As if blogging is not exhibitionist enough I have been tagged by Thomas Otter for even more personal disclosure. The task is to list 8 things you may not know and pass it on. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound.
1. I grew up a farm boy, still am sort of. First generation off the land. My brother is a farmer. I envy the freedom of his life style and this just proves far away hills really are greener, literally.
2. I share a birth date (not just day) with Kylie Minogue. I’m not sure what this means if anything. As information it is like a lighthouse in a bog: brilliant but useless. Free tickets Kylie?
3. I trace my political awakening to an encounter with former President of Ireland, Patrick Hillery whom I met as a boy at the World Ploughing Championships in 1979. I asked him for his autograph and he promised me one better – that he would write to me on official Áras an Uachtaráin letter head. I waited for the mail every day for weeks but the letter never came and my faith in politicians has never quite been restored (I’m only half joking about this). Years later I met one of Ireland’s greatest Presidents and a great champion of global Human Rights, Mary Robinson on a flight from Dublin to New York. She came back from first class to shake hands with everyone on the plane. This time I didn’t ask for autographs or favours and was not disappointed. (but Paddy it’s not too late you know)
4. I worked my way through university initially as a waiter but I wasn’t very good at it. Then I graduated to driving stretch stretch limousines around New York. I managed even to total/write one off. I could write a meme on this alone, so many bizarre weddings, funerals and such and the driver gets a unique perspective. The lasting legacy has been a really good geographic knowledge of New York and New Jersey.
5. My fist car was a Chrysler Newport. It looked and ran a little better than the one in the picture but not by much.
6. I studied acting at The Questors Theatre in London for two years. It was a curious itch that needed to be scratched after I finished my MBA. It was fascinating to learn the Stanislavsky system. Of course all actors are vain and self indulgent and ironically, on stage it is the last thing you can or should be if you want to act well. It’s quite an exercise in masochism. A lot of what I learned I think has tremendous application to HR management. The Stanislavsky idea of units, objectives and super objectives; having a clear sense of your role and motivation and that of your stage collaborators, trust, teamwork and constant rehearsal. In fact, Laurence Olivier’s son Richard is making a handsome living doing such. I highly recommend his work.
7. Cycling – I love to get on the bike and ride for a long time. I commuted 25 miles a day in London because it happened to be the cheapest and fastest way for my commuting route. cycling in London is dangerous but exhilarating and a great way to get to know all the nooks and crannies of the city. Then I moved to Germany and became more sedentary, too much beer & bread. A 2008 resolution maybe? My ambition is to one day do an audax event such as the famous Paris-Brest-Paris run. Its like a marathon for cycling.
8. Though I work in CSR I once participated in the tobacco industry as a lowly student tobacco picker in Germany. I was paid 5DM (about €2.5) per hour and all the beer I could drink. Actually, before I completely write off the tobacco industry from CSR perspective check out British America Tobacco. It’s a tough case to make but they are taking some strong positions on human rights and responsible operations.