Posts Tagged ‘career’

The Zen of Burg – 10 Steps To A Happier Me (Part 2)

April 19, 2012

Right, so if you’ve read part 1, you will know what this part 2 is about 🙂

6. The New Me, Same as the Old Me

Over the years the most noticeable things to disappear from my life were my smile, my laugh and my self-confidence. Finding a picture of me smiling from the last 7 years is about as likely as finding gold in a hobo’s dentures. Over the last few months, all of those missing elements have begun to return. A lot of it can be credited to my new work colleagues who have a very similar sense of humour to me, and they truly bring out the old me that I know so many of my friends once knew. I laugh more, smile more, and have the confidence to be the person I really am again.

The me at home is VERY different to the me out in the real world, and for the longest time, the real me stayed at home permanently. I wasn’t fun to be around, I could barely hold conversation with people without getting annoyed to the point of wanting to drown them in a small shallow bucket. I’m at my best when I am funny and witty. I love to make people laugh and lighten the mood. That’s my gift. I make people feel good. When I couldn’t do that, I felt incomplete, and quite honestly worthless. Now I feel I can walk into a room and light it up again if need be. I walk with an air of confidence again, I take pride in the way I dress. It’s certainly not like this 24/7 , but now I don’t feel like the short fat kid who has to sit in the corner at the school dance anymore. I’m the short fat kid who asks the prom queen to dance again.

7. Live for the moments.

I am the KING of the big gesture, I used to do so many epic things for people (yes, girls), to try and win them over and convince them of my awesomeness, 99.9% of the time it backfired and I often didn’t get so much as a thank you. Yet I didn’t learn, I kept doing it, because I enjoyed doing those things, but selfishly I wanted something back from it, even if it was just a thank you. Those sort of things can be so draining to both your heart and soul. The easy answer was I was doing it for the wrong reasons, or so friends would always tell me, but then when the next “target” came along, I would commit the same foul.

Over the last few months, a light switch finally went off in my head that allowed me to admit that I was doing it for the wrong reasons. However, and this is a big however, so take note. This does not mean I should stop doing it. I ENJOY the big gestures, the work or research (called creeping these days), that goes into a big gift, or heartfelt gesture, so why should I stop doing it? No, instead, I need to change the reasons as to why I’m doing it. I no longer expect anything in return. I do it now because to simply make someone’s day is good enough for me. It makes me happy. Whether it be friends, a love interest or a complete stranger. I like to show that romance and magical moments still exist. Now I live for those moments. The moment of telling a beautiful girl in the elevator that she is in fact a beautiful girl, then simply walking away with no further interaction needed. Sending someone flowers, anonymously or otherwise, simply to make them smile knowing that someone made an effort for them that day.

So be warned, you may in fact be the recipient of a #BurgMoment… when you least expect it, something good could happen to you. You may get flowers, you may get your lunch bill paid for, you may have a clowns show up at your office, you may get invited to an all-expenses paid holiday. There are so few genuinely good moments in life, that sometimes you have to make your own. I notice everyone and I’m happy to say these moments have already started happening… so you could be next!

8. Don’t Give a Damn about People Opinions, But Stand Up For Yourself.

I’d always been “too nice”, too nice to rock the boat, too nice to complain, and too worried about what people might think about me, didn’t wanna embarrass myself you know. I had my pride. (This was always a very strange contraction to my outside appearance, with my tattoos, piercings and clothing, I always seemed to attract attention. I had an aura about me that drew people towards me). This effectively led to me being screwed over way too often and always coming out with the short end of the stick.

Then something changed. It might have been the 5 years in the music industry that hardened me, or maybe that was just part of it. But somewhere along the line I became a bonefide badass. You didn’t mess with me. If I am in the right, I will fight till the bitter end to make sure I come out the victor. Customer services and banks around the country know this better than anyone. I don’t accept cr@ppy service, I don’t accept being spoken down too, and I don’t allow people to be bullied. I stand up for those who feel they don’t have a voice anymore. I’m still learning the fine are of not going too far with making a point, and admittedly, sometimes I do push it too far, but I blame all the pent up aggression I have inside me. However, I’m glad I have hardened the eff up. And you know what? I have gotten more freebies, gift vouchers, apologies, and service than I have even had in my life. Score a point to the little guy.

9. Open to Trying New Things

I have always been so stuck in my ways. As much as a free spirit as I am, it takes a lot for me to break out of my own personal mould. It’s always been frustrating for people, because if my mind is made up, there is no changing it. Ok ok, let’s just cut to the chase, I will finally admit it. I am stubborn, fussy and hard to please….wow, I can actually hear about 400 people collectively saying “I told you so”. But I do admit it, and this is what has led to a lot of arguments with friends. Lately however, I have been so open to trying new things. Whether it’s something simple like a food I hate that I’ve never actually eaten, or maybe going out somewhere I don’t like with friends just to be with friends, or heck maybe even the reverse cowboy…I more than willing to entertain new things in my life. Maybe it’s something that comes with age, I’m not quite sure…all I know is that the way I’ve been living wasn’t making me happy. Of course I do all this within reason, it’s not like I’m living the life of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll now simply because being sXe wasn’t working for me, however I am now open to that cocktail on the beach in Hawaii or that beer in Germany…

10. I am Awesome.

To steal a catchphrase from The Miz. I am awesome, and I need to keep believing that to survive this crazy ride through the rest of my life. I’m a good person, and so proud of that, because there are very few of us left. In a world that is getter meaner and crueller by the day, it is us few white knights who need to keep the hope alive; the hope of something better out there, something good and caring.

I take this role very seriously; I like to bring hope to people but in an honest way. That has always been the purpose of this blog, and my life. I have seen it all and been through more, and it’s these life lessons that give others strength. There may be a touch of arrogance to what I say, buy my life has never really been my own, and I finally understand that. My experiences, the tragedy and the triumphs are given to me because I can handle them. I live my life openly, and this blog has never been shy of revealing things that most people are ashamed of, but I do it so that if just one person can relate to it, it’s been worth it. I’ve always seen myself as a person who comes into people’s lives when they need me the most. I offer comfort when others cannot. People tend to trust me and share their problems with me, which while overwhelming at times (especially when it’s not something I can physically help with), is something of an honour.

