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What it’s like to be a fly on the wall at a FIFO mining operation

This article recently appeared in:

The Brisbane Courier Mail

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-what-its-like-to-be-a-fly-on-the-wall-at-a-fifo-mining-operation/story-fnihsr9v-1227373186840

The NT News

http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/opinion-what-its-like-to-be-a-fly-on-the-wall-at-a-fifo-mining-operation/story-fnjbnts7-1227373186840

FIFO photo

THE Queensland parliamentary inquiry into FIFO (fly in fly out) work has begun and already submissions are being made on the impact of and issues facing FIFO workforces.

If you’ve ever wondered what type of person becomes a FIFO worker, well for six months last year, I was out there.

From the conversations overheard, observations made and investigations performed, I discovered that there are basically 11 types of FIFO workers and with some of them it wouldn’t surprise me if mental health becomes a major focus of the inquiry.

Firstly, there are those without families who party away their week off and save nothing, and their exact opposite, those with families, whose money goes straight to the mortgage or education for the kids.

Then there are also those paying off vast debts after their own businesses have failed, so that’s three types.

Type four are the guys saving everything to buy a house outright. They look at this job like a short jail term for a long-term gain. Similar to most, I suppose.

Also out there are those that don’t even save enough to have a good time during their week off, as they spend every night off-site in the nearest pub downing spirits and gambling online or otherwise. Which is type five.

Type six talk about camping trips but never make it, because when not at work they’re always at the pub talking about camping trips.

Type seven talk about their camping trips but actually do make it, so also have photos – which they’re happy to show you, even if you don’t ask.

FIFO wife meme

With all the drug testing and breathalysers, there are also those out there to escape addiction. Using it as rehab, until they go home and get back on it again because they’ve got so much cash and stuff-all to do. Type eight.

Type nine are those who get hooked on something while out there, to cope with the loneliness and long hours and lack of entertainment options apart from the booze, gambling, smokes, sex and drugs.

Type 10 are the lifers who move from site to site, because they love the work. They look forward to their week off, because that’s what you’re meant to do. However, they’re always jumpy and jittery for that entire week as, the truth is, they can’t stand home and would rather be out at the mine with their mates.

It does take a particular sort of person to spend 75 per cent of their time away from their loved ones and added to these 10 types, I’m sure there are others. Probably as many as there are people out there. I just haven’t managed to identify them.

Except, don’t forget type 11. Those who become FIFO workers in order to pay off a stalled comedy and writing career. Which, as far as I know, is a group of just me.

Honestly, I like to think that money isn’t something that drives me. I like to think that I’m driven by a need to be creative and hopefully share something worth hearing that makes people laugh, gives them something to think about and might even improve things.

Unfortunately though, good intentions pay for stuff-all.

So, while I’d never work out at the mines for a lifetime, after I lost thousands performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, FIFO work did pay off enough of my debts that I was able to get back to comedy and writing full-time.

Like most, I had a plan and an exit strategy. Like far too few, I managed to stick to it.

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Shopping for the sake of it is like following football without having a favourite team

shopping meme 1

SHOPPING. I just don’t get it. Honestly, I cannot think of a bigger waste of time.

Watching the grass grow or the paint dry, at least you’re outside and contemplating things.

Why does anyone ever “go shopping” just for the sake of it? Why? Whenever I shop it’s with a purpose. I identify a need, then go out and search until I fulfil that need.

The longer it takes, the more frustrated I become.

If the first shop I walk into has what I want, I buy it. I might take a bit of time to do a price comparison. Three stores within easy walking distance at a maximum and then pick the cheapest. Or I might just check on the internet, like a clever person.

Shopping Meme 3

What I will never do is go shopping without a need to fulfil and an end product in mind.

That’s like following the football and not supporting a particular team. Pick a team. Nobody trusts a person who follows football and doesn’t have a team. It’s like hanging out in bars but never having a drink. It’s like going to a shop with more than 200 flavours of ice cream, just because you like the idea of all that choice, but have no actual desire for ice cream. You go into an ice-cream shop because you want ice cream. Not because you like the idea of ice cream. If you’re lactose intolerant, eat gelato.

The point of going shopping is to buy something. If you don’t buy anything, then you’re just browsing.

It’s like going to a nightclub if you don’t want to meet anyone. Which is apparently a viable and respectable option. But have you been to a nightclub lately? They’re rubbish, so why bother unless you’re trying to fill that massive void inside yourself with another person?

Maybe the people at nightclubs who aren’t looking to meet anyone, are the same people who go shopping not to buy anything. Just standing there, staring and sometimes drooling. Both are just a different type of pervert.

What we need are nightclubs and shops that cater to these sorts of people. A corridor that’s all just windows and mannequins, with a suitably boring soundtrack.

Which would then keep these people out of my way, so I can find a park and get in and out as quickly as possible.

A strategy that applies equally to both shopping centres and nightclubs.

Shopping Meme 2

Maybe I just don’t get it. Possibly shopping for stuff you don’t know you want yet is the most rewarding experience of all time. However, I very strongly doubt it.

For Christmas, everyone who gets a present from me gets a book for two reasons. One because people should read more. And, two, I only have to go into one shop.

Notice how I haven’t made this into a men versus women argument? Because it’s not. I know plenty of men that adore shopping. The weirdos. Also, I know plenty of women who can’t stand shopping without a purpose. The champions.

