Words Unspoken, But So Understood

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“Click” went the camera.

“That was a brilliant pose Janice! You looked fantastic with the bright light warming you as you stood in the doorway with your arms raised. Who would have believed that it’s the middle of winter here in Melbourne and it only stopped raining an hour ago”, said Henry Talbot (1960s Fashion Photographer*).

Janice laughed. “I hope you aren’t doing a close up as the large goose bumps on my arms would want a special credit in the photograph owing to their prominence!”

The photo was taken sometime between 1956 and 1961 and it had pride of place on the wall in my corporate office. The dated dialog between Janice and Henry was completely unknown to me; however, I just loved the look of the black and white photograph. Every time I saw Janice, I smiled as she provided me with a brief moment of inspiration that momentarily took me on a mental journey into a glamorous and unknown world that mingled with her past.

A thought then arose as I pondered her photograph.

Janice and Henry were in dialog when the image was taken; they were communicating and embellished the cultural mood of their time. The photograph was a snapshot in history that I, as the observer, brought to life in my mind approximately 60 years later. Other corporate colleagues visiting my office would also see Janice, yet their fabrication of her persona would indeed be different to mine.

So what if a photographer took an image of me sitting at my desk? How would observers view me in 60 years from now? Would they comment on my suit, my bow tie, my cuff links, or my corporate image?

No, I suspect none of these, but hopefully they would notice my smile. A smile that should be responding to a business culture that was innovative, creative and one that made me happy and content. Yes, a photograph does indeed tell a thousand words. The key is a want to listen.

Now for those HR Managers reading this blog post, take note. Why don’t you walk around your corporate office and surreptitiously shoot a candid, unprompted image of your employees. Look deep into the photograph and make sure that you analyse the true and honest feelings that your colleagues are portraying. Take a range of images over time and study the trend. The true answer will be in their smile.

I again looked up at the image of Janice and once again gave her a silent nod of appreciation. “Thanks Janice for your timeless and continual inspiration”.

Image: Fashion Illustration for Sportscraft, Model Janice Wakely, Photographer Henry Talbot

* http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ebooks/HenryTalbot/index.php?chapter=2

The Male V

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What was the cause? The effect was indeed quite noticeable, and one that had been surreptitiously permeating the male physique for the past few years with minimal commentary from the more discerning female adult population who normally observe these things.

As I stood shamelessly in front of the hotel bathroom mirror whilst on a recent business trip with all but a white pristine bath towel encapsulating my lower half, I made a virtuous decision on behalf of corporate mankind to try and understand the origin of this visual perplexity. I looked at myself and realised that I, like many other men, was also not immune from this male condition.

Now before I proceed to far, you as an inquisitive reader might be wondering as to the potential side effects of this uniquely male malady, and more importantly, its impact on those that come into close male physical proximity. Firstly, relax, as the influence is positive and one that signals to the naked chest observer that the man beholden to this condition is highly innovative and a vigilant embellisher of a free thought.

The main visual clue is a v-shaped band of thick wavy chest hair that starts just below the male adult neck line and continues for a typical distance of about four inches in a downward direction. After extensive research utilising the detailed observation skills of many office based corporate female colleagues, a uniform and consistent visual theme started to emerge to which there can be no question, nor doubt of authenticity.

The chest follicular condition is believed to have first surfaced in the 1960s and 70s when many a business man elected to have a shirt dress code that was rather devoid of buttons. As the decades unfolded, men chose to portray a regressive and traditionally conservative closed shirt collar policy that supported a full neck length tie. However, over the past few years, men have discarded these formal fashion knotted links to the past and have gleefully accepted an open collared shirt prowess that has been readily approved by the business world as a sign confirming their creativity.

The consequence of this decisive fashion action has been exponential male chest hair freedom, a complete contrast to the historical times where they had been subjected to a barrage of restrictive shirt button protection and coverage. These empowered and unconstrained hairs are now able to reach their full bushy length potential and grow with unity in a v-shaped formation in solidarity with their DNA facial haired brothers.

