May seem like a fairly negative post to kick things off with, but I have the overwhelming urge to clear a few things up. Although we live a pretty sweet life, it is certainly far far far from perfect. And this opportunity that I class as dream come true, is more of a nightmare for others – with good reason.
And this isn’t a session where I get to bitch about the heat and the flies (although it is pretty farking hot and as I type this a fly has climbed under my glasses and landed on my eyeball- gross) I’m talking about the REALLY bad things up here, the price we pay to receive the pay we get.
- PEOPLES PERCEPTION
By now I’m sure the above paragraph has produced a couple ‘bitch please’ eye rolls from more than a few people “8/6, you’re hardly at work what the frag does this bitch have to complain about etc etc……” This is something that I’m guilty of too, I have had my fair share of miner hate over the years, it’s pretty hard to sympathise with a FIFO when you are living week to week, at uni or some other low paid job barely keeping your head above water. But trust me SHIT GETS HARD UP HERE – FOR REALS.
Do you really think that we would get the roster and the pay we do if it was a walk in the park?!
I know that I’m not just speaking for myself when I say this: but if I have to hear one more person who has never even stepped foot on a mine site tell me how ‘easy’ it is, I may punch them in the face.
You don’t work here, you don’t know, don’t comment….
Same goes with assuming everyone is a toothless, money hungry, borderline alcoholic, bogan. Or that we earn so much money we have a vault ala Scrooge Mc Duck style, and while I’m on a role blaming mining for everything from increases in violence to increases in pint prices- Unfair man!
- THE CONSTANT TRAVEL
You may notice a few contradictions between this and the next post, apologies in advance. I’m talking about work and obligation travel, yes it’s only a 1.5hr flight, yes I get frequent flyers, no I don’t have to pay for it (please refer to point 1) You are on a plane ever week sometimes more than that, you have 3sets of everything (one for work, one for home, one for your travel bag) I have family that live 2hours away that I see quite often, combine that with the fellas family living just as far and a 6yr ‘step child’ the other side of the city there are weeks when you feel you are constantly living out of a suitcase, your house looks like an overpriced storage container and you can’t remember the last time you slept in your own bed for more than 2nights in a row. The constant battle of trying to be a good friend, daughter, sister and partner as well as find some time to actually rest is a fortnightly struggle, stay-cations have never looked so good.
I’m a lady that likes my sleep. Having said that I am also no stranger to abnormal hours and shift work, and I stand by this statement that I don’t care how long you do this for getting up before the sun NEVER gets easier.
From the second that plane leaves basically every hour you are on site is accounted for, up, breakfast, bus for work, 12.5hour day, bus home, and your 2-3hours ‘fee time’ where you have the choice-eat, exercise, drink, laundry or chill. If you want 8hours sleep you can’t do it all.
As an operator you have to be aware, you can’t just drift off for a couple seconds you have to be alert and on the ball at all times (unless you are ok with writing off a multimillion dollar piece of equipment and/or maiming yourself/ others) you have to ask permission to pull up for the loo. Every second is accounted for.
Yeah we only work every second week but when that week you do work accounts for close to 120hours…. Believe me when I say it, that plane ride home is a quiet one. WE. ARE. KNACKERED
- LONELINESS AND ISOLATION
Being home every 2nd weekend means that theres always a 50% chance well be home for special occasions, there is also an equal chance that we won’t. You have fantastic runs where you don’t miss a thing and others where you think your friends are going to start forgetting what you look like. There are weddings, birthdays, parties, births that you won’t be attending (unless its via skype or text) and the more serious things where family members have passed, loved ones in car accidents, partners going into labour way too early and you are 1000km away scrambling to make it down on time.
We are in the middle of no-where – literally you just have to look out your plane window to see that and when you are not there for you’re the people you love, or they’re not there for you when you need support the loneliness can be crushing. Being left to your own thoughts in a cab alone for 13hours when you’re going through something is dangerous; if you don’t have someone up here you trust to talk to about it is even worse.
The good (for me) still outweighs the bad, like every job you have your days where you want to pack it in and go home, and others where you feel like the luckiest person in the world to be up here.
This has actually been really hard to write, wanting to convey the serious down sides without seeming like an ungrateful whining biach.
Is this life great- you bet
Is this life easy- not at all