Really, it’s not a battle between the sexes at all. It’s a battle between people who have better things to do and those who have nothing better to do.

 

This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail:

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/shopping-for-the-sake-of-it-is-like-following-football-without-having-a-favourite-team/story-fnihsr9v-1227367352754

 

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It’s not my damn baby

staples image

Staples, you big out of control American office superstore chain you.

Before arriving in the USA, I didn’t know it was possible to combine awful customer service with outrageous platitudes, then deliver the lot without irony.

I wanted to print out my second book for proofing.

At 10am I was told it’d be ready by 2pm. At 3.30pm this became 4pm. At 5pm there was a problem, so at 6pm I visited the store. Stood at a counter for seven minutes, and then the combination of his accent and my accent made the middle ground a battlefield of misunderstanding.

Turned out I was in the wrong store.

“Thank you for shopping at Staples. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Okay, so you haven’t helped me and I didn’t buy anything, but thanks anyway.

So I called the correct store, was put on hold, transferred to nobody, disconnected and put on hold again for fifteen minutes, all the time being told all the different ways that Staples provides a premium customer experience.

So I visited the correct store and the woman behind the counter ignored me while loudly announcing passive aggressive statements to nobody.

“Fine, I’ll do it myself. Even though it’s not my job.”

“So then, where does he think it comes from?”

“It’s not my damn baby.”

Another lady appeared, asked a wall what it needed, and I realized she was talking to me.

Twenty minutes later it was done.

“Thank you for shopping at Staples. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

 

This article first appeared on the brilliant Bytestories:

http://www.bytestories.com/story/8a33a73/yours-in-confused-frustration

 

My first ever E-BOOK has just launched and is available for FREE!

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How can you tell if it’s a date or not?

Another article for Cleo! Read at your peril, or for your pleasure.

Does include info about how to get my e-book for free though. (Hint: it’s right at the end)

Note a date image_2

What about if nobody says it’s a date. Can it still be a date? For sure. If he pays for dinner, is it definitely date? Not necessarily. What if you’re meeting for brunch? Brunch is weird for a date, don’t you think?

The question of whether or not something is a date comes up extremely often among my male and female single friends. Probably even more often than: “If they don’t text me back, can I keep texting them?” or “Is this photo OK for my Tinder profile?”

Just in case you’re wondering, 95 percent of the time the answer to the above questions is NO. If the answer was YES, well that would be obvious, and it wouldn’t be necessary to ask.

The moment you have to ask, well it probably isn’t a date.

The trick is to not ask the question until after you meet up with the person. The reason you’re meeting prior to the event is not important. What matters is how the event goes down, and what happens next.

I’ve been on many dates that quickly turned into an awkward mess. Even though it was called a ‘date’, as soon as it became clear there was zero happening romantically, then it was no longer a date. It was just two strangers checking their watches until it was safe to leave.

Alternatively, if you meet up with a friend or acquaintance and things take a turn for the romantic, all of a sudden something that was quite innocent is now a date.

Say for example, if you meet someone at a party. You two talk for hours, perhaps kiss, and then swap numbers and agree to meet up again. Well, I’d call that a date.

Not a date image

By the way, some guys get freaked out by the term ‘date’ so there’s no need to unnecessarily name things. Far more important is specifying whether or not you and that person are exclusive.

If you want to be sure if something was a date, simply ask these questions:

1) Was there any contact that was more than a pat? This includes rubs, stroking and… you get the idea.
2) Was it just the two of you? With maybe a bit of kissing? With tongues?
3) Were plans made to meet up again? In between fondles and frolics?
4) Did it feel like a date?

If the answer to question four is yes, well then I’d say it was a date.

 

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian

 

This article first appeared in Cleo

http://www.cleo.com.au/you/relationships/2015/4/how-can-you-tell-if-its-a-date-or-not/

 

My first ever E-BOOK has just launched and is available for FREE!

For a very short time only. Like a week or something.

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F%&K your stick figure family

My-Family-Meme_1-300x293

If you’ve been nowhere near a road in the last four years, there are these stick figure stickers people attach to their rear windows. In an effort to show how special and different their family is through the use of a two-dimensional, mass-producible, cartoon form.

Apparently stick figures were chosen due to the rapidly growing obesity rates around the world.

If the stickers were actually an accurate representation of the size of most families, it’s doubtful one family member would fit on the back of any car.

Last week I ran into a guy I hadn’t seen since high school, and he proudly showed me his brand new ‘people mover’.

So I asked him, ‘If your car is a people mover, what the hell does every other car do?’

I suggested that he should call a ‘people mover’ what it really is. A car for people who don’t properly know how to use contraception.

On the back of his car was a ‘My Family’ sticker.

He informed me that you can now get these stickers for all sorts of families, and relationships, and situations.

So after spending ten minutes summarising his life achievements to that point, this guy asked me, ‘If you had a car, which stickers would you put on the back?’

I told him I had no idea, as I didn’t have a wife, children or any pets.

So he suggested that my personal sticker would just be a picture of me, with a thought bubble with a pretty girl in it, and surrounded by used tissues.

Then he laughed, and drove away.

 

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian

 

My first ever E-BOOK has just launched and is available for FREE!

For a very short time only. Like a week or something.

Signup HERE for future posts and instructions on how to get it:

http://eepurl.com/-Do09

 

This short story first appeared on the excellent bytestories right here:

http://www.bytestories.com/story/8a33a73/fk-your-stick-figure-family

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