Uncategorized, Work

Six things I learnt from my first job.

I haven’t posted in a while.

I don’t know how I feel about this blog any more. I started it just after I started my first real job- I was so enthusiastic and I thought I would have this whole work/ life balance thing sorted out in no time.

But the thing is I was in that job for 12 months and every time I felt settled, well something would come along and shake it up.

I never did- and still haven’t- discovered any sort of work life balance.

It’s more of a work/life sword fight, each competing with each other trying to win your time. Both always demanding more, and me always feeling like a failure because I couldn’t meet all their needs.

So then I did something CRAZY! Absolutely absurd- I put my family first.


It was pretty organic, James left so I just couldn’t continue to work the amount of overtime I was doing.

I felt awful, and although I was told I was supported I really wasn’t feeling the support. Although they would say it was okay it work only 39 hours a week instead of 45 I could see it in their eyes that it wasn’t.

Only one and a half hours more than I was paid- I felt like I was letting them down.

Then I started to see cracks, I started to get really paranoid. I felt really belittled all the time and no matter how much work I did- I always felt like it wasn’t enough.

I thought it was just my anxiety playing up.

And then I got yelled at for doing my job in a public space- and I started to think that surely this was not how staff should be treated.

And even though I spoke to the head of HR I was still made to feel like I was paranoid and I was the crazy one.

So I just got on with it- but I did apply for two ‘dream jobs’ in Melbourne.

Then I got one.

And then it all came crashing down. I’m not going to go in detail but my paranoia was pretty accurate.

But it was really for the best, and to their defence I really felt like my concerns were heard during my exit interview.

I also made some great life long friends there- and walked away with great experience.

So here’s what I learnt from my first job:

Don’t be a yes man! If people ask you to do roles outside of your job description, you don’t have to say yes. Colleagues will respect you if you explain to them that you don’t have the time or the skills to complete a task they requested of you.

Don’t miss out on opportunities because you don’t have time. Whilst it’s okay to say no if you are too busy, if you are given the opportunity to develop your career or try something you are interested in- make time. One of these opportunities became my favourite part of the job, and I pretty much got my new job off the experience I gained from it.

Don’t get involved in the bitching! Especially whilst in the office. If someone is constantly bitching about others, they’re probably going to bitch about you. It’s also incredibly toxic. If you need to vent about work or colleagues, do it with people outside of your organisation.

Stay focused on your goals. Sure your goals can change, and that’s only natural- but don’t chase the pay cheque. $100k might get you out of bed for the first couple of years, but a job you are passionate about will keep you engaged for much longer and probably earn you more money in the long run. If a promotion is offered outside of your area of expertise or interest ask them to tailor it to suit you. If they really want you they’ll find a compromise.

Know when it’s time to move on. Your first job is a lot like your first boyfriend. You adore it, and you think you’ll be there forever but upon reflection it was kind of an arsehole. Chances are, you’re not going to be there forever. As soon as you start to feel undervalued, start looking elsewhere. You don’t need to feel guilty about moving on, you don’t owe them anything.

The most important thing I learnt from my first job was to be yourself! Work your hardest, and don’t lose your integrity. Even if you’re under valued, you can walk out of the office on your last day with your head held high knowing that you did your absolute best.

What did you learn from your first job?


We made it!

We have been residence of Melbourne for five days now.


It’s been pretty flipping great.

We’ve been staying down the Mornington peninsula with my parents since we arrived and it’s been wonderful watching Oliver bond with his family and knowing we’re not going to have to say goodbye.

We’ve seen a few places, and some were awful. One was a beautiful little sub let for six weeks whilst the tenant goes away, I have my fingers crossed that works out but I’m not too stressed about it.

Now that I’m here I know it will all come together.

Today we went to the aquarium with Grandma and ‘Gumpy’. Oliver had a great day and was perfectly behaved.

He loved seeing all the fishes and running around with his grandparents! Mainly, he loved the gift shop at the end…

Tonight, we have settled into the next stop along the way- James’ mums place in North Melbourne. It’s walking distance to work and a short tram trip to Oliver’s day care, so very convenient. It’s also very nice and peaceful because nobody is home- which gives me the perfect chance to freak our accordingly about starting my new job tomorrow.

