A Travellerspoint blog

Jobs down Under, and our calling?!

28 August 2009.

sunny 30 °C

I do enjoy this writing blogs malarky, I didnt think I'd like writing so much, even if no one ends up reading I still like writing. Im not much of a writer, and even though my blogs are grammatically crap and a disgrace to the english language and most of the time, make little sense and dont have a clear point....I dont care!
Japan, is still great, still loving it out here. At the moment there really isnt anything majorly worth blogging, Im just in a bit of a routine right now. Its still very vibrant and interesting, and everyday theres something that makes me smile or makes me ask questions in my head (I talk to myself in my head all the time anyway). So for this blog I wont be going into spewing asian info.
I will be talking about Jobs, more specifically my many (some strange) jobs in Australia.

In my previous blog, I had mentioned I didnt have quite the time I was hoping for down under!
I had mentioned this was partly due to expectations. There were a few other factors. One of them which i felt was impacted on my enjoyment a lot was money.
Money of course makes the world go round, and in a developed country like Australia money driven like the rest, your gonna need $$$ to get by, and a lot of them!
Now Hindsight is a great thing, of course. Looking back I clearly didnt go to Australia with neeeaarrllly enough dosh! This I quickly realised shortly after arriving in Sydney!
The Majority of fellow travellers I met, had just been working their arses off back home, wherever home was to come out here, with the top priority being Enjoyment, and working only being a break glass in emergency situation. I had just finished University when I came to Oz and shortly before Oz, i was in Spain for 2weeks, and i didnt have a pot of gold. Some people come out to Oz, on a tourist visa and just travel the east coast on a bus for 3months and live it large!...maybe i shouldave done this!
Anyway...I didnt and once i got down under, the top priority was Work, and that i needed an income ASAP.
Im not just going to go through all the Jobs I had in Oz, in the hopes that if you read this, or are planning to go to Oz, you can get the grim reality of job hunting down under, and take it into consideration before your trip. I know there are some people Ive met who seem to land it luckily over and over, but I dont fall into this category. Also, i wanna mention, i think jobs for backpackers in Australia, is like the Polish in the UK. As in Aussies will get first pick at jobs and we'll get the dreggs, eg. whatevers left over, which usually turns out to be fruit picking and commission only type jobs.

Job 1: Meat Factory. Duration: 2days
Two weeks into getting to Oz, I asked 2 english mates id made, if they wanted to find a job and start work ASAP. We found the meat factory (make jokes if you want!) job through an agency in Sydney. Who told us to go to Biloela, Queensland, where our new job was waiting.
We flew to Rockhampton a town in Queensland, which has an airport, as Shitty Bilo (as the locals called it) or Fucking-Bilo-cunting-ela as i called it, had only 1500 population and didnt have an airport.
We had to get a bus from Rocky (as the local called it) to Bilo. Our accomdation in Bilo was cheap, and for obvious reasons it was a fucked up shed, in which mostly Koreans stayed in. Our plan, was to work in the factory for 2months+ then head to Brissy to blow out financial load, at Xmas time! This plan was crippled after day 1.
On day1 we joined the Koreans on the bus at 5am to the factory, we were all still 1/2 asleep and dreading the job. We met out boss who was a typical country-aussie with accent to prove it. He seemed decent. They were assigning departments for the newbies, as we signed our forms! We were praying we werent going to be placed in the slaughter house, slitting cows throats.....luckily we werent! We got placed in proccessing and packaging. Which at the time we thought as great. But once we got kitted out in our jump suits, hair net, ear muffs and gloves and entered the warehouse we changed out minds.
We got told what to do in 2mins flat. Take boxes off conveyer belts and stack them on pallets according to their code. The shift was 6am-3pm with one 1/2 hour break. The boxes weighed an average of 16kg and I genuinely had a back problems from home, in which Id previously seen a physio, thus the continual heavy lifting didnt do my back any good! It was freezing in the factory and very noisy, so you couldnt talk or even listen to music. Our work collegues were either Koreans who didnt speak english or Bilo locals who spoke with a very country aussie accent and had never left Bilo let alone Australia.
We packed it in. After 3days stranded in Bilo, we left for Brisbane.

