From One Martyr, To Another

Happy International Women’s Day for yesterday.

Did you get spoilt, woman? Gosh, I did. I woke up at 5:30, went for a run (with a male friend, because one can’t simply run alone these days), fought my way through traffic, paper work, emails, rude people and unappreciative humans. Fought my way back home after an incredibly stressful day. Fetched my child, went grocery, fed my child, bathed him, made dinner, put him to bed, did some work and then designed an invite for his first birthday party. Then I climbed into bed to sleep, but instead was kept awake by feelings of guilt, exhaustion and long lists of to-do items that are nowhere close to being checked off.

I’m so tired. And not in a jokey ‘a glass of wine and 5-day nap can cure anything’ way. I’m tired to my bones. My face aches from the constant tension in my jaw, I’m tired of constantly fighting my way through life, deadlines, traffic, to-do lists. I’m tired of the feeling of ‘what exactly did I achieve?’ that I feel at the end of every single day. I’m tired of feeling like I take it all on, and that I alone am responsible for the world.

I know I’m not alone, ladies everywhere are feeling the immense and massive pressure of being this ‘does it all, has it all’ woman. I hate to say it, but we have become our own worst enemies. We are all martyrs, and it has to end.

Recently, I read something in a novel that resonated with me, deep in my core:

IMG_2230

“But if a man and a woman work equally hard at things outside the home, who will ensure the children get to the dentist, eat the right foods, have vitamins, get dewormed and learn to share and be kind to others? At the same time, that person needs to ensure that there is toilet paper, shampoo, colouring pencils and three types of cereal….So, by this unquestionable logic, if men do 50% and women do 50%, and men (try as they may) are unable to take over more than 20% of the mothering, that’s another 80% heaped on you. Which is why us women are often not coping, and we need to find a way to fix it” – Jami Yeats-Kastner (Sam, Me and The Hard Pear Tree)

My wish for you all, this Women’s Day (snort) is that you give yourself the respect to just let irrelevant shit go, to rely on a partner or colleague to do their bit, and to be kind to yourself.

My wish for myself it to not take it all on, all the time. It’s to delegate chores and try not have an internal meltdown when I get let down, again. It’s to give myself a pat on the back and remind myself that I’m fucking great. I’m a great mom, I do great work, I have brains in my head and I don’t need anyone to validate me or my actions.

So, short of burning my bra (because it’s expensive, and I rely heavily on it to keep my mom boobs above waist level) I’m going to take a bit of a stand against modern society and tell you all that it’s OK to not always be everything to everyone. Be good to yourself, and go from there.

Continue Reading

Happy Heritage Day South Africa!

This morning I dressed Carter in the cutest little Australian onesie – sent as a gift from a friend Michelle who lives Down Under. When my hubby arrived at creche this morning the teacher asked if Carter had an Australian heritage. He only realised why she asked this after looking around the school – it was a Heritage Day dress up and all of the kids were wearing outfits representative of their history and culture. To be fair, my 18 month old niece dressed up as an (admittedly adorable) ladybug, and my nephew as a fireman, so creative licence was running wild.

We’re celebrating at the office a little bit later today – and everyone has been asked to wear an outfit reflecting their heritage. I always get so uncomfortable when this time of year rolls round. What do I put on that speaks to my heritage? I’m a quarter German, named after an Irish pub, have Jewish family and was born in Sandton. Can I just give my son a Yarmulke, eat a bratwurst while downing a Guinness in high heels and call it a day?

The people in my office have made such an incredible effort. The Xhosa girls are draped in multicoloured beads with face art and the Venda ladies are colour blocked from head to toe. A Zulu lady is wearing her traditional outfit and a few of my Indian work mates are in Sari’s. A Portugese lady has gone all out with her dress (except the white socks, that’s apparently where she drew the line) and another girl is proudly sporting her Dutch Cloggs and milkmaid hat.

I mentioned to a colleague how much I adored her outfit and how I wished I was allowed to wear something like it. “You’re South African, Kate of of course you can wear it!” was her reply. And she’s right. The thing we all love about our country is the fact that we are all diverse, and unique. No-one is the same, yet we all belong.

So, whether you are celebrating in traditional garb, with a boerie roll round the braai, or in a Shwe Shwe skirt – make this Heritage Day your own. After all, it’s what us S’Africans to best, right?

And next year, I promise to dress up, paint my face and represent the many cultures of Kate.

Until then, feast your eyes on some of the eclectic people I am lucky enough to work with every single day.

