18 years ago when I registered lankyland.com I was still in high school, my first job was months away, I was single, and had no idea what I was going to do.
Fast forward to today and I’m married, I have two kids, I live further west than I ever thought I would, I’m not working in the industry I thought I was destined for, and I’m still wondering what I’m going to do when I grow up.
I started my working career in customer service for a fast food conglomerate. Every person should do at least 6 months of work in customer service, it would make us all a lot more considerate of other people. Moving from fast food into IT, I remained in call centre roles pretty much all the way through the 2000s.
Branching out from purely call centre roles I started to get into more hands on IT support roles, being face to face with the end users and also being on the phones. I found myself enjoying being out of the office more and more. Especially at one job where the management team was very unsupportive and I found myself finding more and more reasons to leave the office to help the end users at their desks. I stayed because the money was great but that kind of environment was detrimental to my emotional state of being.
Then my dream job. Working for an American start up, they were young, they were flexible, they offered free soft drink and snacks. They even provided a product that I liked enough to buy and use.
It was around this time that I finally found out that years of IVF had paid off, my first offspring was on his way. Then it went to shit. My great American start up had an upper management reshuffle, a new money man started and he pointed out that doing any sort of internet related business in Australia was prohibitively expensive and even though we’d just managed to turn a profit for the first time in four years, even without marketing help from had office, it was decided to close down the entire office.
With a kid on the way and no job I grabbed the first thing that came along, a six month contract for a medical company. That contract turned into a little over 18 months. After that I found myself a full time job working for an IT specialist recruitment agency doing their IT support.
Only problem there was that I was to organised, to efficient. I took their shambling support system, organised it with a proper ticket system, insisted that all staff, even the managing director, had to use it. And guess what we discovered.. the over worked IT guy who I was there to help wasn’t over worked at all, he was just badly disorganised.
So I could let go, even though I was clearly a better support staff, my 3 months tenure couldn’t compete with almost 10 years of service, and the associated redundancy payout.
It was at this point that I’d moved from the cushy world of the Upper North Shore to the wide open expanses of Western Sydney. And with that move came an unexpected job opportunity. Hirail trucking.
If you’ve never heard of it, I don’t blame you. Basically it is a regular road truck that has an extra set of wheels for driving on train lines.
18 months later this IT turned truck driver had helped build a train line in North Western Sydney. You can catch that train, look out the front of it and see the walkways, the pipes, the cable trays, and all the electrical systems that I installed. And by installed I mean drove the truck, operated the crane, and got the equipment to where it needed to be.
And whilst building a whole new train line I welcomed my second boy, treo very hungry mouths to feed.
I then bounced back into an IT contract but it involved a lot of driving around rural New South Wales so the lack of an office was a big draw card.
After that contract dried up I found myself driving public buses, a wholly terrible job. The pay was less than advertised after finding out the actual hours worked so I quickly quit that and found myself on the night shift doing road maintenance. A very satisfying job.
The down side to contract jobs is you can think everything is going great and then wake up to a phone call on Saturday morning telling you that you no longer have a job. A few weeks after that phone call the labor hire place put me in the lab.
It was meant to be 4 days, it stretched to two weeks. Then whilst I was working the rail in Melbourne I got a call from the lab, “want a full time job?” Hells yes I do.
So here I am doing science every day. And by science I mean I collect hot asphalt from the back of trucks, boil it in various chemicals, cook it, and then weigh it. It’s a weird way to make a dollar but it’s full time again and it’s not sitting in front of a computer so yay.