Job 2: Energy Australia Marketer. Duration 6weeks
I was living in a hostel for 2months in Brisbane, in the west end, a place called 'The valley'. I was on my own and needed a job. A lot of travellers in the hostel seemed to work for various electricity companies, as door to door salespeople. After playing pool with a couple of canadians, I was persuaded to join the cult. I got a job with Energy Australia. Energy Australia seemed like a pretty reputable company. I was lured in by, a) desperation and b) the prospect and assurance of shit loads of money in easily reachable commission targets. My first 3weeks had a base pay plus any commission i got ontop. The people i worked with were a good bunch. Each day we'd head out to a designated suburb of Brisbane, with the intent of basically annoying people, and mind-fucking them into changing their electricity retailer. It was like a paper round, except the "paper" was an electricity bill company, and you were convincing people they must change to our "paper"!
There was huge competition between electcity retail companies in Brissy, and this wasnt always good, as some areas we 'hit' rival companies had previously been and done their converting, so we had to plan our attacks carefully. All in all, it was an interesting job giving me my first insight into the world of sales!...and all the scheming sales techniques which are employed, which can actually be used in day to day life to get your way. You get all kinds of people, all kinds of houses, all kinds of suburbs and all kinds of responses to your 'pitch'. Lets just say iv had doors slammed in my face, a dog set on me, abuse shouted at me. Then advice to get another job, people who will sign if you just give them a pen, and people who welcome you like a stray-cat. I was asked in for dinner by a family, it was a big house with a pool, they gave me a 3 course meal and I told them all about myself in return, good deal i think. I shared a few beers with others too. The job eventually wore on me, when it became commission only and the numerous door slamming in the boiling heat, did my head in frankly!

Job 2: Flood light shiner. duration 1hour.
This is interesting but doesnt involve a lot of explanation. On my first day in a hostel in sweltering north eastern town of Cairns, I was already in desperation for work. I was offered a job on the first day, sadly i was just for the night. It was at the local AJ Hacket bungee jump site. The Queensland Tourism board was meeting there to discuss, well its obvious, tourism in queensland. All i was to do was to shine a light on anyone who decided to jump, from the top as it was dark, $50, not bad.

Job 4: Cleaner in hostel. duration: 1 week.
This job also doesnt involve a lot of explanation. Basically the hostel i stayed at over xmas, in Cairns told me if i cleaned from 7am-11am I could get free food and accomodation. It was shit and boring, but worth it. I eventually got canned from the job, supposedly i wasnt putting in enough effort, or enthusiasm I was told my some prick who ran the place, they had found some fat kid who was excited to be my replacement.

Job 5: Laundry in hostel. duration 1 week.
This job, has the same story as the previous hostel job. Enough said. However the hostel i folded bed sheets in, I ended up staying in for 6 months!...

