Imagine | Create | Inspire
Lesson learnt about determination from a Taxi Driver facing competition from the UberX Wave
Street Wise
           Over the weekend I was in Sydney, and after the usual preparations (pre-drinking) of the night was concluded and time to go to the next location I got onto the phone and rang a taxi, shouted out to see whether we should get a maxi taxi or a couple of regulars ones. My question was responded with “don’t worry about it, we’ll just get Ubers. ” Now from where I am from, Newcastle, Ubers are not as common, however in Sydney nowadays it seems a social norm. Not in the sense that Uber has taken over but working in unison alongside taxi services.

           I still do prefer the taxis and as always ordered my taxi and off I was. Now generally this trip is a good half an hour or so and there’s nothing worst then the feeling of that awkward silence for so long. So as a natural default and as you would normally you ask them how their night has been.

           A topic I always like bringing up nowadays is what their view is on the development of Uber. I have had a mix response with some people saying that they themselves are also Uber drivers, that there is so many people requiring transport solutions so that they aren’t affected, some truly hating the fact that they are taking away possible business and some posing some other various concerns.

           This taxi driver went through a concern that a lot of them have had and that is, anybody can be an Uber driver and that there is no regulation as to the legitimacy of their ability. Which is not exactly true, it’s just that nobody cares about the legitimacy of this 40 billion dollar company backed by the conglomerates of Google and Goldman Sachs if it provides a cheaper and more convenient service. It can be quite shocking to see how much this company is thriving even though the service is actually banned in most states across Australia including N.S.W and Q.L.D. (Lewis, 2015)

           Even though it is illegal the major concern that I have come across is that it’s an introduction of competition. Something that will always cause an issues, of course the taxi services would be annoyed having to compete not only between each other but also now with another uprising competitor. Now a lot of taxi drivers have highlighted the issue but coming from this taxi driver in particular this point seemed more disconcerting.

           After talking to and learning more I asked this man about his background and soon found that he had his doctorate and worked for a pharmacist. Not just dispensing but developing, he was a bio chemical engineer, I couldn’t believe it. It was shocking and upsetting for me to see that this man had worked for so long and then had moved over to Australia and now working as a Taxi driver.

           I kept talking to him and I started to not feel as bad, he explained quite eloquently that this is simply how it is. He understood competition on a whole other level. Competition for him meant over 12 years of study and 10+ years of work experience and still grinding. Moving over to a land for him that still had more opportunity and being transitioned into a different job due to its competitiveness.

           Back to the Uber situation, competition from them was not an issue for this taxi driver, but an inevitable challenge. One that he considered not a setback but simply a way of life. Even though he had been moved to a completely new industry, competition is always going to be an issue and it was seeing the determination to continue to strive through that makes me appreciate the efforts of hard work.

Lewis, D. (2015, January 15). Illegal ride-sharing service UberX outsmarts transport inspectors, disrupting undercover stings. Retrieved from ABC NEWS: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-14/uberx-outsmarts-taxi-inspectors-by-blocking-mobile-phones/6016940
Is cyber bullying a serious issue we should be concerned with?
INFT3920 Blog
           Welcome to the age of the Keyboard Warrior, were users alike have access and the opportunity to voice their opinion on anything and anyone. With high speed internet and mobile connectivity, people are able to gain real time information from anywhere. Can this high accessibility lead to increased cyberbullying?

           Yes, yes it can. With these new opportunities, of course it can lead to potential increase in cyber bullying. With the ingrained idea of freedom of speech, we as users feel we have the right to access and openly comment on anything as we please.

           But I feel it is dependent on the severity of the comment. There is a different between, “This meal was bad, ” to “No one step foot in this restaurant, I can‘t believe they‘re allowed to serve food, ” to and even further extreme of “If I see that chef on the street, I‘m going to break his leg for that f***ing desert.”

           This is where we need to curb our enthusiasm and understand the meaning and power behind our words. It is up to users as a whole to help educate themselves and others on general etiquette of the internet, and to understand that there is (or should be) a consequence to these actions.

           The internet can also provide the complete opposite. There are so many opportunities that this ability to openly communicate has in helping the very situation of cyber bullying. Many various organizations and support groups use the internet to offer support to those suffering from cyber bullying. We need to shift from the idea that there is a problem and focus on using this technology to educate users of the internet.