So, should you, like me, no longer be a wearer of the business tie, may you flaunt your chest hairs in public with pride as you let all onlookers appreciate that you are doing your bit for the growth of innovation and creativity in the corporate office!

All it takes is a Jump

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I felt quite smug as I sat in the middle of my corporate nest as I delightedly acknowledged the numerous platitudes from my fellow bird siblings as they complimented me on my latest innovative feat. Yes, no other bird could match my skills in nest cleanliness and twig weaving; I was a bird who had no equal. I had spent all my working life perfecting my ability and I was the envy of all those in my nest.

However, with an unexpected rustle of feathers, my formidable life as I knew it changed forever as an older sister bird unexpectedly flew in from a distant tree. How she got there, I did not quite understand, but it took all of us nest bound birds by great surprise.

She cooed up to me with a confident waddle and greeted me with a beak expression that was definitely from out of this nest. I was in awe of her and needed to know more! She folded her broad colourful wings and together we sat perched in a quiet corner of the nest.

As we jointly partook of a nice fat juicy green worm, the dialog commenced and she told me of a life beyond the nest. I listened intently as she described an array of different branches, insects, water and other birds. My eyes, ears and feathers strained to comprehend the world that was being described to me. I had to experience it and asked her to show me the way.

My older sister smiled, and with a gentle melodious voice beckoned me to tail her to the edge of the nest. I immediately followed her with uncertainty and trepidation as fear tried to stop me from waddling to the top of the nest. But I refused to give in, I was now in “no birds land”, one foolish step and I would fall to the depths below.

Once again her calming melodious voice instructed me to open my virgin wings. I copied her wing movement, became totally petrified and shut my eyes as she instructed me with confident authority to “jump”.

I obeyed the instruction. A second later, as I saw the bottom of the forest rush up to me, I began to panic! But, after a short moment, my beady bird eyes suddenly saw the bright blue sky as an intense whooshing noise accompanied me as I reached unknown lofty heights. Wow, this is amazing as I looped the loop, and enthusiastically flapped as I glided around the forest with a new perspective on life.

Now, my dear reader, I’m sure that you can see the application of this feathery story in the corporate office. Yes, many employees look to within for innovation. However, the catalyst to creativity is achieved from experiences outside the “nest”. Sometimes, employees just need some encouragement to open their “wings” and “jump”.

 

The Benefits of Man-Flu

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In the Southern hemisphere, as the days now get colder, there is an all too familiar sound that is starting to be heard, that being; “arrrhhh chooo!” It is typically the unwelcome sign that signals the onset of the thinking man’s worst fear, that being the dreaded “man-flu”.

Yes, this condition is debilitating on the male form. All physical activity quickly grinds to a reluctant halt, accompanied by feeble pleas for female support and loving reassurance that the world as we know it will not end.

During this time, those afflicted with this thankfully curable diagnosis are forced to ponder life, the universe, and the Foxtel sports channel guide, whilst patiently recuperating in a large king-sized bed, or on a strategically positioned and well cushioned couch. We suffer in silence as we consume endless cups of hot coffee or tea, complete with the occasional snack of peanuts, chips and maybe a token lemon enriched vitamin supplement, as we blow our noses in between the TV advertising breaks.

However, as is typical with most “near-death” experiences, once the man-flu sufferer has triumphed over the worst part of this malady and can see that their short-term life prospects will actually be regained; they have time to reflect on the important things in their life. This “time of reflection”, known amongst males as “milking the best of the condition before the female knows that we are actually feeling better” is when our creativity and acting skills are maximised to new levels of innovation. Without this male innate skill that is passed secretly from father to son, our opportunity for “reflection” would be drastically cut short, as would our hold on the sacred TV remote control button.

Now for all you HR Managers reading this blog post please don’t be too quick in rejecting any requested sick leave applications where you now doubt the authenticity of the male requester. Why, because your company’s dedicated male employees have been cleverly utilizing their time at home to fine-tune and improve their imagination skills, all part of their “time of reflection”. So, just approve the application, rolls your eyes, and say, “typical”.

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