“Change is the only constant in life” Heraclitus
Noosa, 15 November 2016
Yesterday was my 35th birthday. My first as a self-proclaimed minimalist. My first in Noosa. My first since my family and I, decided to take yet another leap into the unknown, in pursuit of a life with more meaning.
I woke up at 5am to go for a surf, leaving my bed with three beautiful, sleeping girls. There were no waves but the water was enticing so I went for a swim after concentrating on my breath for 15 minutes. I followed up with a ‘large, extra hot, flat white’ at my new favourite coffee place whilst catching up on emails, reading some blogs and doing a bit of writing myself.
I got home to a surprise breakfast. The girls were wearing small, cone shaped, party hats and the table was set with a cake they had baked the day before. The most popular song in the world was sang, a candle was blown out and cake was eaten… it was very good. Apparently, “Mom, helped a little with the baking!”
The only palpable birthday present I got, were 4 pieces of A4 paper (ones I had used to print guitar tabs on), with drawings from the little ones and also their transcribed words in Mom’s hand writing… too good!!
We left home around 8.30am, because I had a follow-up job interview at 9am, in Noosa Shire Council’s offices.
This is the second engineering job I have applied for since moving up to Noosa. Both have been made with the same potential employer, because based on my “reformed” system of values and beliefs, I don’t see myself working in the engineering private sector. Profit and unhealthy (internal and external) competition reign supreme and that’s something I no longer wish to be a part of.
This second interview was to meet my potential boss’s boss and see if she would recommend me (to her boss) to fill the position. It was an amiable, informal chat that went very well. I am to replace a employee about to retire, who replaced another who was also retiring back in the day. Let’s see if I keep the tradition of it being a professional lifelong position.
I am to have a lot of autonomy in my work. Free to suit and adapt the position to my working habits and ideas. At one point, she noted that the salary was below what would be expected for someone with my experience. She asked if I was ok with that. I replied that if my main objective was money, I would never have left Brisbane to wait on tables in Noosa. She smiled and asked me what my availability was. When I said it was immediate, she asked if I could start Monday 🙂
I look forward to work for a client whose name is Community. Its involvement with Council in promoting a sustainable environment is something I have not seen elsewhere during my 7 years in Australia. There is definitely a different energy emanating from this place and it is not only because of its jaw-dropping landscape.
It’s funny how things happen. The first position I applied for, was back in September and since then that I hadn’t looked on the website for new ones. This one came about because Cat randomly took a look and said this was something that might suit me. Good thing she decided to do that the day before applications closed.
I’m starting a new job on Monday, absolutely conscious that this too, will eventually end. I am completely aware that it will not bring me happiness. My previous experiences of “new” (house, car, relationship, job, city, etc.) were always lived with a conscious/unconscious conviction that those new “things” would bring me that long lasting joy we all seek. None did because no external factor can do that.
As the only constant in life is change, any feelings I place in this job or any other significant purchases/achievements in my life, are subject to be altered. That initial feeling of elation, can last days, weeks or months, but it is always and inevitably ephemeral.
Today I am more curious than excited or anxious. Today I put no emotional hopes on this job, nor any other “thing”. Today, I feel I’ve grown. Today, I feel I came a long way from where I have been.
I left NSC’s offices, after being introduced to everyone in the team, and joined the girls at the nearby playground. Took off my ‘fancy clothes’, put on my shorts and headed to the beach. It was steaming hot and the tepid water did not help cooling me down (yes, this part is for my friends enjoying November in the northern hemisphere). Had a swim with the girls and played in the sand.
We had lunch at Bistro C. It was a great meal, with an ocean view, where the girls behaved beautifully (sat down for its entirety… almost). I had three beers and felt inebriated halfway through the first. Maybe it’s due to my recent alcohol abstinence, or the fact that I only had had coffee and cake since 5am. We headed home and had a 3 hour nap… bliss.
We woke up and headed to the beach… again. How boring, right? We stayed until the sunset and then headed to a lookout to watch the biggest moon in over 60 years. Honestly, it didn’t seem any bigger but looked as attractive and mesmerizing as always. But it was my birthday and I was watching it with my family, so the ocean working as a yellow light mirror did make it a bit different – again, it’s all in how we decide to perceive our experiences.
We had takeaway pizza (from my current workplace) for dinner, danced in the living room, read some stories and headed to bed. I cannot recall all of the previous 34 celebrations, but I decided to choose that my “Year 0” birthday celebration was the best.
And because words like ‘meaning’ and ‘values’ also belong in a “professional” setting, here’s a copy of my job application cover letter:
“Dear Mr L.
RE: Position 10224 – Engineering Officer – Construction
I am writing to express my interest in applying for the above position recently advertised on your website. Please also find attached my resume.
My family and I have recently moved to Noosa as part of our plan to live more meaningfully, in a place more aligned with our values. We felt that Noosa was the right place because of the strong community engagement and its focus on a sustainable environment.
Guided by and together with the community, Noosa Shire Council’s focus and prioritising of a sustainable environment is not only admirable, but something I wish to be a part of.
I see Noosa Shire Council as the perfect home to continue my professional career. I consider my personal values and beliefs to be well aligned with Noosa Shire Council’s and this will certainly allow for an easy integration and a pleasant work environment.
I am seeking employment with Noosa Shire Council and am confident to have the necessary qualifications, skills, motivation and commitment for the advertised role of engineering officer.
I have over ten years work experience in various planning and management roles. I have worked with local government in different roles, including the preparation and submission of documentation relating to construction development in line with Council’s policies and planning scheme.
In my previous positions I was required to deal with all level of internal and external stakeholders including customer liaising and reporting. I was also responsible for the supervision, mentoring and training of other members of the project team.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I would welcome the opportunity of meeting with you to discuss my details further and will look forward to hearing from you shortly.