Working In The Mines

Debt free one dunny at a time

how can I get in? What do you do? what’s it like? You must make a killing? 

These are the questions I get asked religiously, my answers are my opinions only, some people love it, some people hate it, some people get lucky – for some it’s a career, for others it’s a means to an end – Only you can decide for yourself what it is to you 🙂

My Story // The interview

Remembering what you lied about on your resume and hoping they don’t ask you about it

19 was when I first applied to work away, I was SO excited to get an interview to what would be the worst job + company I have ever worked for. I remember going to my interview looking professional in my pencil skirt and white blouse, makeup minimal and fresh, feeling good… well that was when I woke up at least… I borrowed my friend’s car to get to the city, it was a 2hr drive and I didn’t check the fuel… guess what? It broke down on the highway … yeap… so like any keen person to work away I phoned to let them know I was running a tad late but had called a taxi – only to be told doors close at 8am and if I wasn’t there not to bother. So, I pushed the car onto a grass patch where it said no parking –  knowing full well It would be towed or fined.. and I ran. No, I sprinted about 4kms barefoot holding my heels and my bra to stop it hurdling with the momentum. And yes everyone in peak hour traffic had a good laugh.

I didn’t care because I MADE IT – I got to the office with about a minute to spare looking like I’d just fought Bear Grills for the last serpent to eat on a deserted island, or at least I thought I did. The lady laughed “oh you made it good” – “ha-ha” I replied – puffed and sweaty, but stoked on life… there was about 30 people there – tats, blue hair, visible piercings I was slightly shocked, looking back it wouldn’t surprise me if they hired just about everyone in the interview.

I sat the one-on-one interview after the group session and got a call back the next day – I had got my dream job or what I thought as a 19yr old, the money was about to start pouring in so in my head debt free here I come! ha! The job was classified as “utility” aka “shit kicker” which means you don’t know what you’re doing until you get there.

Flying to site and physically working

it’s like your first day of school, except your flying there … and it takes 5 hours… and it’s not as fun as you imagined…

Once I had done a full medical, police clearance, and uniform pick up I was ready to go! work flew me inland to some random airport, I caught another 2-hour bus which led me to my new site – A Gold mine called Sunrise Dam, I was to be a cleaner on a 2:1 roster working 12 hour days no days off (2 weeks away 1 week home). I’d never been good at cleaning but I was eager for those $$$ I cleaned about 30 ‘dongas’ a day – the accommodation they give you it’s like a big shipping container with a bed and a shower if you’re lucky. You clean the showers/shower blocks, laundries, beds, floors – you get the idea. I pushed my trolley and off I went, I enjoyed it for a little while, everyone at Sunrise was lovely it was a small site so I had a good time.

I didn’t get paid much I was slightly devo but I didn’t hate it yet so I thought I’d stay and work my way up every shit kicking role until I got something better… the role paid me about 65k+super a year, i probably should have just finished my degree instead.

The “Promotion”

longer hours, more money, harder more stressful work, is it worth it?

6 months later I got “promoted” to construction work 4:1 (4 weeks away one week home – YUK) but I did it anyway because that one was for 127k + Super a year – Hello $$ goodbye debt!  It would have been an incredible opportunity if I could have saved, but like every silly youngster in the world – I spent every dollar of it, zero savings on a 6-figure salary what a fool! I had never been good at saving either but I was 19 and I had a good time on my weeks off so hey who cares! One thing I forgot to mention, work pays for your flight to and fro work, they pay for your food – it’s all buffet – and the accommodation so the only money you spend is on alcohol (cheap too!) and lollies + chocolate etc..

Construction sites/work is another kettle of fish, its blow in contractors, miserable workers, horrible horrible people with horrible attitudes, I missed Sunrise, I missed my small crew, my 30 rooms and my happy vibes. I cleaned double the amount I was used to, which was fine I got super fit! but everyone hated me because I was so happy – well tried to be. I tried to ‘shit sunshine’ on everyone and everything to bring some happy vibes to the place but they sucked the life out of me, every single one of them. I lasted 6 months of 4:1 and was so sick of scrubbing foul dunnies with horrible team mates with poo on the outside of the toilets LIKE HOW!!?! I couldn’t deal with it anymore, construction work SUCKED all the contractors were so gross and it was just not me anymore! PLUS wolf whistling in the dinning area is so 2000’s

The Redundancies

If fifo is your career you’ll be made redundant more times than you can count on your fingers, and that’s just the way of life! It’s kind of a good thing? PAYOUT$$$$$

We got made redundant and I was beyond happy to give up my rubber gloves and salary to go back to uni and get a real job, no more skiddies to scrub, no more stained crusted bed sheets to strip and make over and over all day ignorance is bliss 😐 time for something a bit more… normal?

But…the money?

every fifo’er will tell you the struggle IS REAL when it comes back to reality with money. Also, the work/home dilemma – “I’ll never go back” – spends a fortune & goes back 6 months later #standard

I quit and went back about 4 times between uni and holidays for some extra coin, hated every minute of it but I needed money to live. I figured 6 month increments was justifiable – “I’ll go back this one last time?” – every time for 4 years…. I did all sorts of roles: site cleaner, mine cleaner, town cleaner, kitchen hand, Bin collector (my fav job not even kidding) and finally admin THANK GOD – get me in the office and away from the dunnies!!!

For me the FIFO game was over in 2016, my love hate relationship with the job was coming to an end. I was to finish my last year of uni and go live in another country, or state whichever came first. I started back at uni, was doing great! So, what does one do when one is doing well? I took myself on a cheeky holiday to Bali!!!!! Tropical Paradise! but then my holiday was extended in the worst way possible… something horrible happened

The accident

I crashed my mate’s road bike 😦 badly. I was carried to hospital, unconscious and woke up the next day not being able to speak or hear properly – I had fractured my skull and had bad internal bleeding, but that’s another story… 5 weeks’ recovery in Bali, then 12 months in Perth, I couldn’t go to uni or work anywhere physical, so I ended up getting the best job I ever had! WOO insert everything happens for a reason meme – It was working in mining again…but in head office! for a local fire company, they gave me a day a week and that was it. 12 months’ recovery, I slowly took on more days, loved working every day for them! however money may not make you happy but it makes the world go around… I was offered a job but up north I couldn’t say no to.

Back to it

The offer was FIFO 8:6 roster (week on week off) in the office for a small company, super nice team, lots of money – I felt bad but I left my head office crew and went back to the work I used to advise no one ever to go into unless they were desperate or had debt, and here I am – Now working fifo again and I couldn’t be happier. The difference working for a smaller company is amazing. and working only a week than having a week off is also a winner.

the verdict

I’ve had horrid and amazing experiences in the FIFO industry. it really is so different for every person, and I can vouch to say you’ll love it or hate it depending on what you’re doing and where you are! if you have no experience or tickets like I didn’t just apply for utility work they’re always hiring and weasel your way through like I did, once you’re in you’re in! If you have a HR licence or working at heights you could get on the trucks or rigs a lot easier. or a traineeship! or not at all.

Just take a note from my book, don’t work for ESS Compass Group..

informally known as – ‘ESS – Eat shit or starve’ 

Thanks for reading ❤