The Australian Working Holiday Visa: A Memoir
The Italian Restaurant / July 10 – July 11
When a restaurant has a banner across their storefront that reads “Best thin crust pizza in South Yarra” – Dave, you bloody well know it must be good. Unfortunately, when the chef demanded I tell the woman who received raw chicken in her meal he would not be giving her a refund, and she could either eat it or he would make her another one, I knew it was time to get out.
The Company that Sold Major Appliances for Campervans / July 20 – July 31
Didn’t realise this was even a thing until I stepped into this office.
The Staffing Agency / Aug 20 – Nov 30
One of my longer positions. I actually got the opportunity to make some friends and I almost made it to the holiday party.
My list of duties included creating a resume for the Director’s son, who seemed to be somewhat of an underachiever, and giving the Director’s shirt and pants a weekly size check, so presumably he could order more? Still not quite sure of the reason.
The Modern Office in the City Centre (No Idea What They Did) / Dec 12 – Dec 12
I was left entirely alone in the office and was asked to answer the phones while everyone attended the holiday party – but not before someone had the opportunity to complain about the odour of my lunch. I genuinely didn’t realise parmesan cheese smelled so bad when it was put in a microwave.
The Hearing-Aid Office / Jan 15 – Jan 16
My instructions were simple. Answer the phone and book people in for appointments. Make sure to get their personal details if they aren’t already in the system. What I thought would be an easy day’s work went something like this:
Me: “Hi, thank you for calling […]. How may I help you?”
Patient: “Yes, I would like to make an appointment for next week to get a new hearing aid.”
Me: “Okay. Are you a current patient? Can I please have your name?”
Patient: “My phone number is 0-3-4-5-8-2 – “
Me: “No, sorry. I need your name to look you up in our system.”
Patient: “My number is 0-3-4-5-8-2 – “
Me: “No, your name, what is your name?”
Overheard from the doctor on the phone in the room adjacent:
“Hi! This is Doctor (…) calling from the (…) office to discuss your hearing aid.”
“This is Doctor (…) calling from (…).”
“This is Doctor (…).”
The Bank / Jan 20 – Jan 20
The reception station was a tiny room patrons would enter to receive a badge, allowing them into the financial office upstairs. I was trapped inside with one other woman who smelled like she had attempted to drown herself in perfume.
While wondering if a person could wear anymore, she proceeded to open her drawer to reveal about 20 bottles inside.
I’m allergic to perfume. One day was more than enough.
The Traffic Management Company / Feb 3 – April 1
While my official job title was Administrative Coordinator, I personally referred to myself as Ted’s Unknown Nemesis.
Direct quotes pulled from personal messages:
“Ugh, Ted is having breakfast.”
“Ugh, Ted is eating lunch.”
“Ugh, I think Ted changed the password for the Superannuation site.”
“On Wednesdays, we leave at the same time, so I found a different bus that takes me longer but I usually take that one on Wednesday.”
“OH SHIT, TED IS GONE UNTIL THE 19TH OF JANUARY!!!!”
“I took a sick day yesterday and it was at least 50% to not have to spend the day around Ted.”
“TED IS HERE TODAY! I got on the bus this morning and HEARD his noises so I turned around and there he was. UGHAKSJDFAISJDFLAJSDFK”
“Ted is on the phone spelling his name and you know how someone might say A, for apple? He said T, for ticketed.”
“I found these shoes I really like and was about to order them but turns out they don’t ship to Australia… and Ted has not stopped talking to himself for the past 2 hours.”
Cover by George Gvasalia