In the running commentary I’ve seen, I can’t help but form the impression that 2014 was a far less enjoyable year for many than 2013. That’s not to say it was a horrid year of misfortune by any means, though.
Enjoy (or don’t), my high and low-lights of 2014. No, I didn’t douse myself in a bucket of ice water, nor did I have anything to do with the wide variety of missing and/or downed aircraft throughout the year. Let’s go.
First and foremost surely has to be quitting smoking. It’s been one of those things all smokers mean to do at one stage or another, and I’ve already waxed lyrical about it multiple times. It might even have made me fitter if I didn’t spend so much time gorging myself on Nutella straight from the jar – although I did complete the 30-day ab challenge and (very loosely) maintained an exercise regimen since then.
I’ve saved a shitload of money, I’m (marginally) healthier, it was the greatest decision I’ve made in a long time – and if you’re thinking of doing it for a New Year’s Resolution I say FUCK THAT, do it now! If you’re waiting 2 more days you’ll be waiting much longer.
Still on the subject of 30-day challenges and I have to remind myself that I wrote a freaking novel. It’s appallingly titled Secret Urges, and it was such an exhausting process I haven’t even attempted to re-read and/or edit it, but I’m happy with it, and it was an experience I came out of in tact and having learned a lot of things about my own processes. After years of writing agenda-laced crap it was good to see I could still write for myself.
And that’s been the other big change – my entrance into the freelance world. It’s been daunting and exciting and frustrating and rewarding and a host of things in between. It’s required the development of a wide range of skills, facilitated and enhanced my extensive and rapid research skills, and expanded my horizons when it comes to subject matter. It’s been great.
Speaking of research skills, this year also saw me FINALLY FINISH FREAKING UNIVERSITY. I’ll graduate sometime early next year and I’m ridiculously happy to be done with the whole experience. It’s taken years longer and been more stressful than I anticipated, but I’ve learned a lot of information that, in the end, will probably mean very little – and that’s what Uni’s all about, right?
On the theme of long waits, my unwavering support for Arsenal brought some joy for the first time in nearly a decade as the Gunners won the FA Cup. It’s been a long, painful wait and they did it the hard way but it was all worth it, and will make the first few years of the next decade until we win a trophy slightly more enjoyable as well. Then there was the Wanderers winning the Asian Champion’s League. There’s a good chance that some of you won’t understand how something like this can be important, but it counts, big time.
Reading back over what I’ve written so far, it’s actually been a pretty good year – especially as I’m sure I forgot a thing or two that would no doubt land in the ‘positive’ column. There have, however, been some bad moments.
The company I spent all of last year and the majority of this year working for was called Manic Studios. I say ‘was’ because the company no longer exists, which is what necessitated my move to the freelance world. Why does the company no longer exist? Because of tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars of financial mismanagement and the fact that they didn’t lodge the proper paperwork with the ATO for YEARS!
Funnily enough, the primary clients of Manic Studios were Unions, organisations that say (though whether they actually do or not is questionable) that they stand up for the rights of workers across many industries across this entire nation. We were working on campaigns to help people keep industries and jobs alive, and we were also working on campaigns that consisted of making memes for Facebook pages and actively campaigning against Tony Abbott with memes and silly videos in a blatantly, incredibly partisan fashion. Yes, that’s what your Union is spending your membership fees on. Tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars – spent on memes about Tony Abbott on Facebook. Think about that.
My problems with the Australian Union movement (and there are a few) will be dealt with another time, I promise you, but I’ll surmise.
I was working with/for a group of ultra-leftists who believe that social media campaigns are the way to change the world and stand up for workers in the face of cigar-smoking autocrats. Standing up for workers. How ironic then that the business went under and the man in charge was thrown out (although with his girth I’m assuming it took a host of people or perhaps even a forklift) because he was focussed solely on his own financial advancement.
