This morning was bittersweet. Once again I sat by the phone, waiting for a call. Once again I greeted by the bittersweet symphony of silence. Too lazy to go downstairs and use my computer, I read. It was lovely to get back into reading.
With the continued Alert Level Four in New Zealand, a surge of laziness overtook me and the roommates. We were still being productive in our own ways but flaunting very visible cracks during the 5th week. A mindless haze accompanied our movements. We were quicker to put down what we were doing. The frequency of sitting down and enjoying the ‘nothing’ together went from being our nightly movie and following conversation, to movie binges. We didn’t even turn the shit movies off. We all have our own reasons for letting my minds fly elsewhere.
As I said. Alert Level brought a new air. Me and my roommate Brandon have been locked in our rooms applying for jobs. Having interviews, and discussing our next moves. Yesterday I had two interviews. Today I had 3. All three of them resulted in a follow-up interview. This is fine. I’ve been applying to so many jobs, at various levels of skill, pay, and requirements. This gives me time to research companies that show interest in me. I won’t let what happened in Dunedin happen again, I’ll be prepared and sharp.
I decided to follow up with the hostel job. They didn’t call me, but I don’t have time to wait. I need to be ahead of the competition. My other two interviews today told me there’s fierce competition. “Ok, I’m glad we had a quick chance to talk. We have hundreds of applicants at the moment, so we’re vetting as much as possible. You passed the first round, but there are so many people, we won’t be able to do our follow up interview until Monday. Please have your questions and credentials ready.” Some may say it wasn’t an interview, but simply a vetting process. I prefer to remain optimistic and tell myself I passed the first interview. I need to have the confidence that they’re already interested in me.
And boy o boy are the jobs opening up. Today I wasn’t applying as hard as the previous days, but it seems like most people are on that trend. Jobs are filling up, and more shops are opening up. There’s still competition, panic, and xenophobia, but it dropped tremendously on the Facebook job boards, and hundreds of more jobs have been added to Seek and Indeed.
In regards to the hostel, I got some of the dirty details. Saturdays and Sundays 9-6pm while remaining on call for the evenings. 150$ a weekend and free accommodation. I spoke about it with my good friend Julie in Wellington, who worked as a night attendant for a hostel in Whistler. She told me it’s not worth the labor. Let alone my travel expenses getting to the hostel. “If you’re still not convinced, the girl who worked at The Lodge (the hostel we met at) was getting paid 19.10$ an hour and got free accommodation. They’re using this title to manipulate desperate backpackers”. If hundreds of job interviews, sales, and my personal dating life have taught me anything. Its to never be desperate. And if you are desperate, lie about how not desperate you are, and give the impression of having options.
I want to say I have a feeling they will call me back tomorrow. But I felt the same today, and they didn’t. It would be nice to have in the back pocket, though they probably want a decision A.S.A.P. An offer I will likely decline at this point. Was I foolish to think I could get accommodation and hourly wage? In a way its hilarious irony. I’m the guy who hates hourly wage. And now I’m clamoring for it. “The contract pay isn’t high enough, give me minimum wage and a bed!” Ugh, what has Covid reduced me too.
All in all, I am one of the lucky ones. My situation could be better, but also far worse.
It makes me think grabbing a hostel job in Christchurch might be optimal. It wouldn’t be a 3-6month contract like the one in Hastings, but a month, six weeks. I’ll be back on my feet, have time to find a good place. While being able to utilize the social facilities to have a good network of friends in the city, and across New Zealand. Plus its traffic I can funnel to this.
My funds are low, and I’m hungry. This is an important crossroads. These crossroads offer two alternatives, balk, play it safe, jump on any opportunity, and hope fortune favors me on my quest to get back on my feet. Or do I use hunger as I did? Become a cunning, selfish animal. When I came to Tofino I was broke, cold, and hungry. I used my needs to get me to work, auto-pilot through the day, and keeps my expenses as low as possible. The hunger made me focus on job applications more than anyone else in Poole’s Land. The beginning was hard; one of the hardest things I had ever done. But once I was set. It was one of the most magical times of my life. I was working on my terms, with a job that paid well, compared to my lifestyle. I had friends and respect. I was in industries I wanted to be in. Granted, I would later learn that the hospitality and recycling industries aren’t for me; but at least I got to experience them, in a way I would have wanted to. And now I have knowledge that those paths aren’t for me. Bar and Kitchen work is tough. Check-in on your hospo friends.
I’m still looking into farm and fruit work across New Zealand. Competition is more fierce than ever. Free accommodation. It’s what everyone’s fighting for right now.
And maybe once again I need to run in the opposite direction. I’m letting the prospect of losing free accommodation steal my focus, I have an interview, marketing for a finance company. As well as a sales job. The sales job has traveled; maybe I can live on the road on their dime, just like I did in Australia.