Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.

The Moomba Backstory

Let’s backtrack a little. Not so far as to really explain the history of Moomba, but just as much as is relevant to telling the story of my association with it.

I am here in Australia on the Working Holiday visa. I have been pretty solidly rocking half of that. The other half hasn’t really come up much since I left home. But having spent a decent amount of my money (not as much as would be expected but probably more than I want to acknowledge), it is time to rock the other half.

The past week or so I have been hitting the streets pretty hard looking for work. And having done enough research into the mining industry, I’ve started to give that dream up. They don’t want to train someone who can only give them a few months. And the really great pay jobs are the ones that Australians actually line up for. And mining towns have work in hospitality and support industries but you either have to show up with fingers crossed or you have to go through a temp agency.

So I applied to restaurants. And cafés. And outdoor stores. Pharma sales. Legal Admin. Hospitality. I wanted a job pretty bad and the more I looked, the more I needed to look to get one. I can’t just accept the sunk cost of a week of search with nothing gained. And so through this came my association with a hospitality and casual work agency.

There were some hurdles getting things set up for sure. I look like me and they primarily farm out to five star banquets who want servers who look the part. But I told them I would be willing to do remote work and they called me a couple days later to inform me of an opportunity.

The town is called Moomba. When I say town, I really mean mining site. There doesn’t seem to be anything else here. The company that owns the facility owns the airstrip.* They also own other oil and petroleum facilities. A lot. They are either Australia or the world’s largest landholder for oil drilling purposes.

The plant is people who work for the oil company, but the maintenance and hospitality stuff is all done by contractors. Electricians from X. Plumbers from Y. Kitchen and housekeeping staff from a company like Aramark. When they don’t have enough people, they call up the catering and hospitality company I applied to work with. And then they somehow get me on a plane up into the middle of nowhere to do what started out as three weeks of cleaning work and turned into one week of kitchen hand duties by the time everything got finalized.

And that, more or less, is the backstory of how I came to be an employee being farmed out to pseudo-Aramark doing site work for kinda-Exxon Mobil.

And that, hopefully, is just the beginning of the story. I like it here. The pay isn’t bad. And I have nothing to spend it on. And I’ll be working ten hours a day every day I’m here, so I will be racking up the hours and dollars. I have no distractions so I can read and write and learn and watch whatever I want in peace. This is why I will be working hard in the kitchen starting tomorrow morning. I will be full on. I have something to prove. I want this. I want them to keep me on longer than a week. This is my new home. This is where I will bankroll my travels. This is my temple in the mountains. I will work on myself here, and I will come out ready to take on the world.

*They don’t really seem to advertise the fact that a flight is coming out here either. Aside from the fact that you can only get up here by the company booking you on their plane, the sign at the gate at the airport doesn’t indicate the flight number or where it is going. Largely you have to be told where to go to get here.

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This entry was posted on April 29, 2012 by in Australia, South Australia (Adelaide).

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