Hi everyone. Juz here…
We knew we’d have to find jobs in Darwin because our funds were running seriously low. I went for a few interviews with businesses and recruitment agencies, but I wasn’t having much luck until I found a job on Gumtree for a part time position at a party hire business.
I called up and was invited to come in for an interview. I was told that I was way overqualified for the position (warehouse chick), but I begged them to give me the job anyway. I love parties and events, have organised many shindigs in my day, and we really needed the money so we could afford the crappy caravan park we were staying at. She told me to start on Monday – WIN!
My duties were simple. From about Wednesday onwards, I would pack orders for the coming weekend. The orders would either be collected by the customers, or our delivery guy would load up his truck and drop them off. Sometimes I’d get to go out to a job and help set up chair covers and sashes, or assist with lighting.
On Mondays, all the items were returned to the warehouse for cleaning and packing away. I’d use a commercial dishwasher to wash all of the glasses, cutlery and crockery, and put everything away to be ready for the next weekend of orders. Tuesday and Wednesday were the quietest days and sometimes I’d have the whole day off. Eventually I was trained to clean bain maries, deep fryers, and chairs, and even the roll top grills and popcorn maker.
I was there for about six weeks before I was promoted to receptionist with full time hours working 5.5 days a week. It basically involved taking bookings either over the phone, face to face or via email, quoting for large events and weddings, cross-hiring items if required, invoicing, petty cash, point of sale, and my warehouse duties. Over time, the girl who took care of the high end administrative stuff left and I took on those duties too. I became the office all-rounder, communicating with the off-site accounts lady, managing accounts payable, banking and chasing up overdue accounts.
By the end of it, I spent most of my time in the office to work on bookings and deal with customers, but when it got quiet, I’d venture into the warehouse and pack an order, press linen or tidy up. The delivery guys were great to work with, were fully capable in doing their job and provided some comic relief. We had two guys who were also travellers – a Dutch Ben who worked throughout the Dry Season and a French Ben that replaced him for the Wet Season.
While the job was based on administration, there are a lot more elements when you’re working in events. Your customers are trying to organise a party and your products include Chinese lanterns, slushie machines and bain maries. Working in the warehouse involved manual labour and some heavy lifting, and I loved hearing about what the customers are planning for their event and how their event went when they returned the hired goods. It was a great job and I was really lucky to get it considering our circumstances but it would have been nice to ditch the 3 hours on Saturday for a full weekend. In the future, I’d be happy to work for another party hire business.
Unfortunately, as the Dry Season faded away and the rains arrived, the business started to slow and there was talk of closing the office one day a week. This would have cut into my hours too much so I had to gracefully resign and find something else that wasn’t affected by the Wet Season.