symbolism meaningful to the wearer and not the result of a drunken night out with the mates. Tribal tattoos have always been common among the Island nations, such as Samoa and New Zealand Maoris. Such tribal tats are now sported by increasing numbers of barely pubescent teens. Maybe it’s the new rite of passage?

Faces, names and nature seem to be the most popular choices. Johnny Rzeznik from the band Goo Goo Dolls has a tattoo of a Picasso painting on his arm. Faces of wise men or Native Americans adorn many an arm. Names of children and loved ones can be seen on necks and lower backs. Even the dates of birth of children are remembered in permanent ink on a felshy body part. Or, if you’re Angelina Jolie, the latitudes of where your children were born.

Increasingly, meaningful phrases are being tattooed along arms and necks. Stan Walker, the 2009 Australian Idol, has a Maori word engraved on his neck. Other popular phrases include, “Enjoy life”, “No regrets” (ha! Will they feel that way when they’re 50 and their skin is sagging?), “Such is life” and “Pay before you enter” (you can imagine where this one was tattooed…)

There are numerous blogs on the internet with badly spelled tattoos. I’ve yet to see one in real life but I’m sure they’re out there. You don’t need a PhD to become a tattooist; you don’t even have to pass a spelling test.

The new craze of having UV ink embedded in your body for the sake of art is undeniably cool and repulsive at the same time. The ink is invisible in normal light but clearly visible under those black lights seen in nightclubs. I suppose it’s really only useful if you club a lot and wish to look like a tool in front of hot chicks at the bar.

A friend of mine had her boyfriend’s name tattooed on her hip. She was 16 when it was done. Every person she knew tried to talk her out of it. She knew all the reasons but her reasoning was, she’d always remember him as her first real boyfriend- tat or no tat. (They’re still together five years later.)

When the current generation of 20-somethings reach middle age, their skin starts to sag, the ink has faded and their kids ask “Why?” (or “Who’s Mary?”) maybe they’ll feel differently about their decision to ink their skin. Maybe tattoo removal will have improved, both in price and efficacy. Until then, the parade of skin art will continue to fascinate, repulse and satisfy me.

(I’m still thinking of getting the tat on my wrist…)

January 14, 2010 Posted by | 1 | 2 Comments

5 Things You Must Do

1. Travel.

Lasy year, I travelled interstate and overseas. I visited Melbourne for the first time. It was autumn, the leaves were changing, the weather was cooling; it was a nice time of year. It was a fabulous long weekend (I was there for a 4 day seminar). At the end of the year, I went to Bali. I’d never been overseas before. Bali was different enough to be weird, but with familiar sights and people who speak English to make it still within a comfort zone.
Why should you travel? See what else is outside your front door.

2. Go through a Break-Up

Breaking up is hard to do, but SO rewarding! It’s the best and worst time of your life. You’re on your own, perhaps with nothing but the clothes on your back. The moron who you’ve been with is out of your life- you didn’t need them anyway. A broken heart can take a long time to heal, but during the process you re-build yourself. You discover how awesome you are. You realise that they’re the ones left behind and your life is much better without being tied to them.
Why you should have a break-up? Experience the single life. No commitments. No dependency. Be the person you were born to be!

3. Do something you love.

The worst job in the world is a job you hate. When you dread the alarm going off in the morning, you drag yourself through the day then collapse, exhausted, into bed that evening. It’s not worth it. Imagine yourself on your deathbed and ask yourself, “What do you regret?” Was the years of dead end jobs worth it? Are you getting satisfaction from your career, or just a pay cheque (that’s usually not enough anyway?) Find your passion, do that at least part time. Get an easy job with no responsibility (and free doughnuts, if that floats your boat) just to get out of the house. Learn about investments, options trading, internet marketing. There’s abundance out there to be shared.
Why should you do more? Life is too short to make excuses.

4. Experience happiness.

Most people think this is hard. Happiness can be just a moment in time, where you’re laughing and you forgot your car payment is due tomorrow. Yes, it’s hard to be happy all the time (and no one expects you to be) but moments are priceless.
Why should you be happy? Smiling may be an entirely new thing for you, but try it sometime. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

5. Keep a diary

Or blog. Or random notes of paper that are ceremoniously burned after you write on them. When I told people I wanted to write, most people looked at me funny and said, “Why?” I’ve always written. I got good marks on written pieces at school. I’ve been copywriting for years in various jobs without knowing I could do it professionally. I’ve also kept a diary since I was 15. Those diaries contain everything I’ve thought, everything I’ve done. I see patterns in those words now. I see how things really were outside of my in-the-moment fury. I see when things were worse than I realised. I see how things could have been had I made different choices. I use those pages to vent, an outlet for unspoken words and thoughts, a way to purge all the tension inside. They may not be very interesting to outsiders, but for me, they keep me sane.
Why should you write? Vent your frustrations. Get those pent up feelings out there! You can keep them, burn them, stick them in a random letterbox- it doesn’t matter. Just letting go is very therapeutic.

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Thoughts & Reflections | Leave a comment

Welcome to 2010!

I love new years. They bring such hope. We try to forget the pain and shittiness (‘cuse my French) of the previous year and make all sorts of promises to ourselves to rectify these mistakes, make our lives better and generally be better people. Unfortunately, unless you plan on going on The Biggest Loser, you may not actually succeed in these dreams. Shocking right?

2009 was not a good year for me. I’ve made similar promises to myself and so far have avoided all temptations of junk food. Difficult for certain times of the month…

Year ago, I heard a saying that whatever you’re doing on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve is what the rest of the year will be like. Last year (only 3 days ago…) I was sitting on Sanur beach in Bali, surrounded by hundreds of people letting off fireworks, listening to a Balinese reggae band play “Down Under” and enjoying a cocktail as I did so. Hopefully, the pattern is set for 2010!

Since I’ve been back from Bali, ideas have been flowing through my head like cocktails in a Balinese bar (freely flowing, that is). In 2010, Year of the Superfox, I shall be creating an umbrella under which businesses will sit. Diamond Copywriting, of course, plus a couple of other things that have been sitting in my head for a couple of years. Now feels like the right time to get them going. I have the time, they require little start up costs; the only thing I lack is the confidence to get them going. However, I don’t want to be on my deathbed thinking “I coulda been the richest person in Australia right now, but I’ll never know…” 

Good luck to all of you with your new year’s resolutions. Hope they make it past the end of January. Check back in December and we’ll see how we’ve all done. Wish me luck…

P.S. For those of you following me on Facebook, I’ve collated all those Unhelpful Advices and stuck them onto a seperate blog:

January 3, 2010 Posted by | 1 | 1 Comment