As I approach the first “grown up person job” in a while, I thought it might be fun to look back on some of the crazy different jobs I have worked and other things I have done to make money to fund my travels…. Some of it is pretty funny so enjoy!
14 years old…. 1st job… KFC. Did it so much some nights I would come home and dream of putting chicken into a box with tongs… nuff said!
Singing in pub bands. First pub band was Freefall and some of the best times of my life. Started at 17, still somewhat ongoing. On and off I have played more gigs with bands such as Alphanumeric, Platinum Datsun, Multigroove (Melbourne) and quite a lot of acoustic duo work.
Driving a 50 ton suspended crane in an aluminium smelter. 12 hour rotational shifts in the baking furnace baking carbon anodes to be used in the electrolysis process. Dirty and hot work.
Laboratory technician for a biotech company. Mostly sterilization, chemical solution preparation and dish washing.
First Year Chemistry Department at Monash University. Fingers in so many pies here…. Laboratory demonstrations, tutorials, exam marking, practical design, preparation of chemicals, troubleshooting, the one on one help centre.
Folding children’s clothes at a kids clothing shop.
Selling watches and handbags
Selling hair and make up products at Aveda.
Singing in the drag bars of Toronto as support for Drag Queens or as a part of ensemble shows. I swear this was one of the most fun jobs I have ever done! Too good!
Medical testing…. I have written a blog post about this. I spent a lot of time doing non invasive brain function tests for the hospital research centre.
Walking flyers and posters around the neighborhoods. I have done this for at least a good 3 months every day.
Online reviews of cities and hostels.
Driving forklifts, doing crop reception and sweeping and shoveling for poppy harvest.
Substitute teaching and short term contract teaching involving every single subject you can possibly think of including kindergarten music.
Can collecting and bottle return… (may or may not have stolen cans from campground recycling bins throughout eastern Canada to fund our accommodation and petrol bill.
Cleaning and managing the front desk at a backpackers hostel.
Promotions and marketing…. now this is a big one because each of the jobs I do are different. Many many sampling programs for things like milk, shampoo, icy hot packs, cans of Nestea and Quakers bars. There is also lots of hustling different contests. Below we will specify some of the more ridiculous jobs.
Driving a popsicle van for 3 weeks.
Dressing up in ridiculous costumes such as Shaun the Sheep or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
Placing stickers on men’s urinals in pubs so they can pee on teams they don’t like.
Filming a commercial for Edo Japan as the Edo Elf.
While this is a non-comprehensive list as I am sure I have probably forgotten something, it is still pretty ridiculous and funny. What is the worst job you have ever had? And better yet, is there anything here you’d like to know more about? Happy reading and I look forward to your input! 🙂
This time 5 years ago I was sitting in my unit in Melbourne packing my entire life into boxes. I would never have anticipated any of the things that happened to me over those 5 years to come and yet somehow here we are, not even sad in many ways to be leaving somewhere that was my second home for 5 years and teetering on another massive change. Like a relationship gone sour and that has gone on for too long, it is time to walk away.
But like with any relationship that ends, it doesn’t mean that you don’t look back on it from time to time with fond memories. And of course there are always the hard lessons that you learn and take with you.
So I wanted to take this chance to look at the years that passed, the highlights and some of the lessons learned.
I arrived into Toronto for the first time on the 12th October, 2010. My friend from high school that lived there picked me up from the airport, which helped make such a daunting move a little easier. I moved into the HI backpackers hostel on Church St and was soon met with Tash, one of my closest friends from home. She came on a visa to meet with me. I came on a visa to meet with a boyfriend that had fallen to pieces months before I even boarded the plane but not before I had booked my ticket.
We shared a room and ridiculous room mates in a place that still to this day holds some amazing memories for me. My first ever proper Halloween in the snow, my first hockey match, my introduction to the infamous Tim Hortons and so it goes on.
I got three jobs. My first being at Fossil selling watches and handbags, then at Aveda as a Christmas cashier and also at the Children’s Place folding kids clothing. I busted my arse 80 hours a week and it was only here that I started to learn the real value of money, doing it hard and having the arse out of your pants. After my first ever white Christmas, the work stopped and so we saw in 2011 (dancing down the street chanting like a pack of losers to the most anticlimactic fireworks you’d ever seen).
