This week started over tired and in overalls as I ripped up carpet and pulled down walls at our new factory and ended up as a guest of Juliana Addison MP at Parliament House. 

The move from the old factory officially took 48 hours straight and included 15 truck loads, 25 ute loads and the brief help of a crane truck. It was a life event that we’ll look back on as being insane. I’m a graphic designer by trade, I normally sit at my desk all day, clicking away quietly on the keyboard and tablet. What I don’t do is load trucks and utes and drive forklifts. 

Luckily we weren’t alone this time. The team had done an awesome job of preparing and packing everything. I was in charge of office clean up. The worst part of that job was cleaning the carpets. The main office wasn’t too bad but the kids ‘hangout’ zone had been spewed in by both kids, more than once. 

The funniest and grubbiest part was using the leaf blower to blast out all the dust, sawdust and bugs from the 800m2 factory floor. We did a great job of cleaning up the old factory and by 9am Sunday we started ripping into the new one. 

By the end of the weekend we had removed all the old cabinetry and carpets. By Monday we had removed the walls and moved a window. Despite the extraordinary weekend, we got our second, third and fourth wind because now we are working toward the newer, better version of ourselves! 

This self improvement morphed nicely into the Future Shapers Retreat which was two days in Melbourne with my 17 team mates. We spent the first day getting to know everyone and had some exciting speakers with Micheal Poulton (CEO, Committee of Ballarat), Tim Matthews (Chair, Central Highlands Regional Partnerships) and Andrews Eales (CEO, Ballarat Foundation) all talking to us about what leadership looks like to them, especially in a regional context. 

While the Future Shapers program itself is focused around community leadership it was made clear early on in the day that leadership isn’t something you can teach. We will not be students who are lectured to but will spend the next 10 months building our own curriculum. Community or collective leadership is simply a process by which people come together to pursue change and what makes Future Shapers unique is we get to choose our own adventure.

I haven’t done anything like this for years! Meeting such a large group of people who I’ll be spending the majority of the year working with was super fun. There is a great energy in the room because everyone is as excited as me about what lies ahead. The most interesting thing so far has been the diversity of everyone's interests and occupations. They spread far and wide and listening to people's perspectives on a variety of issues has been a real eye opener.

To conclude the first day we broke into smaller groups and were asked to have ‘curious  conversation’ about some of the topics we’d touched on throughout the day. It was amazing how quickly everyone slid into solution mode. I set myself a task not to talk about housing (because that’s way too easy for me) and even though I tried, I was never more than a sentence away. The point of the exercise, of course, was to remain curious. To listen to others point of view, really hear them out and not try not to think up a witty response while the person is talking. This was harder than I expected. I love a witty response.

The following day we got to spend at Parliament house as guests of Juliana Addison MP (Member for Wendouree). My initial reflection (after question time) was ‘what a shit show’. If you were in any other workplace and were treated the way MP’s treat each other during question time, you’d be fired immediately. They’re rowdy, rude and disrespectful but man, it looks like they’re having a blast. 

I don’t quite understand why ‘Question Time’ (which is what the Media had led us to believe is all politicians do) needs to be so theatrical. If I was in a half hour long meeting and only a handful of questions got asked, and not necessarily answered, I’d be pissed. What a waste of time. Especially when MP’s are so pressed for time as it is. Everyone we met had an EA close behind them keeping an eye on the time and making sure they’re where they’re meant to be. 

When I was a university student in New Zealand I worked at a political party doing data entry. I’ve been privy to the inner workings of a political party before and despite the MP’s having well stocked bar fridges, Politics never really interested me. Perhaps being a bit older, believing in something bigger than myself and getting to spend some time in the thick of it again changed my opinion. 

After having lunch with Juliana Addison MP, Michaela Settle MP (Member for Eureka), Martha Haylett (Member for Ripon) and Deputy Premier, Hon Ben Caroll MP (Member for Niddrie) it quickly became obvious that social justice is what had brought them all to politics. They simply asked themselves, if not me then who?

Our trip to parliament was fascinating. While I could never see myself as a politician (although I did see lots of badass ladies about) I certainly like the idea of being the person in the ring and fighting rather than being on the sidelines throwing rocks. I assume that's why most people get into politics. I can’t imagine why the Hon. Maree Edwards (Member of Bendigo West) would want to be speaker though. If you were playing that drinking game and you drank every time she said ‘order’, no one would be standing.

Video of the week
TED: The Three Secrets of Resilient People
Podcast of the week
The Cryptid Factor: The 2nd First Issue
Font of the week
Forevs: Font of the week by OHNO Type

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