Unemployment is Underrated


Well there are significant changes on the horizon for me – so much has transpired that it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve only been gone under two weeks! I have seriously learned all of the CBD streets like the back of my hand!  As I sit here on the train home, I have time to reflect on the last week and a half and to gather my thoughts and set goals for the upcoming week.

I may as well share all of my up’s and down’s, since most of my family and friends agree that it is “all part of the experience.”  Last Saturday I went to Hotel Nest, the restaurant I was hired at about four months ago, long before I set off on my journey!  After serving high tea for about four hours, the manager informed me that there wasn’t much work at the moment and unfortunately he would have to call me in the next couple weeks – cue jaw drop and astonished look.  After speaking with Hayley from Work Enjoy Australia (the recruitment company that arranged the position), we decide that beginning Monday it was back to the grindstone and time to explore all options.

Monday hits and I head to the library straightaway to job and apartment hunt, unsure of which crisis to address first, the fact that I am unemployed or need a place to live!  I spend most of the week apartment hunting, deciding to offload most of the job hunting to Hayley, since that is what she is being paid to do!  I visit several houses and apartments to no avail – either I was not comfortable or impressed, or it is an unbelievably desirable place which is so desirable that I lose to other applicants who are willing to bid, offering highly weekly rental rates and ultimately securing the room (here you pay rent by the week and not by the month, and an average room will cost about $200 Australian dollars per week plus bills).  For all of my real estate friends suffering back in the States, you would soooo enjoy the lucrative nature of the current housing market here!

Anyhow, after a job offer at a local school that was extremely below average in pay and quite limited with hours, I start to really hound Hayley about getting things together – after all this is really the first time I am unemployed since I received my working permit when I was just 15 ½ years old!

Wednesday hits and here’s where I am at: I have three interviews set for Tuesday and all are jobs which require occasional weekend hours (limiting my travel availability) and I wonder whether I am being too cynical.  A phone call comes in, and with all of the random Australian unknown numbers that have been calling as a result of Hayley’s outreach, I answer with skepticism as the oh-so-cute English woman on the other end introduces herself from The Chocolate Box gourmet chocolate shop.  Oh geez, I think to myself, now I am going to be a cashier and sell truffles and coffee.  After just a few minutes I realize this is not a cashier position but a position with my name written alllllll over it.  Marketing and public relations, with a specific focus on social networking, evaluating client advertising opportunities and advising on the design of printed collateral and branding materials, like posters, brochures, website, etc.  Kind of a match made in heaven – just sayin’.

The woman says my resume popped out at her, and asks me to give her assistant Bethany a call.  Bethany – a sweet, down-to-earth American girl from Atlanta who is also here on a working holiday visa and landed this job when she first came over.  We talk public relations and marketing for about 30 minutes straight, both psyched to have connected with another North American.  About an hour later I received a call from the owner again, asking me to please come in for an interview on Friday.

Thursday is Australia Day and I decide to take it easy and spend some time with the housemate Jess, so we catch brekky at The Pancake Parlour nearby – conveniently they serve beer with their pancakes so the day is off to an excellent start!  We head down to the CBD to catch dinner then a concert with fireworks over the Yarra River, which runs directly through the downtown area in Melbs.  Jess and I situate ourselves on a blanket along the foreshore (that’s Jess’s word for the bank) of the river, a little disappointed with the fireworks which last about seven minutes and are nearly behind a building and out of our area of visibility.  I am still, however, overjoyed at the enthusiasm and positive vibes that surround – children chase each other happily around the park behind us while teenagers wrapped in Australian flags celebrate another year of accomplishment and prosperity in their successful country.  Everyone is genuinely grateful to be in Aussie land, and on Australia Day there is a special emphasis on applauding newly inducted Australian citizens, because most Aussies revel in their diverse culture.  After the fireworks and a little stroll around town, we head back home and I begin mentally preparing for the big interview the following morning.

Me and Jess celebrating Australia Day