From Austin to Oz. I'm planning to flee the country for 7 months - working for 4 and traveling for 3.
Departure = 03 Sep 2003 / Re-entry = 03 Apr 2004

Thursday, November 13, 2003

¡trabajo! (take two)

I quit my door-to-door salesman job on Wed, 29 Oct. In the two weeks
since, I have aggressively hunted down a job like a koala jonesin' for
a supah-size eucalyptus burger. Yeah, just like that. Last Monday, I
started searching for jobs and leads at 4PM. I stayed up until 10AM
the following morning searching, applying, and jotting down a list
telephone numbers to call on Tuesday.

I took a 2.5 hour power nap, woke up at 12:30PM, and dashed off to
follow up on job postings. For Wednesday, I lined up an interview at
2PM at a hotel and one at 3:30PM for a kitchen hand job in Fortitude
Valley (Brisbane's nightlife center & Chinatown). For the rest of
Tuesday, I decided to drop off a resume at a jewelry store advertising
Christmas positions, and just walking up to shopkeepers and depositing
resumes for future consideration. That being done, I decided to hit the
hostels in the area to see if there were any jobs. Washing sheets,
kitchen work, guest registration; it didn't matter, I was looking for

Walking into the Tin Billy backpackers' hostel across from the
interstate bus terminal, I went in to see if there was anything that I
could do. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Empty. Fortunately, the bloke
at reception told me of the hostel's "jobs club" that would allow me
access to short-term jobs for an annual fee of A$25. Figuring that I
have searched on my own for a job for 2 months now and applied for over
60 jobs and landed just 1 interview (for the door-to-door salesman
gig), I decided to take the risk. While talking to Wendy, the job desk
coordinator, she received a phone call from Caxton St. Catering (the
caterers of the Queensland Performing Arts Center / QPAC / ) wondering if she had someone available
for a 4-week stint. She told the bloke on the phone that she had whom
he was looking for seated right in front of her. Dag! Now that some
quick service, no? Before ending the call, Wendy set up an interview
between him and me for Wed at 4PM. An interview! With this good news,
I decided to cancel the other two interviews for Wed. and risk getting
the Caxton one. In addition to that, Wendy gave me two more leads
before I left the desk. Ah, the feeling of finally getting a job so
that I can save a few bucks to trounce around Oz. Happy.

Returning home, Tuesday evening was a mix of excitement and anxiety. I
never have had a "true" restaurant/bar job, just volunteering at
various events and working at the Texas Renaissance Festival for two
months at a time. Most restaurant jobs here in Brisbane require
extensive experience (sometimes at least 3 years' worth!), thus
immediately disqualifying me. So, in order for me to get this job, I
would have to incorporate some of my extemporaneous speaking skills and
the Southern tradition of embellishment. Desperation magnifies

Wednesday morning, I went to purchase black pants and a white
button-down shirt, as restaurant jobs in Australia require "blacks and
whites", all-black clothing preferred. Then, back to the apt. to suit
up for the interview. A bit much, maybe, but better safe than sorry,
no? My interview was really 7.5 minutes long, just a brief
introduction of what Caxton St. Caterers do and what work is available.
I told my boss B.J. that I was really keen on learning as much as
possible. With that and a handshake, B.J. told me that I got the job
and to show up on Saturday morning for my first two 4-hour shifts.
Yippee! And to add even more incredulity to the stroke of luck, QPAC
is only 1 block away from my apt. One block!

I don't know my rate of pay, yet I am not that concerned. In the USA,
waiters/bartenders practically beg for tips to supplement their <
US$3/hour minimum wage. In Australia, waiters/bartenders start at
A$10-15/hr. (US$7.50-10.50/hr) and tips are just extra. After the four
weeks of work, Wendy already has me scheduled to work a 5-day test
cricket match at the Gabba stadium just a few blocks from the apt.
What luck doth fall upon me this eleventh month!

Saturday will be a grand day: my first day of work, Priscila's
birthday (two days before she jaunts off to the Eternal City for a
Roman Holiday in search of purses galore), the Australia/NZ and
France/England rugby world cup semi-final matches, and our Swiss friend
Gianni (whom we met in Brazil) comes to visit. Whew! When it rains,
it pours!


PS: A baby kangaroo or koala is called a "joey". A baby platypus or
echidna is called a "puggle".

PPS: Vegemite and brie cheese do NOT mix. Trust me on this one.


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