As my blog approaches that magical milestones of 100,000 views, I’d like to take this time to thank #TeamBurg old and new for supporting me, for loving me, for hating me, for having a reaction to what I say. I write because I feel I have something to say, and I always encourage you to do the same.

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The Zen of Burg: 10 Steps to a Happier Me (Part 1)

April 19, 2012


The path to happiness is different for everyone. There is no hard and fast rule on how to get there, and of course, one person’s idea of happiness may leave another scratching their head. So each to their own I guess.
Now that all the clichés are out the way, I can get down to this blog’s real purpose.

It’s been a tough few months obviously, those who follow me have seen the drama first hand, as I’ve never held back sharing anything I’ve been through. Lately however, I’ve been feeling a permanent state of contentment, and seemingly happiness. It’s not happiness by definition though, there is still a lot of issues and drama I deal with on a daily basis, a lot of which would make most people give up on life, but for the first time I have found some balance in my life, and for a Libra, balance is VERY important.

As I sat back and thought about what exactly brought about this change in me during a very significant time in my life, I was (much to my surprise!) able to identify 10 specific reasons why I have this sense of calm over me lately.

1. Big Dreams, Smaller Steps

You all know about my obsessions. The New York deal, the being a writer deal etc etc, and I know most people are sick to death of me constantly talking about it. Well, have a think about it, and you’ll actually realize I’ve been very quiet about it for the last few months. Not because I’ve given up on it, but I’ve realized that every time I get close to it, someone moves the proverbial goal posts further away. My solution to this is to make smaller goals, but more of them.

To achieve my dreams, I need to slice up life into just a few more pieces, this helps to avoid such big disappointments. There will always be an end goal, but for now, I’m content to chase smaller dreams in the hope that they will all add up in the end.

2. New Job

Another thing that was well documented was my unhappiness in my old job, and the people I with whom worked. The simple solution was to walk away from everything I knew for the last 5 years and start again. A silly, not very well thought out decision, but one that had to be made. And now 8 months later I can honestly say I made the right decision.

I have a great job, in a great location, and work with some great people. People I get along with, can joke with, and more importantly, people who have given me a fair, clean slate. Instead of judging me on things I have gone through. It’s a wonderfully liberating feeling.

3. Traffic vs Train

One of the worst things about living in South Africa is the traffic. Well, not so much the traffic, but the idiots on the road who get away with the most shocking disregard to road rules you will ever see. On a daily basis this would anger me, fuelling so much rage inside that I would be tense and irritable all day long. It was bad… very bad. I would chase down taxis who cut me off, forced me off the road, drove in emergency lanes… it was making me a very angry and hateful person. Not in a racist way, as some people liked to blame it on black drivers in this country. I don’t care if you’re black, white, yellow or green. An idiot is an idiot. However I just didn’t like the person it forced me to be. Also, not having my own car was a downer.

Thankfully with the new job, and the recent implementation of the Gautrain (a public train system for my international readers), I was able to change my way of travelling, and I can honestly say, this was the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s changed my view on life in a big way. I feel more carefree, more relaxed and most importantly, it now gives me time to appreciate people more. I’m a big people watcher. I love seeing how people react to situations and such. It also fools me into thinking I’m living a New York or London lifestyle, which keeps me content for the time being.

4.More Time for Friends, new and old; Less time for People who Make Me Feel Bad.

This was a very important thing for me, and hopefully something a few of you have picked up on too. I’ve made a genuine effort to speak to my friends more, and in fact try and see them more. In the last 2 months, I have seen more old friends than I have in the last 5 years. I say yes a lot more when people ask me out, or ask if they can visit, and in fact I encourage it.

I still have promises to a lot of people I very much intend to keep. I still have a few issues with transport and such, but they will come right soon enough. I’ve also been open to making new friends, something I had forced myself to become too cautious with over the last few years. Thankfully, I have made friends with some wonderful new people which has made my circle that little bit bigger. As for those who have added no value to my life, I have taken the Scorched Earth approach to them and snuffed them out my life completely without compromise. It’s best for both parties. No longer do I beg people to be my friend, because the truth is they probably never will be, if I have to do that. I have learned appreciation for my friends old and new.

5. More Accepting of Help

Ok, this has clearly been the toughest one. Through all my struggle I have always tried to handle things alone…often with disastrous consequences. I always felt so guilty about accepting help from friends, as if I had failed or let everyone down (which in some cases I have), but now if someone offers to help, and I need it, I take it with a thankful heart, and a promise not to abuse that trust. I’ve learned my lessons the hard way in taking people up on their offers, but now I understand what goes into gestures like that. I am so thankful to #TeamBurg and I couldn’t even begin to thank everyone by name for fear of leaving someone out. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for you guys, and I always appreciate the kind words you have for me, and the encouragement you send my way, even if at times I come across as a cranky old b@st@rd.

Stay tuned for the part 2 of this blog later tonight…

Dream Big, Dig Deep: A 6 Month Journey To Redemption

February 14, 2012

Time is a funny old thing. A lot can happen in 6 months, and at the same time, nothing at all can happen in 6 months.


6 Months ago, I quit my job for a variety of reasons. The salary just wasn’t enough, the people were beginning to drive me crazy, I wanted to focus more on my writing, and perhaps most importantly, I felt there was something “better“ out there for me.

This drew the ire of a lot of people. I heard a lot of similar questions/statements.
– Have you got something else?
– Don’t quit till you have another job waiting!
– What about your mother, how are you going to take care of her?
– Stick it out, it’s not easy to find a job?
– How can you make money out of writing?
– Etc. etc. etc

I did have good enough answers for any of these. All I knew as I needed change.

The money I got paid out should have been enough for 6months max, that gave me enough time take a break, refocus and then move on.

Unfortunately I didn’t get paid out what I thought I would, so the pressure was immediately on, and the stress was taking its toll.

After all, I had real world problems to deal with, I had a mother, her house, groceries and monthly expenses to take care of.

