Email Etiquette #5

Be really clear
Email requests should always be polite but you must be clear what exactly you are asking. If you are sending a file to someone for their information then make sure they understand this. Please.

If you are asking someone to do something for you, make sure that it’s clear what you are asking for. I also strongly suggest giving a deadline for tasks otherwise people usually put a task off until it seems urgent or worse (or more commonly) forget about it.

I usually look over all my emails before I send them and ask myself the questions like “What am I asking this person?” “Have I asked the person for something specific?” and “have I been polite and courteous?”

All Email Etiquette posts here


Time to vote...

You know it's funny I didn't see baby murdering Muslim's for President on the ballot paper...


Dawkins debates...

Many of you may know I've talked about Richard Dawkins before on my blog. In fact if I remember a couple of anonymous commenters took me to task. I've since bought a copy of the God Delusion and it sits partially read along side an ever increasing stack of other partially read books.

Anyway Dawkins recently debated The Existence of God and that God is a delusion with Dr John Lennox in Alabama. Most interstingly in the debate he apparently admitted that

"A serious case could be made for a deistic God."
You can view the debate streamed over here or see a report/blog in the Spectator in the UK.
(ht Craig)


Email Etiquette #4

SMS speak and Bad spelling

“ive packaged the item and gut some quotes, its gunna cost me about 40 bux to send to ur postcode.”

Avoid it! It’s annoying, lazy, childish and rude. I don’t want to interpret your email. I just want to read it. Make it easy and clear to understand. I know my spelling is not always the best but I do really try.

Other tips here


The cleanest shower in Jane...

This is what you'll need.

  • Sponge I buy thick cheap ones like Homebrand or similar. They seem to last about the same amount of time as the expensive ones and if they start to smell just chuck em out.

  • A good quality cream cleaner. Bathroom cleaning often goes wrong here because people skimp on a quality cleaner eg. Chickenfeed It's WRONG people... You'll use five times more of it and still get a poorer result. I love Jif it's strong but without harsh scratching. It's more expensive but you use a lot less for top notch finish. I use it on the base of my shower about once every few weeks or when it starts to look grimy.

  • Glass screens are tricky beasts to clean and fraught with danger for new players to the cleaning game. Using a harsh cleaner eg Jif will scratch and damage the glass (I know from sharehouse experience). I really like Shower Power. It has a strong odour which puts some off however it works better than anything else I've tried. I usually spray it on, leave for a minute or two, wipe off with a sponge, then rinse. Almost perfect, it just needs the secret weapon...

  • The Secret weapon. I should really be making you pay for this tip but my squeegee above is the most integral part of keeping the shower screen clean. A good squeegee isn't cheap but will pay for it's self in the long run. A real deal industrial strength window cleaning squeegee like mine will set you back about $60, but it's worth it. You can use it to clean large mirrors, windows and glass. I probably squeegee down the shower screen every second time I use the shower. Now that may sound like too much for you but if you're diligent the most often you'll need to use Shower Power is once a month.

Finally this doesn't have anything to do with keeping your shower clean. Limiting your showers to four minutes is great for saving water and your children's children will thankyou for saving the planet. Christine got this cool frog timer for seven dollars.

So there you have it the cleanest shower in Jane (click for full glory)... and I didn't even clean it before I took the photo.


How do you live in a world of suffering?

It's a very good question. Dan gives a very good sermon in response. It's one of his best to date. start listening here or right click to download.

Original photo by Kevin Carter.


just a little bit...

I've been a bit sick over the last week. I've got aching joints and bones, killer headaches, running a temperature (I think) and I'm very tired. All these were the symptoms of the flu I had a month back, but without the sneezing, coughing and nose blowing. Weird. I've been thinking I might even go visit the doctor for a tune up. But to the point of this post... It would be awesome if you could pray for me. Cheers.


I get frustrated...

I was talking to my good friend Adam this morning about some of the frustrations I have with the current state of play in American politics. Until now I haven't really taken much notice of American politics. This year however I've been swept up in it a bit.

During this campaign what has disappointed me most, are the numbers of Americans who are seeming swept up in fear, ignorance and ad hominem arguments that leave little scope for reason and logic. The most saddening thing is that some of these people claim the name Christian. Christians should be the ones who stand out, who value truth, knowledge and rational thinking, love and kindness no matter what side of the political divide a person is from.

