Yo. Dave here… I can hear you all saying, “I thought you didn’t want to work in office anymore. Isn’t that why you left on this trip in the first place?”
Well, here’s the story.
After driving a delivery truck around Darwin for almost five months, I decided to look for a new job. The sticky, unrelenting heat of Darwin’s “build-up” paired with the 10 hour work days was really taking its toll on me – I was physically spent every evening and for most of the weekend. I wanted something with less hours, more pay and possibly more air conditioning.
I started applying for a few different jobs and then I stumbled across an admin role with the Darwin branch of the company I used to work for in Melbourne. When I emailed my former boss to let her know she might get some calls for reference checks, I half-jokingly added that I’d seen the job ad and was thinking of applying. She said was always more than happy to provide references for me and she’d already sent the Darwin office a letter of recommendation for me.
A few days later I got a call from the Darwin manager. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: less hours, more pay and more air conditioning. I started the following Thursday.
Preparing For The Role
Before I started the new job, I figured I better get some suitable clothes. I had plenty of shirts and pants back home in Melbourne, so I didn’t want to spend too much money on new gear that I’d only be using for six months. I found everything I needed at op shops around Darwin. Five shirts, three pairs of pants, one pair of shoes and a satchel bag – all for less than $50!!
Also, seeing as I was going to be working in an office, I figured I should at least make some effort to look a little bit respectable. I didn’t want to shave my beard off completely, but some of it had to go. I shaved my cheeks but left my long goatee and rolled it up and pinned it under my chin – I looked office worthy. Near to the end of our time in Darwin, my beard had grown out a fair bit but was still looking neat thanks to a bit of regular “man-scaping”.
While the company is a recruitment centre for the military, my job was all about greeting people at the front desk, processing invoices and credit card statements, and booking travel and accommodation for applicants from rural or remote areas.
I was already familiar with most of the processes in place as well as the computer systems, so I was able to just slide right into the position with minimal training. Overall, the job was pretty straightforward but my biggest challenge was trying to locate a few documents that my predecessor hadn’t filed!
When I worked in the Melbourne office, we had very little contact with the military employees. Here in the Darwin office, the majority of my work colleagues are military. I was slightly apprehensive at first – mostly because I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure if they’d be really strict and uptight or if they’d treat me differently because I looked like a bit of a hippie.
Some of the military staff had been enlisted for only a few years while others were “lifers”, each with their own stories about their lives in service to Australia. Apart from referring to each other by rank and wearing their uniforms, it wasn’t really very different to any of the other office environments I’ve worked in. I was warmly accepted into the workplace, rapidly found common interests and made some new lifelong friends. We’ve gone out for after work drinks and had BBQs at each other’s houses.
While I don’t want to work- in an office for the rest of my life, I enjoyed working in THIS office, because I got to meet some great people.