by Andrew Gigacz

I got sacked last Friday night. I wasn’t retrenched. I didn’t come to the end of another contract. I got sacked for not doing my job. It wasn’t the nicest way to get sacked either. It was via email. An after-hours email from my manager saying it would be best if I finished up immediately.

I’ve never been sacked before. I’ve been retrenched and, as a contract worker, I’ve had many contracts that weren’t renewed. But sacked? This surely must be my nadir.

The reasons for my dismissal are not cut and dried. I didn’t fiddle the till or make inappropriate advances to anyone or download porn onto the work computer. But what I also didn’t do was my job properly. Why? Partly because I wasn’t actually at work as often as I should have been. The fall-out from my marriage break-up in 2009 continues to affect me in many ways. Sometimes the issues are minor. Sometimes they’re not; and when they’re not I have a habit of spiralling downwards fairly quickly. It makes it tough, very tough.

I certainly communicated the issues I was having with my employer and they were understanding to a degree. But my job is a contract role, working as part of a project. The longer my absence, the greater the impact on that project.

Even so, that doesn’t really count as “not doing my job properly” by my definition. There is another reason I didn’t do it properly. I was distracted. I was confused. I was anxious. I was scared. And you’re distracted, confused, anxious and scared you tend not to be very productive. In fact I would describe it as being paralysed.

And what caused this paralysis? Why was I distracted and confused and anxious? That’s not an easy question to answer. What is easy for me to identify, though, is that I have been distracted, confused, anxious and scared all of my working life. It has haunted me from the time I began my very first full-time job in 1986. And if I’m honest with myself, it’s haunted me all my life.

For much of my working life, I’ve been able to keep it under control but looking back over 25 years I can see a trail of mini-destructions here and there that have been the result of my inability to focus at the task at hand.

But what is this “affliction” I have? Is it an affliction at all or am I just making excuses? I see a psychiatrist; have done for some years because I have suffered from depression and anxiety (some might say “just another excuse”). But my psychiatrist  has also diagnosed something else in me: Adult ADD. That’s right, Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. The adult version of what the kids who drink much cordial have; what the kids whose parents don’t do a good enough job of keeping them in check have; what the delinquents have.

Is it real? Last week I spoke to one of my brothers about it. His verdict? “It’s a cop-out.” He believes that we all have our little anxieties in life and we just need to push through, get over them, and get on with the task at hand.

He might be right. But I’ve been trying to push through and get over them all of my life. Sometimes I have. I’ve been able to push through and put things right while they were only spot-fires. Other times I haven’t. I’ve let things go until they reach crisis point and then cop the consequences. Like not having my contract renewed.

Why do I keep doing this? Each time I start a new job, I promise myself not to let it happen again. But each time in a that new job, when I am confronted by something new or different, it starts to creep in. “I’ll deal with that problem later and do the stuff that I understand now.” And when I’ve done the other stuff? “There’s plenty of time. I’ll just quickly read the news headlines or check my emails.” That’s only procrastination, isn’t it? Who amongst us haven’t left an assignment until the night before it’s due?

The trouble with me is, by the time I get to the “night before it’s due” moment, I am often paralysed by fear. “I needed to ask questions to get this done but if I ask them now I’ll be told off for not asking them earlier.” Paralysis.

Why am I telling this to the public? I’m not sure. Therapy, maybe. The old “a problem shared is a problem halved” attitude. But also to invite you on my journey and maybe help me through it. As things stand right now, I’m five payments behind on my mortgage, my credit cards are maxed out and I don’t have a job. I do have a very nice house that I share with my sons. In all likelihood I’m going to lose it. Not that physical property is important to happiness but this house has been an anchor-point for my boys since they were toddlers and through the break-up period. It will be sad to lose it and it will be hard for me to escape the feeling that I will have let them down if I sell it.

All of my life I’ve seen myself as someone of enormous potential. After 47 years I’m still struggling to realise it. I remind myself of those brilliant footballers that flash onto the scene, destined to be the next big thing but then disappear without a trace, because they didn’t have the temperament. (PS I’m not saying I’m brilliant at anything just using the analogy to point out the unfulfilled potential bit.)

Where to from here? I’m putting my faith in my psychiatrist. He’s helping me make some behavioural changes. And yes, he has prescribed me Ritolin, just like the ADHD kids get. It could all be a scam just so the drug giants can continue to make profits. But I don’t know what else to try. I owe it to my kids, and to myself to keep trying. After 47 years, it’s hard to keep trying, knowing that you might fall over at the same hurdle AGAIN!

But I will. And I’d like you to join me on that journey.


Lifeline (and hyperlink the word Lifeline to: ) is a free and confidential support service which can be reached on 13 11 14.

Beyond Blue (and link that to can be reached on 1300 22 46 36.


About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?


  1. Ian Syson says

    That’s a good piece Gigs. Moving and intelligent and honest. Good luck. You ever need company, I’m round the corner.

