October 6, 2009
Claire is a native Dubliner that has been in Sydney, and Australia for that matter, for just 5 months. Unsure of what she wants to go back to university for in Ireland, this 21 year old thought it was just a good time to experience life down under. I recently set up a time so that I could learn a bit more about her adventures here as a foreigner. It was particularly interesting to hear about her work endeavours because, unlike our last month’s interview, Claire has found it anything but easy to find a job in this bustling city.
“When I was getting desperate for a job, I had an interview at KFC. The guy asked me what kind of visa I had, and I said it was a working holiday. He immediately said, ‘No, sorry. We don’t take backpackers.’ It was shocking. I’m not a backpacker. I want to work. I live in Sydney.”
Many jobs around Sydney are currently looking for residents of Australia instead of those that can only be hired on a temporary basis.
When talking to Claire about this hot issue for those on working holidays, she responded, “Residents could just as well leave in 2 months whereas another working holiday person could still work for up to 6 months.”
Claire’s frustrations on the matter are not unwarranted. It took her a long 3 months, numerous applications, and 4 previous interviews before finally getting a job at Wicked Campers. The funny part of this story is that getting that job involved no flaming hoops whatsoever.
“I applied to an ad on Gumtree, and a week later she called me and asked when I could come in. It was really laid back.”
Knowing a little bit about Wicked Campers already, I just had to ask her about the infamous Naked Special they offer customers. Claire laughed and explained, “A couple of people have come in naked that I’ve seen. We have to take a picture of it, too. This woman came in naked and was like “hi” – I was a bit shocked. Last week a couple of guys came in and one asked, ‘If I come in naked, I get a day off, right?’ He went outside and took his clothes off and came back in.”
Even though Claire really enjoys her job with Wicked Campers, she does work 6 full days every week. She knows it’s not optimal, but compared to other people, she’s doing pretty good.
“I don’t get much time off, but if I had more, I’d love to go to Coogee Beach.”
“If I never had to work, I’d be out in the sun all the time – at the beach or in the park. I love it. The weather is so nice.”
As for jobs in general, I would say Claire has been quite lucky in her life. She has never had to flip burgers or dress up in a funny costume for children and low pay. When asking if she has ever had a horrible job, she replied without hesitation, “Not really. I’ve only worked at three places.”
After a bit more thought, she then added, “…but I guess when I worked at the bookies (a betting place), it was bad. A lot of long hours… Got a lot of drunken people in there. The all day shifts – you have no life. You work, sleep, and work.”
Before leaving, I asked Claire if she had any advice for Furnished Property tenants still looking for jobs in Sydney.
“Try Gumtree. Before, I was looking on Seek and other job sites. The job sites are more awkward. A lot of jobs are commission-based and say you can make lots of money, but it’s basically impossible to make money. Gumtree is more down to earth.”
Claire is planning on sticking around Sydney for a while to work and save more money. She hopes to make it to Melbourne and Brisbane, and possibly stay in Australia for a 2nd year. Thanks, again, Claire for meeting with me, and I hope you enjoyed your dinner voucher for Wagamama’s!