Reflection of BCM311

BCM311

“Although life is rich in lived experience, we give meaning to very little of this experience” – Michael White, 2007

 

This quote from Michael White was from the first class of Advanced Seminar in Media & Communication and has a recurring theme throughout this course.

As I reflect on my experiences at BCM311 I find myself doing a technique that we learnt this semester, that is, the practice of narrative therapy. Narrative therapy as I understood is the retelling of events or steps that we have taken in a part of our lives and identifying what actions we took that uphold our values.

As we practiced our interview skills with other classmates we asked them to identify a recent decision they had to make. The outcome positive or negative, however why they chose that decision to find the source of their values. It is from this listening practice we gained the skill to look out for the ‘absent but implicit’.

Hearing a story but listening to the choice of words of how the individuals preferred way of living is conceived.

 

“It is not possible to talk about anything without drawing out what it is not. Every expression of life is in relation to something else.”  – Michael White, 2006

 

Through our interviewing narrative practices a common theme emerged, that is, the workplace.

Our workplaces are a complex environment where our values are tested every day and we struggle to navigate our way through.

  • Values such as fairness, loyalty, reliability, honesty and acknowledgement are the common values we try and uphold or expect to experience in the workplace.

Though in a world of careless managers, demanding customers, lazy co-workers and high expectations of flexibility we constantly struggle to find that place of perfect existence. That place does not exist it would seem.

As fresh university students’ soon to become professionals in the workplace we are now going to have to navigate our way through our careers. I reflect on the week where Sue Turnbull joined us in class for a narrative practice interview as she discussed her pathway through her working life. She discussed what choices she decided to make and to become a University professor at a later stage in her life. A quote that highly resonated with me was when she said

 

“Others got ahead of me, they had ambition, I don’t have that”

 

It resonated because I relate, I also do not have ambition. Is that a bad thing? As a non-ambitious I am comfortable going with the flow, achieving goals at my own pace and having no concrete direction. The workplace however is filled with all types of people who have different values and would disagree with a lack of ambition and enjoy the competition to get to the top. For me I am excited to close this long chapter of my university life and see what the future holds, one step at a time.
 

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‘Some Truth About Anger, Boundary Setting, and Declarations of Freedom’ Literature Review

BCM311, Uncategorized

‘Some Truth About Anger, Boundary Setting, and Declarations of Freedom’

This blog post by Elan Morgan is a powerful piece of narrative writing. It is a raw and honest account that derives emotions right from the heart.

Elan begins, as the title suggests, discussing the topic of anger. Anger, that she was taught from her early teen years, no one wanted to see or hear. Anger is an ugly emotion and such an emotion, that young woman especially should not display. Elan writes that anger evokes fear in others and it has negative associations. She questions why this is the case.

We all feel anger, it’s only natural. We are allowed to be angry.

Elan describes an occurrence where her anger began to manifest and how it lead to another being uncomfortable with her. It was New Year’s Day 2017 and a friend of hers died that morning of cancer. Elan admits she had lost contact with the friend, and that this is a sensitive topic for her given her own cancer experience. This news brought up a complex range of emotions, one of which was anger. Elan used Twitter as an emotional outlet to unleash her rage as she grieved the loss of her friend.

“I’m angry that my old friend died this morning, many old friends are honouring her at a pub today, and my sobriety means I can’t be there” – Twitter Post, 1st Jan 2017

After her 15-thread outburst Elan then tells how a Twitter follower which, for the purpose of the story, she names ‘Schartzmugel’ is uncomfortable with her anger. Elan admits she wasn’t surprised at ‘Schartzmugels’ backlash. People often don’t know how to react amongst anger. Elan’s anger was not directed at anybody and she wasn’t trying to stir up political debate to gain reaction. Though just from her expressing her emotions at this grieving time seems to cause another to be so uncomfortable. Elan gives three lessons in dealing with others’ and your anger.

 

  1. “It is very bad manners to say “I am sorry for your loss… but”
  1. “Anger is not an un-nuanced emotion that makes the world worse.”
  • Meaning that anger should not be feared or always associated with violence, it is a vital emotion that we need to accept in society.
  1. “Anger and love often move hand in hand”
  • Meaning that anger is the offspring of love, we tend to show anger when someone we love hurts us.

