2014, as I’ve detailed in earlier posts, was a year I won’t easily forget. But 2015 has started off with a whole new set of unexpected challenges as I enter the world of facilities management. Securing the job was a drawn out process. The position was advertised before Christmas, and I didn’t get a response until early January. The interview didn’t take place until the middle of the month; another week and a half passed before I was advised that the employer was definitely interested – interested to the point of advising me that they were about to start contacting my referees. ‘About to start contacting’ changed to actual contact four or five days later.
I was growing impatient by this point, and another application yielded another positive response. For a short period I thought I might have the luxury of choosing between two roles. But then the original firm came through with a definite offer, and I was theirs.
I don’t want to name names here. I value the freedom to talk absolute shit at any time, so I’ll just say that I’m working for a heavyweight multinational corporation in the premises of another heavyweight multinational corporation. And what exactly is facilities management? you might ask. It’s quite a lot of things. Incoming and outgoing mail, setting up rooms for meetings, noting dead lightbulbs, and sitting in on the reception desk. And frequent pushing of various items along the footpath – the client firm is spread across two buildings, you see. I’m getting used to the nervous sideways glances from other pedestrians as I wait for the lights to change with a lectern.
In short, facilities management is like being International Rescue without the funny walk. Go anywhere, do anything.
It’s certainly been a shock to the system. And I have Musica Viva to thank for softening my transition. The half-weeks I put in for them were a valuable warming-up exercise after eight months of joblessness. I’ll be keeping my hand in there, too, helping out on concert nights whenever I’m available. There’s always something to be done, even if it’s just handing people their tickets.
Or posing for a group photo.
Helen at the rear, Chelsea and baby, Lindsay, and moi. Reunited at the Tafelmusik concert
I owe the local Musica Viva team a considerable debt. Back in December they managed to extract some unused funds from the kitty to pay me. It wasn’t a lot but it was a helpful addition to the government’s handouts. And they were most generous with their moral support. I applied for a full time position there, and was unsuccessful, but that was only a day after the firm that did hire me scheduled an interview. I went back to the MV team and asked them what I’d done right, and what I’d done wrong, and what I needed to work on. Lindsay and Chelsea gave me the best part of a Friday afternoon, discussing my strengths and weaknesses, and telling me to make more noise about the strengths. I went into the interview on the Monday morning full of confidence, and the results speak for themselves.
With Lindsay and Chelsea on my last day at Musica Viva’s WA office. Pre-concert night, Chelsea conceals her massive baby bump behind my shoulder.
Musica Viva went further still. On the basis of a couple of months’ work, Lindsay wrote me a reference that doesn’t actually outright declare me to be the bringer of world peace and a cure for cancer but gets damn close. In fact I had the benefit of several such acts of generosity during the year. I’m not someone who can normally ask for help without considerable reluctance, but when I did so this time I found people more than willing to extend themselves for me. Blanche DuBois relied on the company of strangers. I had the chance to experience the kindness of friends, and it gave me something to think about.
The new job has put me on a steep learning curve but alongside the unexpected challenges there are unexpected benefits. The office is situated almost at the edge of the Swan River. I use this to full advantage and take my lunch breaks looking across the water to South Perth and Kings Park. My office had an excellent view of the Giant Little Girl as she rested on Langley Park, and we’ve already been buzzed once by Blackhawk helicopters on a flyby. There’s a military exercise being staged over the city so they might be back again soon. Best of all are the people around me. Although the pace is frantic – actually, a lot of the time it seems just one short step away from total chaos – everyone is friendly and welcoming. And I’ve got a real income again. What’s to complain about? It’s been a good move.