Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Eff Word Features Prominently Here

I am painfully aware of my many, many flaws - and daren't defend them -  but I do ask that people accept them or excuse themselves from my overbearing presence, as I simply can't be arsed changing my person to suit the easily offended. One of these flaws is my embarrassingly acute naïveté.
 Gullibility was a burden I carried across the international borders, saddled to my shoulders like a teething toddler. Australia was going to be the answer to all our problems, where all our dreams would come true, where careers would start and houses would be bought. Oh, the humanity.
If you're planning on doing the Australia thing and are trying to secure a job, take this advice from someone who's learned the hard way  - lie through your fucking teeth about everything.
For starters, lower your expectations. The path to making it in Oz is fraught with obstacles, and sometimes it is difficult to clench ones jaw against what seems like a relentless tirade of setbacks.  You won't wear cork-screw hats; you won't change race in the ever-present sun; you won't forget what rain feels like. Your arrival will probably not consist of a warm, arm-outstretched welcome; you probably won't dine at the Sydney Opera House every other evening; the people you promised to rendezvous with will probably live more than an hour away.
 In fact, everything is about an hour away.
The working holiday visa can be an absolute nightmare. You can only work for six months at a particular job, which leads to your application being overlooked due to a lack of commitment. You aren't an Australian resident, so, even though you know you can perform the duties with your hands behind your back, your application just won't make it past screening.
There are the few lucky ones - the tradespeople with papers, the engineers and nurses, or the people who have one of those elusive Friends-Of-A-Friend-Who-Can-Get-Your-Foot-In-The-Door (a rare creature indeed, nowadays). Those folks will fare just fine.
But if you are a pasty, blushing Arts graduate (s'up?); or have no degree or trade to your name; or if you haven't an occupation-implied degree - I'm looking at you, Business and Science and All Other Miscellaneous graduates - you have one glaringly obvious option: hospitality. 
It's a good one if you are running out of money, and want quick cash. It'll pay the bills, and the work isn't exactly back-breaking. Genrally, it's cash-in-hand so the six-month time limit is avoidable. You'll feel you wasted those years in college - let's be serious, if you've done an Arts degree, you probably have anyway - and you'll feel under appreciated. You'll balk at the early starts - I still struggle to unstick my eyes when my alarm caterwauls in my ear five times a week at 5.30am.
You'll soon grow tired at the corporate customers constant accent mimicking, and condescending tones. You'll want to rip your managers face off when they painstakingly teach you how to operate a sweeping brush (I've had four jobs here and I've been "taught" this particular skill three times, without ever even getting the chance to display my prior knowledge of a well-brushed floor) You'll be talked down to, and you'll probably meet some of the rudest people in your life over that counter.
But you'll also meet some of the best. My first job alongside Boss and Sappy was undeniably heinous at times, but it's also where I met some of the finest individuals gracing this planet (shout-out to N, N, E, E, L, K, S, B, R, L, C and I). Mr. Delhi could have treated me a bit better in hindsight, but I wouldn't give up his friendship for the world. It was working in a cafe that I met my first Polish and Lithuanian immigrants in Ireland. Working alongside them dispelled many a notion I hadn't even realized I'd been holding true.
It was working in a cafe that I met a Indian girl arranged into a marriage by her family to gain access to Australia so she could work and make a life. Arranged marriage seemed a hideously unfair and almost barbaric practice in my mind until I met her and her husband, and witnessed first-hand the love they genuinely felt for each other.
It's through working in hospitality I have gained an understanding of the importance of treating everyone equally. I'll never have notions about myself, and I have no time for those who consider themselves above certain works or associations.I used to shy away from the customers in suits; now I high-five them as they strut through the door.
I'm not saying that I'm fulfilling all my potential, or that my job is something I'm totally happy with. It's not as challenging as I would like. The reason I've changed jobs so much is probably due to boredom.
I don't think its unfair to say that most Irish parents consider their children successful after a stint in college and a nice secure office job procured soon thereafter. It's an ingrained attitude that is inevitably passed on to the following generation.
I count myself among those who once believed in these simplistic and lofty ideals. "You're good at writing. Do journalism." There's a sentence I've pretty much been battered with since I first got the elusive "three stars" on an essay about penguins when I was nine years old. Such a straightforward conclusion, my little life and my little goals wrapped up in a neat little sentence.
Well, fuck journalism. I don't want to write what someone else wants me to write, within a deadline someone else determines. I will write for myself, and not just because I am most likely the only one interested in what I write (and Ma, of course.)
Australia has been far from perfect, and most days I agonize about whether we made the right decision. It has, however, given me the confidence to be myself, and I'm not a bit ashamed to tell you all that Yours Truly is a proud Cafe All-Rounder, well rounded in every sense of the word.
So if you're over here, and you're not making the millions your cousin's friend's girlfriend's brother claims to be making as High Executive Bejewelled Fucking Chancellor of all the Mines in Western Australia, don't panic.
You're doing just fucking fine.