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Holly Clark: an AWC assignment

“…arms come up, and exhale.” Through the slit of her left eye and with her nose wrinkled, she sneaks a peek at the laptop screen and wonders for the hundredth time if she’s doing the posture right. She’s alone in the room, inhibitions as dormant as the desire to continue with her scheduled zoom meetings for the afternoon. Living through the corona virus lockdown in Victoria has helped Holly realise two things: 1. yoga is better without other bodies to accidentally fall on and 2. she wants to be a writer.

Holly Clark is the sort of woman you can picture nestled in a cosy cafe, cappuccino cup empty but notebook stuffed as she drafts her third journal entry for the day. At this stage, journal entries are coming out as thick as her newly feathered eyebrows – her longstanding desire to have them done finally won up against the cost. After all, she has been impassively earning a living within the marketing and public relations arena for too long to not spend a bit of that hard earned cash on herself.

The desire to make some bank was the drive behind Holly’s choice to divert from her original path. She studied journalism at Uni and was always an ambitious student – writing her 24000 word thesis on the hashtag ‘clean-eating’ and body image representation was a simple task. She strode toward a career in writing with intention and the feedback on her thesis confirmed that choice. But alas, Holly fell into the trap that captures many graduates; work for money, not for love. She slid into a job doing marketing with a tech start up, which ticked all the boxes except the one labelled “passion.”

The work was enjoyable enough and in this role she certainly learned a lot. Interestingly, Holly was the sole female employee for the entire two years of work there – qualifying the stereotype that we need more gender diversity in the technology sector. This might have been a novelty for the friendly geeks, but sharing a unisex toilet certainly wasn’t. Their attempt at embracing gender diversity outside of work was endearing, though “they didn’t even have enough females to run a mixed netball team.” Holly laughs as she says this – indicative of her affable personality and making it easy to believe that she made “some really strong friendships that remain today.” Her extroverted nature and full face of perfectly applied makeup was not misplaced in this male-dominated-tech-nerd workplace. “I taught them social graces and they taught me to code!” Pretty cool.

Now, Holly’s competency in communications translates through her work as a manager within a program that brings startups and government together to solve a variety of social challenges. The work is gratifying. She likes being the bridge between different worlds and as a woman previously in tech, Holly finds joy in bringing innovation from that space into the public sector. In the last 12 months however, things changed for Holly as well as the rest of the world. She became conscious of her deeply outgoing nature, and decided that working from home was not her thing. The social gatherings at the water station were non-existent as she refilled her bottle at the kitchen sink, and her exercise routine – once a stop in at the local boxing gym, cancelled altogether. Instead, the end of her day alone saw the closing of her laptop, a quick search for her joggers and the selection of a terrifying crime thriller audiobook, in order to make her run faster.

Horrifying crime thriller audiobooks are not the only thing that scare Holly. Despite being a proficient writer with a distinctive and amusing tone, Holly has been reticent in sharing the words she writes in her personal time. Recently however, those paragraphs have begun to make the rounds through friends and family with positive reception. As she comes to her fourth week of completing a feature writing course, her confidence to serve the world with her expressive genius will no doubt grow.

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

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