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Sydney - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
In the spirit of trying to update more, here is - gasp! - another update.

Sydney is giving me the shits. I caught a 7.30am train (not exactly peak hour, is it?) and it was so packed-full I had to stand for the entire hour-long trip, unable to reach a handle for most of it. Naturally this meant whenever the train hit a bump or rounded a sharp bend I almost went arse over head. Dignified.

Also, there are black holes in Optus reception all over the place in Sydney! What is this, Tasmania? I mean, Tassie has an excuse; civilisation there is kind of clinging to the edges and the parts where the signal falls out are the parts that are damn near uninhabited. Today on the train I repeatedly lost reception in the middle of suburbia.

To top all THAT off, someone was having a whinge on Facebook; I responded with an (admittedly blunt) suggestion, and she came back with a barrage of swearing... so that was fun. I'm long past the days when I care what some acquaintance on the internets thinks, so I baleeted her and moved on. Still, nothing like a few F-bombs to wake you up in the morning. Of course, I already had a coffee, so I could have done without.

Rest of the day was an improvement. 3rd Sense is a great working environment; very chilled. Management works in the same open office as the animators and programmers and, guess what? They're super awesome! I know, super awesome management, I'm not used to this concept either. Maybe they're aliens. Fact is, it's ultra-chilled, people are allowed to have conversations, play pranks and look at YouTube and articles online, and of course they actually work HARDER for it. This is what I always theorised would happen, but it's lovely to see it in action. Through all my past experience in this industry, this is the FIRST time I've come across management who simply trust their staff to do the work. Offices where you can't sneeze without being interrogated are the ones where the staff eventually lose heart and spend all day finding ways NOT to work. I've seen that in action too.

So hooray for 3rd Sense! In a meeting yesterday, Steve mentioned the words "future work" while talking with me, but I'm not going to pin my hopes on anything until it's concrete. If 3rd Sense wants me to stay on as a remote worker I'd like to renegotiate the system. If possible, I'd like to be a two-day-per-week casual rather than freelance. Not only will it save me thinking about tax, it will also mean I'm not compelled to work beyond the usual 9-5 working day, as I'll be paid strictly by the hour rather than by the project.

Two days per week doesn't sound like much, I know. Back in New Norfolk, Tony has also offered me two days per week paid work in the new reptile house he's setting up (he's already expanding beyond the Oast House, good on him, and has just secured a much larger premises) and I think I'd like to take him up on that. If I've realised anything about myself, it's that I like variety in my work. The short freelance jobs make me happier than the long projects. The downside to short freelance jobs is that you spend half your time looking for the next one, so ideally I'd love more security in my working life. "Variety" and "security" are rarely found together. I'd love to make it happen if I can.

If it does come to pass, the fifth weekday will be mine. Sacrosanct. Writing-only.

Anyway, I'm shitting on about the future as usual, so I'm gonna shit on about stuff that has already happened instead. Concretes are always more interesting to read than what-ifs.

I caught up with Greg and Elizabeth for dinner on Sunday night. The Mexican was great (Greg hogged it, hahaha) and the conversation was even better. Without any really close friends in Tassie yet, I'd almost forgotten what it's like to talk with people who have so much in common with Joe and I. I don't mean circumstantially; more personality-wise, they think in the same skewed way we do. The conversation was mighty and flowing, and probably helped along by the jug of sangria we shared.

Monday night was great too. Rachel, Seamus and I went to a live filming of the ABC's political forum, Q&A (tagged and oft-dissected on Twitter as #qanda). It was the first live filming I've seen and it was great fun. A Canadian comedian whose name escapes me kept us laughing beforehand. Nothing super-controversial was said; the closest anyone came was a Cardigan-Clad Privileged White Guy in the audience who had a problem with immigrants to Australia maintaining hold of their origin-country heritage (this personally affects him how? Gosh, seeing the occasional headscarf on the street must be SO TRAUMATIC for him.) Viv was very disappointed that I didn't throw anything at the guy.

Tonight I'm heading to a gallery opening with the lovely niaid / Liz. I think my only free night this week is Wednesday... I might wander up to Town Hall and check the place out. Still on the fence about Thursday as I've had conflicting reports about whether it's possible to sleep at the airport. If it is possible, I'm leaning towards doing it and saving myself moneys, but at the same time I only get to see dad for two days and I don't want to be a sleep-deprived zombie for the first. If I had a sleeping bag with me I'd be more certain. What the hey, I have a Large Coat and my knapsack for a pillow, I think I'll brave it out just for the experience. I'm about to level up, hobo-style!
7 have fought ~ fight the power!
alby_lion From: alby_lion Date: June 8th, 2010 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Still, nothing like a few F-bombs to wake you up in the morning.
I heard a quote on The Andy Griffith Show a couple months ago, and it keeps coming back to me. "It's good for a man to get real angry early in the morning. It gets the blood flowing."

I agree re: the management. Being up your employees' asses all the time isn't effective management. If you have qualified folks (and that's on you if you do), then you should just let them work and don't question their methods until it causes a problem.

Glad Sydney is turning out great thus far. :)
(Deleted comment)
tapedeck From: tapedeck Date: June 8th, 2010 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)
7:30 is peak hour!
tania From: tania Date: June 8th, 2010 08:06 am (UTC) (Link)
So let me see if I understand this. When you live in Sydney, in order to get to work for a 9am start (and presuming you want to actually sit in the overpriced train seat you paid for), you have to catch a 6.30am train. So you'd want to get up at 5.30 then. I presume you'd want to repeat the same process to miss the rush going home, meaning you wouldn't arrive at your home station 'til 7.30pm at best. So rather than spending forty hours plus-spare-change per week out in the stressful working world, you're actually spending 65 hours per week.

And people do this why?? Heh, I know, cities are where the work is. But it's only so because we think it has to be. With the Internet we have now this massive drain on resources, time, sanity and the environment should no linger be necessary for a large percentage of the workforce. Hopefully employers catch up to the technology soon!

Then again, hopefully not - I don't want more people moving to where I live. ;)

Edited at 2010-06-08 08:08 am (UTC)
tapedeck From: tapedeck Date: June 8th, 2010 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I live a two minute walk from sydney cbd, commute isn't an issue for me. I walk or catch the electric tram.

Sydney is fucked up travel-wise because people want to live in the burbs, but they don't want to pay more taxes to allow better rail services and cry like babies when ticket prices go up. I think they're mad tbh, but saying that, I wouldn't give up my inner-inner-inner city lifestyle for anything. If we had to live out in the sticks and public transport/drive every day, we'd pack up and go to Melbourne or go back to the Sunshine Coast.
aibo From: aibo Date: June 8th, 2010 08:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm, 7:30am definitely counts as peak time, at least in the major cities lots of people start at 8am rather than waiting until 9. Tried that a couple times, but not really something that keeps me happy. At least I can still use my own transportation vehicle so far, maybe this will also change in the future (hopefully not in the way to get stuck in such crowded public transportation like you just experienced).

Oh, and one question about this entry:

"Tony has also offered me two days per week paid work in the new reptile house he's setting up"

Reptile house?! You gonna work as an animal keeper (or whatever it may called)?

Have fun in Sydney! Geez, I am missing that place.
leggz From: leggz Date: June 8th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remember when I lived in Melbourne and worked in the CBD. Oh those were the years.. up at 6:00am, out the door at 6:30am to catch the 6:45am train in order to get a seat. Then arrive at work at 7:45am and sit on the tubes eating my breakfast until start time at 8:30am. : |
7 have fought ~ fight the power!