BCM313 Narrative Interview Reflection

BCM313

As part of my narrative interview presentation, interviewing my mum gave me further insight into things I never knew about my mum’s career history. I had always known my mum as this strong, independent and In charge woman. In contrast, whilst interviewing, I discovered she preferred to refer to herself as personable, adaptable, open and flexible when it came to working and her career. These skills were not only what she felt she had, but skills I feel I have as well. As this was something I learnt from interviewing her, I thought it would be best to see what she felt she learnt about herself.

When asked, my mum simply said “I realised the importance the people I met during my career had on me. At the time, I didn’t realise they had left their print and impact on my career heading forward. The little things that they said didn’t seem like big deals but looking back at those moments, I see how important they were in shaping me and my values”. 

This was really interesting to hear her response because it too highlighted for me my club of life and those who have left their mark on my working career including the skills and values I take to approach my work. Unless brought to our attention, or we are asked about the subject, it’s true how much we can miss from that moment until you take the time to reflect and tell your story again to someone new who was not present at the time of the story. 

Whilst conducting the interview, my mum began to re-member a story about a time a boss of hers upset an employee from my mum’s store she was managing. Not only had she begun to tell this story without having been asked for a story example, but it also came about when I asked her to tell me who she felt left an impact on her career history. Quite clearly, this particular boss did. In telling the story, she was using the absent but implicit narrative theory. She didn’t realise it at the time but coming back years later and telling the story, it was evident the impact this person had on my mum’s career and the values she took forward with her as her career progressed further into the different manager roles.

I found it very interesting that when I asked my mum about her club of life, she wasn’t able to provide a family member. This didn’t make it into the video as it became a private moment, but it got me thinking why she may have felt that way, as I would have very confidently said my mum would be a huge part of my own club of life, both personal and as part of my career. She played a critical part that allowed me to get my first job. This got me thinking, maybe she didn’t mention a family member because no one else in her family understood her job as a manager at all the different levels she was in being that no one else in her family worked in this industry. This was something  I wanted to touch on as I never expected the answer I received. She kept mentioning her same boss from the story prior as her biggest support but also all the co-workers and managers she worked alongside her that became crucial in her club of life throughout her career.

As the outsider witness listening to the stories my mum brought to the interview, I recognised my work style was similar to my mum’s. Having grown up and watched her be the boss lady that she is, that people either loved or hated as she was strict but in my opinion very fair, I recognise the skills and values my mum has that have influenced my working style. I too like my mum began working in retail at the young age of 15 and have worked my way up. I see myself as a strict but fair employee who takes pride in my work and strives for the best outcomes possible. These I easily recognised having come from my mum and having watched her in her earlier retail career.

This narrative interview was mind-opening. Having to create interview questions and delivering an interview with someone I know well, I couldn’t help but smile and laugh especially for the moments I recognised my mum and her working style. I’m quite close with my mum and reliving memories from her career made us both laugh, unfortunately, had to be removed from the interview, but overall, I felt I was able to show to my BCM313 peers who my mum was, what she valued in work and was able to learn so much from the experience.

References:

Carey, M & Russell, S 2003, Outsider-witness practices: some answers to commonly asked questions compiled by, viewed 18 October 2022, <https://narrativepractices.com.au/attach/pdf/Outsider_Witness_Common_Questions.pdf&gt;.

CAREY, M, WALTHER, S & RUSSELL, S 2009, ‘The Absent but Implicit: A Map to Support Therapeutic Enquiry’, Family Process, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 319–331.

Russell, S & Carey, M 2002, Remembering: responding to commonly asked questions co-ordinated by, viewed 18 October 2022, <http://narrativepractices.com.au/attach/pdf/Remembering_Common_Questions.pdf&gt;.

Listening Essay- Ashley Tank

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I struggle with listening tasks not because I don’t want to hear but because I’ve always considered myself a talker. This made the task of listening to understand rather than listening to respond a challenging one for me. I decided to listen to the conversation with Ashley Tank. Ashley is the Executive Director Global at UOW, where she oversees all things global that affect the university and the students in a global environment and setting. Upon her introduction, she describes her role as requiring “collaboration” and continues by mentioning that “I’m a collaborator. That’s one of my values”. This stood out to me because I sometimes feel I lack the skill of collaboration but only when I’m in the right environment and with a positive group, do I feel as though collaboration is the only way I can get through a task. This simple description of being a collaborator showcased the importance of working together no matter the scale or level you’re working at and highlighted Ashley’s first value.

