Slings and Arrows: Career Enhancement and the 2017 Political Form Guide

It’s that time of the year again, when you’re getting restless and career headhunters are full of sage advice to applicants seeking new horizons. The only person missing is the Adelaide Workplace Jargon Translator. Here’s some assistance.

Adelaide Career Enhancement – A Learner’s Guide

  • ‘Dynamic office environment’: The boss rules by fear.
  • ‘Roving assignment’: The office is already full and you’ll have to work on a laptop from your car.
  • ‘Bubbly personality’: We want a woman.
  • ‘Job share opportunity’: The incumbent is pregnant and when she leaves the same workload will be downgraded to part-time.
  • ‘Flexible contract period’: The incumbent has already taken three stress-leave periods and we don’t know when he’ll spring the next one.
  • ‘Creative team leader required’: None of the others wanted the extra duties at same base rate of pay.
  • ‘Demanding supervisory role’: The office team is unmanageable.
  • ‘Change agent’: We want a sociopath to enforce a deeply unpopular new management direction.
  • ‘EEO principles apply’: If you’re a friend of the boss, you’re in.
  • ‘Strong skills in statistical analysis urgently required’: We need a sports odds analyst for the tennis season.
  • ‘Office strictly non-smoking’: All the office smokers spend hours daily outside chatting while the non-smokers answer their landlines.
  • ‘Close-knit team’: They’re glued to Facebook most of the day.
  • ‘Disability-discrimination-compliant’: The token disabled vacancy is already filled.
  • ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are encouraged to apply’: Bring your PhD accreditation.
  • ‘Evolving industry with exciting future potential’: Company technology product is now redundant, revenue is collapsing and the business is quietly up for sale.

Variable vibrancy

But really! None of this applies to Adelaide, where the buzz market word continues to be ‘vibrancy’ and we enjoy using plain English without fear or favour. Not like Melbourne or (god forbid) Sydney. Here’s a taste of the dialect there. It may have applied to people you know there whose job history is, shall we say, flaky? Did they ever mention these?

  • ‘Working from home’: Toxic relationship with the boss; can’t stand coming to the office.
  • ‘Sought another position’: Sacked.
  • ‘Pursuing other career opportunities’: Sacked after screaming match.
  • ‘Extended stress leave’: Their lawyer has blocked a bid to have them sacked.
  • ‘Spending more time with the family’: Still too stressed to apply for new job after being sacked on one hour’s notice.

Management material?

But for those happily consolidating their careers and in sight of the management summit, here’s the go on commerce-speak.

  • ‘Budget review’: Savage cuts across all divisions.
  • ‘Efficiency dividend’: As targets ratchet up, you’re going to have to work twice as hard for the same salary.
  • ‘Credit risk’: All your cards are already maxed out.
  • ‘Liquidity risk’: If you have one more drink at lunch, you might pick up a DUI charge on the way home.
  • ‘Interest risk’: You’ve only been in the job a month and already you’re losing interest.
  • ‘Sustainability risk’: How are you going to sustain enthusiasm beyond the next staff review?
  • ‘Board audit’: CEO has woken dozing board members with news of shock new profit and loss blunder buried in the notes to the financials.
  • ‘Reviewing all options’: Board now plans to sack half the staff.
  • ‘Flatter structure’: All middle managers to go.
  • ‘Stimulating surplus ratio policy’: Avoiding the sack will be directly proportional to the number of board members you got to schmooze at the last Christmas party.
  • ‘Exciting career opportunity’: Now’s the time to jump. But remember to keep up the payments on your jargon translator.

2017 SA political form guide

But back to reality… Last year’s findings of the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission have increased unease among some MPs as both Labor and Liberal parties begin their yearbefore-the-2018-poll rebranding.

There are several parliamentary retirements looming for Labor, as it plans to refresh various seats (Enfield and Croydon – and perhaps Cheltenham). The tactic is to install fresh new faces to obscure the same tired old brand. The Libs are doing likewise (watch Waite, Kavel and perhaps Dunstan).

Note that Cheltenham and Dunstan are the leaders’ electorates. The big (back room) question for both parties is whether to dump and install new head prefects while there’s time. One has the pong of avoiding ministerial accountability over several terms and is very clearly coming to the end of his use-by date; the other has the pong of an inability to create an illusion that, after 14 years (and his serving two terms as leader), the Libs can offer a winning package to a very disillusioned SA voting public.

If there is to be blood on the floor of the leaders’ offices, it will have to start flowing soon, to allow time to embed a new leadership images across SA communities.

On both sides of state parliament, there’s also much deadwood dating back some time. And if Mr X (or equivalent) entices a fresh chainsaw gang to contest some electorates, anticipate a frenzy of political wildlife jumping from the canopies early and slipping into the safe retirement long grass on large superannuation payouts.

Political staffers also will be ‘considering their career options’ this year in anticipation of unpredictable times ahead. Remember, while retirement may be optional this year (for MPs), voting next year will be compulsory (for you).

Them’s the rules, folks!

Ash Whitefly is Executive Director of the Adelaide Whitefly Institute of Diplomatic Studies

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