20150923_140621 20150923_140647 20150923_140652 20150923_140826 20150923_140909 20150923_140922 20150923_141652 20150923_141722 20150923_141727 20150923_141733 20150923_141747 20150923_141852 20150923_141905 20150923_142117

20150923_142024

20150923_143431

20150923_140707 20150923_140836 20150923_144001

20150923_150617 20150923_150804 20150923_150815

Continue Reading

15 Things That Will Always Happen When You Work In An Open Plan Office.

1. An item of food in the communal fridge is immediately deemed as a free for all and must be laced with laxatives or brussel sprouts to avoid thievery.

Communal Office Food2. Colleague phone conversations are either too loud so you can’t hear yourself think, or too soft that you can’t eavesdrop on what they are saying

3. The aircon temperature can never be agreed on

4. Pens, unless chained to your desk, will grow tiny pen legs and walk. This rule applies to calculators, staplers and any other shiny item of stationery.

5. The rule of cooking: The colleague sitting closest to you will ultimately be the one re-heating fish and broccoli for lunch.

6. Your working hours become skinner fodder for everyone. “Leaving at 4:59 again hey Sue?”.

7. Booking a communal boardroom in advance only means said boardroom will never actually be available come the time you need it

8. The second a client arrives for a meeting the water cooler will be empty, the coffee finished and the receptionist will be on a tea break.

9. Whispered hallway conversations always make you feel as if you’re about to get fired.

10. Shit will always hit the fan at 4:45pm on a Friday afternoon.

11. Guaranteed – no matter how hard you have been working the entire day, the second you open Facebook your boss will walk past.

12. Nothing is private.

13. Dieting? Sorry for you. Birthdays mean cake, and lots of it.

14. You sit within ‘guess the deodorant brand’ range from everyone, if you’re lucky. If not, it’s more like ‘guess when last they wore deodorant”.

15. It is loud. ALL.THE.TIME.

Continue Reading

I Need A(nother) Stiff Drink.

I’m tired all the time, my hair is falling out in fat chunks and I’m living on wine and carbs. No, not pregnant (thanks everyone, for naturally jumping to that conclusion) just exhausted and in a bit of a quarter year slump. Not surprising that the last few months have been CA-RAZY! In the last 4 months so much has happened and gone down that I’m not surprised my scalp resembles a Chinese Crested Powder Puff (Also, does the dog on the right not look like Bon Jovi??). Here’s whats been happening:

Powder Puff

1. We got Married (Two piccies, because, I can)

Married! Married!

2. We got back from Honeymoon to the news that my mom in law had suffered a very bad stroke after the wedding. The next few weeks were severely stressful with tears, hospital visits and scary ‘what ifs’. (Side note – she is 100% recovered :))

3. We were broken into on Christmas.

4. So…. we decided to sell our house

5. I turned 30 and felt like this (except I didn’t even get a cake)

Birthday Cake

6. I sold my house on my 30th birthday

7. We found our dream home, put in an offer, lost the offer, put in another offer, and got it!

Look – garden, pool, space for actual people!

House

New House

8. We are moving to said house. Tomorrow. And I’m working. Which means poor husband is going to be multitasking the bejaysus out of the day.

9. I’m going on an adventure weekend with Mercedes Benz as part of their launch of the new GLA. This weekend. Moving weekend.Look ma – I’m famous! —> http://www.glaadventure.co.za/the-bush-adventure

10. We gained a little niece. World – meet Emma (also, isn’t my nephew the cutest??)

Daniel and Emma

Continue Reading

When Talking Too Much Earns You Money

In my case – it happens to be true…

Many years ago, before joining the big bad world of the corporate I worked in radio as a DJ. (Back when Highveld was still tolerable I’ll have you know). I hosted the weekday morning 5-6 am slot – I often referred to myself as Jeremy Mansfields fluffer – and I also had my own weekend afternoon show on Saturdays and Sunday’s from 2 – 6 pm. When I wasn’t waking up at the crack of Satans bum to go on air I was lecturing radio courses and freelancing as a voice over artist.

Eventually, after 7 years in ‘the biz’ I realised I had to make a call; Follow my life long dream or keep it as a hobby and get a ‘real’ job. So, get a real job I did (although events and PR person for Nintendo was a very nice transition I’ll have you know).

I have been freelancing as a voice and TV artists for over 10 years now and I love how I still get to do what I love, on the side, and have a steady income with my 8 – 5.

I’ve never promoted my work on line and all work I do get is via word of mouth (pardon ze pun). Which leads me to tell you about one of the most embarrassing moments of my life:

An old colleague of mine had given my details to a guy looking for a voice over artist. Now, just to out it in context, people are always looking for free work and I can’t explain how often I’ve been called on to record company telephone lines (every company I have ever worked for) do free corporate videos and everything in between – ya, I really love working for no pay.