As the interview progressed, and conversation around Covid and the change it brought began, Ashley re-membered a story of how she acquired her current position. She had been asked by her then director to “pop into a meeting” to listen to an upcoming project which lead her to “managing the whole thing” referring to the project from that initial meeting. Hearing Ashley’s story about how she acquired her current position made me realise that her club of life member had left a major impact on her story of how she got to her position. Her then director felt that Ashley was more than capable of “managing” because of her previous role and experience in managing inbound and outbound students studying abroad. Further into the interview when asked who Ashley felt knew she was capable of taking on this role, her immediate answer was her then director who believed in her ambitiousness but then also her husband who believed in her. The concept of re-membering a story being recounted introduces the idea that it’s not always the outcome of the story being told that is most important, but the people we find ourselves mentioning that are important to the tale and ultimately are the people that we find to be important to us.

To re-member is ‘to call attention to the reaggregation of members, the figures who belong to one’s life story …’ (Myerhoff 1982, p.11). Michael White further developed the term, introducing it into narrative therapy. This development brings to light the idea that people’s identities are shaped by what can be referred to as a ‘club of life’. ‘Club of life’ initiates the concept that for all of us there are members to our club of life who have a part to play in the way we come to experience ourselves (Russell & Carey, 2002).

Whilst listening to Ashely’s story, it became evident that her then director was not only a crucial member of Ashely’s club of life but also an outsider witnessing her abilities to manage the new project. They had known that Ashley was beyond capable of the role she has now acquired and believed in her to take control of the project. An outsider witness in narrative therapy is “an invited audience to a therapy conversation” (Russell & Carey, 2003). They are invited to listen and acknowledge the story of the person they are listening to, also making me an outsider witness to Ashley’s story and interview.

Listening to Ashley’s interview, I found myself drawn to her stories and language. I connect her comments to my life and can see how we have similar ways of working and similar values. Ashley goes on to mention that she “is the type of person that needs to know everything”. This is something I can strongly connect to as I value curiosity and knowledge in my work life. It is apparent that Ashley feels the same with the way she uses body language to emphasise the importance of this desire to “know everything”. These hand gestures show a sense of realness and as an outsider witness to this story, I can feel her authenticity which Russell & Carey describe a preferred story to be and this is clearly Ashley’s preferred story to describe her work values. “This sense of ‘realness’ or ‘authenticity’ only comes when our preferred stories are witnessed and responded to by a significant audience”  (Carey & Russell, 2003)”. 

I believe after listening to this interview with Ashley Tank, that re-membering and more specifically, our club of life members are those who shape us and allow us to develop our own preferred stories on how we ended up in the position we are in today and an outsider witness like Ashley’s then director, have the ability change the projection of our career goals.

BCM313 Narrative Reflection

BCM313

I have always disliked change and disruption in my life because of the uncertainty it brings into my everyday routine. I am the type of person who has always had a set wake-up time with enough notice of what my work week and/or my school/uni week or the combination of the two was going to look like. With this being said covid really challenged me because of the consistent yet unpredictable change it brought.

It was 2020 right after I had moved into my new house with my family and I really needed consistency. I value and appreciate having the ability to work and earn money as for me this means independence. With this in mind, I knew I needed to find a new job with more consistency. The job search began and as a joke, as I had been sitting on camping chairs in a newly built house and the TV on the floor and almost no other furniture thanks to COVID delays, I applied to work for a furniture business.

Two days later, I had an interview. I had only ever been a part of uni interviews prior to this but I practised some responses with my mum and developed answers that would make me sound like the best person for the job. Two days after the interview, which was intimidating and left me feeling unsure if I would receive a call, I received the call with the job offer. I was really unsure if I wanted to work in this environment because it was so different to the job role I had previously. My mum always says that you cannot succeed if you do not try and reminded me that if I started the role and gave it a chance for a week and didn’t like what was happening, then I could easily leave. So I gave it a chance.

