Hello Again, Sydney

One Sydney-sider's experiences moving back to Sydney after a long absence overseas.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to stay at home ...

... along comes this 'public service announcement' from the NSW Fire Brigade, sure to scare the crap out of hardcore stoners, obsessive-compulsives, children, and - have I forgotten anyone? Oh yes, me. I don't normally get frightened by horror movies, but this image lingered with me in a pretty unpleasant way. And in case that graphic is too small for you to make out, yes that is a charred door, and yes, those are scratches on it, presumably made by the unfortunates who died, trapped in the fire.

I don't actually use a deadlock, so I'm not part of the target audience and should just shuffle on - nothing to see here and all that. Except the ads are on bus stops all over the place and they're hard to miss. Is this really the vibe we are aiming to create in our city? Some would argue that if it saves lives, what's a few nightmares?

What I'd ask in response is, has it really come to this? And is it an indictment of advertising standards, or our ability to receive information? Perhaps this is the only way to reach us these days.

I was going to write a sarky email to the NSW Fire Brigade ("advert would be more effective with burnt corpse in bottom corner and crematorium fumes emitted from vent etc etc") when I noticed the ads had disappeared. Maybe they've been pulled. I had a good scout around too, but they've all been replaced by posters for Die Hard 4.

Harder and harder to die in the movies, easier and easier to die in real life.

Monday, August 13, 2007


noun: an occupation, profession, etc., followed as one's lifework - a career in law.
verb: to run or move rapidly along - The cars careered down the road.

When we came back to Sydney, I plugged in to the local job networks. I joined up to seek.com and met with a couple of recruitment agents in office buildings with stunning harbour views. Then I snagged a job in an area I hadn't worked in before but wanted to break into. Result, right? Well, kind of. Since I'd switched line of work I had to start from scratch again, and boy have I felt it. Meanwhile, many of my friends – who have been back a few years after their travels, or never left – are enjoying the benefits of their higher station. Career development seems a little like home-ownership here: it's something you should to commit to early, and for the long-haul.

Anyway, I’ve been working for almost a year now, and I'm considering throwing my hat into the ring again. The ads on seek.com don't offer a lot of hope. They suggest that in order to apply for a job you should already be able to do it standing on your head. Some companies seem to be looking for the person who just left the position.

Of course I would complain, given my work history, which is difficult to mesh into a convincing laboural narrative. But I'd like to think if I were an employer I'd look for someone a less 'perfect', and (as Alan Curbishly recently put it) a little bit 'angry and hungry'. Not angry enough to fail the psych test, but you know... Part of me thinks I should avoid the obvious career path and try a more lateral approach. Maybe reaching the next rung is not that important, or even a bit of a trap – like the cat that starts climbing the tree and has to keep going, up and up.

And to stretch the analogy, I am curious to see what I could find with a year's experience under my belt. It would be hard to get another job that was as far away from my house as this one, or paid less, so I guess that's something in my favour. But it would also be hard to find a bunch of colleagues as cool as my current ones.