Blog Archives

How facing off against the unknown led me to certainty

Standing at a sheer 1986 metres tall and casting a shadow over the Alpine National Park, Mt Bogong (the local Aboriginal name for the mountain roughly translates to The Big Fella) holds the rugged crown of the highest mountain in Victoria, Australia. Mt Bogong proved its status as a Grade 4 hike back in 1936 when it took the life of Cleve Cole, a pioneering skier who attempted the first winter crossing of the Bogong High Plains. Along with two others, Clove skied across the High Plans from Hotham to Bogong, and after reaching the summit ridge, fell into the trap of unforgiving weather conditions. Although Cole met a grave ending, his legacy lived on through his showcase of absolute grit, determination and a sense of freedom to achieve the impossible – in his mind, no mountain was too big.

What we’re dealing with right now is a ‘Bogong’ of catastrophes on an economic, financial and human scale. COVID-19, an invisible foe, is triggering headlines and push notifications that are sending our minds into overdrive while putting enormous pressure on governments, employers and health services to cope. We’re in the midst of a pretty scary time facing the unknown, made harder by not being able to see the mountain, but like those early explorers, we’re also keeping on keeping on.

Large organisations are pivoting, smaller businesses are finding innovative ways to operate and communities are rediscovering the locals at work in their own patch. People are staying active, families are still connecting, birthdays are celebrated (online). You name it – we’re trying it: How to videos on making your own face mask, bingo evenings in suburban streets, supermarkets opening early for the elderly, random acts of kindness and dance parties via Zoom. Everyone is doing their part to remain optimistic, comply with the State directives and #flattenthecurve. There’s a global sense of connectivity – We’re all in this together, which some of us have never felt before.

In Temporary & Contract recruitment we’ve definitely taken a hit, but I know I can speak on behalf of my team, the broader business and the industry that we have not lost faith. We’re continuing to help candidates find work, investing more time in professional development, focusing on staying connected and nourishing our client customer relationships. It’s been an opportunity for many to use isolation time in positive ways.

Back in February, which now seems such a long time ago, Slade Group announced a bushfire relief initiative that gave me the opportunity to visit one of the affected areas within Victoria, meet with members of the community and directly give back to small businesses through our spending (Slade absorbed our travel and accommodation costs). After some Google searching, I decided on Bright, a quaint town in Northern Victoria nestled near the base of the Alpine National Park. From a quick search I was sold; it’s picturesque Main Street, colourful flora and beautiful backdrop of the National Park really sparked an interest to experience this for myself. What I didn’t factor into the equation, was that my partner would somehow persuade me to take a 45 minute drive to the base of Mt Bogong and complete a gruelling 9 hour hike up the tallest mountain in Victoria!

Yes, it was tough. And I did look at my watch every 5 minutes, calling Harrison every obscene word under the sun. But after the first couple of hours I was so thankful to him for persuading me to go on this hike, and thankful to myself for having the sheer determination to achieve the goal and complete the climb. Looking back on this day and where I am now, it’s true, I was facing the unknown and struggling, but I didn’t back down and I eventually reached the summit.

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Posted in Interchange Bench, The world @work

Driving into the line of (ex) fires

We’re going direct! Inspired by initiatives such as Empty Esky and Beers for Bushfire Relief, Slade Group’s bushfire response is to help the businesses and people directly hit by the loss of property and commerce. We’ve made available our two company cars on the weekends so our people can do a road trip with their friends or family and visit a fire affected area throughout 2020. Slade foots the bill for a night’s accommodation and a tank of petrol filled up in the region visited. While we’re spending our hard-earned, we’ll be helping hard-hit businesses recoup some much needed tourist dollars.

We’ve put up a huge map of Bushfire Affected Areas in the office and we’re posting photos of everyone’s trips – in hard copy and on our social media.

Here’s a story fresh from the Grampians, when Debbie Patsiolis hit the road last weekend.

My trip to the Grampians

To get the #SladeBushfireResponse program started, I booked a trip to the Grampians, took the Slade car, and set-off with my boyfriend Jon in tow last weekend.

The first thing we noticed were all the government bushfire warnings on the highway… Are you ready for fire? It really made us think about how different life is for communities who are on high alert for bushfires. Growing up 20 minutes out of the city and living in inner Melbourne for my whole life, it’s hard for me to imagine my family in a situation where we’d even have to think about leaving our home.

We arrived in Halls Gap late afternoon on Saturday to wet weather (no complaints, the rain is much needed). Heading into town, we stopped at the general store to get breakfast supplies and some snacks. We ordered take away fish and chips from the local, which we enjoyed in our cute little cottage for the night, surrounded by kangaroos and emus.

Sunday morning we visited the Grampians National Park and went for a hike to the beautiful Mackenzie Falls and Fish Falls. While there were a few burnt trees, the park was still beautiful, with lots of greenery. It was nice to see so many people out hiking enjoying nature, and a lot of people too, especially as lunch time approached.

On the way back we stopped in town again and bought pies from the local bakery. Then the most Australian thing happened to Jon – a kookaburra swooped as he was taking a bite and stole a chunk of his pie! Ditching the pie, Jon opted for a less kookaburra-enticing sausage roll. We finished with delicious locally made ice cream from the ice creamery in Halls Gap, filled up the car and made our way home.

On the way back we stopped at Beaufort in the Pyrenees. Whilst most things were closed (being Sunday in a country town), the antique store was open. A vase and a chair later, and a few dollars lighter, we continued our journey home. Given the vast loss of income these local businesses suffered in December and January, we were happy to contribute to help the locals get back on their feet.

Now I’m looking forward to hearing about everyone’s adventures over the coming months.

Do you have a good news story to share? We’d love to hear about what your or your workplace is doing to support bushfire affected regions.

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Posted in The world @work