  2. Thanks Ian. I’ll be needing you!

  3. Steve Cooke says

    Let’s start with that kick in the park. I’m free on Friday

  4. You’re on Cookie! Thanks.

  5. Rick Kane says

    Gigs, it’s not a cop out. An illness is an illness and it requires medical attention, medication, care and support. That the community at large doesn’t know quite how to deal with mental health issues is a problem for the community at large. And I do believe stigma is breaking down, albeit, slowly. Sadly, the journey for someone diagnosed with a mental illness is fraught and difficult (just what you need if anxiety and paranoia are the two basic manifestations) because medical science has developed at a glacial pace in better understanding to diagnose, medicate and treat correctly. Still, as a lay person, I believe it is the best pathway.

    The Brain and Mind Institute ( is a good place to seek further information.

    You can’t beat support such as kick to kick and company and a good soup. I would like to help you however I can.

    I really feel for you Gigs.


  6. Hey Gigs – beautiful piece – if you need anything let me know – it was nice to know you were there for me on twitter when I thought I was alone – I will let you know if I hear of any jobs going

    Stay strong

  7. Andrew

    Wow, a really honest and incredibly moving piece. Good luck, but these things are seldom solved alone.

    For what it’s worth, I work in HR, have been both sacked and had to sack people myself, worked closely as both candidate and client with career transition companies and am about to move out of our dream house which we had to sell last year when I lost my job. Back in a great role now, but too late for the house

    I also have had a close association with depression in the family.

    I am sure your brother is supportive, but cop out and just get over it are words I have learnt are not helpful.

    If you want to talk, need career advice, have a kick, blow off steam, help with a resume, interviews, contacts or anything that’s within my experience, don’t hesitate


  8. Pamela Sherpa says

    Gigs , I was going to email you and ask if you were coming to the Canberra game. I owe you a cup of coffee. I’m sure you will survive this difficult period one way or another. Sounds like there is support to tap into down there.

  9. Thanks Natalie, hope you are going OK.

    Thanks Sean, I might take you up on that offer.

    And thanks Pam. I’m not sure if I’ll get to Canberra this year, but I will one day!

    Thanks also to all those who have called and emailed me directly. Your support is greatly appreciated and a reflection of the wonderful community that is “The Footy Almanac”.

  10. G’day Gigs, i haven’t had time to read this thoroughly, but i have a sad, but true experiece of this nature. Was sacked 3 years ago, eventually settled my unfair dismissal. Depression, Anxiety, AOD issues all part of this horrible process post sacking. Working in mental health i have both an empathy, and understanding of the damage being sacked causes. When i get time to read the aricle in its entirety, i will post some through some further thoughts. No fun mate, but important to maintain your supports, and as a worker one of your primary supports is your union.


  11. Thanks Glen. Sage advice. Cheers!

  12. Oh, and I forgot to thank Rick. Thanks for your comments and support mate. Greatly appreciated.

  13. Peter Schumacher says

    I really feel for you Gigs, my work record was nothing special either, was sacked 3 times during my working career, and took a redundancy 13 years ago to save being sacked a fourth time when aged 52. I have essentially been a house husband and a house grandparent since

    Was told by one boss that I was not stupid but there was something about me that didn’t quite click. He didn’t know and I certainly didn’t know either what the problem really was or how it might be corrected or treated but I did have trouble picking up new ideas or procedures and would sometimes freeze with fear almost at the thought of stuffing up yet again. Very hard to stay positive when one is constantly confronted with fear of failure.

    As a WASP it has been profoundly depressing at times that apart from some fairly meaningless part time work my wife has been the sole bread winner since. This is where I have been extremely fortunate and lucky, at no time has Beverley given me a hard time as to where this has placed her in life, indeed she has always has been extremely supportive and encouraging in terms of any endeavor that I might undertake.

    I don’t know how this leaves you Andrew, the truth is that our circumstances are quite different and so the foregoing probably has little relevance.

    Thus all I can say is how I started out, that is I too have been sacked and no matter what spin is put on it, it hurts like hell, it makes life miserable and it is a real struggle to get out of it. My thoughts are absolutely with you and I hope that your circumstances turn around as soon as possible.


    Peter Schumacher

  14. Thanks Peter. No two cases are the same but there are certainly some elements of your story that I identify with very closely. It’s very hard for me to look at my circumstance and not feel that I am a “failure”. But if I take steps to try and resolve my issues, as I am doing, then at least I know that “failure” won’t be for lack of trying.

    Thanks for sharing your story.


  15. Thanks for such honesty and openness Gigs. A rare commodity these days.

    Adult ADD is very real. My wife is a social worker working with adults and there are a range of mental illnesses which are completely misunderstood, especially when people hit adulthood. Adult ADD is such a difficult one because as you say, it’s associated with ‘kids going nuts’ essentially. But closely study the name and you realise the childish ‘misbehaviour’ is more a result of the condition. Completely misunderstood.

    Sound like you’ve been through a real rough trot so reaching out, while hard, is gutsy and wise. Carrying things ourselves and keeping up appearances can be so destructive. You should be commended.

