After about three and a half weeks of applying to jobs, I finally got a job here in Port Douglas. I submitted my resume to about 17 places. I did get a little job a retail store but it’s for cash and only one day per week at most. I was happy to do that, and still am, but I need something more stable with more hours. Plus the wages/benefits are so good in Australia I wanted to make sure I took full advantage of that to save money and fund future travels to Bali and Tokyo. So I kept looking. And looking. And submitting my resume here and there. And following up, too.
One day my roommate Alex told me that he knew of a server position at the Wildlife Habitat where he works. So I rode a pushy (that’s Aussie for bike) three miles down the road to the Wildlife Habitat to fill out an application in person. I asked if I could speak with the hiring manager and was told I could not. Defeated, annoyed, and still sweaty and tired from the long bike ride, I went across the parking lot to the IGA grocery store and bought pasta salad to eat my feelings. I rode the bike back into town thinking I had wasted my time again. Sad-face-tommy-on-a-bike. 😔🚴🏻
About a week later I woke up to a random number calling my cell phone. An Australian number. Seriously, WHO is calling me right now? No one ever calls or texts me anymore and I have no idea who could be calling me. It must be Westpac, my Australian bank, calling to survey me AGAIN. I was going to answer but my sleepy motor skills forced the call to voicemail. It was The hiring manager from the Wildlife Habitat! I call her back straight away. Would I like an interview today at 12:30? I hesitate. An interview… In two hours? So sudden! I usually prefer fair warning, like 24-hours notice, for anything out of the ordinary, or anything that I find remotely stressful. On a day such as this, when I plan to sleep-in and go to the beach, a remotely stressful activity is anything requiring planning, a time schedule, or coordination with other people. And an interview charts far above “remotely stressful.” “You are not prepared for an interview today” comments the beach-dweller-Tommy, “and do you really want to bike 3 miles to work every morning?” Practical-inner-voice-Tommy jumps in and reminds us that excercise would not exactly hurt after 6 months of slothly existence. I said yes to the interview, decidedly capable of having a conversation with this kind woman.
The interview went well but I wasn’t sure if I would get the job. I didn’t have much faith after submitting my resume so many times and after that “trial” I did a few weeks prior. I don’t think I mentioned that previously – In my second week in Port Douglas I did a “trial” at this effing cafe and worked really hard for two hours only to be offered coffee in lieu of payment for my work, and a promise from the owner that she would call me on Monday to tell me if I got the job. Seriously, a coffee? How degrading. I thought that was disrespectful, but that piece-of-work never called me! That’s even worse. I will stop myself here because you know, I’m a Scorpio and I think you get the idea already. Anywho, that sums up why I didn’t have much faith that I would get this job at the Habitat; I simply hoped this manager would be decent enough to call and let me know that I did not get the job.
That afternoon, after the interview, I was walking around town submitting more resumes (since I was already dressed well) when the manager from the Habitat called. She asked me to start working the next morning and I said “Yes!”
So, now I’m working at the cafe and restaurant in the Wildlife Habitat. We have “Breakfast with the Birds” and “Lunch with the Lorikeets” which are both buffets. At the cafe we serve coffee, sandwiches, milkshakes, ice cream, and other cafe items. They are teaching me the barista skillz. Everyone who works there is super cool and down-to-earth and I appreciate their willingness to teach me how to make proper coffee. That skill and experience will help me get other jobs on the rest of my journey in Australia. And the birds are cool too; they can talk and their little voices sound like Elmo when they say “hello.” And cause I’m weird I talk to them throughout the day saying “hello” as I passby, or saying agreeably “yeah, I know, me too” when they all start screening bloody murder (cockatoos are noisy!).
It feels like the right place for me, and in terms of the people it reminds me of the place I worked for the last 5.5 years – like family.