Job 6: Kirby Home Maintenance salesman. duration: 2 months.
I've recieved a lot of stick from mates i met in Oz from this job and deservedly so! As i said before theres a lot of commission only type jobs floating about down under, luring people in with promises of big bucks if you sell sell sell, and making it out like this is easy. I told myself after selling electrcity that I would never go back to any sort of commission pressure sales job. However times were bad. And this was the only thing i could find. I'll just state for the record now, you might be asking why didnt you go work in a bar? Well...at the beginning i didnt want to as i had done this back home for a long time and didnt want to do it again, then when i changed my mind, i couldnt be bothered doing the course you need to do in order to work in a bar! Also, why didnt you go fruit picking? fruit picking sounds harmless and innocent, but people do it for the 2nd year visa which i wasnt fussed about, on top of that the numerous stories from fruit pickers about how shit it was, put me off even more.
So anyway...the vacuum selling job, sounds ridiculous, yes, your right. For the 1st half, i was knocking on peoples doors asking them if they wanted a free clean to their home, which translated in sales speak means, if you give us your permission and phone number, we will hassle you into letting us enter your house and make you buy an overpriced vacuum!!! It was soul destroying and depressing!
After that, Joe an arrogant aussie who was head of demonstrations, took me under his wing. And trained me to do the demonsatrations of the machine. Basically, I had to come to your house, pretend to be your friend and understand your problems put on a fake smile, and show you a machine in all its glory, and the magic it performs. I would talk a lot of technical nonsense in order to confuse you, and then use the machine on your house and accuse you of not keeping a clean house! You know those adverts, where they say "look how easy the dirt comes out" "all this could be yours!". that was me :(
If i couldnt get the sale, id text Joe from behind my back, who would storm the place, and pretty much call them idiots for not taking such an amazing deal, then plead as he gradually cut the price and gave a "special price" which of course he never gives to anyone else, its just between you and me ;), until the "special price" as been cut so much that the potential commission for us makes it almost not worth it.
In my last 2weeks, Thahn a vietnamese man who I became mates with, who'd worked for megan who was Joes wife and in charge for a long time. He had an argument with Joe who was a arsehole. and left, to try and sell the machines by himself. I had recently quit, he convinced me and Gudio a dutch traveller, to join him in a last ditch attempt to make it work. We got lots of appointment and I sold 3 machines. It didnt last long, and took a nose dive, and we went our seperate ways, but for that 2 weeks we were, having fun. Selling these overpriced machines, is comparable to Will Smiths character in the film; The Pursuit of Happyness, where he has a medical scanner of some sort, and is desperately trying to sell it.

"Job" 7: Human Lab Rat. duration 4days.
This job, i put in quotation marks, as you cant really call it a job perse, however I met some people who made a decent attempt to make it one! When i was in Brisbane i met a fellow traveller who im still friends with, who told me of a magically medical centre south of Melbourne and you can go there take drugs and get paid a lot of money for this, I of course was taken in by this story. He gave me the phone number. Of course now living in Melbourne, I naturally gave them a call. Did my screening to make sure i was healthy enough to be popping drugs still in trial, and then signed on the dotted line, right below the part in bold which read, 'THERE IS A CHANCE OF DEATH IN THIS EXPERIMENT'. Although to be fair it says that for all the experiments. Needless to say, friends id made at the All Nations hostel tried to tell me i was an idiot for this, depsite having a lack of funds. And also, my parents werent best pleased when learning my decision to do this. Now, when you think about it, when you go to a pharmacy for some headache pills or if your doctor prescribes you some drugs for whatever reason. The only reason you have them in your possession is because numerous animals have died, and a selection of human volunteers around the globe have taken part in trials to make sure, there is as little negative effects from take Drug X. So, I suppose i was doing my part for science, at least thats what i kept telling myself!
I was in testing a drug, which was meant to stop smokers lungs becoming inflamed, but you needed to be a non-smoker to take part. Basically when smokers smoke their lungs become inflamed and white blood cells come to try and heal the body, but most of the time too many of them come which causes adverse effects, and this drug is supposed to stop so many of them coming. You'd think smokers could just live with it or stop god damn smoking!
Anyway, i was in a group with some aussies and some travellers. We had a canulla which is a constant needle, in our arm for the duration of the test. One morning one, we were all woken up, and at exact times told to pop some pills. We could only eat at exact times, and the rest of the time we played pool, Xbox and surfed the internet. In the afternoon of day1, we were called back to bed, as we were given a shot of adrenaline, which was pretty intense. The shot irritates the skin, so much so your skin bubbles up and becomes turgid for a while. Once in your sytem, it takes a minute, before your heart is pounding out your chest and you want to go running or lift the bed you've been forced to lie on like a wild animal.
During the test, the nurse would regularly come up to me as i was concentrating on Xbox gaming and ask "Mr Sampson" "How are you feeling?" "Are you experiencing any side effects?" to which id jokingly reply "Apart from the tail. No". Anyway, experiment finished, and sadly there was no side-effects for me or anyone else. $1500 richer though, and my friends in the hostels suddenly all wanted a piece of the medical action.