The first thing to suffer was my writing. However, I realized I will never have the luxury of solely being able to do what I love. I don’t live my life for just me. That’s the sad truth. If I did, I would have been writing a long time ago. In order for me to write, I need to be where I am motivated, and that’s not here. Not in this house, not in this country. That was a situation I couldn’t change.

My mom by nature is a very negative person, and sees no bright side to any situation. The world she lives in is doom and gloom, and there is no chance of anyone making it in the world. She has a skewed idea of what reality is. This is just one of the ways we are completely opposite. I have such big dreams and ambitions which she believes will be my downfall.

This is hard for a child, no matter what age, to deal with. As the support of a parent is ultimately the only support you ever want. So this whole journey for me was very much a path I’ve walked alone.

As I began job hunting (which went as far back as September), I thought to myself, “Wow, there are tons of jobs out there”- and there were! What I didn’t count on was people just not coming back to me.

I applied for no less than 63 jobs in the last six months. I had 5 people come back to me for an interview. Those are shocking stats. And even worse odds. This was a real reality check, because I have a pretty awesome CV, but the nature of the beast is that people just don’t respond.

A lot of people did the clichéd “send me you CV I’ll forward it on and see what I can do”, this, whilst meant in kind and caring way, was the most fruitless of all things; because it was just the thing people say to seem supportive. I’ve also said that to people in the past, so I know how it works.

I had people telling me what jobs to apply for, even though they had no clue what I’ve actually being doing for the last 7yrs. For some reason, people still think I’m interested in computers?

Let me say it this way, finding jobs to apply for was NEVER the problem! I applied for 63 appropriate jobs folks…I wasn’t applying for stuff I wasn’t suited for.

As the months past, tensions at home grew worse, I had taken my mom to register for Pension, which started paying out last month. Of course R900 doesn’t go far, but she didn’t want to spend it none the less.

If I went for an interview, and didn’t come back with an “I got the job!”, my mom’s first words were “Do you think they felt you couldn’t do the job? What are we going to do now!”

Out of the 6 interviews I went for (2 for the same job), my mom never once felt like I got the job, she was just concerned about how we were going to pay the electricity bill this month.

Come the start of February, we were down to one meal a day. So with no breakfast or lunch, my energy levels were so low, that I could hardly even muster the energy to get off the couch. Thankfully, one can apply for jobs through a smartphone.

The last interview I had lined up was last week Tuesday, and it was a callback for a job that I really fell in love with. For round two, I had present a plan to the company on how to move them forward online. I would be presenting to a group of 5 decision makers.

I prepped the presentation in the early hours of the morning, as I do my best work at the 11th hour, and went and absolutely KILLED the interview.

However, they said they had a few people they still had to see and would only let me know by today if I got the job. I felt I had a real chance with this one, but of course the doubt creeps into you and you lose all faith in yourself. My mom certainly piled on the heat with her negativity, and said there was no way they would wait a week to let me know, and that if they were seeing someone else after me they clearly didn’t want me. She will never grasp the concept of their being a procedure to something.

Another very long and tense week passed. Then this morning I got the call…I got the job! It was a unanimous decision by everyone who was in that interview. They loved me! A good job, with good people, and double the salary I got at my previous job.

For 6 months, I was constantly asked the question of do I regret leaving my job of 5 years. The answer even in trying times was no. I don’t . Not for a second.

I’m by no means out of the woods yet, as I only start this job next week, and as of right now, I don’t have much food left in the house, I have no petrol money, and our electricity is a heartbeat from being cut off. I only get a full salary the end of March, so I have no idea how I’m going to survive! But the thing is…I’ve been through worse. Come March, I will no longer just survive every month, for the first time ever, I will be able to live!

The rebirth begins next week, and the comeback of all comebacks has started. The reason I quit my job has now been fulfilled.

My writing will always be my first love, and thankfully I have a job that will allow me to incorporate it. I will be working in place where I will see new people every single day, and I’m in an industry that gives me hope that New York may once again be on the cards.

I thank all those that have supported me through trying times, even those that foolishly said “you will get this one!” to the 5 jobs I didn’t get…

Goodbye 2011…I Hardly Knew Ya!

December 26, 2011

The old saying goes, “What a difference a day makes…” but I’m pretty certain you can just as easily substitute it with a year.

That’s pretty much how I look back on 2011.12.26

Last year this time things looked so bright…After the most eventful year of my life, I was celebrating what I considered to hopefully be my last Christmas in this country, because my future looked so bright.

My employer at the time had turned down my voluntary retrenchment with the promise that they had big plans for me for the upcoming year, which included time overseas.

I was pretty well set financially, and I was at peace with everything and ready to pursue my new life and ambition.
As the year proceeded, those false promises became frustratingly clear, and for the next 8 months I was toyed around with unfairly, to the point where I realized there was no future where I was.

The year itself had been tough, with financial problems and being a victim of crime hitting me unexpectedly again, as usual, and the funds quickly started deteriorating. This wouldn’t have been a problem if said employer had actually come through on their promises about a change in my pay scale.

Of course, my plans for New York took several knocks, to the point of where I was getting so angry that everyone else was “stealing my idea” and making their way over there. Every time someone posted news or photos, it hurt me more and more. That’s how much I love that place.

Things went south very quickly. And as previously blogged, I decided to walk out on everything I had been doing for the last 5 years, because I had wasted the last year of my life.

The calendar year itself provided VERY few highlights, and of course, the last 4 months I have spent at home licking my wounds.

It pretty easy to pick out the two highlights of my year.

The first is very easy to pick out, as it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for the last few years, and finally realized it since I had all this time to myself. In fact, I’m using it right now. I created myself, a man cave…or as I like to call it, the Burg Cave. It was fully completed this week, and I will post some pictures if I ever get a decent camera. It provides me with my own space to find inspiration again. It allows me to step away from my problems and sadness and find joy in the things that make me happy.

The crazy thing is, I haven’t had much human contact this year either, which is why the second highlight of my year is so important.

I finally saw an old friend of mine after 20years. We had a good dinner and watched a movie. One of the most simple things two people can do together, and it meant so much to me, because I don’t have THAT person in my life that I can do that with. She has always been one of my favourite people, and great company, so I’m glad I finally got the chance to see her again after all these years. The timing probably wasn’t great because it was a month before my pending unemployment, and of course the lack of income (and automobile), is a bit of snag, but I would like to take the time to thank Kim for being so patient and understanding in our new found old friendship. I can’t wait to see you again.

