How hard or far for you to land your jobs in Perth?

I was once asked, "How hard or far for you to land your jobs in Perth?"


If I have to be honest, neither. I was lucky, no doubt about it. I was offered two jobs and I took both. The first was a trade assistant job that my landlord helped to link up with the factory manager in a steel fabrication company. He told the manager to "help my mate out," and I was told to turn up at work after a brief meet up. I wasn't even sure if they read my CV. 

I guess it wasn't really important. 80% of a TA's job involves the grinding of weld of any thickness possible, ranging 8mm to thick 50mm ones welded by machines. Basically, our job was the most physically demanding, the most tedious and repetitive job in the yard. We were there so that the welders and boilermakers do not have to waste any time cleaning out their welds and surface prepare hundreds of steel plates or sections, so that these much higher paid staff can manufacture productively. One day of honest TA work can make an ordinary Singaporean man lie in bed for a few days. I kid you not. That is because our bodies were never trained for such work. Not a single muscle in our bodies have memories of handling rotary equipment that can sever off skin, flesh and bone in a second of carelessness. As a result, the body and mind is way tenser than it should be, inducing weariness in double quick time. Just recall how tense your leg muscles was the first time you learn ice skating. In Summer, temperatures went up so much that my grinders stalled due to overheat several times, whereas I survived - downing easily 5L of water a shift without response. I lost more than 10 kg in a year.

We were supposed to grind the weld such that it flushes with the parent material. It takes some skills to grind a welded intersection to a curved joint across 6m with high consistency. It was then sanded down with a flap disk to such smoothness that nothing cuts the finger running through the joints and surfaces. Drilled holes had to be deburred such that, again, no surface cuts the finger. The other 15% of our jobs involved the cutting of steel with our angle grinders or doing surface preparation of hundred of steel plates. The final 5% involves spot welding, since we were not qualified to do proper welding work.

Back to the question. No - I didn't have to lift a finger to land myself that job. However, it took the steel I never knew I had in me to keep myself in that job. Believe me, you can asked the toughest 10 commandos in Singapore to take that job up. You will not get all 10 of them staying after a week.

Somewhere along, Uncle Lai actually asked me to call a guy up if I wanted extra jobs. He told me someone in the far south was looking for anyone who was willing to work because it was a dirty job. Though the workers have a comprehensive protective suit and mask, he had to sort rubbish and handling maggots and shit was an everyday thing. I prepared myself mentally to take up that job, if I was to be found out for being a phony in my TA job. Fortunately due to a good supervisor and a Korean colleague, I picked up the TA skills very quickly, improved vastly and started to produce quality work and escaped the manager's attention. Back to the question again - no I didn't have to try hard at all and I should get that rubbish sorter job if I had to make that call. But it takes some mantle to stay in the job, in which I was fully prepared to since I needed an income for my family. Later on I was introduced to another job which I took it up till today.

Some mornings, I still feel pain my my knuckle joints due to the heavy stress I had to subject my hands to the vibrations of a 9-inch grinder of cold, hard steel. Now, for those of you who told me "I don't mind taking up XX job," you should understand what you are talking about. No matter how bad the economy is, how saturated the market is or how many companies are shutting down, there will be jobs too tough for the pussies to even consider taking up. It is your choice if you want to vie for remaining jobs with them, or go tough. You decide how hard it is for you to land jobs.

1 comment:

  1. Try using ultrasound for pain relief. Up to $200 should buy you a decent model with multiple frequencies off eBay and it's only about $12 for a bottle of ultrasound gel.