The year started hard. As I lost two of my jobs, with Aveda being the only one left I learned the importance of good friendships in times of utter boredom. The girls at Aveda kept me going with their amazingness, jokes and incredible support. These are the best work colleagues I have ever had and even though we are now spread all over the world I love them dearly. It is because of one of these “gurls” that one night my broke arse wound up in the drag bar Crews and Tango competing in Candice’s Star Search for the prize money to keep me fed that week. This started me getting jobs supporting other drag Queens in their shows and I became a semi regular about the place. It was incredible fun and taught me how to be a better performer. I will never forget the experiences I had in this place and the accepting nature with which I was taken in.
Upon entering into March I was starting to get shitty. No hours. No money. I didn’t move halfway across the world to work for 10 dollars an hour to have all of my savings drained on keeping my head afloat during winter. So I quit my job, packed my bag and went on a 3 month camping trip around the United States.
After my whirlwind trip around the US I came back revitalized and broke. The plan was to go west, then go home and make some money. But as fate was to have it, I met a boy and stayed another 3 months in Toronto. It was in this time I started working promo work, handing out chocolate bar samples or restaurant cards in guerilla type activations. It had good pay. I also went back to doing some more work in the drag bars and getting involved in showcases. It allowed me to live more comfortably. The thing was, I had booked my ticket home, and so I went. It was the hardest time of it I had leaving Canada. And yet I was to be back.
After a stint of teaching and harvesting poppies at home I went back to Canada in March. I spent my days living in the backpackers hostel in Kensington with some of the biggest weirdos you will ever meet. One woman was convinced that her husband had paid off all Tim Horton’s employees to try and poison her…. but in among those crazies were also some great people. I walked flyers and posters around the neighborhoods for 11 dollars an hour for 5 to 7 hours a day every day. I was in essence scraping the bottom of my Canadian finances to survive. One night I was walking to Chinatown after paying rent with ten dollars to my name to feed me for 5 days when I saw a sign for a dishwasher for the night and took it. Luck me in that 8 hours later I left with 80 dollars, a three course meal and three grocery bags of leftover food. I made it work until my then boyfriend got out of the military and in July we set off driving from Toronto over to Newfoundland for 3 months.
We camped, we explored, I got a better understanding of Canadian history. I saw and ate my first ever moose. I picked wild berries from the bushes and ate them. Some of my fondest memories I have of Canada were spent in the days I lived and worked on Eastport Organics Farm. We sat on the beach with the dogs and ate pizzas and played guitar and sang. We went to kitchen parties with the locals. We had bonfires. It was a simple life and life at its best. I was happy there. But time was getting away from us and we headed back to Toronto to pack and leave for Central America. My first 2 year visa was almost up and it was time for a new adventure.
After 8 months of travelling through Central America I decided it was time to go back and get my junk and make a move relocating west. I spent about a month in Toronto doing the odd promo until I found out I had a car lined up to drive across Canada from Montreal to Vancouver.
I arrived in Vancouver as usual, disorganized, with nowhere to stay, everywhere is booked out due to Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z in concert and I am having a freak out. I eventually found a backpackers hostel to stay in and spent some time chilling out and catching the sights before heading off to Vancouver Island for a week. Same went for Vancouver Island… didn’t book accommodation, had nowhere to sleep on Saturday night, pitched a one man British Army tent in the bush on an island that I thought was well hid and got caught by hippies. Many interesting times had by all.
I eventually double backed and relocated myself to Calgary. I started making beds and then doing the morning cleaning shift in the hostel I was living in and doing promo work. I worked so hard I barely had a day off. In the four months that I was there however I managed to see Drumheller, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, hike through Kananaskis, drive up through Jasper National Park, add a few trips to Banff and I’d seen a lot. Come December I had reached my tether with working so much and on a random whim booked a flight to go and see my friend in London for Christmas on my way home for the brothers wedding.
This was a Canada free year. I spent it at home mostly. Then in December I started travelling Asia again.