So that’s it. Two single highlights in a year that will be considered an utter disappointment, and a wasted year overall, some by my doing, but a most through the selfish actions of others.

I won’t even delve into the lowlights of my year, because that’s a story for another time.

It’s hardly surprising of course, 11 is my unlucky number, and for the last few years, I believed my untimely demise would arrive on 11/11/11.

It didn’t…and now I hope to make 2012 something special, and its starts with finding a new job, finding the confidence in myself and my talent again, putting in an effort with my friends, even if it means doing something I’m not used to doing. And hey, maybe I’ll even get some nookie next year.

The nookie, the what, the nookie, the what, it’s all about the nookie!

So good riddance 2011.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation…(Or WHERE THE EFF HAVE I BEEN??)

December 10, 2011

Now it’s been a while since I’ve done this, so please bear with me…

I’m sitting here covered in paint, and not the chocolate body paint I’ve often thought about either. Instead I’m covered in paint from painting my spare room as I continue to convert it into a proper man cave.
That’s part of what I’ve been doing the last three months.

That’s right, while everyone has been speculating about my suicidal tendancies, depressions and immigrating overseas, I’ve pretty much been taking it easy.

I removed myself from social networks, setup a new phone number, and paid off all my debts. It was a great cleansing feeling.

I would still be off the radar if it wasn’t for an overwhelming number of people trying to get hold of me to see if I was ok. Why wouldn’t I be? I stated on numerous times that I was disappearing and going off the social networks. That was fair enough wasn’t it? People for the most part resepected that and gave me the space I needed, and that I appreciate.
Some went overboard and tried to get hold of my home address and contacted my former employer to find out what was going on and if I was ok. Understandable to the point of intrusion.

Ah. My former employer.

I feel I should mention a bit about the circumstances behind me leaving.

As I sit here with no income and no car, I think to myself, did I do the wrong thing by leaving the job I had for the last 5 plus years?

It takes all of half a second to come up with a resounding NO!

One should always judge the impact you left at a company based on the manner of your exit.
When I left, I didn’t receive so much as a goodbye/good luck card from my colleagues. I has a poor turnout at my farewell snacks, and most of the senior managers didn’t even bother to come say goodbye (even an email of the day would of sufficed), but alas, none of that. My time there ended rather abruptly.

This pretty much summed up has I was viewed by the company I gave everything for over the last few years. I was simply never taken seriously.

This hurt tremedously, as one year before, my praises were being sung, I was promised the respect i deserved (ie. money), overseas opportunities – a major sore point as we all know this was my goal, heck I had managers coming up to me in the corridor saying “So I believe we sending you overseas for a bit”…then suddenly, silence. The myriad of false promises became all to clear. I had to beg for communication, the simply decencies of responses and explanations were just too much for those who were more about their own egos and accendency to follow through on their word.

After two years of fighting the good fight, I called it day. It was mutual for the most part, but the irony is, if I stuck around a month longer, I probaly would of been retrenched and given a package anyways. The joke was on me I guess, they got rid of me…cheap.

I knew about the retrenchments coming up, but just knew I couldnt force myself to pretend to smile and do the bidding of others for another month.

So I walked. I walked into the unknown. I waited months to wrap up “paperwork”, which was not unexpected, because that’s how they’ve always been.

Over the last 3 months, I’ve found the space to breathe. To remember what inspires me. What makes me happy.
During that time another birthday came and went. I don’t celebrate my birthday, and simply ignored the day, and all the messages I got. People got upset. Deal with it. I don’t celebrate my birthday.

I’ve started looking for work again, I’m sure I’ll find something. The funniest thing is when I go for interviews and they ask me how much I was earning before, the interviewer is always disgusted when I tell them how much I was getting for my role. That makes me smile in sad sorta way.

Writing and film will always be my first love, but the truth of the matter is, I’m still stuck in a country where that’s harder than almost anything to make a living at.

I’m open to anything right now, as long as the money is good (or rather respectable), I miss human contact more than I thought I would, I still desire some sort of affection, but I’ve learned to live without it.

My New York goal is no closer, but the desire hasn’t faded one bit. It’s THE goal.

I know I’ve upset people by ignoring them, but if they paid attention and respected my choice, there should be zero reason to be upset with me. That’s the truth. Deal with it how you will.

I’ve been watching from afar, how the girl I once loved got engaged and knocked up a second time, how friends completed their studies, got boyfriends, got married, got divorced or just got got. I just didn’t comment like I used to do.

Am I back to writing? In a way yes, but as long as I feel the need to say something.

I offer no apologies. I expect no forgiveness.
We live our lives the only way we know how, we bravely make the foolish decisions, and we judge others for not being the right kind of person we expect them to be.

Now, does anyone know how to get paint out hair?

The Truth Shall Set You Free

July 26, 2011

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of myself with my idol, Bret The Hitman Hart -one of the happiest moments of my life. However one person commented saying “you could’ve looked slightly more excited.” I was actually offended by the comment. I don’t really smile anymore, and I by no means have a big toothy Cheshire cat smile, however this was the happiest I’ve been in years. I don’t smile anymore. You won’t really find pictures of smiling.

I’ve mulled over that comment since it was said, and with the events of the last few weeks, the one question that I keep asking myself is, what makes me happy?

I’m not happy, I haven’t been for the longest time. I have fleeting moments where thing are tolerable. But nothing more than that.

My life has been a constant struggle and the truth of the matter is the sadness has engulfed me.

It’s very difficult to explain, and when I do try, I get copious amounts of advice about how things can’t be that bad, or how things will turn around, or that there’s something out there waiting for me. All words which people feel they should say to help “keep my chin up”.

Honesty has always been a very important part of my blog (and my life), and right now I’d life to address three aspects of my life namely Life, Love & Career.

Life

I’m tired…Of everything. I can’t do it anymore. Not the way I’m living it anyway. I get so many people making suggestions as to what to change in my life, but they don’t know the truth, and they don’t know the pressure I deal with while constantly having to keep my depression in check.

