The Glassman

It was just a casual goodbye from the glassman when I made my way to the car. "Busy week?" I asked. The glassman nodded. Like us, the glassman had a very quiet Summer but the hiatus had since seemed to give way to a mad rush of last minute jobs. Another year of employment for me perhaps, until the next update but it was too early to tell at only the beginning of the 2nd quarter of the year.

I pointed at the ute that the glassman used to transport his glass. It was a specially made one, with racks and clamps extended at both sides of its flanks to hold glass. That would never be approved by the LTA to go on Singapore roads, though it had been used for at least a generation on Australian roads without dramas. He seemed eager to tell me more about his trade so I listened. Since I knew a bit about glass, having the experience of handling a project that involved the installation of shopfront glass along a 540m stretch of the MBS podium, it wasn't difficult to pretend I knew what he was talking about. As usual, I asked and kept asking about the glassman and his business, without revealing much about myself, not that he was interested anyway.

The glassman, Italian by birth, grew up and spent most of his life in South Africa, was an one-man operation. He told me over time he trained himself to lift a panel up to 60kg. A mean feat, he reckoned, for an accountant by training. So why did he dump his accountant jobs to be a glass supplier? The glassman told me he bought the business when he came over from South Africa. Being an accountant, he claimed he was able to differentiate good deals from bad ones. The glass company seemed to fit the bill and he bought it and had been self employed since. He supplied to contractors mainly for the construction of swimming pool railings. He had neither the space nor capabilities to expand his product range and was happy with how things were going. That was new for someone who came from an environment where every owner of a business was thinking how to expand and make more money.

Though small businesses like that are dying out in Perth, there are still plenty of them at the moment. It's always interesting knowing more about how people make their living here that I never knew possible. According to Cedric, there are people who makes their living by owning lobster pots out there. There are so, so many options and opportunities out here that I'm still learning something new every week but then the next guy emails me and ask me how to find a job in Australia. I wondered if there has been any business deal done in history without both parties meeting and dishing out their terms. Except for Ferguson's purchase of Bebe perhaps. I believe a job search is a similar situation. You've gotta be here to present your deal, if you want to be taken seriously. If we cannot grasp this simple concept, what good will other job hunting tips do for you?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.