Office administration still offers a career path, if you’re smart. The Australian February 11-12 2017

Office administration still offers a career path, if you’re smart.  The Australian February 11-12 2017

“Roles that will bear the brunt of office automation and the new working styles will be the middle management administrative support roles. Middle management is now encouraged to be self sufficient and can normally produce their own materials, manage their emails and calendars”.

It is interesting to see these changes have evolved over the years due to office automation.  Increasingly, and understandably, middle managers and Heads of Department and Pastoral Care in schools, are completing tasks that in the past other staff in an office might have done. That is, if you were fortunate enough to have that kind of support.

This is also true for teachers as well. As teachers we do our own photocopying (if you use paper), manage our own Outlook calendars, press Report on a complex data base system to generate a spreadsheet of hundreds of names for marks, birthdays, emails, house groups subject selections, Naplan results, NESA RAP analysis results.

The article looks at the advanced skills to be an office manager today and argues less need for administrative assistance.  If teachers and middle managers are doing the work that was once done by administrative assistant due to automation,  then the training for the office manager is going to another level. The author Karen Lance argues the secretary is an executive assistant” which is often a powerful role requiring good commercial acumen, influencing skills, networking, project management capabilities and a diverse range of organizational and administrative skills”.

So technology is changing the role of the modern worker and the responsibilities are constantly changing.  My question is that are we as teachers also constantly changing?  I think we are but albeit slowly.

2016 Podcasts

2016 Podcasts


In 2016 it seems my Podcast listening has shaped my reading.  Given I only live 4 km from work I tend to listen when on trips to Avoca or going to meetings.


I use the podcast app on my Apple iPhone.  The programs I subscribe to include:


  • BBC Radio 4 In our Time : history
    • Johannes Kepler
    • The Gettybergs Address
    • Alexander the Great
    • Alfred Russell Wallace
    • The War of 1812
    • Annie Bessant
    • Edmund Burke
    • Thoreau and the American Idyll
    • Genghis Khan
    • Washington and the American Revolution
    • The American west
  • BBC Radion 4: In our time :Culture
    • Rudyard Kipling
    • Montaigne
    • Annie Besant
    • James Joyce Ulysses
    • Benjamin Franklin
    • John Ruskin
    • Sartre
    • Existentialism
  • BBC Radio 4 In our time: Philosophy
    • Sovergnity
    • Simone De Beauvoir
    • Ultilitianism
    • The Wealth of Nations
    • Phenomenology
    • Zen
    • Weber: the Protestant work Ethic
    • Platos Symposium
    • Pascal
    • Bertrand Russell
    • Simone Weil
    • Edmund Burke
    • St Thomas Aquinas
    • Kiekegaard
    • Marx
    • Sartre
    • Wittgenstein
  • Look Inside Explaining History
    • Barry Goldwater
  • BBC Radio 4: Great Lives
    • Lucy Porter on Cary Grant
    • Eliza Manningham Buller on Abraham Lincoln
    • Toyah Willcox on Katharine Hepburn
    • Ian McKellen on Edmund Hillary
    • Antonia Quirke on Marlon Brando
    • Arthur Smith on Emil Zatopek
    • Tom Shakespeare on Gramsci
    • John Stuart Mill
    • George Orwell
    • Ludwig Wittgenstein
    • Thomas Edison
  • Office Hours Daniel Pink
    • Biz Stone
    • Adam Grant
    • Jonah Berger
    • Brad Stone
    • Malcom Gladwell
    • Jim Colins
  • A Good Life Andrew Leigh in Conversation
    • Dick Telford on elite sport and everyday exercise
    • Lindsay Tanner on family resilience and life after politics
  • Giants of History
    • JD Rockefeller Pts 1-3
    • Abraham Lincoln : work tooth and nail
    • Abraham Lincoln: famous failures and the power of perseverance
    • Benjamin Franklin: A guide for taking a lover
    • Leonardo Di Vinci Pats 1-6
    • Theodore Roosevelt Parts 1-10
  • The Ray Hadley Morning Show: Highlights
  • Money News with Ross Greenwood: Highlights
  • Alan Jones Breakfast Show : Highlights
  • No filter – Mia Freedman