    I’d love to offer help but don’t know what I could possibly do. Happy to get some word games and hashtags happening on twitter if it helps take your mind off things. Take care

  16. Phil Dimitriadis says


    only those that experience depression and anxiety REALLY know whether it’s a cop out. Only those who take the meds know how they can calm the nerves yet stunt creativity; put you to sleep yet send you into a state of apathy; still your mind yet dwarf your libido and make you feel better yet you don’t rally feel like you’re you. And yet without them it is virtually impossible to function as a relatively normal human being.

    You’re too good a person with many talents to let this get you down. Opportunities will come your way and know that many on this site have your back. Thanks for having the guts to get this out of your system as it affects far too many people and their families. Unlike the Doggies, you are a champion Gigs. Whatever you need, I’m here for you mate.

  17. -.- who do i have to bash up?!

  18. I’m overwhelmed by all these comments.

    Thanks John C. Twitter banter always helps!

    Thanks Phil, you’re a great mate.

    And thanks Danni – that’s the best comment I’ve had yet. ;-)

  19. I was being serious, know how i dooo :P
    ps- I LOVE U GIGS! :) <3

  20. Dave Nadel says

    I have just read your piece, Gigs, and am appalled by what has happened to you – although I wasn’t surprised to hear about management sacking you by email. In my experience most managements are quite cowardly when it comes to the conqequences of their decisions, In 1977 I was sacked as a librarian at Moonee Valley Library. The Chief Librarian got his secretary to hand me an envelope dismissing me after he had left for the afternoon. I had been in a workroom adjoining his office for the preceeding three hours. Email is an even greater help to cowards than secretaries.

    Given your many talents it is sad to hear the problems that you now find yourself in. I have always enjoyed reading your stuff in the Almanac and the Age. I have enjoyed even more being your friend on facebook. You have a highly individualistic sense of humour that I really appreciate. I often show some of your facebook flights of fancy to (my wife) Clare who wishes she had a friend on facebook as entertaining as you.

    I’m not sure there is much else that I can offer you except friendship. I certainly can’t offer you a cure for procrastination and fear of failure. I’ve managed to reach the age of sixty five without conquering those particular demons. I took far too long to finish my thesis and when I did I managed to talk myself out of submitting it for publication which might have given me a secure academic career – instead of which I have spent the last twenty years either on contract or working sessionally.

    Having said that, I have (more or less) refused to allow myself to be defined by work or career. One of the best defences against despair is to realise that you are who you are, not what you do for a living. No one’s self esteem should be defined by their employment because your employment is defined by your employer and he doesn’t give a shit for you, he just cares whether you can make him money,

    I don’t know whether these observations are much help but they are all I have at the moment. Good Luck Gigs and I am thinking of you.


  21. I’m doing ok – know how you feel so understand – have my bad days and good – maybe not as bad as you – keep up the fight – you are an inspiration to alot of ppl out there and you will get through it :)
    You put up a very brave front – cause I never knew the problems u had – they make my issues seem petty and insignificant ;)

  22. Richard Naco says

    Giggs: I might be somewhere beyond Pluto (planet, not dog) on your interpresonal radar, but as we’re both members of this extraordinary community, I share the concern so eloquently expressed already. And I, too, would gladly do whatever it takes to help (even from my isolated exile here in Sydney).

    I am married to psychologist and have danced with the black dog myself (I should point out that neither fact is connected to the other … sheesh), and I can assure you that what you’re going through is not imaginary, not weak, not a “cop out”, and certainly no other stupid exclamation of the ignorant. It’s very real, it’s bloody difficult to sort through, and one of the first positive steps to overcoming it is to basically rally support.

    So here we all are, mate. Your footy family. Getting professional intervention is a major step forward, but the other will be to read through the messages from these wonderful human beings that you and I both know, and realise that you will never, never, NEVER be alone.

    The love here is real, mate.

    Now to kick that black beast …

  23. Richard Naco says

    PS. The same applies to you, Natalie!

  24. haiku bob says

    with you all the way…err…way over here, Gigs.

  25. Dave, such wonderful words. You cannot know how helpful they are. Thanks.

    Natalie, your issues were/are as real and significant as mine. Don’t doubt that for a second. Still here to help if I can.

    Richard, thank you. Your words from Sydney mean as much as those from closer to home.

    And thanks Rob, same goes for your words, too!

    What a fantastic community is the Footy Almanac.

  26. It should be noted that the kick to kick is open to everyone on Friday. I’ll let Gigs set the time – Harls sleeps from 12.30-3.30 and would like to be involved so anytime apart from then would be great. Where do you think, Gigs, Brunswick St Oval?

  27. How about 4pm? We might pick up a few early work finishers that way.

    (Assuming I don’t have a job interview at that time of course!)

  28. Andrew this is a great piece. Sorry to hear the result and sorry to hear of the cause too.

    You know where I am too should you need any help. I have helped a few people along the way with similar problems.

    Good luck with the kick to kick!

  29. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Count me in for footy and frothies. In the meantime, have a listen to this beautiful song from the Eurythmics Gigs. It may help lift your spirits.

  30. Thanks to you and Annie for cheering me up, Phil. :-)

  31. Sad to hear Gigs.
    My wife is also a fan of your many anagrams.

    Resting on community support is a good way to go. People are able to empathize and give a listening ear. Don’t listen to a lie that says you don’t deserve attention, or that you are a failure. That’s plainly not the case for anyone.