That first week was better than I expected. Although the change of job role was new and different and really made me change my ways and weekly routine, it was a good difference and a great example that you shouldn’t knock it until you try it. During my first week I had the opportunity to learn all the programs and apps that the business used, made my first sales including a sauna sale which I had no knowledge on saunas and learnt as I went and even got to build new furniture models, but with this also came irate customers who were upset about the delays covid brought. These interactions scared me because I was new and didn’t have all the answers to give these customers. Instinctively, I made it a priority to learn all I could about products, shipping, warehouse, delays in shipping and even products and their benefits.

Fast forward 2 years, and I have now become the showroom manager!  With my hard work and determination in the furniture business and the ability to take initiative and aim to learn as much as I could about all the areas within this business, I was given the management role. These past 2 years brought many challenges, especially with the uncertainty of shift availability due to the lockdowns, but because my hard work stood out, I was given other work opportunities within the business.

To re-member is ‘to call attention to the reaggregation of members, the figures who belong to one’s life story …’ (Myerhoff 1982, p.11). Since the introduction of the term “re-membering”, Michael White further developed the term, introducing it into narrative therapy. This development introduces the idea that people’s identities are shaped by what can be referred to as a ‘club of life’. ‘Club of life’ initiates the concept that for all of us there are members to our club of life who have a part to play in the way we come to experience ourselves (Russell & Carey, 2002).

When I look back and re-member, my biggest supporter and the highest ranked member in my club of life is my mum. I have always looked up to her and have always pushed myself to do the best I can to make her proud. She encouraged me to take a leap of faith and make a change to my daily routine and it has paid off over the past 2 years. Although my mum was the first person I turned to, this is not to say that other members of my ‘club of life’ didn’t assist with my decisions during this time.

Although my mum is number 1, I also came to realise through this reflective narrative that my best friend Teagan, inspired me to find a better job, so I asked Teagan to give me her perspective. 

This task of re-membering provided the opportunity to re-engage with a past experience (Russell & Carey, 2002)that I would have otherwise forgotten about, bringing attention that the people I have surrounded myself with have similar shared values and views of how I saw myself at the time.

References:
Russell, S & Carey, M 2002, Remembering: responding to commonly asked questions co-ordinated by, viewed 21 August 2022, <http://narrativepractices.com.au/attach/pdf/Remembering_Common_Questions.pdf&gt;.

A Skill I’m Particularly Good At

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To ask me to decide on 1 skill I feel I’m particularly good at is extremely difficult, but the first thing to come to mind is makeup knowledge and its application.

I am no makeup artist, but I most certainly possess the same skill and products they use to complete a full glam or a natural bronze glow. From a young age, I was drawn to makeup. It excited me and intrigued me that these colours and products had the ability to change a person’s self-confidence whilst still keeping them looking like themself (obviously not speaking about special effect makeup). Colour says a lot about a person. I’m a pink makeup girl. I love the pink glitter, and the pink blush and have always gravitated towards pink-toned nude lipstick or just a classic pink will work too! I’m a girly girl through and through. Pink symbolizes youthfulness and playfulness, both things I would use to describe myself.

My 21st Birthday Makeup

From a young age, I found that I gravitated towards makeup and found that I could somehow memorise facts about products such as when they launched, their price and even when they discontinued. These strange little things I remembered always seemed to help with friends and family who would come to me for advice.

My love for makeup is also represented throughout this blog and most certainly on my TikTok page. @oliviajlopez

To say makeup is my only skill is a flat-out lie. I know I’m a good cook and love food but I especially love making desserts. I love the strict process of baking and have always liked strict routines and rules because they always turn out the way you plan, unlike how makeup application gives you complete creative freedom.

Although these 2 skills in my opinion are super different to one another, they show who I am and why I am the way I am. I love creative freedom, but I like guidelines and rules to assist me with my final desired result. When you pick up an eyeshadow palette, you pretty much know the type of look you will create, but how you create it is completely up to the user whereas baking is a skill many find restricting because if the recipe is not followed precisely, the dessert will certainly not turn out as planned.

A skill really speaks volumes about a person, but to get to truly know them, you need to be able to watch them whilst in and out of their skill zone to see what they’re really like. Skills and quality/personality traits when paired and observed can give away more than what that person would share. So don’t think I’m a strict, play-by-the-rules girl who wears pink and dreams about makeup, because that’s just the tiny tip of the iceberg. You will find when you get to know me, that I may completely surprise you.