When I found out the business was going under, having been one of the longest-serving employees still on the books, I decided to resign. I wanted my severance, and assumed that by ensuring I was out of these before the changeover date this wouldn’t be a problem. When the piece of paper was accepted and my end-date was decided, I figured there wouldn’t be an issue at all.
Two days after my end date, I still hadn’t received the my final fortnight’s pay – which was supposed to be in 3 days prior – nor had I received a figure for my severance despite repeated reassurances that the number was being calculated.
A few days later I finally got my final salary payment, only the better part of a week late. Despite constant email contact the only ‘quote’ I could get on severance was over the phone, and once again I had to call and email every day for three days just to secure some kind of money. It wasn’t all of the agreed amount, but after over a week of chasing I knew it wouldn’t be. It didn’t even come from the official company payment streams, it was from a private account and no doubt part of the money that had been moved around, but it was better than nothing I suppose. I never even got a payslip.
Still wanting to try and end things amicably, and believing, somehow, (very stupidly) that my boss was at least partly innocent or a ‘victim of circumstance’, I even asked him for a reference.
I might still have believed this right now, if a co-worker hadn’t told me to check my superannuation. I just couldn’t fathom that someone who had acted like a ‘friend’, someone who bludged marijuana off me, someone who was supposed to be MY BOSS, someone who had EXPLICITLY, WORD FOR WORD said “I’m not trying to stuff you around” when I grew frustrated in my pursuit of the funds I was owed, would possibly have done something so fucking stupid as not pay their employees superannuation (similar to a 401K for American readers).
I was wrong. Despite being employed for the duration, it turns out I hadn’t received a superannuation payment in nearly two years, which isn’t just FUCKED, it’s ENTIRELY ILLEGAL. I am literally missing THOUSANDS of dollars that should be going toward my retirement.
A guy who engages in illegal bookkeeping practices and doesn’t pay his employees super? That’s the kind of reference I want! Ha!
I immediately called the ‘Boss’ once again, and was diverted to voicemail. I left an urgent message simply stating that I had just checked my super balance and if he knew why I hadn’t been paid. I received a message saying ‘can’t talk but the super has been filed, it will be paid by date x’ (early in December), completely missing the point that it SHOULD HAVE BEEN PAID EVERY FUCKING FORTNIGHT IN CONJUNCTION WITH MY PAYSLIP.
That day came and went, and my super balance stayed exactly the same. Now it’s tied up in a shitload of money owed to myself and the others who got ripped off, and it will be months, if not years, before I see it – if I see it at all.
How do we think a union would respond to this? How would someone on the left respond to such an injustice?
I’ll tell you how – the lefties directly below the fat bastard himself, who might even have their super, stayed on, moved the business and retained the client base. They’re still working away on videos and meme’s and Adobe Illustrator documents about the importance of change and standing up for what’s right, because I’m sure they care so much. The Unions are still paying them to do it. Maybe they don’t even know that many of us were fucked around – but as long as their paycheques (twice mine, which was twice what I was earning in hospitality) keep coming in why the fuck would they care? Best of luck to them!
I guess the moral of the story is that if a fat bespectacled cunt with legs covered in either insect bites or exzema (probably because he can’t reach his legs to wash them regularly), who always wears shorts and has the first name Piers offers you a job, get an explicit contract with clear terms and guarantees written up and signed immediately, or even better – keep looking.
In the end, the only other bad thing that happened this year was the introduction of new, inconsiderate neighbours – but we all have to deal with that kind of shit in our lives. I’m going to save my unique feelings about them for a wonderful poem you’ll get to enjoy sometime in January.
2014 has seen a host of ups and a few downs as well. It hasn’t, by any means, been as good as some of the years that preceded it, but it certainly hasn’t been worse either. I’d give it a 7/10, rounded up.
One thing I know is that with a host of change on the horizon, 2015 is going to be stellar. I’ll see you there. Hope you’ve all had a fantastic festive season and that the new year brings you all the best. Thanks to the tens of you who’ve read this thing regularly, and the hundreds of you from all over the world who’ve stopped by from time to time.
Until next time.