There is still a lot of uncertainty, but what I do know is that everything will work out because I have an incredible support network who will make sure it does.


Dear Canberra,

Before I moved here, I’d never visited you. I was so shocked with how much you resembled a city- and how inviting you really were.


As time went on I started to realise how hard it can be to make friends here. I learnt that career was essentially everything, and the moments in between where spent holidaying away from you.

Canberra, you are beautiful. You have such beautiful park, fresh air, a lake that could take my breath away. Your streets are wide, and your hills are vast. Some mornings when I watch the sun rise my heart almost a bursts with beauty.

You have beautiful eateries, your coffee culture is growing as is your live music scene. I don’t think I could have hosted a radio show in any other town and be exposed to the artists I met here.

Most have left you now, you don’t come with much of a pay cheque for the arty folk.

You have grown so much in the five years I have known you. Your foreshore is becoming such a hub of joy and delight. No longer is it overgrown with swamp, but it is a buzz with people, and growth.

Canberra, I don’t know if I’ll miss you. Sometimes you can be a little cold, and not just in winter. Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting on the surface and even though I want to I just can’t get in.

I wish you were my home. Your education system is great, your jobs pay well, I know we could excel here. But your not, and it’s time for me to go home.

Canberra, I’m sure we will meet again soon. Until then, goodbye.

Parenting, Uncategorized

Why I stopped yelling…

Oliver is boisterous. He is full of energy and certainly suffers from selective hearing.

Tie that with nine months of ear infections, and you find yourself with two parents at their wits end trying to get their toddler to do ANYTHING!

But then I stopped yelling.


When I say I tried everything, I mean it. Talking, asking, crying, laughing, yelling, screaming, smacking. I never wanted to smack my child, but I really didn’t know what else to do.

It resulted in the two of us sitting there, crying.

And that’s when I stopped yelling. It was part choice, and part me giving up and realising I had to start from complete scratch.

The first few days were horrible, absolutely terrible. He was so defiant, I remember him throwing a wooden toy at me to try get a reaction. It hurt like hell, and I sobbed quietly but I didn’t raise my voice.

And then I started giving him simple choices, “Mummy’s going to bed, are you coming or staying up?” “Staying up, okay goodnight!” Then he would come to bed.

Then I started to give him responsibilities, “Mummy’s going to bed, can you turn off the TV?”

No arguments, no complaints, just results.

I remember the first time I took him out in public and he didn’t spend every second trying to run from he. He held my hand when I asked, he slowed down when I asked, I listened to what he wanted to do, and it was perfect.

Even his daycare has told me of his improvement, and they are following my technique.

He thrives with responsibility and boundaries. If he doesn’t listen, I remove him from the situation. For example he is allowed to play on the drive way, but if he steps one foot on the road without holding my hand I simply pick him up and carry him inside. Then he gets one chance to say sorry and try again. The first few times I was smacked, and yelled at. But each time he understood it more and more, and now he doesn’t even try it. If for some reason he wants to go onto the road, he asks me to hold his hand and escort him.

I feel like I have a completely different child than I had six months ago. Of course he has aged, and of course his communication skills have improved. But he still struggles to communicate and I still struggle to understand exactly what he wants.

But now, we don’t yell. We talk, we try, and we figure it out.

My parenting skills have improved 100% since quitting yelling, and I’m not only much happier- Oliver is too.


Moving home.

I can’t believe I am finally writing this post, but I am. I  am finally sharing with you all that I am moving home.

It’s terrible timing, James is moving back to Canberra two weeks before we move to Melbourne. But it’s also the best timing, why?

Because the time is now.


At the start of the year, as many of you know, my white picket Canberra life was shattered when James was posted down to Melbourne for six months. We finally got a land posting after two terrible years in Sydney, and after being here for 12 months that stability was taken from us again. It was then I truly realised something that deep down I always knew, stability and the ADF will never co-exist. Whilst James is in the Navy, we will never have a stable life style. We will never truly have a home.