CyberSmart - http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/
           This is a fantastic website that has age specific applications and programs that are great in educating people on all aspects of cyberbullying and the different ways in which it occurs. I really find the 0-7 interactive games to be quite beneficial in teaching them the basics and the more sophisticated teen programs that delve not only be safe but being wise in terms of how they use the internet and their devices.

AntiBullying Network - http://www.antibullying.net/community.htm/
           This website has a great amount of information for all situation. It‘s a great example to show how the internet can provide information on the matter. It‘s great in providing resources for specific groups in identifying, understanding and supporting situations were bulling may occur.

CyberBullying Info - http://www.cyberbullying.info/office.php/
           This is a nice interactive web application that provides great resources as well as teaching users each aspect of cyber bullying.

           There are many, many more websites and opportunities out there that can aid in the fight against cyber bullying. Even where most people feel that cyber bullying starts, the world of social media has the potential to help. There are many support groups out there, and you can start simply by educating yourself and sharing with your peers.
7 Tips for applying for Graduate Positions
Tips for Strangers
           I’ve currently hit that stage of my studies where I have to actually start thinking about my future, scary I know, but the dream of last minute cramming, goon bag savings and 4 holidays a year is coming to an end. Unfortunately that piece of paper that you spent what seemed a lifetime and not to mention a considerable chunk of your pay for the rest of your life, will not land you a job despite what the university advertised. There’s the next step, finding a job, or the scarier version, the Graduate application process.

           This is a little different to normal job hunting. You can’t just print off a hundred resumes, walk around the shopping center and hand one out to every business you walk past. There’s so many more daunting processes like; the pressure filled interview, the ridiculously worded tests and don’t forgot to mention that you might have to travel fair distances for each of them.

           After countless applications I feel that I should pass on some tips that I wish I had at the start to help me.

1. Know the company.
           Research the company, know what identifies them from other companies. Social media is best as it is also their way to promote their products, services, current events and programs. Follow them on LinkedIn, or on Twitter, or at least on Facebook. This will also help you weed out companies that may not be best suited for you. Never apply without fully knowing the company.

2. Learn some Math
           As I go through these applications and have made it to the next skill assessment round, in some form or another you will have to come across some math based questions. Two trains go from point “A” to point “B”, one going at one speed the other another, at what point do they clash or something. Sound familiar? It will also help with developing your problem solving skills even if they are not math related.

3. Investigate the hiring process.
           Some new companies are now using external partners or software to do their screening process. I recently just had to do a video interview Always best to see if you can get an understanding of the application, which you might be able to practice on. Doesn’t hurt to leave a comment on one of their pages along the lines of “Hi, was really interested to know what type of hiring process your companies uses for graduate positions.” Be upfront, also shows initiative and your eagerness to be thorough.

4. Have prerecorded/rehearsed answers.
           What skills are you going to bring to the organization, another familiar sounding question? You may not know the exact questions but you know they are along the lines of what skills you can offer, name a situation where you have dealt with a bad customer, and what interests you most about this company. My tip is to have a handful of single line sentences or keywords that you can adapt to any situation.

5. Look over your own history.
           Know yourself, helping with the previous step the best way to answer the questions is to know yourself and your experiences. Practice retelling the situation, this time focusing more on how you helped the key issue. The whole application process is essentially a retell of your life.

6. Get your resume in order.
           You may hear this a lot but the importance of this step cannot be overlooked. It’s always a good thing to do this after the previous step so that you have a great understanding of who you are what your history is. Visit a career service professional or some form of support to help verify that you are on the right, they get paid to do this for a reason, they can help. Finally don’t limit yourself to the paper. I am more of a “ let my work speak for itself type of person.” A little easier in the design field but there are always way.

7. Become accessible.
           Finally, get yourself out there. Make information about you, your career history, skills and any experience accessible. There are so many ways to get your name out there. If you’re not using social media start to, it’s also a great way to gain information about your organization. Use social media, themed blog posting, and YouTube playlist highlighting all your experience, whatever it takes to stand out and keep your employer interested.

           It is important to always stay competitive and open minded while looking for graduate positions. Without a doubt there is always going to be someone looking for the exact same job as you and remember “hard work, forever pays.“
One Month Internship in Shanghai - Achievement Unlocked
            Well it’s finally over, my internship is complete. It’s hard to think that I was there for an entire month, it seemed to have flown by so quickly. From waking up in the morning, going straight to work, finishing, meeting up with the rest of my CRCC colleagues for dinner and the occasional drink, everyday seemed like one new exciting experience after the next. By the end of the month, it seemed autonomous, that within that short period of time I had already sunk so deep into the work and culture that it was second nature. I mean, I already had developed local eating spots, eating so regularly, that though they didn’t speak English they knew my order and was already in the wok cooking by the time I had sat down.