I decided to renew my visa for the last time and go back to Canada as an option. My friend who I went to Nepal with and I had big plans for hiking and camping and all other manner of things. And then the pneumonia happened and my body became incapable of most of the things we had planned. I went back anyway because my body needed to rest.
I took the odd promo work which was substantially less abundant than two years previous. I took a job at the hostel again, and it too wasn’t the same. With all that I had been through I had come to a few realizations. Firstly that I am over doing menial jobs for shit pay when I don’t have to. In many ways the jobs I took were nothing to ever take seriously because I always had a better out. Many I took because they were amusing to me. But after years of it, I am bored. My brain feels like it is dying from the lack of stimulation I receive on a day to day basis.
So it’s time to be more and work for a greater purpose. The second thing I realised was that I need to stop travelling and being around travellers for a while. My frustration at the lack of variety in conversations and different people I was meeting was killing me and my want to be social. It is time to find a new group of people and work on ‘staying’ for a while. And so begins the new challenge…. so I packed my bag and move to London.
For those of you reading this for the first time and are not sure entirely what it is that I am doing, read my previous post “Learning To Ask For Help in Servitude September”. For all others, kick back, enjoy the ride.
The warm up…
It is the 25th August and we have started early. Despite working with make up before and having a keen eye for it, today I asked the woman at Sephora to help me choose eyeshadows that will match my new red hair and green eyes. She helped me out. We had a discussion about different life related things, it was interesting and I left with what I needed feeling somewhat amused that I asked for help with something I didn’t need help with.
I am not having an awesome run of things today. After last night’s train getting cancelled and being stuck overnight again in Cardiff I decided to make the most of my day there.
I dropped my phone off to get it fixed while heading off to the museum. When I got back the phone wasn’t ready and I was running late for my train rendering me in a mental state. So I got the phone, got on the train and then realized that I had just paid 40 pounds to have an air bubble installed over my camera.
I eventually made it back to London. Despite having to ask people for help with many things… ie my train card was for yesterday, what do I do? Where can I find this? Blah blah blah I had lost my patience with trying to ask anyone to help me with anything. Partly because I don’t want help. And partly because I am annoyed with people screwing things up… namely my phone….
It was my first day in the agency for work. I allowed someone to get me a cup of water instead of getting it for myself. Hurrah. Helped. And then shit took another turn for the worse when my oyster card for the train decided to stop working.
After just seeing a dive of a room to let I tried to buy my weekly pass for the tube. Oyster card not working. The man in the tube station is no help to me. All I want is for my card to work so I can go to my other house to look at and this dick head just keeps rambling on at me about why they are striking. Got fed up with him, left and called London Transit on the phone so the woman could tell me all of the amazing hoopla I needed to jump through to get money off the card. I eventually ended up out of pocket having to fix this damn thing but when I arrived at Stockholm station the man there seemed not only lovely but astute enough to help me in giving me a new card within the space of 2 minutes and I was on my way. Not that hard really???
First day of school and I am pretty sure I drove people mental all day asking questions and for help getting all of the things I needed and my brain organized enough to deal with school. I am feeling a bucket load overwhelmed, and yet somehow still kinda ok.
I again asked for a lot of help today in understanding timetables, curriculum, beginning to plan lessons etc. I think the thing is by day 4, is that I have so much stuff I have to rely on others for right now that I find it too overwhelming to take time out to then also ask for help with things I could do myself. I would feel like a full blown menace to society. Instead, I have resorted to going home and having a nap because it’s all a little too exhausting….
So I guess what we can say about this entire week is this…. I am in one of the most stressful transitions that a person can go through. I am too exhausted to ask people for help because I don’t trust people will do things effectively or correctly. Then it winds up costing me more time and effort fixing the problem that could have been avoided with me just doing it myself in the first place. Having bad luck with a whole bunch of things did not help this situation further. I am currently thinking that Servitude October might have been a smarter month as then I may be more settled and less stressed enough to actually deal with the challenge properly. That and I wouldn’t probably be failing quite so dismally at it as I am right now…. here is a novel idea…. maybe I should ask for help with asking for help! 🙂