I found myself living in a constant state of fear. Instead of looking forward to James getting back, I was counting down the days until his posting in Canberra was over and our life could be shaken up again. He was granted a 12 month posting back to Canberra, instead of being relieved I worked out how close Oliver would be to school before this posting was up, and found myself losing sleep over where he would go to school, if I would find work, and if James would even be around.

I was losing my ability to enjoy the little things.

Since James moved to Melbourne I had started applying for ‘dream jobs’. I applied for three jobs in total. About three weeks ago I got a call from one of these jobs. After a trip down to Melbourne, an interview on four hours sleep, and a few reference checks I secured myself a one of these dream jobs in Melbourne.

I start two weeks after James gets back, which downright sucks. But we are trying not to let it get us down. I feel like this could be my forever job, and Melbourne has always been our forever town. James is my forever partner, so even though we may not be able to be together now I know that this is where I am supposed to be. And I know as soon as he can move to Melbourne, he will. And I know that once he does get there, I will never ever let him go again- and neither will Oliver.

Today, I filled out Oliver’s new daycare enrolment form and I was filling out the emergency contacts section. At his current day care, he has me. That’s it. At his new daycare in Melbourne the sheet was full and I could have added more. Filling out that form almost bought a tear to my eye.

And that’s why I am moving home. I have done this Navy wife thing for 5 years. I love my husband more than words can ever explain, but it’s time for me to take control.

I’m jumping into Melbourne, and whilst a huge part of me is terrified and apprehensive, the rest of me is ready to fall into my huge network of support  waiting for me in Melbourne.

D&M, Uncategorized

How to be a good friend.

I would always consider myself to be really good at this friendship gig. I’ve had the same besties since I was 8 years old and I’ve never found it hard to make friends.


But here’s the thing, I actually don’t really know how to be a friend anymore. It’s been so long since I’ve been permanent that it’s either catching up with the friends back home, or trying to be the best me with my ‘new friends’ wherever I might be. What happens after that? What do I have to talk about?

It’s fucking terrifying.

I’m starting to realise that I’m pretty lonely. I adore my husband, but I’ve always been surrounded by friends. And now I panic, I talk and talk and talk and I forget to listen. Then I realise that I’m over talking and I try to fix the problem but I just make it worse. And then I think they hate me and just stop talking.

It’s a goddam disaster!!

I’m sure that a lot of this has to do with my situation, and a lot with my social anxiety. But I miss it, I miss that comfortable silence, I miss popping over to a mates place just because you were in the area. I feel so guilty for all the wonderful friendships I’ve let slip because I panic, and I feel terrified that’s it’s going to happen all over again.

And goodbyes, don’t even get me started on goodbyes. If I know I’m leaving, or you’re leaving, I just shut you out until it means nothing. But it always means something.

I am so lucky for all the wonderful people I’ve met in my life, in particular the ones who have stuck around.

So tell me, how do you be a good friend?

D&M, Parenting, Uncategorized, Work

Six years to life

Almost six years ago, I met my soul mate.
I pretty much new from the moment I met him that this was it for me, this was where I was meant to be.


It was also around this time that James signed his six year contract to the Australian Defence Force, and we began our journey as a defence couple.

Our plan was to always leave after the six years. He would support me through uni, we’d have a child or two, get married, I’d get a job and then he would leave the ADF and be a stay at home Dad.

So far, so good. But the thing is, the ADF is such a great comfort. I mean, they really have our back. Not only just James have a stable income, he also has free healthcare, dental and rental assistance. Oliver and I also get healthcare too. And you know, we like to have nice things- the kind of nice things you can only really have with two wages.

I am really proud of what we have achieved in these six years. Not only have we started our family, James has managed to support me through my degree and path the way for me to start my career. Oliver is a very stable kid, we rock this parenting gig. We might be a little quirky, and different to other parents- but we are certainly raising a very bright and happy kid. James continues to make a great impression at work and is currently the dux of his class.

Sometimes I wish I could just go back to 21 year old Cass and tell her to chill out, and that everything will be okay. 30 year old Cass will probably (hopefully) think the same of 25 year old Cass- but I guess it’s that level of stress that has helped me to achieve my goals.

What about you? Do you think a younger you would be proud of who you are today? And what about an older you?