I had a boss once – when I was working as a Public Relations Consultant – who described me as “the Pineapple in his armpit.”
At the time I didn’t really understand what he meant by the phrase – he used it to describe me in the middle of a particularly vexing conversation where we were discussing how the business I was managing in Australia was performing (READ: We were essentially arguing).
In the years that followed then, and as the comparison kept being used, I came to understand it was a kind of compliment from him. After all he liked pineapples – he appreciated what they added to the world and actually enjoyed having them in his life – but by imagining them in such an uncomfortable location, he was essentially referencing my ability to get under his skin and challenge him in an unexpected way.
After all he liked pineapples … but by imaging them in such an uncomfortable location he was … referencing my ability to … challenge him in an unexpected way
Years later then, and still working in areas that push people out of their comfort zones, I often find myself wondering if I am being enough of a “pineapple”? Am I challenging norms enough to bring about positive change? Do I do it in a way that encourages people to sit up and take notice – that surprises them and grabs them in unexpected ways? Or am I just doing the same old thing that every one else is – am I just being an ordinary piece of fruit? (OK – so I may have gone too far but you know what I mean).
In the years since the phrase was first used to describe me, I’ve worked on a number of things that I would proudly call “Pivotal Campaigns” or henceforth “Pineapple Campaigns”.
These would be best described as initiatives and/ or projects that have actually lead to some sort of change in the way that society operates and would include the following:
- Getting access for women to treatments for breast cancer that were being withheld by public policy;
- Working with amazing people to “re-position” breast cancer from a women’s issue to one that affects whole families;
- Working with another amazing group of people to get kids out of detention centres in Australia; and
- Currently working with some incredible people to not only increase the efficiency of Charity Christmas Toy Drives but also raise awareness and support for families with premature and sick newborns while at the same time working to get a change in public health policy which ensures all women are told about their breast density during their regular mammograms.
We didn’t take to the issues like a sledge hammer but by standing tall, while remaining sweet, ..(we)… worked …(like) … pineapples and as a result we’ve helped bring about positive change!
In each case, the idea we came up with, or the stance we took, resulted in a level of discomfort across the wider community becoming so great that a change resulted. We didn’t take to the issues like a sledge-hammer but by standing tall, while remaining sweet, myself and the people I’ve worked with have been pineapples and as a result we’ve helped bring about positive change!
So why be anything else?
Yours in prickly anticipation – K xx
PS In signing off I just wanted to acknowledge I’ve been gone a while and to apologise. Life has been challenging this last 10 months – not bad – just challenging and I guess I just haven’t “felt” my voice. Sometimes you can only tackle so many things at any one point in time – and while it’s early days I’m keen to reconnect and I’m looking forward to hearing from you all again.