    Gutless management though. A manager needs to get the best out of staff. An employee deserves respect and a face to face discussion where emotions can be shared. Would hate it if there was no warning, because that shock is enough to do huge damage.

    Anyway I trust you get the treatment you need, the support you deserve and the friendships that make life worth living.

    And the 1990 Kolyniuk match on repeat.

  32. Moving piece. Keep fighting the good fight. Will catch up soon.

  33. Jeff Dowsing says

    Until recently I was submitting material & taking an interest in another sport news/blog site but got fed up with not only the lack of thought provoking or creative content, but too many that were so busy always trying to score a point they would continually miss the point.

    What has won me over here is that it’s an online community with a big heart, and interesting left field contributors like Gigs. Appreciate you opening up with courage, like others here I had no idea. I think you’ve already made the hardest, most important steps, all the best with the rest.

  34. Gutsy stuff, Gigs

  35. Stephen Cooke says

    4pm it is Gigs – I’ll bring the footy. See you there Phil

  36. Thanks Lucas. Love the Kolyniuk touch!

    Thanks Rob. We should catch up for an only-20-rounds-to-go countdown.

    Thanks Jeff. I think there’s a pretty special bunch of people at the core of the Footy Almanac.

    Thanks Litza. It was a tough thing to post but everyone has made it worth it in so many ways.

    Cookie – If Eddie was here, he’d say “lock it in”!

  37. Steve Fahey says


    Extraordinarily honest, courageous and moving piece, I am thinking of you.

    Highlights a few things- how brutal and damaging we can be in our interactions with others in our personal and professional dealings and how bloody fantastic and supportive and inspiring we can be in our interactions with others, as per this article and the many thoughtful contributions above.

    Keep your head up Gigs and read the above contributions if and when you are feeling down – the biggest damage that managers like your now ex-manager can do is to have people getting detached from their talents and great qualities, and this eclectic online and sometimes physical community is well aware of what you have to offer.

    I also hope that you listened to the segment on 774 this morning when Matt Parkinson (filling in for Red Symons) had people ringing in with their stories of what they had done after their employment had been unexpectedly taken away from them. I’m certainly not suggesting a Pollyanna approach, but there were some inspiring stories.

  38. Gigs
    Keep battling, mate.
    If everyone was as honest as you were in this piece,
    the world would be a helluva better place.
    I’m with ya all the way.

  39. Josh Barnstable says

    That’s incredibly tough Gigs. Maybe you should come up to Numurkah and get a job as a maths teacher at my school? We don’t have any good ones.

    Will send you a North Melbourne scarf in the mail to lift your spirits. Thinking of you mate.


  40. Thanks Steve. The inspirational side of people has certainly shone through since I posted this piece. I have been utterly overwhelmed by the support coming from everyone. But of course, I shouldn’t have been because I know what a great bunch of people you all are.

    Smokie, thanks mate. It’s not always easy being honest but the support from you and others demonstrates that it’s worth it.



  41. Thanks Josh. I will treasure it.

  42. Damian Watson says

    Great piece Gigs, I hope things improve for you and we continue to see your good-natured personality.

  43. Emma McCarthy says

    Hello Andrew,
    I really think what you have posted is brave and i admire your brutal honesty. Stress can make it hard to concentrate, focus and ask for help. If you are worried about taking stimulants to help focus and calm down you could try Mindfulness Meditation instead it may be a real alternative. It sounds like you are trapped in a pattern of behaviour that creates irrational thoughts that block your way. You can train yourself to think differently with your therapists and I wish you all the best in your endeavours with this.
    Hope you can ride this out, not loose your house and make some money.

  44. Thanks Damian – I’ll try to keep the bad jokes coming!

    And thanks Emma. I will definitely have a look at the Mindfulness Meditation option. I’m glad we’re back in touch. :-)

  45. Gigs,

    Sad to learn of your predicament and hope matters can turn around quickly for you. If I were in Melbourne I’d be around to kick a footy with you and the others here. Just remember, great op-shops down this way…
    All the best, Adam

  46. Mate, not qualified to comment on your paid employment, but I’ve seen you go to work with a new cherry on a boiling hot Saturday. 5/70 from 23 overs on a road in the desert. And I’ve seen you work to draw disparate souls together and make them feel at home just about everywhere you go. If that aint application, I don’t know what is. There’s definitely some potential there. You’re just coming into your prime.
    Seeya Friday.

  47. Gigs,
    I’ve come to this very late, as I was away from the computer for much of the day. I found your account of your trials very moving, and the response it has drawn indicate what an extraordinary community is the Footy Almanac.

    I had some-one close to me experience anxiety and depression, mercifully now under control. However, my prior attitude was similar to your brother’s. I’m embarrassed to admit that now, for it reveals how profoundly ignorant I was. I soon came to understand the debilitating nature of mental illness, and to feel frustrated by my inability to “make it better”.

    You’re a gem on the site, and one of those great-hearted generous-spirited people who make things better for all who engage with you – even as peripherally as I have done.