I can’t deal with the repetition. From coming home and having to hear the same stories about how the dog pee’d on the potplants or what the neighbours did, to hearing the same jokes from the same people.

I can’t deal with this country, the government, the strikes, the shortages, the service, the delivery, the lack of educated people.

I can’t travel on the roads anymore. I can’t deal with the complete arrogance and apathy towards the rules of the road. It’s bad. Real bad. It’s the wild wild west out there.

There are so many people that tell me that I must be thankful for what I’ve got, but the truth of the matter is I’m not. Their idea of happiness is a 9-5 job with an income, a house with 4 walls and a family. That’s not my idea of happiness. I believe there is more out there for me. Please don’t get me wrong, if this is what makes you happy, then good for you, you’ve found your element of happiness, but please don’t try and convince me your way is my way.

I can’t fake a smile, and laugh anymore. People have started to notice too. I fear I’m becoming bitter towards the world.

Love

I am so lonely. Unbelievably so. Being a 33yr old guy without a partner, lover, girlfriend is hard. (That’s what she said.). I’m so tired of people saying that “when the time is right”, “she’s out there”, “it’s better to be single” you know, all the clichéd comments. Most times they come from people who are trying to tell you they’re not interested in you so don’t even try, or they are somebody who is constantly moving from “The one” to “the next one”.

The truth is, there’s a very good chance I will be alone forever. It happens to people. You’re only trying to convince yourself when you keep telling me I’ll find someone. Stop.

There are people I’m interested in. They know it (some are probably trying their best to avoid it too). But I come with so much baggage that it’s over before it can go anywhere.

I’m not saying I’m looking for my soul mate, not by a long shot. I just wish I had someone to share my dreams and desires with. Someone I can spend time with, someone who makes me feel like a human being physically. Yes, I said it, I would like to knock boots with someone. I need to feel something in my life. And feeling wanted and desired is a massive hole (that’s what she said) in my life.

I’m so tired of serving my time in this world alone. There are so few people who truly understand how lonely and alone I am. I wish someone would show interest in me, realistically. I can’t be anything other than what I am.

It’s just that i think fighting this battle and chasing the dream would be that much easier and more believable with someone by my side.

Career

I’ve been working non stop since the month left High School in 1996. My movement from one vocation to the next has been well documented. I’d never spent more than a year and a half at a particular job, and constantly found myself wanting to move on to the next challenge. It’s those facts that make my 5 year term at my current job such an anomaly. I love what I do, always have, but the time has come to move on. I won’t go into detail for obvious reasons.

I’ve been dealt a hand that has forced me to play the role of husband, home owner, and provider. This saddens me every day that my life is slipping away without ever having the opportunity to make selfish decisions.

Being the sole bread winner taking care of a parent, a house, replace things that break, need to be fixed and debts that aren’t mine is a task I’ve been doing for the longest time. I just can’t do it anymore. When I tell people how much I earn, their first words are “how do you survive??”

Surviving is easy. I’ve done it my whole life. But I need to live.

I always felt my job would be my key to getting out. Out of this life, this country, this personal hell that saddens me a little more every day. I’ve given everything I have to it. The truth is, its not going to give back.

I get it. I’m just a spoke in the wheel. I will never be the wheel itself.

Sometimes I feel live I’ve given up on what make’s me ME. I’m a creative soul who needs to be inspired, and for a while now I feel like I’ve locked that part of me away.

These are the realities of my life. I know a lot of what I said above will anger people. There will be those who once again dispense advice and attempt to get me to stop feeling sorry for myself. They will say they understand. They will mean it.

All I know is I’m the loneliest and saddest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m making hard decisions every day of my life.

We all know what my dream is, but I fear I won’t survive long enough. So until then…the idea of finding a cabin in the woods to be alone in, you know to grow my beard and write my books, is a pretty decent second choice.

Return Of The Burg – A blog that will enlighten and enrage

June 21, 2011

As a people observer, it’s always fascinating to me to watch how people react to something that’s perceived as out of the norm.

Do they overreact and panic? Do they become more casual than normal? Or do they simply take time to assess what’s going on and react accordingly.

I recently decided to take time away from everything and everyone. The blog, social networks and the cyber world at large I stopped cold turkey.

I didn’t go anywhere…I got up and went to work as per normal. For everyone who saw me on a daily basis, it was business as usual.

However, on the social network’s there was panic!
People were concerned I had done something stupid! I had decide to cash it all in!

There was a flood of emails, wall comments and BBM messages.

In truth nobody picked up a phone to see if I was “ok”, wait I lie…someone did, but they had an old number from before I got hijacked, so they are excused.

There were those that didn’t notice, and those that didn’t care.
It’s ok, people have their own lives. I understand that.

My choice to step away from all things online was a very deliberate choice. Maybe it was a lethal cocktail of burnout, pressure and just being totally sick of the fakeness of it all.

People annoyed me. They still do.
But I’ve all but turned into a hermit, so it’s not unexpected.

I’ve never hidden away from the openness of my life; I’ve always shared everything with you guys. Good, bad and controversial.

However for once, I needed to totally close myself off from opinions and advice.
I needed to take in and deal with the stress of the world, the tragedies I was dealing with and the frustrations that have me hanging on the edge.

There was a lot I could share with everyone to help them understand what was going on. But most of it was not my story to tell…not yet anyways. (when its turned into a thrilling tv land miniseries, then everyone will know)

My work has become my sole focus.
It’s my home away from home.
It’s my substitute of inspiration.
It’s my ticket out of here.

I’m now at a point I’m comfortable in my position and direction at work, that I feel the wheels are in motion for my future.

With that I feel ready to focus on other aspects of my life.

My New York trip will happen. Solo it seems. Unfortunately my “deserving partner” did a disappearing trick of her own and only decided to sms me several months later to see how I am. It always hurts when it feels like i’m chasing after someone to be my friend or to be liked. Taste of my own meds one might say.

I’ve seen the worst of life these last few months, I’ve taken a beating emotionally. I’ve made life harder on myself and I’ve fought the good fight.

However, I do feel ready to step back into life and try something different, because Lord knows the last few years haven’t worked.