    • Mia bursts her bubble with Paul Murray
    • Richard Fidler does not like being interviewed
    • Leisel Jones: from Olympic Gold to hell and back
    • Natasha Stott Despoja
    • Peter Fitzsimons
    • Annabel Crabb
    • Carrie Bickmore
    • Magda Szubanski
    • Richard Glover
    • Ben Fordham


  • ABC Conversations: Richard Fidler
    • Mark redeschi on the man who fought for justice on Myall Creek
    • The life of broadcaster Amada Keller
    • Tim Winton on firearms, the sea and twists of fate
    • Anthony Albanese: Camperdown son, labour man
    • The rise and rise of Donald Trump
    • Turia Pitt is a survivor
    • Bob Hawke


  • US President’s Podcast
    • Team of rivals
    • John f Kennedy
    • Ronald Regan Part 1-2
    • John Adams
    • Andrew Jackson
  • ABC Midday Interview
    • John le Carre
    • Cricket Commentator: Jim Maxwell
  • HBR IdeaCast
    • Making peace with your inner critic
    • Become a better listener
    • Making sense of digital disruption
    • Brian Grazer on the power of Curiosity
    • Set habits you’ll actually keep
    • Be less reactive and more proactive
    • Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo
    • How to negotiate better
    • What makes Teams smart
    • Making good decisions
    • Boris Johnson on influence and ambition
    • How google manages talent
    • To do things better stop doing so much
  • 10 American Presidents Podcasts
    • Andrew Jackson
    • Nixon Dan Carlin
    • What is a Caucus?
    • US Presidential election 1964
    • Washington Mike Duncan
    • FDR David Pietrusza
  • Serial
    • Series 1
    • Series 2
  • Zencast
    • Four Noble Truth
    • 8 fold path