    There’s been much sounder advice than I could suggest, already offered in the thread. I hope that your spirits have been lifted by the knowledge of how deeply you’ve touched us all. Hang in there, mate.

  48. Gigs – would love to have a kick of the footy on Friday. Not sure at this point if I can make it. If not do a nice long, thundering and celebratory torp for me!

    Good luck.

  49. Hey Gigz

    I love you too, Gigz. So glad that you and I have kick started a friendship after all these years. I am fully confident that you’ll work through this setback. I’ll be compiling the worlds daggiest Supertramp compilation in the meantime to help cheer you up.

  50. Tony Robb says

    Hey Gigs Nothing better than a kick in the guts to make one realise that you’ve been winging it for years and one someone’s called your out. I got that jolt mysel last month and it s the best thing to ever happen to me as I’ve realised the being Peter Pan at the age of 51is selfish and plain poor form . So take this as a bit of speed hump, have a realistic look at things and seek help in moving on. It a job Gigs. The problem is the sense of loss so grieve and move forward with the help of people who have been there done that. You have a lots supporters.

  51. G’day Gigs, hope today starts on a good note. If you desire to peruse some reading material which may be of use i can recommend the following. Go to, see what they have re the workplace, and stressors/depression. The Better Health Channel,, has material re work related stress. Tony LaMontagne, from Melbourne Universiiyt has written a lot of material re the workplace, and mental health. Google LaMontagne AD,and perusse his writings if you can. There is more out there, but these can be good starting points. Hopefully this helps. Important to maintain your supports, and the Footy Almanac is a great example of a support. Chin up, and from my own experience i know it’s easier said than done. Make sure you ‘re not isolated, it is important you have supports to get through these traumatic times. If you want more re information/support re mental health, and the workplace, i am happy to assist. Let us know.


  52. Thanks Adam – I will get to those op shops!

    Thanks MOC – very kind words. It was a pleasure to toil away with you on that hot Saturday arvo.

    Thanks Dips – I’ll give the torp a shot but there’s a fair chance it’ll spray off the side of the boot!

    Thanks T-Bone – a compilation of daggy Supertramp songs should be enough to lift anyone’s soul.

    Thanks Tony – very lucky to have lots of people around me to help me move forward.

    And thanks again Glen – very helpful stuff.

    And once again a big thanks to everyone for such an incredible outpouring of support.


  53. Andrew Else says

    Very brave Gigs. And the reaction from The ‘Nackery has been first class.

    I liked T Robb’s advice. The sense of loss is large, but sometimes it’s what we need

  54. DBalassone says

    Gigs, admire the honesty & courage of this piece. I think many readers have identified with some of the things you are saying re your experiences in the workforce – I know I did. Friends, family and hobbies mean so much more than the opinion of some corporate [email protected] Wish you the best in moving on to greener pastures.

  55. John Harms says

    My dear departed father always said we all have our gifts. The issue was that the world wasn’t organised to accommodate some of those gifts. Harmses have the gift of sitting around and talking about stuff with a beer in their hand. (Nice work if you can get it). Hope you can focus on the gifts and qualities you obviously have, and on your friendships, at this tough time.

    Like many others here, I also admire your honesty. My colleague at Manning Clark House, Jonette Crysell, once said that Manning Clark lived out loud. When she said it we both stopped and thought “Yeah, that’s exactly what he did”. So we wrote it on the door. A lot of people wondered what Jonette meant. But he was interested in the truth of it all, not the veneer. I think you do something similar and much good comes of it, and will come of it.

    Do you think the Dogs can beat the Dees this weekend?

  56. Thanks Andrew E, Damian and John. The wonderful words of support and encouragement I’ve had in the last 24 hours has made me feel far more optimistic about facing my challenges than I could possibly imagined when I posted that piece at around this time yesterday.

    Thanks for the Manning Clark story John. I would love to be able to “live out loud” as he did and I’m proud think this article is an example of doing so. I just hope I in future I live a bit more that way before I reach a crisis point!

    As for the Dogs and the Dees, I’m worried, very worried. The sapping of the Dogs’ spirit as last Saturday night wore on was palpable. They were working hard and achieving nothing. Much depends on how they react to that. Dees would have to be a real show, I think.

  57. Gigs!

    Shit news. Sorry about that.

    My dear wife has had a long and ardouous battle with mental illness, and a general lack of understanding (myself included) is always lurking ready to compound the matter.

    Thanks for sharing!
    PS: I did think of some puns relating to the word sacked, but they can wait for another time.

  58. Thanks Ed. Happy to share some dark humour at any time!

  59. I just didn’t want the jokes to be dissmissed.

  60. As long as the jokes aren’t dismissed via email, outside of working hours… (Too soon?) xox

  61. And Gigs, you already know MY story. After reading all these great responses, I’m starting to feel as though we are in the majority. ;)

  62. Thanks Kat. Never too soon in my book.

  63. Tony Robb says

    Gigs, whats happening? The intial outpouring of support has been great. How are you travelling? the next bit is the hard bit. Call in a favour

  64. Andrew Starkie says

    Hang on, hang on, hang on, stop for a second…. Phil, did you tell Gigs to listen to Eurythmics?

