The Working Weak

by Ant Stone on September 6, 2008

in Australia

Hi Ant, we’re really impressed by your CV, tell us some more. “Well, during seven years working for one of the UK’s largest publishing companies I established myself as a dynamic individual with a flair for fresh thinking” dramatic pause, “18 months of that period I was the manager of a team of eight staff and for a further three years I was responsible for a £1m budget to produce cutting edge print products; enhancing marketing and editorial projects with a creative and highly acclaimed approach.” Wonderful! So, what retail experience do you have? “None specifically. However…” deep breath, “…I was responsible for the production aspects of magazines with readerships of millions.” Good, any experience as a waiter, barman or barista? “Well, not exactly you see I was a bit busy, sorry” Ok, so you can’t sell t-shirts, you can’t wait tables, and you can’t make coffee or serve pints? “What about hostels? I think I can connect with them?” It’s out of season, Ant, goodbye. “No, look, I need a job”. Goodbye, Ant. “Jobsworth”.

Forget the question of fitting back into society when you finish travelling, I’m discovering how hard it is while still holding down the hobo-life. I’ve dissolved three interviews over the past ten days; the first was for a job back in publishing, but my inability to work for them long-term devalued the application (the rules of a G’day Mate Visa stipulate you can only work for one company up to six months); The second sounded more promising. A position within an “expanding, creative and exciting” event promotions team. Half an hour into my ‘evaluation’ I was riding the tram downtown, trying to impart my ambition upon a young chaperone and eight of his colleagues en route to a live event. We alighted in central Melbourne, scurried towards a busy street corner. Once there, they dumped their suit jackets and slipped on bright red t-shirts bearing the Red Cross logo. I was then handed a notepad and pen, and encouraged to listen and learn. Then the scramble began under the chorus of tear-inducing icebreakers that I couldn’t possibly publish for fear of losing you, my only reader. They were charity hounds, dramatic street performers praying on the goodwill and morals of Melbourne’s morning rush. It went against my own morals, so I walked off with a skip of satisfaction as nine heartbroken souls stood quietly holding their notepad and pens. The third interview was for a removals company; how hard could it be to lug a few sofas and wardrobes around? The sticking point was that I would have to rise at four-thirty am to embark on a ninety-minute journey, to earn less than £5 an hour. Call me stubborn, call me ungrateful, but you haven’t seen me in the mornings, and plus, I like a few beers in the evenings now and again (and again).

The beauty of travelling in Asia was such that I could pause on a beach or a hilltop and take stock of what’s important in life. While you’re there you’re afforded those pellets of time to revaluate your life, think clearly and with clarity because whilst travelling in Asia, you have very little to really worry about financially and most of the time you’re influenced by the work-to-live instead of the live-to-work. When you pause like this in Australia, each day you spend pondering costs you circa AUS$50, and that’s before those cherished evening beers. Australia – a land of opportunity, “you can find work anywhere.” I beg to differ. In layman’s terms, there are so many prospective employees looking for short-term work that it’s essentially an employer’s market – they can pick and choose from dozens of applicants, and what’s the first way to cut the number of door knockers? Ask them if they have experience. Snip. Bye bye, Ant. I also have another hurdle, something most of you won’t know about me is that I’m partially deaf. I have absolutely no hearing ability in my right ear (I’ll cover this affliction in greater detail sometime) so to work in a busy café, bar or retail environment is a veritable nightmare. “Can I get three pints of lager, one small white wine and a Pimm’s and lemonade please squire?” awkward shuffle followed by goonish smile “sorry, was that two G&T’s and a Bloody Mary?” Yeah OK, you can get the violins out now.

Like your good self, I have a lot of creative ideas about how I will eventually earn a living, but Australia isn’t an ideal place to put them into action, as it’s not a place I want to put down roots. It’s superfluous thinking anyway, as in 329 days, Kevin Rudd (the countries oh-so-dull PM) will press the button under his desk and have me booted into the Pacific Ocean. In the meantime, I need to earn some quick cash, not least because the duvet-burglar believes we should buy a campervan to circumnavigate the Southern Land, and “campervans aren’t that cheap dear”. I’ll find a job here in Melbourne. I’ve applied for every viable position going; from ice cream vendor to exhibition labourer. I’ve also pitched to the Big Issue, and slammed my grubby palm on the window of a small guidebook publisher called Lonely Planet. The eroding funds are also the trigger to the grotesque cubes of Google AdSense now plastered so indiscreetly over the site – and it would be oh-so-terrible if you clicked on any of the ads you found oh-so-irresistible. I’m also considering firing up my Short Story Factory once again; a unique, creative but ever so slightly time-consuming (read: profit deficient) business that funded the evening beers back in my gracious homeland. One things for sure, with so much time on my hands you can expect a revolution here at TrailofAnts.com, I might not be opening doors in the real world, but I’m climbing through window after little grey window, in this world of web and words.


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Nomadic Matt September 8, 2008 at 6:14 am

I hate trying to look for a job. Can’t people just pay us for being us? !!

good luck with the search!

Reply

Jeff September 9, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Alright dude, how much do you get if we click on the ads and take a look? I may have some good news for you soon….watch this space!

Reply

Ant September 10, 2008 at 1:15 pm

I get $0.00000001, or something like that anyway! I’m getting sore eyes watching this space, when’s the good news?!

Reply

Jamo September 12, 2008 at 12:07 am

Live to work, you don’t know the meaning of it boss. Try a 91 hour week – and I still love it.

P.S. Hug?

Reply

[F]oxymoron September 13, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Ant, what you need is an interview trick… a cognitive curiosity very similar to the infamous party trick. It should involve either booze or breasts, or perhaps both, and sleight of resume!

Seriously though, good luck with the money laundering.

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