The most striking thing I have noticed since returning to New Zealand is the amount of information there is to digest. I suppose I have been fortunate in that I quickly weed out the stuff I want to read, vs the stuff I don’t need to read. It also helps that since returning to NZ, I’ve largely been a “man of leisure” and focusing on looking after the house and my kids as my wife has slid back into the workforce here. I can say – it’s really hard to figure out what to cook for dinner, and hence I have a huge appreciation for the mum’s and dad’s out there that fulfill this role in their family unit. Looking after the pennies whilst I’m not formally engaged in employment is a priority, as is trying to make it easy for the family unit to reintegrate back into kiwi life.
So what does a “man of leisure” have the luxury of doing? Well – I do get to decide what we are having for dinner (I generally have to cook it too), I keep a reasonable house, and I can now keep up with the huge volume of information out there. I am dabbling in things that interest me, doing some mentoring, and helping friends without needing to schedule it into my previously busy schedule – although over the past 2 weeks I’ve lost time due to being a little bit too busy…. I am reading a lot of innovative and thought leadership articles, but I’m also discovering that there is a lot of “made up bullshit” out there, a…lot. I am reading a lot of LinkedIn articles and opinions, and honesty, the gullibility of some people just makes me shake my head. Quite obviously, people are making up or exaggerating “stories” just to get likes and shares – it’s sad that people do this, but this is the world we live in – so pragmatic..
I’ve also been really interested in both the PNG and NZ political landscapes with both countries having very contrasting elections this year. I find PNG politics to be fascinating, and this year social media played a huge part in some really dirty dirty politics. It also exposed some ballot box scams and put it all out there for the nation to see. I was very excited for people I grew to know, either by word, or personally, that really achieved in these elections. Amongst what people hear about corruption in PNG Politics etc – there are some astonishing nice people that just want to make a difference, lets hope they all can.
I’ve blogged. A lot. I have literally written pages and pages of blog posts, however have not published them all. I’ve listened to MY music, LOUD, all day! No one to stop me, no one to say “Dad, your music is sooooo old”… I’ve relaxed. I’m energised. I’ve read some novels. I’ve looked into new technologies. I’ve got my own seat and table at the local cafe! My new friends are retiree’s and cafe owners. I’ve gone to the kids schools more times than I can remember, the Principal and his PA at the local High School actually know who I am – we have a great relationship. I have reconnected with old colleagues, and I have built things. I have wireframed new apps that I want to develop, and I’ve even played some video games. Who has time for that when you work in a 24/7 job in a 24/7 country???
I tried fishing, but the weather hasn’t been right – but I have got all my gear ready to hit it as soon as the fishing gods allow. And I’ve been there for the kids, and my wife. Or at least I think so… They still think I am a grumpy old bugger, truth be told, I just want them out of the house so I can listen to Joe Walsh and Bob Seger – hahaha.
I’ve been able to reflect on the past 6 years in PNG, and use those reflections for me and the future. Sometimes, when you are busy just doing it, you never get a chance to look back or mentally celebrate your achievements.
One of the striking things that I have reflected on, was the amount of innovation we delivered in PNG. And that was set up by having a strong strategy, and brilliant team – we couldn’t have done it without each other. I often remark to friends, that the work you can do in PNG sometimes isn’t just about the company you work for, I believe that you can really make a difference to the entire country by the actions you take, and the ethos you bring. Certainly, my team are the future (if not already current) leaders of Papua New Guinea, albeit quietly achieving behind some of the fluff that is happening out there.
But it somewhat annoys me, that companies aren’t giving Papua New Guineans a fair crack. But then I see young men and women that fall into the trap of “I’ve got it, I’ve made it” and then proceed to stop learning, stop doing, and start sliding backwards. We often hear the words that Papua New Guineans aren’t capable – but they are. They just need good positive guidance and leadership – just like everyone else on this planet. They need to be empowered and trusted, and given the tools to make things happen, and then helped along a journey.
Which reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from Steve Jobs “The Journey is the Reward”…
We need to show people that there isn’t an endgame, you need to be striving, learning, teaching, and creating a journey for yourself – not stopping at the summit, but looking up to the next.
It bloody well helps with a good internet connection 🙂