    Seriously? That’s plain nasty.

    Gigs, congrats and thank you for speaking up. It is such a difficult, courageous and generous thing you’ve done. Look how full your inbox is. You’ve moved, inspired and liberated people.

    I was reflecting with someone recently on how fortunate we are to have the Almanac. I love our conversations and gatherings. It’s a Star Wars type geek fest for footy tragics. We aren’t alone in our sporting obsessions. And I think that’s why you posted this piece, Gigs, because you knew the Almanac community would huddle around.

    All writing is good for the soul. An empty computer screen is a blank canvas and when we write we create (most of mine’s crap, for sure, but…) and display a piece of our heart or soul. Our writing is a reflection of who we are. You offered your soul with this, Gigs and I hope this piece has started you on a new journey. You may never reach the end, but remember, life’s a four quarter game.

    Can I suggest the Nolan Sisters?

    PS: won’t get there Friday arvo but have a kick for me. When all else fails, there’s always footy.

  65. Tony Robb says

    Andrews right My writing reflects a smartarse Carlton supporter who should have studied harder in English and less in shit stirring . still someone’s get to do it

  66. paul mitchell says


    Sorry not to have read your piece earlier. I’ve been in the depression and anxiety vortex more times than I care to remember. A lot of what you talked about mirrored many of my experiences. I’ve found that medication and the talking cure really helps. I was worried, too, initially, about taking meds – would it change my personality, etc., stop me from being me? It’s actually led me to being able to function pretty normally, get things done, even if I feel the same issue about not reaching my potential. I’m starting to think, though, that reaching my so-called potential (career, writing, etc.) isn’t what my potential is really about – perhaps it’s being able to admit to people, like you have, who I really am.

    What you wrote shows enormous strength and it’s an inspiration for me – and I reckon many others.

    Let me know if you want an ear or a beer.


  67. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Starkie, do you really want to hurt me?

    All that pseudo shinboner shit has eclipsed your feminine side. Therefore I suggest a dose of this: Pull yourself together son!

  68. Andrew Starkie says

    it’s all tough, macho stuff at Arden St, mate. You need some of it at the Nissan Centre at the moment.

    Nolan Sisters, first record I ever bought. I was in Grade 5. $6.95 at Warrnambool Woolworths. My sisters still tease me about it, 35 years later.

    ‘Baby, I’m breaking up
    Now that we’re making up
    Gotta pull myself together’

  69. Gigs, have only just read your honest, brave and moving piece. Thank you. And the responses from fellow almanacers is equally moving in their humour, advice, care and support. It seems that many (myself included) have experienced the pain and distorted self perception – of which you so truthfully speak – that can arise from anxiety and depression. I don’t know you apart from the postings that you share on this site, but I truly wish you well. And things can change for the better, little by little, in ways that we don’t always recognise at first. Your words indicate an honest heart, one that can lead your way (and yes, I’d give the eurythmics a miss, too).

  70. AS, I reckon you need to learn a thing or two about bragging. The Nolan sisters? What happens in the Warrnambool Woolworths in Grade 5 stays in …

    Gigs, here’s a bit of mariachi to lift the spirits!


  71. Nolan sisters ? Surely ye jest !


  72. Thanks Tony, Andrew, Paul and Jen.

    Tony, you identify a really important point, which is, after an event such as this, there can be a flood of support early, which carries a person through a time of crisis, but the next bit can be very hard to negotiate. Such has been the level of support that I’ve had, I am along way from reaching that point, and such is the quality of the Footy Almanac community, I feel sure it won’t come to that. I will be receiving financial advice (from a generous Almanacker) next week and exploring other options (including many again suggested by Almanackers). And of course I will be seeking employment asap.

    Andrew, I think you’re right. I think I knew the Almanac community would be there for me and it has been in spades, far more than I could have imagined. (But of course, I shouldn’t be surprised at all.)

    Jen, thanks for sharing your feelings and experiences. Each word of support I receive from all Almanackers, whether I’ve met you or not, helps me take another step forward.

    Rick – absolutely love the mariachi! Thanks.

  73. Gigs. WIth you on this one. Like yourself and others, I have been non-renewed and sacked in the past, (currently counting down to finishing up a non-renewed contract as we speak). The “depression/anxiety vortex” has been and occasionally revisited many times, but more so in the past year after a series of disappointing changes/rulings from management. Many others are in the same type of boat somewhere on stormy seas.

    Best thing I have found is to find the time to put towards your passions. Sometimes it is worth not doing the dishes over a chance to be on the (salt) water.

    And bugger that wimpy pop stuff off for savage beast soothing music. The black dog is an angry animal and needs something more heartfelt to get kicked to the corner than some multimillionaire whining about not being able to afford another Rolls-Royce .

    Here’s a tune written by a bunch of Manly loving (NRL), surfy bums from the Northern Shores of Sydney. For all its crappy lo-fi production and whatever other technical and musical faults, it has always spoken to me when I’ve needed it. Enjoy

  74. Thanks Gus. Very good advice. And I have to say I really love that track!

    I’m loving how this is developing into a debate over what music/song/genre is best to help someone through a situation like mine. There might be a thesis in this!


