This week I’m talking about what I’ve been doing with my alone time, and Alex’s experiences with “Backpacker Jobs”!
It’s Lonely Week here here in Mentone! Well, not so much lonely as quiet. Phe is taking his students on a field trip to China (perks of being a teacher, right?!) and Alex is off on a field job for the week! (More on that later.) So it’s only me and Callan here in Mentone until Friday, and the house is a lot quieter with just the two of us.
June has been flying by because I’ve been so busy, but I’ve finally gotten some free time the last two days. To suddenly not only have free time, but alone time too has been kind of nice. And as much as it’s sad for Alex to be gone for a week, especially when we’ve been used to spending so much time together lately, we’ve gone months without seeing each other before so this is nothing.
In the last couple of days I’ve used this free time to catch up on sleep, binge watch Jessica Jones, go running, do yoga, and visit the Royal Botanic Gardens! I hope you like pictures of plants, because I’m going to spam them through the rest of this post!
Today I took myself to the Botanic Gardens for a picnic and some birding! I finally bought myself an Australian bird book, and I had a lot of fun ID-ing waterfowl.
It was pretty chilly today, but walking around the gardens with a hot drink looking at all the flowers and trees and birds was so peaceful and nice. I’ll have to go back and explore all of the nooks and crannies of the garden later, but lazily wandering around was incredibly relaxing.
Who graffities a cactus?
Switching gears completely, let me tell you where Alex is now, and what he’s been up to the last few weeks.
Finding a regular job in Australia can be difficult for backpackers; we’re restricted to only work for any employer for 6 months, and there is a lot of competition. Finding a job that is catered directly to backpackers, however, is very easy. There are many jobs that will hire almost any backpacker who applies, but these jobs come with definite drawbacks and risks. They often require you to work very long hours for little money. In fact, many of them are commission based so depending on how you do, it could be for no money at all. These jobs are all things like sales, fundraising, or appointment setting.
These kinds of jobs can look pretty attractive: “Make up to $1200 a week or more!” Which of course sounds too good to be true, but after applying to dozens of other jobs and not hearing anything back can start to sound pretty appealing. You might start to think that while the number they are saying is unrealistic, if you can make a fraction of that it would still be worth it.
Making that much money on these jobs is theoretically possible, but only if you are both extremely talented and willing to manipulate people. And as Alex has found, one of the main problems is that they have an essentially unlimited supply of applicants, so they might hire you, see how you work for two or three days, then let you go if you aren’t immediately spectacular and hire someone else instead.
This is a system that can work out in your favor if you work there for a week, they let you go but still pay you for your time, and then you move onto a new company the next week. At least you keep getting to practice door to door sales that way, and maybe one of the companies will keep you. That being said, I think having one stable-ish job would be much less stressful, but hey, whatever works. This is how Alex has been working the last few weeks, and this week he’s working a job that ships its employees out to rural Australian towns for a few days to talk to people about switching to solar energy. Hopefully it’ll be better than his last few jobs! I’ll let you know next week how it went!
In the meanwhile, I’ll try to keep enjoying this alone time. Later!