How Gina Rinehart and Kim Williams are Giving Us an Opportunity to Grow Some @#$%ing Balls

If you’re Australian, you’ve likely heard about the recent actions of two major media organisations, Fairfax and News Australia, to streamline their businesses. Fairfax has already announced that almost two thousand staff will be cut in an effort to refocus their business on online revenue, whilst News Australia is combining news divisions and indicated that redundancies are inevitable.

It’s a tricky time for everyone involved. I know: I’m involved.

Long time readers likely know that I’m an employee at one of News Australia’s regional papers. Since CEO Kim Williams broadcast his speech to employees earlier this week, there’s definitely been an uncertain atmosphere within the company.

For Vickie and I, the timing is less than optimal.

In the last couple of posts I’ve made, I’ve mentioned the run of emergencies that have clobbered our bank accounts.  From surgeries to remove malignant tumors from our dog to a sewerage problem that went from a clogged toilet to replacement of our main sewer line, we’re definitely on a “one paycheque from disaster” footing at the moment. The one thing we can be glad of at the moment is that I’ve taken income insurance out.

The question that begs asking is: What do we do?

I can tell you one thing we’re not doing: Panicking.

Oh, quit with the swooning. I know that there’s a portrait of me under “panic merchant” in the dictionary. I think, though, that I’m finally getting that urge under control thanks to a couple of well-timed e-mails and blog posts.

The main one is, The Simple Guide to Growing Some @#$%ing Balls, by Julien Smith. I blogged about this guy (and his Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck) at the end of the year, and this post has the added bonus of having a short, simple instruction to follow in order to get it to work for you. No, Lady Reader of the Feminine Persuasion, Julien certainly didn’t exclude you:

Whether your balls are real or metaphorical doesn’t matter. Hell, real balls don’t always demonstrate themselves and metaphorical balls are often much more evident.

Women often have more balls then men, because they learn to fight for them. Men feel entitled, and so stay children their whole lives.

As I’ve been applying Julien’s advice, I’ve realised that having balls does not grant you license to be a dick, to be rude, inconsiderate or obnoxious in the names of “calling it as you see it” or “finally standing up for what I want.”

And sometimes, acting in a ballsy fashion can mean waiting it out while everyone else (including your own inner nervous wreck) is doing the headless chicken act in a vain attempt to stave off the fall that the sky is seemingly about to make.

But let’s look at the other side of the coin. What have I been doing since Mr. Williams’ announcement?

Well, my last post gives you a pretty good idea:

  • I’ve reconnected with a couple of old mates about re-igniting an old passion of mine.
  • I’ve started a venture with another old mate which has so far eliminated one bill from my monthly roster and could well lead to other oppotunities down the track.
  • I’ve talked with a couple of folks about the next two episodes of the Paid to Play Podcast.
  • I’m making sure I get enough physical exercise in to counteract any build-ups of nervous energy, part of which is significantly reducing the amount of a very big bill.

Each one is slow, step-by-step stuff; the benefits of most of them aren’t immediate or even necessarily evident from my point of view at this moment.

On top of those, though, I’m also continuting to do my full-time job to the best of my ability (Oi, you lot at work! it’s not that funny! I only put my feet up on my desk twice a week nowadays.) and keeping an eye out for the opportunities Mr. Williams mentioned in that fateful broadcast to learn some new skills for the coming digital future.

So maybe we ought to be at least a little grateful to the Kim Williams and Gina Rineharts of the world. They remind us that nothing is guaranteed, that a nine-to-five job with a company isn’t as much of a right as we think it is.

That just maybe, the ballsiest approach to life is to consider how each of us can be of value.

But if there’s one ballsy thing I’d like to ask you, Lad or Lady Reader, to do, it’s this:

When things keep insisting on going from worse to beyond, keep a cool head, and even if you need to take action qiuickly, don’t panic or rush. No one will value the results.

After all, if there’s one thing that will damage anyone’s future prospects, it’s convincing all and sundry that you’re of no practical value to anyone.

So what about you?

How do either or both of the recent annoucnements by Fairfax and News Australia affect you, if at all?

What did you do, the last time the sky did look about to fall on you? How did it turn out?

Featured image by Clara Natoli.