Work… at last!

18 10 2008

Well, my inital days of employment have been good so far. The work consists of opening tins of ink, and mixing them in varying amounts to make custom shades and amounts of ink for local customers. Orders are made by customers, put in via a system, and then printed off in the lab, where I work. Each shade of ink (and there are thousands of different shades) all have a different recipe, which I have to follow. To make any particular type of ink, I typically have to go into the warehouse and pick up a couple of boxes of the “base” inks I will be using, then using a giant metal bowl and a set of scales , I have to measure however much of each base ink colour into the bowl and then using a giant food mixer, mix the ink. The ink itself is very thick and sticky, almost like honey. It gets EVERYWHERE, and you have to scoop it out of the tins with spatulas and knives. After the ink is mixed, I have to scoop it out of the bowl and into new tins, and seal them up and label them. Pretty simple really. The really messy bit is cleaning up afterwards. Everything has to be wiped down with kerosene solvent to avoid contamination of future batches.

My boss, a guy called John, is quite a funny guy, pretty easy going and is incredibly skilled at colour matching ( a process whereby a sample of ink is matched with a “standard” sample the company keeps for reference). He can look at 2 batches of seemingly identical ink and tell whether its right or wrong without even testing it, its a skill to behold because my eyes can’t even tell the difference. The ink and printing industry as I have learned in my past few days is quite a competitive market.

My commute to work is also going well, after not having ridden a bicycle for a while to riding long distances every day,  pretty much every muscle in my legs is aching. As my job also requires to be on my feet all day, my legs have taken quite a battering. I am hella unfit. I am glad to have this job as its a chance to regain some fitness, whilst getting paid.

Its currently saturday afternoon here, and its 29 degrees centigrade outside, the breeze is also warm, but refreshing. We went out sunbathing earlier for a couple of hours and now my skin feels hot and papery, think i’m gonna be sore tomorrow. I DID wear sunscreen before I get a barrage of abusive comments….

Things I have noticed about australia in the past week;

– The political correctness that has consumed Britiain as of late doesn’t seem to be as prevalent here, with people having no qualms about calling you a smelly bastard to your face.  Christmas is still christmas, and not “non denominational festive period” like it is in Britain, lest we offend some minority.

– School uniforms here seem to be a throwback to 1920’s Britain. The more upmarket schools make their pupils wear pinstrip blazers, shirts, ties and caps – much akin to the ones “Just William” had to wear. Backpacks are also part of the uniform, and are absolutely massive, sometimes constituting almost 50% of the visible mass of the person wearing it.

– Driving standards are worse than England, people are a lot more aggressive on the road. Intersections between two roads have confusing traffic light signals which often put crossing pedestrians (me) in peril.

– A wifebeater here is the same as a wifebeater in england – a string vest.

– Public transport is hopelessly inadequate, unless you live fairly near the centre of a big city. Cars are a necessity if you live in the suburbs. Cars here are also relatively big compared to european counterparts. There are huge numbers of large fords, holdens and “utes” (utility vehicles) with big engines. The average engine size here seems to be 3 litres for a medium sized car ( ford mondeo ish), all cars seem to use auto gearboxes as well. Australians are going to have to start thinking of downsizing or improving infrastructure for public transport as petrol prices keep creeping up. Prices per litre are at $1.60 for regular unleaded, or $0.70 for LPG, which seems to be readily available in all urban areas. The second hand car market also seems to be smaller here, with even mediocre cars being expensive, on average 30% more than second hand motors in england.

Anyway, I am roasting and need to get a drink quick or face almost certain death by dry mouth. Another update soon…. promise.


Quick Update

14 10 2008

Its been a while since my last update, so here is a quick summary of what we’ve been up to.

