Back in the Sydney “office”

“Oh James, you’re back in Sydney” has been the fairly constant refrain as I’ve joined various work-related video conferences over the last week. People have noticed the background to these video calls have changed from the pale blue painted timber walls of the front bedroom at Pat’s place. They’ve also noticed a significant improvement in my internet connection, as video calls from Lismore were sometimes plagued with slow speeds and difficult interactions.

The thing I’ve noticed is how much quieter things are here. In Lismore, we live on the main road, while in Sydney I live on a quiet street opposite a children’s park. Oddly enough, life is quieter in the city than it was in the country, and that’s made recording my radio program a little bit easier actually.

But I’m also working that little bit harder.  It’s only halfway through the week and I’m feeling quite exhausted. I think it’s because I’m back home in Sydney, and I don’t have some of the “distractions” of being home in Lismore. I don’t have the daily routines of a walk to the coffee shop in the morning, and a walk along the river in the afternoon. I also don’t have the “distractions” of my family. Though I no longer have the daily contact, we’ve been on the phone/video a few times since arriving back last weekend.

Back in Sydney, I’m back into a routine of getting up reasonably early, starting work soon afterwards, and not really taking a break, even for lunch. Of course, it’s a luxury in many ways to be working from home, but in other ways, working from home means the line between the two becomes blurred. Though tempted, I haven’t quite made it back into a routine of getting up early or going for a late afternoon walk. (A resolution to commence tomorrow?)

On top of that, there’s a couple of projects I’m working on right now which are stretching me a bit. I’m pretty good with regular linear audio projects, but I’m learning a little more about podcasts and video content creation right now, taking me out of my regular comfort zone. It’s not hard, but it is using different parts of my brain. I’ll blog more about one of them in a few days time.

Today we had one of those work catch-ups over drinks, starting at 4.00 pm. Looking around the room, I think I was one of only two with an actual drink, which I put down to the fact I work with lots of men and women with young children. Oh, and a few of them were in Queensland where it was only 3.00 pm

Today, we were asked to come along with something from our lives that meant something special to us. In the midst of things from people’s grandfathers, or their first child, and other deeply personal things, I brought my collection of ABBA Magazines.

ABBA Magazines

“In these days of following celebrities on Instagram, back then we bought fan magazines”, I told my colleagues, many of whom work in the social media space.

Most of my colleagues are a fair bit younger than me, so many of them laughed when I showed them my magazine collection.

“I used to buy these every month from Pines Newsagency in Lismore, and because we were in the country, we had to wait a week longer than ABBA fans in the city”, I told them. It gave everyone a smile, so I hope they enjoyed my presentation. 

I also showed them my “ABC Medal”, presented to me to celebrate twenty-five years of continuous service at the ABC.

“It’s sitting here on my desk, though I hadn’t really noticed it was there until we started this meeting”, I told my colleagues. Though very few of my colleagues have come anywhere near twenty-five years of continuous service, they seem to appreciate my passion for the place that’s kept me busy for almost all of my adult life. I don’t think such lengthy service will be as common for the current and future generations, but it’s neither good nor bad. Actually, no it is good because I have lots of sick leave and lots of superannuation!

Though it could be earlier, I’m anticipating retirement in about four or five years, returning to Lismore. Thus, it’s been a terrific year for me to think about the different phases in my life.

Author: James O'Brien

Born / Currently : Lismore / Widjabul Wia-Bal - Bundjalung Live : Sydney / Gadigal - Eora Also : Brisbane, Bourke, Renmark, Wagga, Perth Pronouns : He/him/his.

3 thoughts

  1. Working from home really is a privilege in many regards, but yeah, it does get a bit stale, doing everything on the same desk. My work desk has become my writing desk and dinner table as well :/

    But still beats going to the office and commuting.

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