  75. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Never underestimate the healing powers of 80s pop Gigs. Can’t believe the amount of pop snobs that have popped up. Maybe a thesis after all.

  76. Thanks Phil! First time this (ex) roadie has been recognised as a snob. I could get accustomed to this lifestyle.

  77. reaching out was absolutely the best thing to do Gigs. You’ve touched many and we’ll support you in return.

  78. Great piece of writing, Gigs. I spent a bit of time in those places you’ve mentioned – anxiety, depression, relationship breakdown and The Fear. The Fear is the worst, I keep it at bay with too much alcohol, brings with its own problems and I wouldn’t recommend it at all.

    Good luck with it, just keep on slogging away and hope it’ll get better. It did for me, mostly. The single best thing for me was to take up gardening. It doesn’t pay well but it calmed me, being outside and getting some exercise. I learnt some practical skills and wasn’t too bad at it.

    Okay, having said that, I’m about your age and gave it up last year because I was getting too old to carry pavers and rolls of turf around. I work on the railways now and I don’t have anyone looking over my shoulder, left to myself in a low-stress job.

    Hope it all works out for you.

  79. Daryl Sharpen says

    Kick to kick @ Brunswick St. oval. How did it all go? A piece on that would surely be in order. Hang in there Gigs you are too good to be dragged down by the vermin. Stay strong son,

  80. Cheryl Critchley says

    Hi Gigs, I can’t believe I missed this the first time around. What a great, honest piece which I hope has inspired others to admit that life isn’t perfect and sometimes we need help to deal with it.

  81. Colin Ritchie says

    Hi Gigs, I’m a fairly recent addition to the Almanackers so I missed your article when originally published. I was moved by your courage to unburden your soul in the manner that you did; it’s was something many of us could not have done at such a personal level. But what you have done is bring home to me the importance of talking about those issues , no matter how personal they might be, because we discover there are many others with similar concerns and by sharing them we realise that we are not alone but we are all in it together. I was proud to read the wonderfully supportive comments from so many knackers whose names I am now familar with. This is a wonderful community.

  82. Hi Cheryl and Colin. Thanks both for your very kind words. I was and continue to be deeply moved by the response to my piece. As you said Cheryl, there are many tough situations that require the help of family and/or friends to get through but many people, including me for a long time, have felt afraid/embarrassed/ashamed to ask.

    But sharing my crisis was the best thing I ever did and demonstrated, as Colin pointed out, what a wonderful community the Footy Almanac has fostered.

    Gareth Andrews asked me to write a few more words on my experience for his wonderful “Life Again Foundation” website. For those interested, here’s the link:

    Thanks again to all for the fantastic support.

  83. Dear Almanackers,
    Like Gigs I had some major life dramas a few years back. Finding the Almanac as a form of self expression – “letting it all hang out” – was a major part of the peace of mind I feel today.
    So on Valentine’s Day in the spirit of Australian sport:
    “I luvs yooze all.”

  84. Hi Gigs,

    Amazing story – amazing to me in that I have experienced several of the issues that you have gone thru but in a different way.

    I have also been working since 1986, and I have also always found myself easily distracted and haunted by the same issues as yourself not just since I started work but, like yourself, all my life.

    The difference lies in the source. In your case it was an unhappy marriage, in my case it has been an unhappy childhood, teen-age and adulthood due to having mother that always put HERSELF first.

    Jobwise, I’ve been retrenched twice, had contracts not renewed, and even had one cut short due to GFC.

    I also went thru some dark times a few years back when i maxed out credit cards to keep up with mortgage.

    I guess the point is that we are not alone – we are all in the same boat – a legacy of the financial system we live in – one that relies on high interest rates and high taxes (higher than most other countries in the developed world) to oppress the masses and ensure we always live in fear and are subjected to acts of selfishness and deceit from even those who supposedly love us.

    (That last paragraph is now making me think – maybe we ARE all meant to battle on alone)

    And being in IT – we are always under the threat of losing our position to someone living in a less privileged country who is willing to do the same work for less than half the price.

    Perhaps that is one of the blessings of getting a job in footy – no one from overseas will ever be able to understand the game well enough to take jobs in the footy industry away from AUS!

    Without wishing to push any religious beliefs on anyone, what keeps me going is belief in a higher power – the knowledge that someone is overseeing all this and is putting us thru tests from time to time. We almost always get thru these tests.
    Why ? Not because we were ‘good enough’ to pass them but the supreme being takes the test conditions away – mercifully – when he sees we are not up to the mark….until the next test comes….where we are meant to ask ourselves, “am I better equipped this time?”

    And how does one equip oneself ?

    There is no simple answer to this except to leave you with this thought:

    Belief in something is one thing – but that is not enough. The real passing of the test comes when you combine the Belief with Reliance…On that SAME Power

  85. Hey Gigs,

    Somehow missed this the first time. I’m inspired by the strength it must have required to publish this piece.

    Been through some shit myself so I’m sure we’d have some stories to share.

