Saturday, May 17, 2008

pay-cheques: big, small, and not at all

On the 28th July 2006, I worked my last day as a Marketing Professional. 21 months later, I have made a return to my old employer for a 9 week 'summer holiday' stint. I've had to do some hack-work for sure, but I am also managing a project for a high-profile financial services company - so it has been interesting and challenging work to be involved in.

While not "working full-time" as most people would regard it since July '06, I feel that I have been working harder, longer and better ever since. My work has involved a full-time study load, 2 part-time jobs, plus a paid ministry position. Jess and I work very hard, and really enjoy the work that we are doing in these chapters of our lives.

I am also using my 'summer work' in Sydney for my Masters degree requirements, which involves a workplace placement, quite consistent with one of Regent College's goals of teaching and modeling holistic living. So right now as I type, I am actually meant to be working on a journal entry, communicating my experiences of "re-entry" into the marketplace - the challenges, frustrations and compromises that I am experiencing in my 9-5 (or 8:30-7) job [blogging should help the writing juices flow... that's my justification anyway, but I am sure Jess wont be happy with me for writing this and not my journal entry].

In general, there is other "work" that I do too, the house work, D.I.Y. work, some yard work here in Sydney, some web work for Jess' moms ministry, and volunteer work in Mexico last summer. I'm finding that more and more I really enjoy and get great satisfaction out of the work that the market (probably) wouldn't pay me to do (or at least pay very much).

It's a quandary for me, because I enjoy the work 'outside' of my professional work more - I find the work healthier, better relationally and perhaps it contributes more to God's Kingdom. Is part of the quandary living with the curse of Genesis 3, where as a result of sin, for Adam "all of your life you will struggle to scratch a living from the ground"? Perhaps, the Kingdom contribution work isn't as much of a struggle? Then is the challenge, to find work that the market values and builds the Kingdom? Or to turn elements of the market work to the Kingdom's advantage? Or to just see the good things in the market work that contribute to the Kingdom everyday? I also think that a more free-embrace and non-monetary valuing of the other work (which doesn't pay at all) is important too - the implication is that I don't let market forces dictate every choice I make in regard to all of the work I enter into.

I am looking forward to taking a course, starting in September, which will wrestle with a "theology of work." I am sure that being back in the full-time professional workplace for a stint and these reflections on all kinds of work will be good fodder as I dive into that course material. For now, for a short 9 weeks, it's also nice to receive a pay-cheque in the "thousands", rather than the "hundreds" which I have grown use too as a student.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


At Christmas the Hugheses gave the sons and daughters-in-law each a gift-certificate to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge together, voted Australia's #1 tourist attraction, to redeem on our return to the beautiful harbour city.

The day was perfect, blue-skies with views to Manly and the Blue Mountains. I was surprised how easy it was to get up to the top, only 4 ladders to reach the 'coat-hanger,' and from there, it really is an easy ascent on stairs and then a flat path to the 'summit,' 134 meters above the water.

Doing this with the family was an obvious highlight, but I also really enjoyed all the unique views of Sydney: looking down on the traffic on the bridge, gazing over the curves of the land to different parts of the harbour, and seeing the skyline from a new perspective. I think I could have spent all day up there with my camera, but they don't let you take anything along with you.

To finish the experience well, Mum joined us all at the Australian Pub and enjoyed some pizza and beer together, including a pizza with one of our national emblem animals on it, the Emu. Kangaroo and crocodile were also on the menu.

Thanks Dad!