I’ve been in Australia for just over 2 months and I have had a multitude of jobs in this time. I have noticed that job posters are slightly prejudiced against people on working holiday visas. At the end of so many job ads are the very inclusive words – NO WORKING HOLIDAY VISAS. I mean it kind of make sense, who wants to spend time training employees for them to leave in like 2 months but at the same time, IT’S A FREAKING COFFEE SHOP. You are not hiring this person to build the next skyscraper in Sydney, you are hiring them to make coffee and serve scones for 7 hours a day. And this leads me into my next point about job ads; you want 2 years experience for a coffee shop. Are you fucking kidding me? It’s coffee! Yes, it’s $6 coffee but it’s still just coffee.
In my 2 months in Australia I have worked in 4 cafes/restaurants, 1 catering company, 1 charity fundraising company, as an English tutor and in an English school. The cafes and restaurants are the most interesting, there seems to be a culture of “trial days” here which seem to only serve in the purpose of getting 4 hours of free labour off a prospective employee. Either that or I was just really shit and they decided to never call me back…I am going with the free labour one because it makes me feel better. I have had a few trial shifts at places and I feel that I have done a good job but my performance apparently didn’t even warrant a “Sorry, we found someone else” phone call.
The cafe that I am working at at the moment is fantastic. They are chilled out and focus more on customer service and building relationships with their local customers than “I can make a double shot mocha half skim flat with soy foam in 1 minute. Can you?” The owners are cool and V the female half of the couple who owns the place is such a mom. It makes me feel so happy everyday when I get reminded to drink water so I don’t dehydrate while working and to remember to “EAT, EAT. Take home some food for later”. I mean obviously I talk to MY mom as much as I can but as it’s been about 3 years since I have actually seen her it’s really nice to have a “mom” figure around. And DAMN the woman can cook.
Next…my ill fated position as a Charity Fundraiser. This is probably the worst job that I have EVER had in my entire life and I only lasted 2 days. I got a call for the interview and I thought, “Okay, Kate. You need a job. Don’t judge. Just go and try it. You never know.” I went for the interview and it seemed okay. I mean not the best thing but something to tide me over for awhile. Then I got a phone call saying that I got the job would I please come in for training. I needed money so , yes of course I would. Now the guy that was doing the training was not the same guy that did the interview; the guy who did the interview was funny but calm. The guy who was doing the training was the most energetic, hyperactive Frenchman I have ever encountered in my entire life. His approach to getting people to stop was to leap out from behind billboards shocking them into submission. As you might have noticed, I am ever so slightly sarcastic and the leaping out at strangers is not my approach to life. So on the first day I tried my own brand of ” I can’t believe I am doing this” to try and stop people. And most people really responded to it. They would say, “I get it. You need money” and I did. And this was going quite well until the crazy Frenchman came back and proceeded to make me stand in the middle of the street waving like a clown on drugs to stop people and make them talk to me. This didn’t work for me. Also I would like to add that this first fundraising day was Canada Day and I was doing this instead of celebrating my country’s birthday. I did make an effort to talk to as many Canadians as I could even though they were not eligible to be signed up for the charity. I had a good conversation with a guy from Vancouver about the shocking trade that had been made earlier that day while pretending to show him information about the Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby.
On the second day, we were supposed to work in a different location, after 2 hours of “Fuck off”, “No time”, “Sorry”, I thought “What the hell am I doing? This is REALLY what I want to spend my time doing?” and the answer was No, no it wasn’t. In the middle of the shift I stripped off my charity tshirt, walked over to the supervisor and said, “Sorry. This isn’t for me.” and walked up the hill to my mates place.
This hasty quitting led me to my next work related decision of answering a job ad working at a cafe in the Blue Mountains in exchange for free accommodation and food. This was the desperate I need something call for help. But alas I went up and worked and lived with my boss which lead to many awkward situations (which I might get to later). He had just opened up a cafe next to the mountain bike shop he already owned and really and truly has no idea how to run a business but that’s his cross to bare. Inevitably, the awkward got too much and he asked me to leave for the genius reasons that I put too much onion on the sandwiches one day and I didn’t laugh at his jokes.
But it gave me to motivation to move back to Sydney and really get off my ass and try and find something. I randomly put an ad on Gumtree advertising my services as an English tutor to the multitudes of ESL students in the city. But what I got in return was an email asking me if I wanted to be a substitute teacher at an English school in the city. Where I now work full time making more in a week than I did in a month in Bali! I don’t know how long this job will last, hopefully a while because I actually like it and I am actually good at it.
We’ll see. Keep your fingers crossed for me.