My Tribute to Jay MacPherson, Delivered at Victoria College, June 11, 2012

When the four quarters shall

Turn in and make one whole,

Then I who wall your body,

Which is to me a soul
– Jay Macpherson, The Boatman

Margaret Atwood: Year of the Flood

Jay MacPherson was a rare creature — one of a kind. Everyone who knew her would agree.

            Eleanor Cook has spoken about her poetry. I can only add that those few who heard her read it have never forgotten the experience. She was not a person who was interested in poetry as a “career” – she wrote poems only when impelled – and that is clear from the poems themselves.

            I first met Jay in 1957 because she was my English professor at Victoria College – which did hire women then, unlike some colleges at the University of Toronto and very many universities and colleges throughout the English-speaking world.  Jay must have been a mere twenty-eight years old, but she seemed to me very experienced and accomplished – she had, after all, just won the Governor General’s Award for The Boatman, at the unprecedented age of twenty-seven.  At…

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Why did the chicken cross the road?

…because it was a personal decision, that’s why!

A friend and I were discussing how haphazardly people at times cross the road. It was really idle chat as we made our way across town. But she mentioned something that I thought was insightful: crossing the road is a personal decision.

It truly is. At that moment when you decide to cross , you’re physically and mentally ready for it. You’ve balanced out your weight and acceleration and you know that should anything unexpected happen, you’ll be set to take it on. Therefore that person who grabs you and says. “twende!” before you can prepare yourself does you a great disservice! You can only go when you have made that personal decision.

I extrapolated this statement to put meaning to things we do in life. No one should compel you to do anything you are not ready for no matter how much they think you look ready. So should you encounter such “twende” people, may be you can do what I normally do:

  1. Ignore them: Silence works every time! But remember to be gracious and respectful.
  2. Tell THEM to go! Encourage them to take that route that they so desperately want to take and wish them well!
  3. Shake them off!  Sometimes you cannot really ignore them or talk to them so try and ‘lose’ them in the crowd! Unless you wear really heavy scents, they will not be able to track you! 🙂

So whether it concerns doing that Masters degree, quitting your job to start that business or even embark  on that seemingly fairy-tale – like relationship, such major decisions almost always need you to be the sole initiator and executor.

p/s Remember to look right, left and then right again!

Home is where my words are…

…and I am my words.

 “I searched all around the world, and I found myself” – Beyonce Knowles.

I didn’t have to search far. I was here all along. All I had to do was sit still and find. I found myself and I feel strong. Who ever I meet, talk to and learn form affirms it. We are what we search for. I heard the line for the first time recently. It hit home in a warm sort of way. When I heard it I sat back and smiled. How brilliant. How true.

I have been searching for order. Action: I walked into the nearest bookshop and bought a comprehensive diary. I jot down what I have to do for the day every morning at 5.30am. Result: Although I don’t hit the mark all the time at least I get to sit down at the end of my day and figure out why.

I have been searching for success: Action: I set out to make friends that define the word. Result: I have a network that I constantly learn from and slowly but surely, my weaknesses are becoming strengths.

I have been searching for love: Action: Set high personal standards that will not be compromised no matter what. Result: I am single but secure 🙂

We are our words.

Are you home?


I should have left ages ago!

So the contract says works 5, 8-hour days but in reality, you work 7, 12-hour ones! What do you do? Continue working that’s what!

I, like many of you have scores of friends who often complain about the overtime reality. Instead of joining them, here are simple ways you can make the most of this unwritten performance term.

  • Facebook and tweet! Open those social media tabs either on your phone or PC (if the company allows access to social sites) and keep in touch with the outside world! The pro: time moves pretty fast when you’re socializing virtually. The con: the probability of getting any meaningful work done is quite low.
  • Idle chat! There is always that one person in the office who likes to talk more than the rest. That is the one who will help you breeze through those hours. Engage them in a mutually benefiting conversation and make a friend while at it. The pro: they may end up being great allies. The con: they may be the ‘me’ type and drag on and on about stuff only they care about!

  • Work! Yes, work. Use those hours to actually get some work done! The pro: you will gain favour with the supervisor. The con: you will be freeing up your schedule (for more work!)

Personally I apply all the above as I work through the day. How about you? Which one of these do you agree with? Do share them with us!

The Big 3

The dissection of a corporate bug:

  1. A corporate bug’s asset: Qualifications. These are acquired in instituitions of higher learning. A high school certificate is meaningless to a corporate bug and a masters degree most valuable!
  2. A corporate bug’s weaknessAppreciation/Acknowledgement. This may come in extrinsic and or intrinsic forms. “Here is a KShs XXX,XXX cheque as a thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in this month!” or “No. Don’t call me Sir/Madam, call me by my first name!” or both these forms of appreciation/acknowledgement can make a corporate bug go berserk with joy (inside of course!)
  3. A corporate bug’s strength: Special Skill. No corporate bug worth the title is void of special skill either in letter writing, public speaking, negotiation, quick thinking, self control under pressure e.t.c. Corporate bugs have something unique that they bring to the table. This is what sets them apart from all other CBs.

I must admit mine is quick thinking! I cannot honestly count the number of times this noggin of mine has rescued me!

So do you agree with the big 3? What’s your special skill?

Catch that Bug!

Welcome to the Corporate bug series.

The series is meant to better understand the new business species and what can help it strive in the dynamic business habitat.

A corporate bug is an individual currently tied up in all matters corporate and earning a salary while at it.

Don’t bother checking the dictionaries. The word is created by me to describe the group I am now a part of . What I haven’t yet figured out (and I am hoping you can help me) is whether a start-up owner is a corporate bug as well.

Corporate bugs are also not in executive roles that are involved in actual strategy formulation. The are more so the strategy implementers.

Welcome!