<<  Suffolk Park, 12-Nov-2013  >>

How I found a job

Flowers, alcohol,"you know what I mean"s, and finding a dream job with a fake CV.

When our HelpX assignment finished we were homeless and jobless again and finally we moved back to the bush. Irene loved the place and was suggesting to simplt stay there and not to look for any accommodation anymore. Thanks to free public facilities in Byron Bay, such as showers near the beach, clean public toilets all over the town (public toilets in Australia are the cleanest toilets you will ever see, and the toilet paper is ENVER missing), few free barbecues and free public library with electricity and tables, it would be possible. We would just need a small gas camping stove and it would be possible to survive there, living in a tent. But it was not quite to my liking. It would be impossible to store our things there as they would surely get quickly stolen, when we would work until late night we would have to go take cold shower at the beach and then go to sleep to a tent, obviously we would have to electricity, etc. In Irene’s eyes there was no point in paying lots of dollars for accommodation, when we had all the facilities of the town for free and we just needed a bed, and a tent would do. I may be too old, too pussy, or simply too snobbish, but for me living in the tent in the middle of the city, having to always get my things from some friend’s house simply didn’t appeal. And so soon we entered in or first weird “period”. Suddenly both of us felt uncomfortable with the options we had and which the other one preferred…

Few days ago I had bought Kahlil Jibran’s “Prophet” (greetings to my god mother Iveta, she knows why…) and while reading it I found this:
Tell me, have you these [peace, remembrances, beauty] in your houses?
Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house as a guest, and then becomes host, and then a master?
Ay, and it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires.

And it kept me thinking about how comfort truly becomes a tamer, and that it was this cage that I escaped when I ventured out on this journey. And I was also thinking about one of the key thoughts that kept me “alive” on this journey that “magic always happens outside of your comfort zone” and so finally I gave in and decided to move to the bush. All this thinking happened while I was alone and while Irene and Olga were handing out their CVs somewhere, and when I decided that I would agree with moving to the bush I also decided to build a shelter there. OK, I can go to the bush, but not to live in a tiny tent that I have, with no place to even put my things. No, I would build a simple shelter from wood and tarp, dig holes in the ground to store things in plastic containers and cover them with planks and leafs to mask them, I would get a bucket and with the bucket and tarp collect rainwater to be able to take “shower”, I would get a table, get some cheap mattress from a garage sell, maybe few chairs. Yeah, I would move to the bush, but not like a fucking caveman, I would make my first architectural project and build a primitive shelter that would give us at least some chance to stay there in a bit normal way. That place where we and the other bush dwellers were camping so well established that it was clear that the police wouldn’t go there to kick us out. They simply must know about that place and quietly tolerate it, because it’s better to have few lost existences living there in the bush behind the town than to occupy the city streets. I became so excited with my plan that I even went to the internet and started to google tree houses and shelters to get some inspiration.
And I was still there, enthusiastically browsing through the tree houses and ads for give-away second hand items in Byron Bay, when Irene and Olga came along and told me that the police came to the place and told us to get the fuck out of there.

Hmmm, well, it was the shortest dream of my life :-D
It lasted only 3 hours :-))))

We didn’t want to go the bush right away to get our stuff, afraid that the police would be still around, and so we were killing time in a park, when my lively and proactive girlfriend saved us by calling another woman from HelpX, whom she had contacted few days ago and that woman surprisingly offered to us to stay at her place from that day on and so she became our salvation. She came to pick us up in 10 minutes and so less than half an hour after we were homeless in the park we were in someone’s house, with a nice bed, bathroom and all the rest. Later in the evening we went to get out stuff from the bush and moved in.

Robyn is a florist and lives in Suffolk Park, a township 6km away from Byron Bay. A florist, in her early 60s, divorced, semi-alcoholic.
She works as a mobile florist, so she buys flowers from farmers on on-line auctions that take place every evening, early in the morning the auction company delivers the flowers, she makes them into bunches and then delivers them to shops, weddings, parties etc. And to keep her business going, she needs few people to help her and so she offers free accommodation and food in exchange for 4 hours of work a day, 6 days a week.