Job 8: Pipe stacker. duration. 3days.
My friend who i met at the beginning in Sydney, had got me involved in a cash-in-hand job, in dandenong, he found in his hostel. We got picked up from his hostel and taken to a warehouse in the sticks, where we were told that Pipes of all sizes were to be stacked and taped together and moved about. These pipes were like those swiss dolls, theres a big one, then a doll inside that one, and so on.
We had to seperate them. It was laborious work. But we had a laugh i spose. When the boss left, we'd piss around in the Forklift, pulling crazy turns and generally being idiots.

Job 9/10: People Co Agency; 2 Jobs. duration: 6weeks.
I signed up with an agency, called People co in south melbourne, as recommended by 2 friends in All Nations hostel. This company got me work fairly fast which is a dam site better than can be said for a lot of other agencies in Australia! The first job, last 3days and it was just a data input job in Melbourne for Hertz car rentals, whom you've no doubt heard of.
The 2nd job, was in Port Melbourne for a company called Coronet who made clothes for other companies. They were going of business everyone had been made redundant. It was a job i managed to score for just over 5weeks. So i was pleased. Everyone who worked there was nice to me. The job was simply putting tags on different items of clothing and boxing and sealing them, then stacking them on pallets. And towards the end it was going through the place and finding out what needs kept and what needs chucked! It paid well i spose, $23 an hour, for doing monkeys work thats not toooo bad.

So thats my list, of my jobs i was involved in down under. It is certainly a random selection, and with Camp Counsellor in the states, Running of bulls festival (in spain) campsite hand, and now teaching english plus some normal jobs at home in Scotland, it has shaped my CV into a whacky, indecisive mess!
My point to all this is that...
I rekon when your growing up, teachers (the ones who care) in school are pushing you in all subjects, and encouraging you that University is the only way forward, and parents are always pushing their kids, and getting them into extra curicular activities to see what if anything their kids excell at, and if theres a chance theyre kid will make big bucks so they can live a relaxed retirement. Also, i think its hard for parents, as when parents get together, a lot of them love to talk about their kids and what their doing blah blah etc. Because of this it turns into a subtle competition as to whos kid is doing the best, parents love to boast about their children! Even though a parents love is unconditional, parents can get dissappointed but not say it, if theyre children arent shaping up the way they hoped. This is all only my opinion...

Me? Well....I never cared about going to University, but i managed to sneak my way to a degree. I was never sure of what i wanted to do when i grew up, i knew the usuals of 'footballer' and 'astronaut' were a bit unrealistical! A lot of my friends i think, knew what they wanted to do, and for some of them it seems to have become reality. I still am not totally sure what it is I want to end up doing, but as i trundle through life and learn more about things and what I like, im starting to get some clues.
Right now my teaching job in Japan, i can say is definetely the first thing iv done that i genuinely enjoy, and I feel like im doing something worthwhile. As i said in previous blogs, English is the chosen global language to communicate in, and for me to be able to help and influence someones progress in mastering this sometimes strange and tricky language, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside....ok but seriously it makes me feel pretty good!
However, is teaching what i want to pursue, who the hell knows!? Not me, well not yet anyway. My main passion in life has always been travelling, iv always been very interested in the world and other cultures...now im thinking, i want to find some sort of loop hole in the travel industry i can exploit to my advantage...when i find that loop hole i dont know how or when or even what itll be, but i definetely want to have travel/traveling play an integral part in my life.

Right ill round this shit up now. Im going on a cruise round Tokyo harbour on sunday, which should be pretty scenic. Other than that, if i think i need to blog something, believe me it'll be done, but there really isnt anything right now, funny or interesting or important from this side of the world.

Posted by RMS8 07:48 Archived in Australia Tagged australia work life money jobs problems

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