Saturday, August 13, 2005

Oz Day 038.

This job search in Perth has so many unexpected developments that I am thinking of making a Cantonese TVB soap opera out of it..

One of the two hot leads I was following up and trying to close on beginning of the week has flamed out. Just when I believed they were prepared to put an offer on the table, another candidate (performing the same role with a direct competitor of theirs) walks into an interview and gets the offer in under 24 hours. Cannot say I am crushed though.. what do I know about milling and selling metal anyway? The other hot lead which I am keen on has just been dragging on and on. It has been over three weeks since the initial contact, and the employer is still playing coy with the recruiter and the candidates.


For those of you who know my employment history in detail, I regret to confirm that I have indeed brought the curse to Western Australia with me.

A little history here: My last four ex-employers had to retrench me because they were closing down, or were relocating operations offshore, or were acquired ("merger") and taken apart. After a while, friends started to kid me that I was a jinx to employers. That anybody employing me would end up going out of business.

The pizza shop closed down.

I arrived today to see my fellow employees milling around the locked premises, with a big sign in the window that read "Please note that [business name] has ceased trading with effect immediately. For more information, please contact [owner] at [number]."

Not unexpectedly, the number provided had nobody picking up the phone. Especially since there were outstanding wages due to some of the more regular now-ex-employees. Lots of rumours on whether the owner went bankrupt, or the business was being liquidated, or the business was in receivership, or perhaps sold, or the status of the franchise obligations. While some of my now ex-colleagues were standing around shell-shocked and peering into the locked shopfront, I just got back into the car and drove off.

And drove straight into a competitor's pizza shop down the street. The store manager recognised me from my previous contact seeking work, even amidst the insane Friday night peak madhouse of operations. I announced that their competition had gone out of business, and that I was a (experienced) driver looking for work. The store manager gave me a long hard look, marched me straight into the kitchen, shoved into my hands a couple pizzas and their delivery dockets, and pointed me out the door. Repeat for next 5 hours.

At the end of the shift, I was asked to return the next day at 6pm. The pay is about 15% less than the now-defunct place, but with a slightly higher per-delivery fuel subsidy. However with the larger operations, it should (hopefully) be easier to get more hours. So I guess I still have that Philip J. Fry job. Different employer, different suburb, same old shit.


And the employment search gets even weirder still..

I was in the middle of the dark residential street trying to figure out which side of the street had the odd / even numbers and which way the numbers were running (ascending / descending), and one of the drivers I used to work with at the now-defunct pizza shop calls me. Says he has a job lead that pays more than any pizza shop. Gives me a cryptic address in one of the suburbs about an hour's drive away and tells me to meet him there at 1am.

I could think of many a job that would pay more than delivering pizzas. However I could only think of a few unskilled jobs that would require transactions in the deep of night - many of which would not be looked upon favourably by law-enforcement authorities. Being curious and trusting in the innate goodness of human nature (not!), I decide to check it out. Not before stopping back at the house to fuel up on coffee, and to drop off almost everything I had on me, carrying only my driver's licence for identification, my mobile phone and some loose change.. and to change into clothes and shoes that would allow me more mobility and less visibility on the ground. And to leave a note on where I was going and who I was meeting with contact information (just in case).

Harmlessly, the location turned out to be a cinema. My resourceful ex-colleague had landed a trial period with a cleaning subcontractor. We spend the next two hours cleaning (and in cleaning up, not cleaning out) the back office operations, the public foyer areas and the cinema halls - of garbage consisting primarily of spilled popcorn, disposable paper cups and an assortment of snack wrappers. After which, I gratefully thank my ex-colleague for roping me into the opportunity but regretfully express that I would not be interested in the job.

The job does indeed pay a bit more than the pizza job on an hourly rate. However I do not think it is worth the regular hour-long deep-night drive for one to two hours' work almost every night. Not yet anyway. Not until I get closer to that last 13 dollars. And unlike the pizza delivery job, I derive no personal satisfaction whatsoever from cleaning cinema halls..

[ Highlight of the evening: I got a couple free pizzas from delivery customer cancellations towards closing. Cheap thrill - I know. But free food is free food. And food is good. ]


Anonymous mrs budak said...

Don't know whether to laugh or to cry at your job tribulations. Anyway you seem to be handling all that with a great sense of humour. Keep it up and I love your pictures!

August 14, 2005 12:43 PM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

Yup. To fall back on an email tagline I was using in the long-ago university days..

"Life's a bitch, and it's a dog's world.."

I am tempted to declare "Bring It On!" but considering the left hooks I am getting hit with, I am going to keep my head down and try to slip by these turbulent times.

August 14, 2005 3:46 PM  

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