At this point I don't want you to get me wrong I love America. I've been there and met many wonderful people from both sides of the political divide. When I visited I came back deeply humbled. Being a Christian isn't about voting Democrat or Republican. First and foremost it's about the gospel, the good news to a hurting and sinful world that only Jesus can fix.


There is so much wrong in this picture*...

And I'm not talking about bad fashion.

*Picture from here


The Application Letter

Here's a pretty good one I wrote about a year ago (with apologies for length). I've fiddled some of the names and titles so Google doesn't come back to bite me.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to you to apply for this position of Resident Fellow at JFH.

I’ve been keen to work as a Resident Fellow at JFH for some time now. While I haven’t attended the college I’ve had a fair bit to do with previous Resident Fellows and a batch of the current students. I’ve always found the prospect of working with students in a capacity of leadership something attractive.

I believe that the skills knowledge and passion that I would bring to the job would be of great benefit.

I have had a great deal of experience in working with young people. This includes teaching students many of whom had challenging behaviour, in a school capacity. More recently I’ve been helping to lead the campus student group FOCUS. As part of this I’ve been running a weekly bible study up at JFH with Resident Fellow Benny W.

Furthermore I’ve been involved in leading annual summer camps in Northern New South Wales for the last 6 years. This has included working with indigenous people of all ages and has exposed me to many social problems behavioural difficulties.

As a Christian I also believe that I’m able to deal sensitively with students needs and problems. This comes from the motivation that my creator loves all students, regardless of age and creed. Naturally part of my job is to love them as he does. Having said that I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be a student, have exams and go out and party.

I also believe that the life experience that I bring will be of benefit to the students who would be under my care. I have a wealth of experience in the retail and trade sector, working successfully with Chickenfeed Bargain Stores over a number of years, before moving to a permanent Part Time job as Window Cleaner. My work experience has taught me important rules such as hard work and honesty. I enjoy relating to people and have an enthusiastic and outgoing personality.

In terms of academic leadership I spent 6 years studying at the University of Tasmania achieving a Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Teaching. During my time at University I maintained a credit average in all my subjects failing none of them. In my first degree I majored in Journalism and English. This degree led me to spending a little time working as journalist with the ABC and WIN television.

I achieved my second degree overcoming very difficult personal circumstances to not only pass, but to also maintain credit level marks. I’ve been a registered teacher in the state of Tasmania since I graduated in 2004.

Most recently I’ve been employed working for the student group FOCUS as a ministry Apprentice. This job involves not only preaching and teaching but also working with students in a mentor capacity. This involves teaching encouraging and at times reproving students. I believe this places me well to work with the students at JFH. My current job also involves making sure that I’m setting an example for the students in everything that I do in my public and private life

While compared to some I could be described as a “young man” I have a good deal of life experience, which includes travel in Europe and America. I also recently married and believe that this brings a unique advantage to the Resident Fellow position. My wife, Christine and I are very much partners in all that we do. I am always grateful for her insight and ability to assist me with problems and issues that arise. She has a bachelor’s degree in History Education, as well as Art Education. Following University, she taught for a year before going on to post-graduate studies in history and theology. She is currently completing her Master’s degree in Theology and has been a immense help to the women of FOCUS in the form of ministering to their spiritual needs.

In conclusion I have every confidence that I’m the person for the job. Please don’t hesitate to call myself, or any of my referees should you have a question. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours Sincerely, Mike Jolly


Job Interviews

I helped do 17 job interviews at Jane on the weekend and I really enjoyed myself. It was most interesting sitting on the other side of the job interview desk for a change.

One of the things that stuck out to me was that nearly all the participants turned in generally pretty bad applications and most interviewed poorly*. I thought I’d give a list of hints and tips to help you out especially if you are student to write a good resume and nail that job interview.

The Resume

  • Address the selection Criteria. We weren’t harsh on our applicants for not doing this but other people are. If you don’t follow the instructions your application will end up in the bin.
  • If it says keep the letter to one page then keep it to one page! If there are six criteria address all of them.
  • Also make your resume looks nice. Most of the applications we received were ugly. Underlined headings are bad. It makes it look like your Mum got on Word and typed it for you. And if you don’t know anything about aesthetics then stick to simple Times New Roman with headings in bold.