Anyways, this guy Mark asked me to come through to record a demo one afternoon after work (I generally do all my work at 6 am before work or in the evening). The lead up to The Most Embarrassing Moment went as follows (All of this via Whatsapp)

Mark: “Hi Kate, Can you pop round after work to record a demo? My address is X”

Kate: “Sure, no problem. See you around 7 pm”

Kate (then sends a message to Barry her then boyfriend now Husband): “Love – this is the address I’m going to (insert address). I’m getting there around 7 pm. If you don’t hear from me, call the cops, I suspect this man is dodgy and about to kidnap me.”

I then realise I HAVE SENT THIS MESSAGE TO MARK AND NOT BARRY AS INITIALLY INTENDED. Fuck fuckity fuck! (Also, the delete option on a Whatsapp message is about as effective as a condom stapled to a flyer).

Message then supposedly ‘deleted’ I arrive at Marks office red and embarrassed and praying like hell he never saw it. Sadly he did. Mark now thinks I think he’s a creep and I want the earth to swallow me whole. Turns out his office is on the same property as his house and Mark couldn’t be nicer. That night, to ease my fears he introduced me to his wife, 2 adorable kids and golden retriever puppy. I kid you not.

Mark also pays me well, on time and gives me loads of work for which I am eternally grateful.

If you too would like me to do some not-free work for you – below are some links to some work I’ve done.

Continue Reading

Coping in Client Service

This is a blog post I wrote for my company’s website and newsletter. It’s all about working in client service. If you ever feel like the most hated person at your organisation or people hide behind office pot plants to avoid you demanding work from them –  then this is for you. 

Middle men – they’re everywhere. Insurance companies use them, banks use them, even the healthcare industry uses them (need meds? Sorry – you’ll have to go through a Doctor first). So why then, are these middle men some of the most despised people in the work place? Think about adverts you’ve heard or seen recently – large corporations proudly bragging how they’ve cut out that middle man – they’ve gone ‘direct’. Even a certain hippo has jumped in on the no middle man buzz word.

I tend to disagree with the theory of the missing middle man – as us working in client service are exactly that – you could call it an occupational hazard – we bridge the gap between client and our team, and to me that’s an incredibly valuable role.

Those in client service often refer to themselves as the soldiers of the team – we go into battle every single day and going unprepared can often be fatal – if not for the person, for the client relationship.

As a client service person I have thought long and hard about my role within iProspect. I have to be a jack of all trades, yet am master of none. I deal with client requests, meetings and demands and I need to ensure that what the client wants is exactly what is fed back to the team. With this in mind, I’ve come up with 7 important steps to avoid the dreaded broken telephone syndrome between client and the team executing the work.

  1. Know your shit. This goes without saying but it is vitally important to have a holistic understanding of what your company offers and what your client needs. This means doing your research, learning the lingo and ensuring you know enough about the request to relay it back to the team who needs to make it happen.
  2. Ask questions. I have very quickly learnt that it’s easier to ask a question, than it is to ask for forgiveness. The world of digital is tricky at the best of times, and things change every day. It is perfectly acceptable to confirm or clarify something with your client before implementing the wrong work for them. You don’t want to be that person who gets their GDN crossed with ORM or their SEO. Know what I’m saying?
  3. It takes a team to become an army. Regardless of how Suzy in accounts has sent the incorrect invoice or James in media ‘forgot’ to do the very important, time-critical report for your very important high paying client – smile, nod, agree, mollify, assure it will be fixed and never throw your team mates under the bus. It is imperative that a client sees you and your team as a solid and united front. One crack in your façade and they will pounce.
  4. Follow up. On everything. Take notes, send minutes, keep status documents and make sure you leave a paper trail for everything you do. Yes, this may seem laborious and time consuming but it can be a lifesaver when it comes to sorting out any issues that may occur.
  5. Be honest. Nobody knows everything – although some may think they do. Things are bound to go wrong. The worst possible thing you can do when that happens is start pointing fingers or ignoring it until it (hopefully) goes away. Suck it up, apologise and commit to fixing your mistakes. Your clients and colleagues will respect you so much for it.
  6. Feedback. I got married last year and planned the entire wedding. At one point my now husband sadly accused me of leaving him out of the entire event. I was confused, I knew exactly what I was doing, my suppliers knew what they were doing and everything was on track. What I happened to forget was that just because I was managing something 100% I hadn’t told him that – and my silence to him read like I was hiding something. Remember – keep in touch with your clients and make sure they know that you are on top of thing at all times. Just like a quiet toddler in the next room means trouble, so does a quiet client service person.

And lastly

7. Communicate. Emails are great, but to the person on the receiving end your ‘brief’ may be as vague as a parliamentary budget speech. Pick up the phone, arrange a meeting and make sure that everyone is on the same page. This extra work will result in a massive time saving when the client receives work that is on par with their request.

