Sunday, 22 June 2008

Succeed as a contract labourer - PART 2

(Return to - PART 1)

Before starting a new job, work out where the hell you have to go beforehand. Do a dry run if you have to. Check out parking and find out if you need to report to the main office or the work sites. Some companies have complicated layouts. The stress of being late because you couldn’t find the office is avoidable. Being late on your first day looks especially bad.

It’s a strange fact that your Labour Hire representative will almost certainly be a wanker. I’ve run into trouble with ‘Handlers’ who resent my payslip. They have had every opportunity to take these jobs for themselves and have decided to forego the 4AM start and hard work. They can still be very unhelpful if you have a problem and can be deliberately vague about the details of your job. Don't rely on them and don't piss them off.

Regardless of the fact that each employer is supposed to supply PPE, (Personal Protective Equipment), bring your own gloves, earplugs and safety glasses. Some companies can be amazingly tight-arsed about supplying these basic, tax-deductable, items. Also, having to search for PPE means you aren’t working. Looks bad.

Take everything you need to be comfortable while you’re at work. I take a micro First Aid kit with a few headache pills, tweezers, bandaids, antiseptic cream, spare contact lenses, and a couple of alcohol wipes to clean cuts. Consider taking spare clothes and a blanket for the car seat in case you get filthy.

Never assume you’ll be working near amenities you’d normally take for granted. Water, toilets, fridges, or shelter. Be prepared. The basic kit I bring has minimised my discomfort on many occasions. Relying on someone else’s charity can be irritating and disappointing.

Get into the habit of taking a crap at home before starting your shift too. Don’t laugh. You might be sent out to work out in the bush for the day? Wiping your arse with glossy magazine pages behind a tree isn't a suitable substitute for toilet paper and the comfort of your own home.

Take a six-pack esky and freezer block for your food. Bring a water bottle with your own water and ice in it. Food thieves are quite common on large sites. If you use the communal fridge use a paper bag or non-see through container and write your name on in. Keeping your food out of sight will minimise the possibility of a snatch and bolt by these food-thieving opportunists, (arseholes). In the past, I have found that loudly telling people there might have been food/genital contact usually keeps it pretty safe.

Turn up early. A lot of places have toolbox meetings at the start of the shift. Turning up late will always be noticed and you may miss important information. Your boss won’t like having to explain everything again just for your benefit. Keep in mind that constantly arriving early will not be rewarded but, being late once will often be punished. Unfair as this might be most bosses don’t give a shit what your problems are. They want you at work, on time, doing something that makes or saves them money.

(Like it? See - PART 3)

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