            I won’t forget my time in Shanghai too quickly that’s for sure. Everyday had new and exciting opportunities whether it be trying to decipher a menu, a new project at work, or simply just making from location to the next. There wasn’t a day that went by that not a single memorable thing had occurred.

            Don’t get me wrong though, there was a definite “culture shock” as they say. It took a bit getting used to going from a city of 200,000 to a city of millions. It seemed like the area was even smaller. But as you see from the size of the buildings, it’s not hard to tell how they fit so many people into one city. It was just the simple things that I found that were hardest to get used to. In particular being able to drink clean water from the tap. I’ve never bought so many bottles of water before in my life, I was going through 5-8 bottles a day. And another was the traffic. Not only people driving on the opposite side of the road, but on the sidewalks also. I queried how there wasn’t as many car crashes as I thought there would be, but as I was explained “it’s quite hard to crash when you’re only going 30 kilometres an hour”, which now makes a lot of sense. For those who stereotypically think Asians are bad at driving, I would now have to argue quite wholeheartedly, considering the conditions they drive unremarkably well.

            But it’s been sensational diving in head first into the culture that Shanghai had to offer. As I’ve mentioned before, the food and the nightlife are something that just has to be taken with an opened mind to gain the full experience. Another major aspect that seemed to quite enjoy was the shopping. For one who has fully embraced the online shopping world and can’t quite remember the last time I set foot into a shopping centre, it was quite exhilarating. And of course I am talking about the markets, and bargaining. The only part of the Chinese language I managed to successfully learn, and with that the game was on. Whether it worked or not, or whether it was going to last, it didn’t matter, with an arsenal of tactics I always felt like I came out on top. It was fun comparing to see what each of us interns would be able to get the price down too, and I even managed to surprise some of the locals.

            But the most valuable would definitely have to be working and gaining some firsthand experience, not only in a design type marketing environment but in an international one also. I remember my first day as vividly as my last. Without even sitting down or a full introduction to my other colleagues I was whisked away to my first meeting with one of their major clients, a fashion company currently in the process of expanding into a showroom. I remember sitting their doe eyed as I sat in a meeting completely spoken in Chinese. I thought then that I really should have done some more preparation, however I did feel a little better as my boss didn’t know a word either and had a translator (another intern at the organization) with us. A couple hours later we had come for what we needed, which ended up being my first project.

            From then on out it was like clockwork. Each day working on a project, and then when one finished, it was on to the next one. It was exciting to see the different types of projects that the company was responsible for. Not only were they a marketing company but they did interior, landscape, product and company image/logo design. A few of my colleagues were designing the interiors of schools and libraries whilst others were designing watches and toys.

            My work colleagues were great to work with, and it was important building that guanxi and network of work friends. We would help each other in completing the task and ensuring that we met the required deadlines, go to our local eateries and have fun experiencing the unusual culture of Shanghai. Half of the work place was of some form of Asian heritage whilst there was also people from Russia, France, Italy and more. I was the only Australian, which it was fun explaining what Australia day was all about, something I was quite happy to celebrate whilst over there.

            With such a diverse workplace it made working there go really quickly, it was fun hearing how different cultures viewed different things and so forth. And while it was funny hearing the broken English I’ve come to realise that was probably my biggest downfall. Being the only non-bilingual person in the workplace made some simple tasks harder. It did not help that there was 5 different languages being spoken out of 8 workers. If and when I move back for work, I will definitely make sure that I am a little more fluent and I have continued to learn mandarin as I feel it would be a great tool to have regardless. My main goal for this however would be being able to read and write also. Not only with Mandarin but If I was to travel to other countries, I think I would put a little more effort into learning the language.

            Besides the distinct language barrier, there was not many issues that I had with the work they provided. I was happy and I hope they were too, with my current level of knowledge and was able to successfully complete each task. Like most things there is always different ways of tackling the same task and I was able to learn a few new skills and in return was able to show them a few too. In one instance when having to design a site map and graphical diagrams for one of the mobile applications I was unfamiliar with the software that they were using. Instead I used one that I was taught in my courses and for that project they continued to use it. I was quite happy to be able to contribute in this way, for a company to take on a method in this way is quite remarkable.

