BY TIM SHEEHAN, SSKB DIRECTOR
Ever since autumn 2007 I have written an article for the front page for every single one of the newsletters, every single one, except the last two editions. Did you notice the front cover was sans my smiling dial?
Regular readers will be aware I occasionally write about my family and try to draw some parallels from family life to the strata world and my working life, so the theme of this article is not unique for me. I know there are “regular readers” because I get an occasional bouquet when I write something worthwhile and a more frequent brick-bat when I miss the mark.
The bouquets are nice. The brick-bats are not so good – especially when I am sharing something personal. Once I got one from an anonymous person castigating me with all sorts of rude words. Anonymous comments go straight to the cylindrical filing cabinet on the floor under my desk. I wonder: how many brick-bats does somebody genuinely controversial get?
Why I Was Absent
I was absent from the last two editions because I needed to spend some serious quality time with my family, and I was finding it hard to draw the necessary inspiration to do a decent and readable article while concentrating on my family.
My need and desire to spend time away from work and with my family came about because my beautiful eight-year-old daughter Alice was diagnosed out of the blue on the Monday after Fathers’ Day last year (5 September 2011) with leukaemia. If you want to see a snippet of our beautiful girl, go to Vimeo and search “Alice Sheehan” and “Drip Dance”.
Leukaemia is a blood cancer. I became a bit of a “bush-expert” on T-Cell ALL, reading everything I could find on the internet most nights. When something is important, it is amazing how the information sticks in your head and you can keep reading it, even if the words are totally foreign 12 syllable scientific names of chemicals.
Unfortunately – actually very, very unfortunately (and that’s an understatement) – after a rollercoaster four months Alice passed away on Thursday 12 January 2012 at 8:57 p.m. Devastated.
Moments of Reflection
Going through the trauma my family has just experienced causes most people to reflect on life, and I have reflected. Coming back to work is not easy. You no longer wish to waste a moment doing anything which is not worthwhile and which may not add meaning and value.
During reflection you can consider some left field ideas. I have even considered a late change of career to become a paediatric oncology nurse. Those nurses have a tough job, but it is so worthwhile. I am not up to that. People that are nurses are special. I am not that sort of special.
The other day during a moment of reflection – and I have plenty – I happened to have a glance at the SSKB mission statement which we put together in 2005. Part of that mission statement reads:
“SSKB strives to be the best community management company by making a positive difference in the lives of our lot owners.”
This really resonated for me because I am looking for meaning everywhere. Community management is an opportunity to help people with something that may be trivial compared to other careers. However, community management is about where people live, and therefore it has a connection with people and their families. It is about their strata communities. Helping people this way is worthwhile and it does have meaning.
So for the time being I want to be as special as I can be as a community manager, and I want SSKB to live up to its mission statement and make a positive difference in the lives of our lot owners. We have built SSKB to help people, to provide service to people and to communicate with people to give them counsel when they need it.
This is our SSKB
Into the future we are going to keep doing all this stuff and do much, much more. It goes without saying that none of this is worth anything compared to any family issue that we might have – but often you don’t have that option. However, it does give meaning and purpose to me and the SSKB team. Having meaning at work is important to everyone.
PS: When you next consider charitable donations please consider the Leukaemia Foundation, your local Children’s Hospital and in particular, any type of scientific research. It is the advances in science that make the difference in getting kids, and adults, better.
One Very Sad Dad,