Escape plan: Get a job – 4

After leaving Indented Head on 22 August, spending a relaxing, super-indulgent week at Sunraysia Resort in Mildura, then moving into our first house-sit via Aussie House Sitters, we knuckled down to looking for work once again. With five weeks’ free accommodation (in return for house-/dog-sitting) close to Mildura’s CBD, we were hopeful that at least one of us would land a job in a location to which we could walk/ride; when we’re both working, having just the one car presents a constant challenge, particularly in regional areas. We also hoped that we could maximise the opportunity for both of us to work full time without having to put Banjo in a kennel, both an added saving and, with a big backyard and two new playmates, better for him.

Having researched the labour-hire agencies in Mildura, on Monday morning we hit town with our résumés in hand, planning a blitz and aiming to meet with at least a couple of consultants that day. The gate-keeping receptionists all thwarted our ambitions, reciting the standard line (or variations of) ‘just leave your details and one of our consultants will call you’. Four agencies and a couple of bum steers (agencies that didn’t exist at all, or which weren’t geared towards job-seekers of our ilk, ie ones who actually want to work!) later, we returned home somewhat deflated. For all our enthusiasm, we only had one tangible result: at one agency, we had politely but firmly pressed to make an appointment to speak with somebody, so the receptionist relented and lined up an interview for the Friday. Within an hour, though, we got a phone call from the managing director of that agency, asking whether we could come in the next day: success!

Things seemed to go well at the joint interview, and Kim was asked to submit an application for a six-month admin role that the agency had on its books; as this role had been advertised a fortnight earlier, she’d dismissed this in her job searches, so was pleasantly surprised (and somewhat pleased) at this request. We considered the implications of staying in Mildura for six months, which would take us through summer, and agreed that we’d be prepared to give it a go, so Kim duly submitted her application (directly to the managing director, as he’d asked). Six months would also see us in Mildura during the peak vintage (grape harvest and wine production) period, increasing the chances of Paul finding work too, so we excitedly researched rental properties. We calculated that even if only one of us was working full time, we could afford a place with air-conditioning AND a swimming pool, which we agreed would be essential for surviving Mildura’s notorious heat. We weren’t really ready to rent a bricks-and-mortar place just yet (if ever again), but figured that it was all part of the adventure!

We waited…all the while continuing to search and apply for whatever else we could find (which wasn’t a lot!), and expanding our search into the wider Riverland and Sunraysia areas. A week later, Kim’s application was unceremoniously rejected with a standard ‘unsuccessful’ letter and no further contact from the managing director, or anybody else at the agency! Go figure…

So with not much happening on the job front in Mildura after two full weeks of dedicated effort, and our house-sit hosts due to return at the end of the month, we started thinking about our next move… In August, needing to use a Ticketek voucher that was due to expire, we had purchased tickets to the first ‘night (cricket) Test’ to be held at the Adelaide Oval in late November. We had figured that wherever we were likely to be at that time, we’d be within less than a day’s drive of the South Australian capital – whether still in Mildura/the Riverland or wherever else in SA we had found work. We had also pencilled in an Adelaide house-sit for the Christmas/New Year period (with a view to firming it up in the forthcoming school holidays, when the house owner could meet us partway between Mildura and Adelaide), so with all of this in mind, we turned our sights towards Adelaide, researching jobs and accommodation options there in earnest.

There seemed to be a lot of work in Adelaide for Paul in particular, so we discussed the possibility of him going on ahead (with the camper trailer for accommodation) to do a bit of reconnaissance, and hopefully find work pretty quickly, while Banjo and I stayed in Mildura to see out our house-sit. Serendipitously, almost as soon as we decided on this plan, an urgent house-sitting job that sounded right up our alley – looking after a young Australian Koolie (another working dog breed) for five weeks, close to Adelaide’s CBD – popped up on the Aussie House Sitters site! We applied, made a quick dash to Adelaide to meet the family and introduce the dogs, then headed back to Mildura, where we would prepare for Paul to return to Adelaide the following week.

Naturally, the Universe then decided to shake things up a bit! En route between Adelaide and Mildura, Paul received a call asking him to come in for an induction for work in Mildura. A few days later, he was employed, albeit casually and not knowing until the end of each day whether he’d be working the next! It was better than nothing, though, so we rejigged the plan, and Kim headed to Adelaide on a Greyhound bus…


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