            Working overseas has provided me with the most invaluable experience to my career. It has definitely given me the edge when competing with others in the workforce. Personally I feel comfortable in being able to work and settle quite quickly into any work environment or significantly better then prior to my internship. I will have to give my resume a serious look over when I get back into Newcastle.

            One thing I am definitely going to miss is my guanxi, my work family. Both from the company I worked with and the internship group. Firstly my colleagues in the workforce was one of the most diverse group I have ever had the privilege to work with. I have never been so confused in my life, but we all had the same presence of mind, to make good design and to get the work done. They say people live to work and others work to live, and this workplace had both. I don’t really know which one I side with but there is a definite difference within different cultures.

            Finally the family that I grew up with from the internship. We would have gone through all of it. Both the good and bad, and every day with them was a new learning day like nothing else. It was like learning in the streets, and not like Sesame Street where you learnt a new number and there was a letter of the day. You had to learn more than a word, a couple of sentences or two just to get from one place to another. But it was a battle that we all shared together, whether it be from the myriad of scams we were forewarned about, to figuring out what we were eating was what was written in the menu.

            It was not all bad however. If you were open minded and willing to uncover the hidden secrets that Shanghai had to offer then you could be provided the world. If you could understand that was what you were being given. My attitude to continue trying new things was what I believe lead me to getting the most out of my trip. I would always say “I didn’t come here to eat something I can get at home” or “try something that I could do at home. ” I truly became addicted to the eye-opening experiences that I encountered each day and by the end of it, nothing could surprise me. Definitely surpass my intrigue and broaden my idea of the possible but never fully surprise me.

            It will be these quick learning sessions that will stand out the most in my mind and what I feel I will take out of this experience the most. An extraordinary culture, unparalleled experiences, and a second family to go exploring with.
Leadership with Wayne Bennett - Why Wouldn’t you Invest in You
“The only time you’re on top, is when you’re digging a hole.”

      He has never seen himself as a Leader but has had roles that have required leadership qualities and wakes up each morning thinking he doesn’t have to do this today to lead this team but wake up each morning thinking that this has to be done because it is my role and my responsibility. With a speech filled with memorable quotes who better to speak on leadership as part of our International Leadership Series for iLead than Wayne Bennett.

      With an extensive history as a former Australian Kangaroos Player, Queensland Police Officer and Super Coach (over 700 1st grade games with 7 winning premierships), Wayne spoke of his belief in Commitment, Selflessness, Ability to live with oneself and more can allow someone to obtain and possess the qualities that can allow one to lead, coach and inspire others.

“ Commitment sorts out the dreamers from the doers.”

      With the understanding that promises or simply lies to yourself, Wayne, explained how crucial “commitments” were for himself personally and for others. At the age of 14 he made three commitments to himself; that he would become a police officer; that he would play for his country; and the one he sees most impactful on his success, to never drink alcohol. He understood to fulfil those dreams he had to make a commitment, not a promise.

“Talent alone is not going to get you anywhere, everybody has the ability to be talented.”

      It is those who are willing to go above and beyond and pay the price that is required to be the person you want to be. Teach yourself the traits and qualities you want, and focus on what you have, not on what you don’t. He states that he would not be where he would be today if he focused on what he didn’t have. In the locker room and with his teams he always asked - why don’t you focus on what you do have?

      In his time he has taught many people with great physical courage, similarly one quality he states for leadership is moral courage. The ability to stand for something. What do you stand for? He would be able to answer that for many of the members of his team. Belief in your own opinion, is better than falling for everyone else’s point of view and allowing them to manipulate you. Be proud of who you are and don’t be scared to express yourself. This is something he sees as one of his own weaknesses, a trigger that upsets him when he is unable was unable to say what he believe he needed to say at the time.

“One of your greatest learning tools is the observations of others.”

      Another trait he continues to expand on was the ability to observation of people. How they react around you and with you. He says he has learnt more about leadership by simply observing people within the workplace and the people that he wants to be. His biggest challenge as a coach was to create an environment in which people can do their best and his biggest motivation to push further is within his failures, and his understanding of what he believes can and is possible.

“Isn’t it amazing how many things can be accomplished when nobody cares who did it.”

      Leadership is about people, simple as that. He has seen many situations in which an individual overacts, as they believe it is about them. He continues by expressing that a leader is someone who is willing to stay at the end of the queue all day, every day. They put you (others) first, caring about your wellbeing so don’t be selfish. Leadership is about the team.