My blogs will return to the focus of observing people and the world in complete honesty. I will offer my thoughts on topics most people shy away from, but i’ll always keep it honest, even at the good chance of being completely disliked.

I guess I’m more open to change now. More open to experiencing life. But ultimately more understanding that people will let you down, they will over promise, they will say things just because they think it’s the right thing to say, but in the end they do all these things because they are human, who am I to judge them because of that?

….well I am The Burg…and I’m back!

What’s in a name? Well it depends how it’s spelt…

March 9, 2011

It’s safe to say I’m getting progressively crankier in my old age…I don’t deny this. There are a lot of day to day things that irritate me…some more than others, but there is one thing that never fails to get me seething just at the mere sight of it.

My name is Shaun Myburg. (Burg to my friends.)

I’ve always had a big problem with my name being spelt wrong. The most common mistake is Shaun being spelt wrong…or an extra “h” being thrown onto the end of my surname…when people assume I’m Afrikaans.

Sure it happens. It’s no big deal right?

Well, when your entire career (and future career) depends on the cachet of you name…it’s darn important.

Ever since I was a kid, I was lucky enough win competitions on a regular basis, which by proxy, meant my name appeared in magazines or newspapers for the whole country to see. I loved that feeling of seeing my name “in lights”…it always just felt right.

It was a naturally stepping stone for my name being on a byline or in film and TV credits. I was a star in the making…ok…ego aside, who doesn’t get a rush from seeing their name in print? After all, that’s why we all Google ourselves these days.

That being said…every time there was a misprint of my name in the paper, it was equally there for the world to see…

A double edged sword if any.

All through school, when certificates were handed out I loved seeing my name spelt in that almost-old-English-font for achievement in this or that. I cleaned house in primary school with certificates, but as High School came around and my personal life took a tumble, the certificates stopped coming.

In fact, through my 5 years of High School, there was only one certificate I ever got…however it was a big one.

You see, I had the pretty remarkable record of never missing a single day of school. EVER. Despite everything I went through, I always went to school.

So come the end on my 12 year schooling career, I was to be acknowledged for a PERFECT attendance record. Some may be impressed, and others may think it’s the nerdiest thing ever…well newsflash, there were only two of us who got that certificate, and neither of us were anywhere close to nerds.

At the awards evening, when my name was called, it was all slow motion as I walked up on stage to receive this mark of achievement. In my head there was a standing ovation, there were people chanting my name and there was a beautiful girl awaiting to hand me my award. Of course, none of those existed in reality, but there was that piece of paper that made it all worth it.

I collected it, flashed my million dollar smile to the paparazzi and made my way back to my seat.

Then it all came crashing down as I noticed not just my first name, but also my last name were spelt wrong on the certificate.

So my 12 years of schooling is perfectly captured in that incorrectly spelt certificate.

The years that followed had their moments of frustration.

Like this one time when I was working at a computer expo for my late cousin, and the name tag they had printed out for me read

Shawn Mabuna

Every person who came to my stand asked my about my strange surname (especially for a white guy living in South Africa…). Of course I spend the whole time explaining it was a major typo instead of actually getting any business for our company.

As I entered the corporate world, things became even more tense.

From computer login names to my email address, EVERY first day was met with an incorrect spelling of something or the other.

On the first day I starting working at one call centre, they had a digital display board that not just had the stats of how many calls were answered, holding and dropped, but also a welcome message for the new staff…which would have been cool if it didn’t read: “Welcome to new staff members Sahun Myburg”….I was called Sahun for the rest of that day.

When my film, TV and print career eventually took flight, I became even more pedantic about having my name spelt right. This was easier to manage as it’s an expected concern within these fields. And thank you lordy lord, my name is correctly spelt on IMDB!

In my current job, I’ve been here for 5 years, so there’s really no excuse for spelling my name wrong in emails.

It still happens though.
I hate it, and speak up about it, which probably makes people think “geez, relax guy its just a typo”…but after working with someone with 5 years, there’s really no excuse to spelling their name wrong in an email or document…right?

I’m very protective over my name…because one day I do believe it will be a brand. It may just be a pipe dream…but it’s really my most valued asset.

Rich Burg, Poor Burg: A story about Money

February 21, 2011

I’ve toyed around with writing this particular blog so many times over the last few years -approaching it from more ways than a multi-angle porno flick. Yet no matter which way I wrote it, I came off looking bad…(no I’m not still using the porno flick reference)

Maybe now that I’ve finally blown the roof of the many skeletons in my closet with some of my more revealing blogs, it feels ok to talk about it.

There’s one thing that can come between any two people. No matter how close you think you are. Family, friends, or even just acquaintances.

That one thing is…Money.

There is the long version of my story, and the short version. This blog will cover somewhere in between.

You know as kid, despite the hell at home, I pretty much got what I wanted (within reason), I was by no means spoilt, by my folks didn’t let me go without.

I always sorta felt it was a decent trade off for the beatings and belittling. I twisted sense of acceptance I’m sure.

When my dad died in 1991, my mom tried to make sure my brother and I never went without. We earned pocket money by doing chores, but of course if we didn’t spend that money on gifts around Mother’s Day, birthdays and Xmas we heard all about our ungratefulness.

When my brother died a year later, by default I fell under the haze of the “only child syndrome”, I was treated often and of course put under increasingly more pressure to be grateful for what I was given in life, despite the glaring contradictions of what was taken away from me.

My mom always put me first when it came to spending, and from toys to VHS movies, she made sure my heart didn’t break too often, plus back then I was a bit of a crier for stuff I wanted. Which, was a fine line of course, because if I went too overboard, I GOT something to cry about…

I got pocket money all the way up till my last year in High School, but by December of that year I started working (and of course you know that journey thanks to my previous two blogs.)

For the first time I was able to earn money to spend on myself, which was great. When you get a certain kind of independence, you tend to see how far you can push the boundaries. I got a credit card pretty easily…and a second one even easier. For the first few years of my working life, I learned the art of rotating credit. You know, maxing out your cards, then paying it back with your salary.

I didn’t care too much, because my mom had a decent savings, no thanks us getting screwed over from my dad’s death payout, but it was decent money, we always had food, and debts were always paid.