Our job search proved to be a bit of a learning curve, with lots of jobs on offer in and around the area we live in. Most of these jobs are in cafes and restaurants, however turns out, they won’t take you on without relevant experience in the food & drink trade. So, despite handing out many CVs and speaking to managers in person, we had no success. We then began to apply for other types of work (admin and clerical stuff) approaching many job agencies and again handing out CVs. Fortunately we both got some response back from this. I had 4 interviews last week, one of them with an agency who got me som temping work straight away. The other 3 interviews didn’t get me anywhere, with on guy phoning me up to tell me I interviewed really well, but I didn’t get the job because of the world financial crisis putting a halt on all hiring for his company. So it goes.

So I went along to my appointed temping workplace, a company called JetStar, which is the australian low-cost airline, an affiliate to Qantas, and did a day’s worth of filing for them. It was repetitive work, which isn’t the most fun, but I was getting paid relatively well so I couldn;t complain.  and it seemed like everyone in the office felt equally bored as me, so I was itching for the clock to strike 5 o’clock, and head home. Having seen what type of work the agency would be giving me, I have decided to take the job offered to me by my dad’s contact here, working in a warehouse helping in the manufacture of ink. I start tomorrow, so we shall see what its like.

Here is a list of things that are currently floating my boat about Oz:

– Watermelon – is it a fruit? Is it a drink? Its both, yet its neither! mmmm tastes like flowers

– The man who wears the flamboyant body armour who rollerblades down our high street (chapel street) whilst being towed by his two very small dogs.

 – Our house and housemates, an interesting mix of aussies from canberra, a lovely german couple and a student from denmark who sounds a bit like borat.

– The weather, its spring, and the sun is out pretty much every day, prompting me wearing shorts.

– The new internet cafe I found that is actually quick, might be able to upload some pics soon.

Bicycle recycle – buying a bike from this place later for my commute to work.

Right, i’m off now…… ttfn

Finally moved in!

2 10 2008

We moved into our new house-share yesterday. We are sharing with another german couple, another english guy and another guy who is from denmark (or one of those nordic countries). They all seem to be nice, tidy people so we are very happy to be there. The german couple are very nice, and have been very welcoming thus far. The house itself is quite large, with high ceilings and big windows. Our bedroom is a nice size, not huge, but not small, we have a bed, a desk, 2 wardrobes, a fireplace (with mantelpiece) and polished wooden floor. We also have a TV that recieved channel 10, so my neighbours fix has now resumed. It is on at half past 6 every day, and it features 4 ad breaks (yes 4!). It also has cheesey dramatic into and outro sequences setting up the cliffhanger for the next episode. Word of warning: its still crap…. haha. And no, haven’t made it to Ramsay Street YET, soon though! ( clicky here to see where it is in relation to us:) We also heard that the residents employ a 24 hour guard to keep marauding losers (like me) from coming up to their houses asking where Harold is.

We have started looking for work in earnest now. April has been lucky so far in having secured a second interview at a jeweler’s in the city centre. I hope she gets it! I on the other hand have been applying to a myriad of temp/casual agencies, and handing out CVs everywhere. I am confused as to what to do, as my current CV is geared more towards finding professional work as opposed to temporary casual work. What I have found so far, is that shops/cafes/restaurants looking for casual staff still ask for a “resume” as they are called here, they expect some level of experience. I have never worked in a cafe or restaurant in my life, and I don’t particularly want to lie to possible employers, so am having to resort to being very enthusiastic and creating a good first impression. As of yet, I have received no calls back.

Temporary office work is trickier to find I am told by people I have met thus far, taking weeks, not days to arrange, and “come through” so speak. Some jobs are in quite far flung places in Melbourne, and would require long commutes, which kind of negates any benefit. I will find something, I just don’t want to end up doing something boring and mundane (i’ve got the rest of my life for that, lol). I did apply for a casual job cleaning boats by Melbourne dock, scraping barnacles off the poop deck in the searing heat might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like the sound of it (no innuendo intended!) 🙂 I also like the idea of getting a driving job, as I would love to get to know more of the city and its surrounds.

Anyway, I am the only one still in here, and the chinese man manning the desk at the interweb cafe is giving me the “get the hell out, my noodles at home are getting cold” look, so I had better go.  Until next time. Love. Dave.