“Before you lead anybody, you have to lead you. You can’t lead other people if you can’t lead yourself. ”

      On the other hand, the one person he wants to make happy, is himself. He points out that (and say this out loud to yourself) is that the only person you got to live with twenty four seven is me, you can’t get away from you. No matter what you do, whether you laugh, cry, go out, you’re with you. So why don’t you make yourself happy. With the example of a particular current Novocastrian, though he may have been able to play for Australia, payed quite fairly and everything else professional in his career, he still suffers from depression. Due to the fact that he doesn’t like who he is personally.

“you got 40 odd years in front of you all, so why wouldn’t you start to invest in you. So you can be that person in the workplace that does make a different. ”

      He also left us with a few other parting qualities that he believes that can help us to be leaders and the people we want to be.
  • Communication → with your team
  • Trust → for yourself and those around you
  • Vision → for want you want
  • Focus → on achieving your goal
  • Responsibility → for your action and for your team
  • Respect → earned every day
  • And finally Honesty, Truth and Compassion

“Sometimes we get lost with the stars.”

      Finally I was able to start the question portion of the seminar and asked what he feels was the biggest lesson he had learnt in his career. Simply put, it was to treat everyone fairly. Team requires not only the stars but the people who put in the hard work. Though an individual may never be a star, his work should not go unnoticed.
What is Leadership
Why Not RFL
           I first started thinking that leadership is “the ability to make a decision or perform an action on behalf of a group to benefit the group as a whole.” During the first workshop for the NRFLLE we discussed the many aspects of leadership and being able to recognize what makes a leader and how one can further enhance their skills if they are within a leadership role.

           The first thing we touched on is who do we consider leaders? Can you think of the last 5 people who won the Oscar, picked in the NBA draft, richest people alive? Little tricky, may be able to answer a couple but not really. Now think of the people who made a positive difference in your life. You could easily name five right? The point is that, just because someone may be exceptional in their field of work doesn’t necessarily mean that these people are or should be considered leaders. It is the people who have a positive impact that you should aspire to consider as personal leaders.

“When we are inspired we can tap into our best selves and do amazing things.”

           Our next activity was a subset of smaller activities that helped in the various areas that people may people may be good or bad at, or possibly unaware of it’s impact completely.

           The first was self-awareness, where we shared personal characteristics that may hinder our ability to work as a leader. To be self-aware means you know how you feel and how your emotions and actions affect those around you. Ways to improve yourself aware ness could be to keep a journal or simply slow down.

           Next was self-management, where we stand on a 1-10 line of how well we relate in regards to change. These are those who manage themselves effectively, and rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, serotype people or compromise their values. Ways to improve the trait is to practice being calm, being able to hold your-self accountable and to look for the silver lining.

           After that was Social Awareness. In this exercise we did some improve where we acted out various workplace scenarios. This is crucial to managing a successful team and committee and is focused on the leader having empathy which helps build the respect and loyalty of the team. You can enhance this trait by changing your perspective, tune into body language and be able to respond appropriately to feelings.

           Finally our last activity was Relationship Management. This focused on what we saw was the difference between a coach and a mentor. Those with good RM are great communicators and set an example with their own work. One can improve this by learning conflict resolution skills, improve communication, and learn how to show appreciation.

”Being a leader is not about making yourself more powerful. It’s about making the people around you more powerful” – Heidi Wills

           After this very intensive workshop being able to define what a leader is become significantly harder and everyone’s definition was different. What does leadership mean to you?
Finally Complete – What you can achieve without a Hangover
         It has been roughly a year in the making, but tmagill.com has finally been completed. The website has been up and running however its functionality has been less than ideal, in actuality it has been non-existent.

         But with all the extra time that I have acquired from participating in the Dry July campaign, I have been able to spend time that I would normally be nursing a hangover to finally complete my website.

         I would like to say congratulations to everyone who participated in the cause. For those who attempted the challenge and was unable to succeed, take solace in the fact that you made the first step. I strongly encourage you all to spread the word.

         It is amazing to see what people can achieve when they have the extra time on their hands. As part of the Dry July campaign world records were out to be broken. With creativity not being stifled by the agonies of the dreaded morning after we were able to see communities come together to raise money to support the many organizations that help adults living with Cancer.

Dry July: World"s Largest Skittle Mosaic
Dry July: World"s Largest Smoothie

         So congratulations to all those involved. You can still donate until the end of August here...