No. 31 Narrabeen Allnighter – Last Marathon 2016 Version

No. 31 Narrabeen Allnighter – Last Marathon 2016 Version
When last is potentially first. Almost last in the marathon but possibly the first person in Australia if not the world to finish a marathon in 2017 at 12:10 am.
The Narrabeen Allnighter has been in place since about 2009 when it replaced the 24-hour track race at Gosford, Adcock Park. The race is held on the first weekend of January and this year it happened to fall on New Years Eve. To this end the race format changed to allow a last marathon for 2016 and a first Marathon of 2017 as well as the 12 hour individual and team race.
In 2015 I did the inaugural midnight marathon and though finding it hard it was a good hit out. The last marathon for 2016 was a great option for me as I am a night runner.
Preparation and race afternoon
In December I managed 123 km of essentially 6 km runs of which the majority was barefoot beach running at Avoca Beach, 310km of 20 km rides and 6 by 1 km swims. For the past month or two have been running with no watch though I know the kms I have been covering because I run and ride the same courses.
I also decided to try and run the race burning fat rather than topping up with gels. I find the gels have my energy levels artificially raised and I have to keep taking gels to keep the energy up. So the goal was to turn the fat burners on early and top if I got the wobbles.
Having Saturday to prepare was a real bonus. I got my running gear out on Friday night and enjoyed having Saturday to physically and mentally prepared. I had a normal breakfast and followed it up with a pasta lunch, watched a movie, had a sleep and a final sandwich at 3:00pm. I also had a few bottles of water and one Gatorade during the day.
The race is at a reserve on the eastern edge of Narrabeen lake. I arrived after 5:00pm, they had just opened the registration area and took a series of photos of the race set up to post on Facebook. At this stage I could not work out where the timing mats were to be located so I just dumped my bags near a tree and parked my car out in the street. Gone are the days of having nervous energy prior to a race. I spoke to a few long standing friends, met face to face for the first time with many Facebook running friends
Before long we were into the race briefing and the race started.
It was enjoyable running the first couple of km with Rachel who was in a relay with Ian. After this I was essentially on my own for the next 5 hours except for my second last lap where I managed to run with Glen for most of his last lap. You are never alone because you have a race bib with your own name on it so when you run towards runners we all encourage each other along using our names.
The course was 8 lap 5.?? To make up 42 km along a bush walking trail with a few hundred metres of concrete cycle path at the turn around. Having started at 6 pm there was a chance I could get to 21 km without having to use a torch headlight which I managed to do, though I did take the light with me for the 4th lap. Although the course is described as flat there are a few climbs and after a few laps some runners describe one of them as heart break hill.
Some other things I remember about the run. Of note in my case is how tough the course is on the balls of your feet. I actually changed to trail shoes for the last three laps as they have a tougher should and this helped the balls of my feet.
Two female runners passed me chatting away and soon after passing me I heard a heavy fall. By the time I got there Mel was picking her up Annabel who just looked at her wrist and said and said it was broken – which from what I could see was quite obvious. I was amazed at her calmness, presence of mind to course for an ambulance and then her breaking into a fast walk with Mel to a location on the course, South Creek reserve, where an ambulance could pick her up.
The fat burning approach did work with me having a Cadel Evans bar at 21 km and that was it – no gels two Gatorades at the start finish turn around and a few drinks and fruitcake at the start finish each lap. I am very pleased with this outcome.
This is the first marathon in a long time in which I ran all the way except for a quick walk though the aid stations. The run was slow but running even in a Cliff Young shuffle, where my feet were barely off the ground, felt better than walking. The shuffle, however, was annoying me, and on the second last lap I tried to lift my feet a bit more. I noticed that as the faster runners passed me I could see my cadence was almost the same but they were obviously pulling away. So the points of difference were them holding the cadence and a longer stride length. So in this second last lap I lifted my feet a bit more and slightly increased my stride length. I sensed I was moving faster and after a while I passed a walking Glenn on his last lap.
A few hundred metres later I could hear Glenn had started running and I called out to him if he was catching me and he said no we were roughly at the same pace holding a 20m gap. After the turnaround we ran together with him finishing his marathon and myself with one more lap to go. Running with someone else does help you keep running together rather than walking.
The finish areas had a TV screen indicating distance covered and lap times. I was not monitoring laps too closely but I did remember a few of the lap times. The first with Rachel was 37 minutes and the third last was the slowest at 5 minutes – hence stretching out a bit more in the second last lap.
I like the race because its organisation is on the side of being casual. It is suitably risked managed and yet it has the feel of the runs in the 1980s which were less formal and just providing runners with a chance of just running in a casual sort of way – well as much as you can in this era. Seb was great at the turnaround aid station as was the daughter of two team runners – meanwhile Ron was steering the ship back at the start finish area with Colin ably managing the timing.
With just over a km to go I heard fireworks and I knew, which I already knew when I started the last lap, that I was not going going to finish in under 6 hours. This was confirmed as runners coming towards me started wish me happy new year. Soon after an avalanche of lights were coming towards me of the runners who started the first marathon of 2017 which included a few runners who were doing two marathons including Karin who always encouraged me as we crossed paths.
I was pleased and relived to finish the race 10 minutes into the new year.
Post Race
Once finished the best I could muster was to sit on a bench next to Colin who was doing the timing. It took me a while to connect in with the conversation as I was still distant or in my own mental space from my running and I was observing the lap times of runners who were still on the course. After chatting for a while I went to the aid station for some food and talked to Rachel while she was waiting for Ian to finish his lap before she took over for her lap. Ian arrived and we chatted for a bit before he had a rest after which I sat on the ground for a while sorting my gear and before long I was on my way home.
Thanks to the organisers and the volunteers. Great to catch up with running friends and to meet new ones. Personally I am please with 31 marathons in 31 years and that I ran the whole race except for walking through aid stations. The balls of my feet are sore which I think is due to the nature of the course. My heart lung capacity was perfectly ok for the run it is just that my body can no longer do what my mind wants it to do.
I am grateful that I can still get out there and run – until next time.

