Who Is That New Woman?

A Better PersonNobody wants to be the newbie.

In any organization, in any group, if you are the most recent arrival, the existing dynamic changes. You change the dynamic. By your presence, the level of the pond alters, the color of the water shifts and the temperature differs. We use the metaphor of “not wanting to make waves” but that’s an empty hope. Just being there creates newness.

Anyone who has ever been the new person knows this, and, unless you’re an unrepentant attention-seeker, explains why most of us stick with what we know. Having been through the assessment period of your new peers, we want to avoid the inevitable acculturation, no matter how well-intentioned the existing members. It’s painful to explain your story again, to justify yourself again, to demonstrate your worth again – why can’t people leave us be?

The foundation of this unwillingness to be new is fear. We’re fearful of them not accepting us, of them not agreeing with the stories about ourselves we have told ourselves. This group who doesn’t really know me can’t judge me…they don’t know what I’ve been through!

But let’s turn this upside-down. If you have the confidence in yourself to face the world head-on, you should have the self-assurance to present that person to anyone. We all need to know just exactly how we fit into the world – we are all rankers to one degree or another – and so obtaining feedback from new peers gives us useful information.

And here’s the important point: if you are not delusional, then you will find that people will soon enough communicate to¬† you that you are who you think you are. And then we can all get on with our job or even start to excel. Being the newbie is a chance to sing, if only you look at it that way.

It is also the only way to find your tribe.

Cartoon credit to Conde Nast and the New Yorker.


Craigslist has been a part of our lives for years now. I have used it to both buy and sell stuff. It’s…quaint in that it is an online version of those classified ads newspapers ran for decades.

Indeed, in the eighties and nineties, the Sydney Morning Herald’s editor once memorably referred to the classified advertising in that newspaper as his “rivers of gold” so profitable were they. All gone now, buddy.

The whiff of olde worlde dust hangs over CL. And, dare I add, there’s not a little fragrance of sleaze, too. It has no competition, which is always a bad thing, because it means there’s no incentive to improve. Staleness has set in.

My question is why I cannot post up on a local website the second-hand items I am looking for – or services or whatever – and have sellers find me. Here I am, with money and a need, and I have to go find these things. Why aren’t vendors doing all they can to woo me?

Just wondering.


South of Adelaide lies the Fleurieu Peninsula, a fertile, undulating place of mild climate and lonely roads, rising no more than 800 feet above the sea. It juts out like a witch’s chin, pointing south-west towards Kangaroo Island. The peninsula has around sixty or seventy miles of coastline along the Gulf St Vincent and the Southern Ocean. There are sandy beaches, but it is mostly a jumble of rocky outcrops, bluffs, cliffs, coves, estuaries and windswept valleys. There is some development, but inaccessibility foils much human effort at such things. It is a beautiful, wild, raw kind of place.

I spent a lot of time there as a child. We lived at the beach near the city, but for vacations we went to other beaches. Oftentimes we went south, to the Fleurieu. Over many summers and school field trips, you learn a thing or two about nature, and the nature of life in water and near it. As a place to discover such things, there are few peers.

For a while, the life that lay beneath rocks near the water fascinated me. There are many tessellated outcrops between Adelaide and Cape Jervis, replete with tidal pools, corals and all kinds of life. I loved the crabs that live in this semi-sea, semi-land environment. Nothing made me happier than overturning a shoebox-sized rock to note the crabs living underneath. They scuttled away, but I caught them, sometimes paying for it with nips.

How did they squish themselves into such small spaces? Did they grow into big crabs or stay palm-sized? (Child’s palm-sized!) What did they eat? What did they do when the tide came in and covered their house in seawater?


We live in a time when the tide is coming toward us. We are living under a rock for the moment, more-or-less dry, more-or-less happy, kinda doing okay. But I fear that we will need to quickly adapt when the sea truly begins to roll in, as it will. That is the lesson from those afternoons spent fooling about in rockpools – some crabs survive, others don’t.

Which will you be?

Wages of Gloom

Geo-politics, fiscal rectitude, transparency, monetary policy, sovereign debt and constitutionality aside, the Obama years will be marked as an eon of gloom for wage-earners.

There ‘ain’t been nuthin’ in for us, that’s fer dayum sure.

I could link to statistical and commentary sites all showing that wages are stuck or reversing, with no hope for sustained change in sight, but what’s the point? If you are, like me, at the mercy of an arsehole employer, you already know all about it. And if you aren’t in need of a hourly job, you’re probably cruising along.

Those in the asset-owning class are the ones who have made out. Bubbles like never before seen are current in:

* stocks

* bonds

* (lots of) housing

* collectibles

…and all the stuff that doesn’t require actual day-to-day labor. You have had to own assets OR cashflow for the last ten years to have been successful. Even savers have been screwed over with zero rates.

What’s the lesson? Well, for one thing, consider your job a short-term tactic only. All, and I really mean all of your creative energy should be channeled into creating, finding, mining, uncovering, discovering, harnessing and making income from other than hourly work. It is that important. The success of the rest of our lives depends upon it.

Remember: governments are broke (US, Japan, Greece) or committed to failed enterprises (Germany to the EU) or just plain corrupt (almost everywhere else.) So counting on them for anything…well, you figure it out.

Remember: asset bubbles burst; they never, ever last. So all that stuff I listed above? Well…you figure it out.

Remember: income is what makes the world go around. Rents still must be paid; people will always need soap, shampoo and tile cleaner; people still have aspirations, and will work for you if you motivate them. At some point income-producing assets will reach reasonable prices worthy of us investing.

The only question is: Will you be ready when they do? Will you have the cashflow to take advantage?

Wages and Politicians be damned. Let’s get independent.