As time went on, I wanted more and was earning more. Those who know me well know how much I loved spending loads of money on dvds and things I collected.

I never like to save. Rainy day? What was that? I had seen the worst of life, so it was never something to be concerned about.

Of course, fate stepped in.

When my mom and I both lost our jobs in the space of a month back in 2004, income stopped immediately, and with no “credit” to rotate, debts began mounting up.

What followed, was Hell.

My mom never worked again, and I went from low paying job to low paying job.

I learned the hard way. I ended up having to sell almost everything I owned. From my 1500 strong dvd collection (at bargain basement prices) to my beloved Playstation, and of course that little thing called an “automobile”.

With the interest on debts racking up, the next thing to take a hit was – groceries, mainly food.

Riddled with guilt from never saving, this became my problem to fix.

The finances were bad. Really bad.

I begged and borrowed from friends and family where I could, just to get enough for us to eat. Some days, someone would offer me R50. Not realizing how bad my situation, they of course thought this was enough, and I had to act nonchalant, but thankful about it.

There is a scene in the move The Pursuit of Happyness, where Will Smith’s boss asks him for 10 bucks for the cab, and Will gives him his ONLY 10 bucks and tries to act like its no big deal…but in the mean time he is panicking how his kid and him will eat. That’s exactly how bad it was.

We once had a stale ice cream cones for dinner. Crying from both the hunger and anger towards each other.

I used to get stuck without petrol way too often. Sometimes begging friends to just transfer R20 bucks into my account, and I’d pay them back in the morning. Which of course meant a trip to cash convertors the next day to sell something of value for peanuts.

There were days I was dying of thirst and just wanted a can of soda from the shop, but just couldn’t afford it.

One time I had to attend a function for work which was a launch in some convention centre in the bush. I drove all the way there…fully aware I only had enough fuel to get there. I’d have to worry about getting home after work was done. I didn’t have the heart or guts to ask anyone at the function. When I left I made it as far as the dodgy gas station at midnight, where I had to ask two taxi drivers for R10 each. They gave it to me.

5 years ago, come pay day, every month end I would have to sit at the office until midnight, so that when my salary came through at that time, I could stop at the gas station on the way home and bring home pies for dinner.

I have so many of these stories. Too many, but through the course of 6 years, I learned the value of money.

No. Let me rephrase that, and this is the part were I will look bad.

I learned to hate money. Both having it, and not having it.

I never went out, I never socialized. I simple couldn’t afford to. I had to consider what shopping centre I went to, in case I had to pay for parking.

I’ve ruined friendship by having to lend money to survive, and I regret that so much. I was in such a haze of debt and survival, I ruined the one thing that meant more to me than anything else in this world. My word.

Through hard work, and way too much suffering, I have built myself up, both financially and confidence wise. I gave up my life to fix up our life. And these last 2 years have been better than ever. Sure, I still have the unexpected expense, but I have a good job and people who care, which makes it easier now.

To those who helped me through the tough times. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Every cent made a difference in my life.

Of course there will now be those who say I haven’t learned my lesson and headed for a fall again. But let me clear that up right now.

In the last year my love for Poker has grown, and with that, I have gotten god. Real good. I’ve been able to win. Win big…regularly
.
I make no bones about. I used to spend way too much money on “gambling” when it would have been best served elsewhere. I made mistakes in thinking that would be the quick fix to sort out all my problems, which certainly delayed my recovery by a year or so.

When I started to win big I did the right thing. I paid off every single debt I had, I invested money, I put money in the safe. Heck, I even bought a second fridge and I make sure both are stocked up.

I may still spend way, waaaaaaay, too much on my dvds, but I feel I’ve earned that. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t go out often, so for me, that’s what I love to do.

Last year alone I won over 400k. Of course I would like to have take this money and run, we all know I’m making plans to leave the country for good, but used that money to give my mom and I a better life. A life we deserved, and life I felt responsible for taking away from us. (of course my deep rooted fear of inadequacies refuses to let me believe there were two people who could of made things better, quicker).

Now at the age of 32, I am debt free, and don’t have any commitments. I haven’t needed a pay day for the last 3 months – but its still welcome.

It’s a weird feeling, and a little scary, but it does also put perspective on your life.

I’m trying to repair relationships with those I love and miss in my life. Some are willing, other’s are not, but that’s ok. I understand. I was not an easy guy to be around, I was a desperate man who just wanted to take care of his family.

This clarity unfortunately also highlights how lonely I am in this world now. I got used to being alone., but the lonely part is what kills me.

I don’t want money…at all, I would rather spend it on other people. The bitter irony now, is that I have all this money and nobody to spend it on.

Maybe it’s a guilt thing that I feel I need to pay back the world?

How To Leave A Job – The Burg Way (Part 2)

February 17, 2011

When we last left our hero, he was wallowing in unemployment for around 8 months in 2004. The odd job here and there, (working as extras on well known TV shows and adverts) but nothing permanent and certainly nothing that brought in nearly enough money to survive. Remember the stale ice cream cones for dinner period? Well, the journey was certainly epic, but a change of career was on the horizon.

After getting booted out of a career in IT, I took this time to really go for what I wanted, I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be in media and most certainly I wanted The Burg to truly become a brand.

I lost a lot of friends during this period as my resistance to starting from the bottom working in a call centre ever again was met with criticism and anger.

I begged, borrowed and sold to survive, repercussion of which I still feel today.

During mid 2004 I worked on a reality show and met some important people who helped me show my worth. It was a contract job that allowed me to be a writer for a website. (In my interview, when asked how much I was looking for, I replied “I would even work for a bucket of chicken”…this got me the job). For 3 months I lived the dream, I was writing, I got “The Burg” attention, I developed a character – who was pretty much an extension of myself, I got massive exposure, I was on TV and eventually when the 3 months was up I had succeeded in making a name for myself.

I was offered a role as a weekly TV show presenter for text to TV chat show, which I embraced, and despite what may come out later in this blog – will always truly be thankful and appreciative for the gentleman who gave me this opportunity and effective stated the ball rolling on “The Burg” that you all know and love today. (or love to hate).