The Interview
  • Confidence with a capital C.
  • Ability to sell yourself (passionate about why you want the job).
  • Know about the job inside out be prepared to ask the interviewer a question or two. This shows initiative.
  • Show initiative even if your ideas are stinkers someone who thinks is better than someone who doesn’t in my opinion.
  • Tell people your strengths (again passion).
  • Admit faults and be honest.
  • Dress up a bit (not essential)
Other things?

*If you are one of those people I’m happy to help you and give constructive feedback.


The Ultimate Fighting...

...Pastor! See here. He's from Driscoll's church. I guess there's no surprises there.


Olivia Kious Jolly

More from Christine here.


The Bridge

It’s a hauntingly beautiful to watch the time lapse photography as fingers of fog fold in and out of the long thin wisps of cable supporting The Bridge. The camera slows down and pulls back…there's a pause and then a splash.

I’ve never been to San Francisco* but I reckon that Golden Gate Bridge must be one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world. I watched a documentary DVD over the weekend called The Bridge. It details the stories of people who each year jump to their deaths from the bridge. It’s compelling viewing as you are drawn into the stories and events leading to each person’s death. We watch as people wander listlessly along the bridge in obvious distress but are ignored by passersby who seem unaffected by the events around them.

The film isn’t for the faint hearted with it’s enduring close up images of people plunging to their deaths. The Bridge also raises many interesting and deep ethical questions about the relationship between the film makers and the jumpers, (Some IMDB reviewers argue more could have been done more to prevent the deaths).

However I think this misses the point. In a world where so often it’s hard to understand why someone would want to kill themselves, I found it eye opening and powerful stuff. The film neither glorifies nor trivializes suicide but seeks to non judgmentally understand. In many cases we learn of jumpers, substance abuse, oppression, hurt, and depression that leads to their deaths. I found the film a reality check, a reminder that things in our world are not as they should be.

*Well that’s not quite true I’ve sat in the airport.


Bad TV, the Olympics and Me-ism

I remember hearing while the Olympics were on that the coverage described as the worst in years. I’m not out to agree or disagree with this but I do want to point out something that I believe underlies this opinion.

It’s the idea that I create the world of meaning, relationships and beliefs around me. Perhaps a good way I could describe it is with the following picture.

You can see the person’s reality is constructed around them illustrated by the parts of the newspaper circling. In other words the world I create around me exists to serve me.

This expectation carries through into our culture more broadly. If we want something now we can choose to have it instantly. Examples of this include express supermarkets, fast food joints, and instant communication. Furthermore these ways of thinking are perpetuated by the Internet and technology.

In short we expect to be able to watch what we want, where we want, how we want , when we want to. So we download movies and TV so we can watch it at a time to suit us. To return to my theory about the Olympics, I believe that this is part (though not all) of the reason so many people were dissatisfied with the coverage because it simply didn’t suit ‘me’.


Daylight saving...

So who stuffed it up? Come on own up...


Faith vs Reason?

Faith is the subjective act of the existing subject in deciding for God above reason but not against reason.


Pregnancy Pictures

Below: Mike, Christine and Squiggle Brick*

Christine signed me up to this email list from the Baby Centre. They send you emails every week to tell you what the baby is doing and how big it is. The thing that cracks me up most are the lamo pictures... enjoy.

*Photo may not resemble actual persons. Please note that 'Squiggle Brick' is a working title


The hardest words of all

Fiona says...

I read somewhere recently that “sorry”, “please” and “thank you” should be the hallmarks of a Christian life... more.


Email Etiquette #3

Forwarding Emails
It’s best to almost always consider this a no go zone. Nearly all people who do it, do it badly.
“If 10000 Christians sign this my friend will eat his underpants”.

Much of this type of stuff is just SPAM. I like to use Snopes to check if an evil forwarded email is actually true or not. If it’s not I spam back all the stupid people who signed it and send them the link for the snopes page... but I'm a pretty mean guy.

If you must send an email with a link to a funny site (or whatever it is that is so hilarious), make sure you have a clear Subject line like “Link for you” and preferably a description of why you want someone to look at it.

You can read the rest of my Email Etiquette series here.