When I had worked in VUB Banka in Bratislava, during the lunch break, while heading to a canteen, I had always passed a small flower shop, located right outside the bank, and every time I had smelled the fragrance coming from the shop I had been thinking that working in a flower shop must be one of the most beautiful jobs in the world. And so, my “dream” came true, I was working for a florist. Except for cutting and sorting the flowers, my duties were mostly related to house maintenance. I painted a bedroom and a bathroom, cleaned the garden, did some pruning…

Robyn, apart from drinking half a bottle of vodka every evening, likes watching reality shows, like Australia Got Talent and wanted us to watch it with her as she was non-stop commenting the shows when she was watching them. And she liked to watch those things also in reprise! Oh my god, what a fucking trash on TV!!! I was very happy when I left Slovakia that I would not be exposed to any kind of this intellectual garbage, or any traces of it in newspaper and discussionw, but after 11 months the fucking reality shows found their way to get me. And while Robyn was a nice person generally, all the booze that she drank and the trash she was watching on TV have eaten her smarts and so every other sentence she said was “you know what I mean”. You cannot imagine how annoying that can be. And “like”, millions of “like”. “Hey Marcel, can you do this? Like, you know what I mean?” and I wanted to shout “No I don’t fucking know what you mean, because you didn’t tell me!”:-) You know what I mean?
Looking at Robyn, with her bottles of vodka, staring at reality shows in a big empty house and saying “you know what I mean” I felt some kind of fear. If I ever become like this, please kill me. This would be a nightmare. Apparently, not every alcoholic is Charles Bukowski.

Living in Suffolk Park left us in partial isolation from Byron Bay, especially me, as I was simply too lazy to go Byron Bay every day and I preferred to do my stuff on a computer. When we went to Byron Bay we always hitch hiked, it proved to be very easy and fast.

Finally Irene got a job, working as a waitress in one restaurant, but she got only few hours a week.
And confronted with my own options I decided that I would look for a job. While I could probably get along by working for an accommodation and earning some small cash to cover my food expenses I realized that it would be really stupid to stay in one of world’s most expensive countries, working 3-4 hours a day just for accommodation, when I could stay in India for few EURs a day without having to work at all, and finally I made up my mind to take advantage of Australia and its impossible high wages and to look for a work.

Here in Australia, when you look for a job, you need to have a CV, or “resume” as they call it here. Even for the most stupid job, you need to bring your CV and leave it in the restaurant, and maybe later the manager calls you. So I needed a CV.
Well, when I looked at my real CV, I thought it was not exactly what they would probably expect. Who would want to hire as a dishwasher someone who had been working as a manager in IT and business consulting? No one needs overqualified fuckers from banks. They are lazy, pretend to be smart while in reality they are just annoying and they surely cannot wash the dishes properly. At least this is what I would think about someone with this CV and so I decided to… fake it. It was bit humiliating and I had a long fight with myself when doing it, but finally I faked my CV “downward”, something that I had never thought would be necessary. Battling my morale principles I actually didn’t really fake it, I just “tweaked” it. First of all I prolonged my studied by few years and shortened by IT/business consulting career. The summer jobs in USA, which I did in summer of 2003 I shifted to 2007 and 2008 and thus made them summer jobs in 2 different years. And I added one fake job in kitchen of Umelka, a pub where we used to go when we were teenagers :-)
With this “fully loaded” CV I headed out to the streets and went from a restaurant to a restaurant asking if they were looking for any staff. The tricky part here is, my visa. I do not have a working visa. I have a tourist visa. And as such that leaves me having to find a “grey economy job”. And that’s a bit tricky. So as I was going from place to place, I usually didn’t even leave my CV there, because they either didn’t need anybody or they asked about the visa status right away. I handed just 2 CVs and when I was about to ask in another restaurant, suddenly the managers from the second restaurant called me and asked me if I have time to do a trial. And so I did and so I got a job. After asking in just 10-12 places and handing out just 2 CVs! A miracle! I got the job that I applied for: a dishwasher. It was exactly my dream job. I didn’t want to have any job which requires any sort of skills (I don’t have any useful skills anyway), communication with customers or responsibility. Dishwasher was the perfect option. A slave in the kitchen, isolated from everything, with no responsibility other than making plates and pots clean. Marcel, your new career starts!
And now, put your apron on!

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak