Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reflections on the Rocks

I felt the Antarctic wind blew up from the south as I looked out over the sea. I experienced the smell of salt water and spray from the waves crashing on the rocks hit my face. Even though it’s December, the summer sun was more than enough to keep me warm. It was a beautiful day. I had come looking to see a few wild penguins, but unfortunately they decided not to show. Still, I made most of my time and used the opportunity to meditate, as well as go through my Tai Chi and Qi Gong routine that I had learned in Thailand.

A lot has been going through my mind in the past few days; it all started on Saturday night. After working at the restaurant, my boss sat me down for a discussion. He told me that because I didn’t have enough experience that he was going to cut my hours to Saturdays only. It seemed a bit odd because I had been there for three weeks already and already knew the drill around the restaurant. To be honest, I think it was because I didn’t get stressed out when the restaurant was busy, and I think he wanted me to. However, I was quite happy he gave me the opportunity to leave the job. Despite not liking the atmosphere there, I was staying because I gave him my word to work through Christmas. Even though he didn’t treat his employees with any respect, my integrity is important to me. Therefore, when he gave me the chance to terminate my employment, I took it with a smile on my face. I think that my smile pissed him off even more. Oh well.

Although I was laughing on my way home with a former coworker as we poked fun at the antics of the restaurant owner, I was soon confronted with a more somber reality: I was now in a foreign country with limited funds and no income. This is certainly a serious situation and I think that most people would begin to worry. Worrying, however, is not in my nature. Besides, there is plenty of work in Australia, especially during the summer. After all, I had found that job less than 48 hours after my arrival in this country. I would go on to vent about my former employer, but really should thank him. Not only had he given me my first experience getting laid off of a job, he had also released me to embark onto the next step of my journey.

I originally left my career in the United States determined to go on an epic adventure, with the ultimate goal of figuring out what I’d like to do for the rest of my life. I had certainly already figured out that it wasn’t working in the package delivery business. Now, unencumbered by a work schedule and with enough financial security to survive for at least a few weeks, I again had the task of finding work. This time I didn’t want to get involved with something I hated. I explored opportunities in the mining industry, working in the outback for the seasonal harvest and, of course, more hospitality jobs.

Clearly at a fork in the road on this journey called life, I took my time looking down each path. It seemed to me that I would have to spend money on every one of these paths. The only inroad I was able to find in mining was a employment agency that charged over two hundred dollars. It seemed that the best way to work on the farms would be with a commercial driving license driving a truck instead of toiling in the fields, which also costs over 200 dollars. Finally, most hospitality jobs either required barista skills or a certification to sell alcohol, which can also be bought for the predictable price of $200.

I deliberated for a day, just letting the enormity of the possibilities soak in. I spent the following day applying to jobs, that I would like, online. Unlike before, when I first arrived here and I applied for every job I felt qualified for, this time I only applied for bar jobs in nightclubs and bars. Also, just to be safe, I applied to a few call centers. I figured if I couldn’t find a job I liked it would at least hold me over for a few weeks. Additionally, I got contact information for a moving company that my flatmate worked for. He was leaving the job, and he reckoned that there was a good chance that they would be looking for additional help to fill his spot.

Well, it is now a day later and there no longer seems to be any reason to be stressed. It is a good thing I never stressed out in the first place! It turns out that the moving company could use another set of hands, and I start tomorrow at 7:30am. Additionally, I received a call from a nightclub to come in for an interview on Thursday. Once again, it only took me two days to find a job. While I’m not saying which path I’ve decided to take, at least I wont be starving on the streets anytime in the near future. Life will never stop presenting me choices. At least I’m taking time to think about them. I’m not just blindly following the path of least resistance, or just doing what is expected of me. Let me tell you, life is a lot better this way.

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