Understanding troubled Minds by Sidney Bloch – notes

Understanding troubled Minds by Sidney Bloch

A good friend who has had mental health issues for decades gave me this book to give me some insight into his world. Quite an amazing read and well worth deeper look.

I found this section most interesting and perhaps of wider use.

High and low level of the scale.

The five factor approach to groping personality types.

1. Neuroticism

High – anxious, tense, irritable perfectionist
Low -bland lacking cancer

2. Extroversion
High – talkative, inappropriately self disclosing, attention seeking dramatising
Low – socially isolated, lacking zest, inhibited shy

3. Openness
High – eccentric, rebellious, fantasising impractical
Low – intolerant ,band, conformist, aesthetically insensitive, has narrow interests

4. Agreeablness

High – gullible, indiscriminate, trusting, open to being manipulated
Low – cynical, suspicious, quarrelsome, arrogant, exploit

5. Conscientiousness

High – over-achieving, workaholic, compulsive, over -scrupulous
Low – underachieving, disregarding of rules, aimless, lacking self discipline.

The clustering of specific problematic personalities.

Cluster A

Paranoid personalities
Schizoid personalities

Cluster B
Anti social personality
Borderline personalities
Histrionic personalities

Closer C

Avoidant personalities
Dependent personalities
Obsessive personalities
Passive aggressive personalities.

Supersurvivors The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success by David Feldman Lee Daniel Kravetz

The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success by David Feldman Lee Daniel Kravetz

They don’t survive they move on.
Asha was a cancer survivor at the age of 28 and moved form the wast coast to LA to play electronic violin and in 15 months was touring the world.

It is an experience that is transformative and meaningful turning point. It afforded her the freedom and motivation to move beyond her previous life and build a new reality for herself. Trauma freed her.

2. The paradox of positive thinking

No matter what people say there are no positives in losing our sight. Simon was not a pessimist ether so he focussed on keeping his head up and thought about what all these other blind people do to get by. It was the only way forward.

The people who pay attention to the positivist the expense of noticing the negatives, who believe everything will be fine may not take appropriate action to protect themselves.
In short we need to be realistic. We all cannot go to the olympics.

With cancer patient it is not so much the power of positive thinking it is more to do with expressing their thoughts and feelings what ever they may be.

Giving up sometimes is associated with better mental health. It does not mean lowering one’s standards rather it is a means to start a goals process where we are to deluding ourselves.

Being blind did not prevent Alan Lock from rowing between two countries.

so what is the paradox? Giving up an attainable goal is a prerequisite for true positive thinking. The kind that can lead to personal growth.
Lookup Maarten and his book on Better.

3. The truth of illusion.

Casey the stunt man. The way e sees it there is no no floor or selling to what he does. Sometimes the biggest stunt is convincing yourself there is not risk at all. Casey was pushing a broken down car on a dark road and got crushed by a drunk driver.

People can change their perception of risk when they are shown the facts.
People’s perceptions of risk is released to people’s sends of personal control.

Positive illusion is the over estimation personal control and over blown views of the self. See Shelley Taylor

goldsmith – theses successful people are delusional. It seems to make them more effective. people who believe they can succeed see opportunities where others see threats.
Denial based positive thinking is a distortion of the situation, positive illusions are slightly inflated views of oneself and one’ ability to control ones’s future.

On grounded hope: – Hopeful thinkers tend to use more problem based coping, seeking practical assistance from others, gathering information about a problem and taking action. It is this tendency towards doing that ground hope and may create a better existence for those who practice it.

4. The world we thought we knew.
5. The company we keep
6. Awakened by death
7. Faiths mixed
8. Blessing
9. The right choice
.The world we thought we knew