Thursday, March 14, 2013

Week 4: Life with the Goonies - Thinking About Moving On

The famous Bondi Beach

This was the post I was going to make 2 weeks ago:

I like Sydney, I really do.  But after another week with 5 days straight of rain and wind, an increasingly strained job search that's still lacking major leads, and life with the Goonies, I'm thinking about moving on to the next location.

To clarify, here in Australia there is a very cheap wine that runs about $10 a box.  Supposedly it gets you drunker faster, is a "different type of drunk"- and a different, worse kind of hangover.  It's so gross, it's known only as "goon."  Naturally, my hostel mates get drunk on it nearly every night.  If by chance I managed to sleep through them stumbling back into the room at night, I know they were drinking the next day when they're laying on any available surface looking like they died with their eyes open.

I didn't get to post it because I was called for a week's worth of temp work at the last minute on Sunday night.  So to update:

Last week I got to fill in for a receptionist/secretary for a retail/commercial management office (in the top of a small shopping center) in the "inner west".  The train ride out was about 20 minutes from the city center, and a marked difference in culture.  Though some housing prices in the area were kind of amazingly high (the local news publication was listing very ordinary, relatively small older houses at over a million dollars), the area around the train and the mall was almost overwhelmingly immigrant.  Colorful signs were everywhere in Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese.  Likewise, the few people who worked in my office were more middle class - more approachable, less...erm, stiff, I guess you could say.  So along with a nice pay check ( $624 after taxes - not too shabby ;), I got some really nice insight into the city area that I may not have gotten otherwise.

But this week I'm hanging out to dry again.

After a suggestion from another traveler I applied to a third office temp agency and got a called back on the same day.  A good sign, I thought, they seem eager for workers.

On Tuesday I showed up to an interview, and they were a little different from the other two I interviewed with (although they all seem to vary pretty widely in terms of how they do business) and a little more open about how business has been lately.  Surprisingly slow, I was told.  Finally I had confirmation about it.  Some businesses had unexpectedly cut staff or job openings - despite positive economic and jobs reports in the newspapers.  But, said this particular consultant, temp work is also the first to be affected - and the amount of work available tends to be unpredictable but cyclical.  Her experience was that the lull started in February.  When it will pick up again, nobody knows.

After hearing this, I returned to my hostel a little deflated, only to get a call from another temp agency saying they had a client who was looking for immediately available full-time workers to hire for 6 months.  Again, quickly and with no forewarning, my major problem could be solved!  But no, after no word for 2 days, I called in only to find out that they had cut the number of workers that they wanted.

So I spent the rest of the day on the "Hop on, Hop off" bus eating chocolate and listening to a pre-recorded guide ramble in an Aussie accent about the finer details of Sydney's features and history.

Today I have applied for Starbucks.  Tomorrow I'm going to take the train over and apply at FedEx.  And maybe Target.  Probably Target.

: /
The entrance to Luna Park - Sydney's former answer to Coney Island, 
just across the Harbour Bridge from the CBD (downtown)

Aussie Slang for the Week:

gronk:  a total loser, moron, idiot.

housoA person who lives on the poverty line, and goes about life only knowing how to scam, might do drugs, hates the law, likes beating people up.

busker: A street entertainer who performs in hopes of collecting money.

Fun Fact:

Australia's first currency was rum.  People were actually paid with it by the barrel in certain instances.

Technically not related: alcoholism and drinking problems are well recognized here to this day.

Recent Events:  "Mardi Gras"

 Here in Sydney it is specifically for the "LGBTQI" (make that acronym much longer, guys, and even the most ardent gay activists won't be able to remember it).  It runs down Oxford street, the heart of the gay district which, even without a special event, flaunts itself with gay bookstores, sex shops, and bluntly gay men's clothing stores like "Daly Male" whose window display mannequins are all wearing some very interesting male underwear.

People have hyped it to me as being one of the most renown Mardi Gras parades in the world, and I can understand that it would be for the LGBT community, because I certainly haven't heard of any that are primarily a gay pride parade.

But I gotta say, I stopped by for a little bit, and it definitely fell short of the rumors.  What's fun about it is that a lot of the crowd has dressed up and is ready to party.  But the parade itself almost entirely just consisted of supporters of the LGBT community walking past - the police, the firefighters, family support groups, etc.  No crazy costumes for them, and very few floats.  Loads of color, and it's free, but... I don't know.  Not quite up to the hype.

I'm going back to the beach.


Mom said...

Well the life a temp has its up and downs and you never know when the phone will ring. I assume you followed through with any airport opportunities, since you have done it all. Target might be good if they have openings, UPS pay is higher but definately the work is tougher.

Heather said...

Thanks mom. I did look into airport opportunities, and I've looked again and it's the same. Evidently Virgin Australia, likely the only airline here I could get hired with, is in some sort of war with Quantas that has caused them to cut jobs. Further, the airport had some long term air traffic control problems recently and things were a mess, from what I hear.

I'm trying to keep my eye out, although it does get daunting fairly easily.

Anonymous said...

Looks like an amazing experience Heather! I'm so jealous. Job seeking seems to be all about who you know, huh? What about finding a great organization to volunteer with for a little bit? Have you heard about WWOOFing? I've heard lots of amazing experiences through WWOOF.
Love you and sending lots of good travel juju,