There are mountains around here?

Well I’m five weeks now in the sunny Pacific NorthWest (well it’s Sunny today!).

There was an interesting opinion piece on the New York Times blog about the changes taking place in Ireland now that the Celtic Tiger has found somewhere to rest her weary bones. If you’d like to know about Ireland’s economic woes, just mention it in passing to an Irish person and they’ll happily talk until you can take no more.

Someone pointed out to me recently that the general topic of Irish conversation moved from the weather, to house prices (during the boom years) and now have moved onto the “current economic climate”. Of course the turnaround has been pretty staggering moving from “full” employment to 11% unemployment in not more than a couple of years. And the Central Bank is forecasting the economy will shrink 7% this year. Still I feel that as a nation, Irish people are more comfortable dealing with angst and despair (hence conversations focused on the Irish weather).

That was an extremely long pre-amble onto the point of this post which was once again the lack of imagination shown by my parents continues to haunt me. There might a few among you who remember my travails every time I travelled through Heathow airport. [Note: my namesake his since been incarcerated and the issue has ceased].

Well apparently (and subsequent investigation has found it to be true) a “Tom Murphy” commented on the aforementioned post on the NY Times blog this morning, and I’ve had a flurry on enquiries on whether it’s me or not.


It’s not. 

I do wish my parents thought of something like Ziggy or Apple Blossom (though I’m not sure I’m an Apple Blossom type of guy – though maybe I’d grow into it… sigh).

If I do ever comment on the NYT Blog I’ll sign it: “Tom Murphy – yes it IS me”

Call me Naive… Tom Naive..

Now I’m as cynical as the next person but I have to say I have been shocked surprised this week about the volume of shysters on the Internet.

With an imminent move to the US on the cards, we’ve been making preparations such as selling cars etc. After posting an ad on last week myself and her indoors have been besieged with scammers, not only via e-mail but on the phone as well.

Now granted the efforts were pretty hamfisted, but I imagine if you weren’t quite as cynical as your correspondent, you might have entertained them.

At least I hope they were scammers….

Time for a change

headerA colleague recently asked me would I mind giving their friend’s daughter some career advice.  She’s interested in a career in PR and in the current economic climate she was looking for guidance. 

Although I’m quickly becoming an elder lemon, I still remember what it’s like starting out.  I think we should all be ready and willing to hopefully pass on some useful advice.

Of course I always preface my “career advice” with the caveat that when I left college I didn’t know what I really wanted to do, but I did know that there were two things I wanted to avoid. Public Relations and Computers.

Given I’ve spent the last 16 years doing PR in the IT industry, I might not be the best person to advise anyone…

I think I’ve been incredibly lucky.  I’ve worked with fantastic people whether they were colleagues, clients, journalists or analysts.  I’ve worked hard but have fantastic times and have always had the opportunity to continue to learn and develop.

I took up my current role with Microsoft Ireland back in August 2005 and have thoroughly enjoyed looking after the company’s local PR and CSR programmes. I’ve learned a lot, worked with great colleagues and enjoyed every minute.

Of course working in PR you know that there always comes time for a change. And this is that time.

So in March I am moving with my family to Seattle to take up a new job at Microsoft. 

With a new job, in a new country, with a new baby, I guess it’ll be a busy 2009. But as they say a change is as good as a rest, and I’m sure I’ll soon find out!

I’ll keep you posted.

Off-topic: the phantom contractions

Saying that the birth of your first child is a stressful event is something of an understatement.  Nothing prepares you for the associated stress but then again nothing prepares you for the pure unadulterated joy either.

I was a mess.

I kept referring to the fantastic midwives as “housewives” and to contractions as “orgasms” (no more comment needed). It’s something my long suffering wife hasn’t let me forget.

Well we’re expecting our second child very soon, and earlier this week we went to the hospital for some pre-launch checks.  We were sitting in a small packed waiting room, filled with mothers-to-be some with partners, some with family, some on their own.

In the corner of the room was a very pregnant women in her forties, quietly reading a magazine. 

Her phone rang and she quickly answered it, walked out of the waiting room into the corridor, and started screaming into the phone (I assume to her absent husband/partner) about the pain of the contractions and how they were now coming in waves.

Everyone in the room was looking at each other with a mixture of surprise and bemusement.

After a few more screams, she quietly returned to the room.  Took her seat and resumed quietly reading her magazine.

A few minutes later her phone rang again.  It was (I presume) her errant partner, and once again, in between reminding him to “put the mince in the freezer” and “pack the trailer”, she screamed about the contractions, the agony, the speed and waves of pain.  This time she didn’t even bother leaving the room. 

She calmly ended the call, and resumed thumbing her magazine and quietly sat for another forty minutes before she was called in for her examination.

The atmosphere in the waiting room was unique.  Loads of couples trying not to look at each other for fear of erupting in laughter.

It takes all sorts.  But don’t worry I’ll be there for the contractions, and the mince is already in the freezer.

It’s a strange world and a strange time, but there’s always humour, no matter where you are.