I read recently that if you have more than 20% of your workspace taken up by personal items, then you are percieved as not being professional. I also read recently that women who don’t apply more layers of make up than there are geological strata in the MacDonnell Ranges are also seen as less than professional. For these pieces of wisdom, I say thank you feminism, thank you Hollywood and thank you soulless corporate culture!

I have to admit, I fail on both counts. Anthropologists who engage in remote area fieldwork don’t need to impress with inch-thick foundation and other pore-clogging gunk. Just some sunscreen and a bit of lip balm will do. As for my office…

To upset the corporate clones, I collect snowdomes.


That’s right … those symbols of everything that was tacky and wrong about tourism in the 1960s and 70s … snowdomes. I currently have about 65 of these little guys in my office, stacked neatly on my bookcase. Whilst most of them I’ve collected myself, friends and family have thought of my eccentric habit and have brought them back from all over the world (like Hawai’i  and Bosporus). They’re surprisingly hard to come by in Australia nowdays, which is why I occasionally have to resort to something like the tiny porcelain thimble (from Port Pirie in South Australia), a tiny gold stature of a merino ram (from Goulburn in NSW) or a miniature tea pot (from Woomera in South Australia).

From time to time someone – I think it’s our cleaner, the walking American stereotype- plays with them and upsets my arrangement. But mostly, people tend not to notice them until they’re mid-sentence in a conversation with me and say: “Oh, wow! I’ve never noticed those before … how wonderful!”


And you know what? I’ve never had anyone tell me it’s not professional.

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