Come the close of 2004 I was desperate for more permanent work. Things at home were at there worst, I had debtors knocking on my door, even cars parked outside my house waiting to serve me with summons for accounts. I had to do something.

I made the heartbreaking decision to give up the dream and go back to IT.

Another Call centre…I forget the name anyways -> Beat Magazine (Circa 2005)

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An old friend of mind (who put up with a lot of miserable crappola from me), organized an interview for me with the company that was essentially the evolution of my first job at Micon. I got the job. Duh. Even being way over qualified, I started at the bottom and committed myself to the job, even though my heart was never, and would never, be in it.

A few weeks later I got the break I had been looking for, a position with Beat magazine, SA’s newest entertainment gossip magazine had opened up. I organized an interview for late in the day so I could shoot through after my call centre job and interview for it. The interview went OK, and for once my nerves and desperation probably got the better of me.

A few days later I got the call from Beat magazine. I didn’t get the position I applied for. I was crushed. For a few seconds at least, because during the conversation I was offered another role – that of a TV writer for the magazine. DREAM JOB ALERT! I accepted without hesitation, and the only problem was they wanted me to start the next day. Uh oh…tricky.

The next day I explained what had happened to my old friend and boss, and thanked him for what he did for me and explained this was what I had been working for my whole life. I knew he understood, but was disappointed that I had let him down after he went to bat for me. The company insisted that I work my 30 days notice first…and being a 24 hour call centre I cleverly organized to work grave yard shift. So basically I worked grave yard shift, raced home at about 7am, freshened up and went to my new job at Beat Magazine. Put in a full day of learning, when home, freshened up, and then went to my evening job at the call centre.

On top of this, I was still hosting a TV show twice a week, which thankfully both jobs allowed me to do. (of course neither job knew I was working for the other)

This lasted for a few weeks before they eventually allowed (read: asked) me to leave. Of course at this point I was a zombie, but living the dream.

Beat -> Always Look Up/ N-Net (Circa 2006)
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Officially starting in February of 2005 I spent a wonderful year at Beat magazine, and it was by far the best year of my life. Despite increasing personal issues and playing catch up financially, I gave EVERYTHING to the job. I was happy career wise. I met so many people, made so many contacts and met the people who would shape my life.

After that year however, the reality that I needed more money played on my mind heavily.

Eventually my bosses from the TV show made me an offer to come on board permanently, and while the financial offer they made me was never great, it was enough not want to turn down (plus it was more than that bucket of chicken I never got). Plus I always felt I owed them for giving me my start. I had clashed with one of the bosses fairly often during my time on the reality show and the TV show, and I always worried that this would be magnified if I worked permanently with him.

I explained this to my boss at Beat magazine and said I didn’t want to leave, but I just couldn’t say no to the money. To their credit Beat magazine tried to put together a counter offer, which simply wasn’t enough. With tears flowing I turned it down and handed in my resignation…

It broke my heart to leave Beat, and its one the biggest regrets I have in my life, but it was a necessary action to get me where I am today.

My farewell email is considered EPIC, and is completely honest and heartfelt.. I’d like to share it with you, if I may. (excuse the horrendous spelling and grammar…i was young)

Always Look Up/ N-net-> Pony Music Circa (2006…also)
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I joined the company on a full time basis in March of 2006.

The first few days were great! I was treated with respect; I had a nice reputation with my coworkers because of “The Burg” and all he had accomplished. But soon enough things changed.

What followed was the worst 6 months of my life.

Essentially I had three bosses.

One who truly believed in me and the potential of The Burg as a character, and I would work for/with him again in a heartbeat.

One who had all my respect and while firm with me, allowed me many opportunities.

The third, became the man I clashed with on a near daily basis. Perhaps some justified, and some just purely ridiculous.

Once I wore track pants to work. I got pulled aside and told I was being disrespectful and hadn’t earned the right to wear track suit pants to work and to never do it again.

Another time I got up to got to the vending machine…my boss ran after me and told me that can’t I see everyone else is plugging away working hard and I should do the same.

A third time, after a miscommunication in an email I was dragged out into the courtyard and humiliated, sworn at and lambasted. I later got an apology. But by then I was seen as the rebel. The one guy who stood up to the powers that be. I never did this deliberately, it just sorta came with “being me”

I was eventually suspended from my TV show due to a few mistakes of letting certain messages deemed “inappropriate” on air. Of course this was likely just a way of working me off air. It was ok though, while I loved what I did I at peace that I had done all I could with the show, and was happy for someone else to get the chance.

When I was given creative freedom, I shined, but ultimately I was held on a leash and used as example for anyone who tried to be an individual – which I was and always will be.

After handing in my resignation (for a second time in six months), I was told that I would never make it out there without them.

On a side note, during my time with Beat magazine, I had made friends with a famous local idols judge who worked for a music company. At the end of one of the Idols competitions, I wrote him a letter saying “I will work for you one day”. During my time at Never Look Up, he contacted me and said there was something opening up he thought I would be perfect for, nothing however had been finalized until two weeks into my resignation period, so I took a massive chance by quitting my job after only 6 months.

My resignation was kept quiet for a while, and eventually I was told they needed the space and I was welcome to work my last month from home.

The funniest/saddest story out of all this, and I’m sure this may upset a lot of people for revealing this, but on my last Friday there, me and a few of my close allies wondered if there would be farewell drinks for me. Well, thanks to some ingenious trickery and computer hacking, we were able to find out more than we should of. There were indeed drinks for me, except I wasn’t invited. The email was sent to a few key people who would be meeting up after work, I just happened to have been excluded on that list. A final slap in the face after 6 months of regret.

So after being told that I would never make it out there without them, the very next day after being told I could work from home…I started at Pony Music.

The Here and Now (Circa 2011)
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I have now been here for 5 years, and will NEVER leave for another local company.
My time here has saved my life, its allowed me to fix my personal problems, recover from my financial woes, and even given me the freedom to film a few movies on the side. I found a home within Pony Music.

The day I leave here will be for overseas. Which you all know is what I’m pushing for big time now, and I do very much see this as my final here.

But this decade plus long journey has had its ups and downs, its bad decisions and good.
I have made and lost many friends.

In the end however…this is all the journey to where i am meant to be…