Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Brisbane II - finally living above the poverty line!

Aloha one and all,

Sorry it has taken me ages to get time to sit down and tell you all about my most recent trials and tribulations - it has been a crazy couple of weeks indeed. I will start where I left off, which I believe was a couple of weeks ago. After I left the internet cafe that has become my second home, I skipped off into town and was promptly offered a job interview by a very enthusiastic British girl in a Red Cross tshirt. I was a little surprised she knew I was job hunting (especially as I had left my 'hungry and helpless' sign at home) but I decided it was a sign of divine providence and I arranged to go for an interview on Monday morning. When Monday morning materialised, I whizzed off to Toowong (a suburb) on the train and swished into my interview wearing my snazzy new pencil skirt (thank god for Target - we need to get this shop in the UK! it's like Primark but nicer!). But I digress. After meeting a few people I was sent off for an observation to make sure I could do the job - the job being signing people up for monthly donations to the Red Cross. Yes, you know those people that stand on the street and try desperately to make you talk to them? - well that was me. Having passed the interview with flying colours I was rostered on the start the next morning at 8am sharp (!) and I was away laughing.

Nothing could have prepared me for the following day. I rocked up at 8am as promised, and sat down for half an hour of training (or brain washing, as I like to call it) and watched as everyone stood in a circle and cheered for each other. Yes, it is one of these places. Never accept a job which involves standing in a circle at 8am. It can never be a good sign. Me and my teacher were sent off to our spot for the day - a totally random corner of Brisbane with little foot traffic and a very high population of people who do not speak very good English. It was hardly the ideal spot for me to start pitching about Telecross and the Good Start Breakfast Club. By 10am I was being accused of 'negging out' - and was referred the the 'downward spiral' diagram on the training manual. By the fourth time Rich accused me of 'negging out' I snapped back that the diagram was a circle, not a spiral. It did not improve much from this point.

Despite my keen and friendly approach, and the fact that I made 34 full pitches, I didn't make a single sale. And my mentor, who has 16 weeks experience, made ONE. ONE in NINE hours. My brave face was wearing awfully thin and I was accused over and over of being too hard on myself - a fault which was hardly going to be corrected by some douchy Brit pointing it out repeatedly. I was subjected to speech after speech of inspiring bullshit and by the end of the day I was ready to go home and drown my sorrows in whatever I had at home (a daring choice between milk or squash). I should mention at this point the very worst part of all - the job is 100% commission. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. So if you don't make a sale, you literally go home with squat. And since our delightful leader sent us to the seventh circle of fundraising hell, I didn't stand a chance. So 9 hours of being a prat and I went home with nothing.

At the end of the day as Rich excitedly asked me how I felt about the day, I told him in no uncertain terms that I thought my soul was dying. He looked at me slightly uncertainly and asked if I was being sarcastic, to which I replied I was in fact not being sarcastic, and that I was going to go home immediately to cry myself to sleep. Amazingly enough I told him I would stick it out for the following day and I trudged off home. By the time 7am rolled around I had made a decision. But as I am a woman of integrity, I got up and headed back to Toowong for the morning meeting. To cut a long story short, I finally achieved a life long dream of mine - I quit a job dramatically and in front of a room full of people. Having strolled in and politely listened to the next lesson (he'd already written it all on the white board bless him), I finally told him I had made a decision. As my voice grew louder I told him I couldn't work for a company that only paid commission as I felt it to be unethical and uncaring - I couldn't work for a company that cared so little for the welfare of its employees and I wouldn't be used or exploited for profit. By the time I said "I care about myself too much to let myself be used in this manner", half the room was staring at me open mouthed and without further ado, I handed Rich my tshirt and swanned out of the room. It was amazing. :)

Thankfully my period of peasanthood was due to be brief and I have since secured not one but two jobs that don't make lose the will to live. I am now working a call centre during the day, which is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I am not selling things which is nice, but booking people in for free appointments to do with getting tax entitlements. I still get hung up on a lot and shouted at down the phone, but as the job isn't actually morally bankrupt, I don't mind much. I get a nice base rate as well as a commission for all the bookings I secure so I am finally able to stop worrying about making rent and having enough $ for food. It was Melbourne Cup day on Tues too so we stopped work an hour early and watched the races with free champagne! So much better than any other job I have had yet! I also work in a bar on Friday nights and the odd shift during the week too. The jobs are hardly the stuff of dreams but I have become so much less snobby since getting here, and they are paying for me to continue living my life so I am a happy bunny again. :)

In other less job related news, I have been filling my weekends with as many budget days out as possible. A couple of weeks ago for instance I went out to North Stradbroke Island which is just off the coast of Brisbane. I didn't know much about the island but Shirby and Carolien were keen to go and promised it would be pretty cheap so off I went. It was quite simply one of the most beautiful spots I have ever been to. Blue skies, turquoise ocean, dolphins, turtles, giant sting rays, wallabies and roos - it was everything Australia is meant to be and more. We went for a hike along the North Gorge walk and then off to Frenchman's beach for some sunbathing and beach time. I think the photos speak for themselves really. It was awe inspiring.

Dominique and I spent last weekend doing the Botanical Gardens which were amazing. There are two sets of gardens here - one in the city and one up at Mount Coot-ha about 20 mins from the city. We booked ourselves in for the free tour of the city gardens on Sat and were surprised that it was just us - so we had a personalised tour of the city by a little old lady who knew everything there is to know about trees, shrubs and flowers. It was really interesting! The Mount Coot-ha gardens are three times the size of the city gardens and they were amazing. There is a gorgeous lake, a bonsai house, a Japanese garden, a fern house, a tropical dome, a rainforest area... you name it. It was a lovely day out (though I am a bit gardened out now!) and we had nice warm weather for it which was lovely.

I am off to Buderim in the Sunshine Coast this weekend to stay with some family friends which should be lovely. Praying for some sunshine since the weather in Brisbane has turned to monsoon style rain in the last day or two, and the forecast says it is here to stay... :( But still, we should be in line for a very sunny and warm Christmas indeed. Louise (my flat mate) and I are planning a lovely Christmas for the two of us and whoever else is around (though perhaps not our downstairs roommate/landlord who is a bit of a douchebag).

Anyway that's all for now! Sorry the blog has been a bit job-centric! Now that I have settled into work I should hopefully just have nice updates about my weekend escapades from now on! :) Lots of love, xxx

1 comment:

  1. Hi there i just came across your blog which is amazing I am planning to move to brisbane after christmas BUT!! I have never made such a big move and am very nervous that I wont get a job after reading your blog im afraid is it really impossible to get a job over there? Is there anything I could be doing before I move?? Really appreciate any info!!:)