    Thankfully though, I’m not one to suffer from depression or the like. I imagine there’s a touch of Jane Elliot’s premise when people who have not experienced such things give their opinions on it.

    Elliot’s premise was that ‘When white people sit down to discuss racism what they are experiencing is shared ignorance.’ This inspired Elliot to create what became known as the ‘blue eyed/brown eyed’ exercise.

    If ever you’re down Geelong/Torquay way and you’ve got time, give me a bell (Harmsy has my number). I’ve got a spare surfboard. I’m not a swimmer and not particularly fond of the water and not a very good surfer but there’s something therapeutic, even healing, about sitting out the back away from the crowds, surrounded by the sight, feel and sound of water .

  86. “and even had one cut short due to GFC.”

    Bloody Geelong.

  87. Bardhyl Shehu says

    Just read your artcile “Sacked”. And at the same time l’m reading a great footy book called “The Red Fox” about Norm Smith. Here was a fellow who played for Melbourne between 1935 and 1948 and helped win four premierships for them. He also coached them between 1952 and 1967 to another SIX premierships. Many decades later the AFL named him “Coach of the Century” – and deservedly so.

    And yet in 1965 the Melbourne FC sacked him.

    The average Melbourne supporter was distraught, the general football public were amazed. But the powers-that-be who ran the Melbourne FC at the time didn’t give a toss at the time. Loyalty, determinination, passion and love for the club meant nothing in the end.

    And so what was the result?

    Five decades of misery and despair for the average Melbourne fan with no hope in the foreseeable future. All because the committee in 1965 decided Norm was now expendable.

    I don’t know what this has to do with you or how you will interpret my comment. I’m not trying to be philosophical or patronising, but when l read your article – for some reason l thought of Norm Smith and how his sacking by a short-sighted and indifferent powerful minority had such tragic repercussions for a club so many decdes later.

    Sacking people has to be avoided. But it has to be done, at least show some humanity about it.

    But on a positive note – and l’m not being flippant here – all of us do have a spark of Norm Smith about us – greatness. Hang in there.

  88. Hey Gigs,

    Thank you for the open and honest discussion about your mental health battles. The stigma surrounding mental health is still around which is terrible. It is stories like yours that make us all remember and realise that everyone goes through really tough times. I am glad to hear you are doing better now.

  89. It’s five years this week since I wrote this piece. Thanks to my many wonderful Almanac (and other) friends, and with a little help from the Bulldogs, my world has transformed wonderfully. Much love and many humble thanks to you all.

  90. Gigs have just read this re your post on face book a extremely gutsy article and one I resonate with big time yep have been sacked and also have my own issues with depression. Finally was honest with myself re the booze and haven’t had a drink for over four years.In my work with the SDA there are computer elements I just do not understand I have been shown but it just does not commute I feel worthless at times and I am sure there are people who think I am as thick as a brick also had some dramas with other employment lately so yes definitely questioning myself worth at this current stage.Fantastic that your doing better now blokes we in general are not the best talkers about what really matters
    All the best mate !

  91. Yes Gigs, take care. I can empathise with this situation. I was sacked in 2009 though the specifics aren’t required for this posting.

    In our world concepts like job security, the rights of the workforce, often seem like Lassetters’ lost ref. We’ve heard of these things, though how many of us have actually seen them ?!? Union membership is now at levels commensurate to what it was at the time of the Harvester decision, over a century ago. When i started working it was around 53%, now it is down to 12%. Take away the SDA it would be below 10%. Political action such as the ABCC legislation, combined with decisions like the recent winding back of Sunday penalties, combined with the corporate media hysteria when there is some sort of gain for workers like in the UFU, CFA case all combine to make employment a very precarious thing.

    With the loss of established industries such as car building,combined with technological change that instead of removing the arduous labour processes have actually removed jobs create a situation that is difficult. Working in the health field i’m cognisant, also concerned re the lack of work being done in our field to properly name and tackle the issue of work related mental health stress.

    Keep the chin up Gigs, barrack for your Bulldogs, and in the words of a wise Asian sage: the road is torturous, but the future is bright.


  92. Earl O'Neill says

    I hear you.

  93. I am very happy to read this Gigs. For you and for me.
    Thank you.

  94. Good luck for the future!

  95. Earl O'Neill says

    Gigs, I get this, the unrealised potential, the trail of mini-destructions, good onya for having the nerve to publish it. I quit before I get sacked, the turning point for me was getting into gardening, work I enjoy and am good at. Today my worldly assets include a van and tools therein, a motorcycle, a pile of books and records, worth maybe a bit more than my debts. I have my issues, but I like my work and I love my wife. Thanks for writing and I wish you all the very best in your endeavours.

  96. Tom Williams says

    Hi Andrew – great article and a very interesting read. As this happened back in 2012, I would be very interested to hear what happened to you since then…..from the comments it appeared you had a kick of the footy but what else? You were 5 mortgage payments behind – did you save your house? And obviously the 2016 premiership was a huge highlight and then the Bulldogs book you were involved in….but you also lost both parents….I think there would be an interesting story to tell…

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