Elan’s final part of her narrative is the most important I found. She talks about using her anger as an instrument. An instrument that makes others uncomfortable as it demands change. She says to not be afraid of your emotions and use your anger as a constructive tool.

“People will tell you to shut up when you give voice to your anger, because it makes them pay attention, and that attention means you have power.”

As I absorbed the words Elan was writing, I applauded her honesty. The message she wanted to share was a message takes a dig at society. Society which has a prejudice against anger. Why are we taught that anger is evil? Why are women who show anger considered a bitch?

Elan is unafraid to speak her truth, she warns burying your anger is detrimental for your physical and mental well-being.After experiencing cancer, depression and alcoholism Elan found freedom in anger. Anger that gave her the power to be herself and is unapologetic in doing so.

While reflecting on Elan’s words, I find solace in her story. Anger is an uncomfortable emotion it stirs up an anxiety within in us and can motivate us to action. When we get angry it means it’s important to us. It means we want circumstances to change. The marriage equality debate in Australia at present being a great example. The anger from the LGBT community gives them a power that the government has had to respond to.

Use your anger as an instrument and don’t be afraid of others. As part of Elan’s concluding words.

“We have work to do and the fire to tend it. We have voices to sharpen and energy to spend. Our voices do not have to be pretty or appealing for others’ comfort when the job requires a different kind of tool. We’re goddamned fireworks.”

“A narrative that I have not experienced. A narrative that I have not lived”

BCM311, Uncategorized

storytelling-marketing-branding

The thought of writing another person’s story is a daunting and delicate process. Being given a responsibility, a responsibility of capturing the words and the emotions that come with and giving your best interpretation of that narrative.

A narrative that I have not experienced. A narrative that I have not lived.

The realisation here is…

The retelling of another’s story is never going to be the exact same.

I immediately think of that childhood game of ‘Chinese Whispers’. Chinese whispers, which I’ve now learnt is politically incorrect and considered somewhat offensive. It always seemed a harmless game to me but like other innocent parts of our childhoods (e.g. baa baa black sheep) have been stolen in our politically correct run world.

Anyway the point I wanted to make was, that the concept of that game is pretty similar the dilemma us storytellers have. That is, ultimately the original story (or whisper) ends up different in the hands of another person. It can be a deliberate or misunderstood change but more often than not, the story is interpreted different by the person listening.

How can we do justice to the original story?

We can’t always write down word from word what we are being told and then repeat exact words, as if it were some over rehearsed monologue.

As I reflect on my own experiences I realise that, we are all storytellers by nature. We exaggerate, we alter the details, we twist the truth, we take hold of a series of events and provide a story that makes interesting for our audience. Whether it be describing to our families an exciting Monday morning spent as if it weren’t mundane or an elaborate excuse for missing a friend’s birthday because we didn’t want to go.

It is our nature to tell stories. So, with another’s story, it is only natural that we tell it using words and emotions as if the story were our own.

By controlling the narrative, it is our best way of understanding the true meaning of the story and portraying it as if we had lived it ourselves.

Better late than never..

BCM311, Uncategorized

It’s a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon in the Gong and I, being the sloth I am have chosen to spend the day indoors. Instead of being outside in the fresh air, soaking up some much-needed vitamin D and working on my non-existent tan, I thought I’d use the opportunity to begin the practice of blog writing for a new subject BCM311. In classic form, I could have written this a week ago but better late than, never right?

The first week of… class? I feel class is too formal a word, our shared learning environment if you will, we discussed what the prospects of entering the workplace. I, like most others in their final semester cannot wait to finish our studies and find our place in the world. However, will it be all that we hoped for? Will we all be Steve Jobs (except the cancer part)? We don’t know what the future holds, all we know is the present. The present though is happy to categorise us and tell us who and how to be. The Myer-Briggs personality type as an example. I don’t need a test to tell me in an introverted person, like most I worked that out on my own.

Earlier this week I began filling out applications for summer internships, not jobs just paid internships, yet still I’m applying to these companies having to describe myself and why I am the best choice for them. How do I know that? What if I’m not that good?

As a marketing student, I’m familiar with having to market a product or a service, though now I found myself having to market myself to the world as if I am a brand. This concept of our own brand isn’t new, I mean we have our social media pages, LinkedIn and this blog so it’s not a totally unfamiliar topic.

The main question is: How does one who isn’t comfortable talking about themselves, convince strangers of their best attributes?