You can read the original article here

Continue Reading

The Guilty Bride Syndrome

I’m a guilty person by nature. I feel bad about everything!! Bump into me with your shopping trolley, and I will apologise profusely. Look at me and whisper to your companion and I assume you are judging my entire being. (Back fat, food in teeth and split ends included). Last week my car was keyed for no reason and I berated myself for days, wondering what I could have done to deserve it. Turns out it was a common occurrence in that specific parking lot, and I happened to be an unfortunate target. I had done nothing wrong, yet I assumed I had. I’m that person who smiles sheepishly at a waiter when the table next to me shouts from bad service, and then tips them extra when the payer isn’t watching

In November I got engaged. Cue happy tears, laughter, too many Facebook congratulations to count and a general feeling of euphoria. Which lasted for 48 hours. Within days of bouncing back to reality I had been told how awful wedding planning was by friends and acquaintances, told to keep everything wedding related to my private life by certain work people and treated like yet another cash injection by everyone ranging from venues to photographers and in everyone inbetween.

Because of this, 3 months later I have been too afraid to even start getting excited about my big day. When people kindly mention it I joke how I would rather elope. When someone shows an interest, I brush them off and say ‘oh gosh, it’s ages away, lets talk about you’ and when I realise that weddings are indeed a business and things get booked, fast, I tell myself there are a hundred other more imprtant things to focus on than A WEDDING.

Just yesterday I was talking to colleagues, (indulging in a few minutes respite from my desk during their smoke break. Amongst these trusted colleagues I brought up the taboo issue of my nuptials, mentioning the exorbitant price of the venue and all the homemade and DIY things I wanted to do to offset that. One of them (colleagues) mentioned – but that’s what your bridesmaids are for! Never! I exclaimed, having been a bridesmaid more times than I can recall – I would never ask them to get involved this early on. Then I clicked – why is it that I would put more hours and effort into my friends wedding than my own? Why do I feel guilty about wanting to plan a day which is all about me? I feel guilty about the attention, I feel guilty about people making me feel special for a change and I feel guilty that this event has sucked me in, and captured my attention.

I shouldn’t feel bad about wanting a beautiful day, a day filled with things I have planned, created and imagined. A day when Barry and I are surrounded by the best people in our lives. I’m a smart, grownup woman, capable of many things, multi tasking included. I can manage time better than Big Ben and even the ‘W’ word won’t turn me into a dithering wreck. This will be my day, and going forward I vow (pun intended) to ensure that when I smile at an idea or spot a dress I love, I won’t hate myself for not focusing on what other people want me to, but rather enjoy the experience. I mean, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, right?

Brides, fiancées and just those dreaming of your big day – I would love to hear your feedback on your experiences and emotions during this time of your lives.

Continue Reading

How to eat a cupcake

Yes folks, seems we’ve been doing it wrong all along.

Yesterday we celebrated a colleagues birthday and in true Cerebra style we grazed upon glorious cupcakes, which were very fitting for Renee, our resident cat lady. Thanks to Kim however, we were able to enjoy these delicious treats even more, after being shown the proper way to eat them.

Choose desired cupcake. It could be this charming kitty
Or this charming ball of wool for kitty to play with.

Turn cupcake upside down and pop out of it’s container, like this :

You’re doing it wrong.

Finally, slice the cupcake through the middle, scone style, and pop the bottom on the top. Make sure the icing is in the middle, like a red velvet sandwich.

Now doesn’t that look edible?

Yum.

Continue Reading

#noworkwednesday

Yesterday, I found myself between jobs. Nothing too dramatic but a long story none the less, and one that I only wish to get into in a few weeks time.

This leads to me to my current situation, which is I now have a full 15 days of leisure time before my next adventure begins. Let me just add that 15 days is possibly the longest amount I have had off since I was in high school er, a few years back.

Once the intitail shock and bewilderment had set in, I began to realise that this was such a blessing in disguise, and the timing couldn’t have been better. We recently got a puppy ( see my first post an insert ‘aah’) and the thought of leaving him alone every day while I went to work has been devastating. I can now spend 2 weeks with the guy helping him to adjust.

Apart from that, I have out together a list of sorts, of things to do during my 2 week ‘staycation’ :

– start a new exercise routine from a Woman’s Health book I bought several months ago, which up until now has been doubling up as a coffee mat
– Get started on my Christmas shopping
– Renew my passport (just incase I’m surprised with a overseas vaycay – hint hint boyfriend)
– Start painting again
– Go to lunch with all my stay at home friends
– Nap. This one has me really excited

Not to get ahead of myself, I feel it may be best to stop right here. I’m off to the gym.

Continue Reading