If you’ve actively participated in the act of dating, you’re probably familiar with the art form that is ‘ghosting,’ meaning you, or the person you’re considering dating further, ceases all forms of normal communication and opts to avoid any awkward, potentially hurtful conversations by disappearing and acting like a living, breathing, cowardly turd of human ghost. I’ve had it done to me, and I’ve also done it to friends, boys, shitty bartending jobs and the majority of friends I make on the bus, so don’t pretend you haven’t either. I’m talking to you, Judgy McLiarpants.
In Australia, however, there’s a whole new form of ghosting going on – the professional, employer-employee kind. And seeing as how I’m no longer actively participating in the dating world (maybe in the next life, Tinder), I’ll suffice to say that it came as a surprise, as it almost always does to the ghostee of the ghosting equation.
Tips for Getting (and Keeping) a Job in Australia
First off, I have to say that I’m typically lucky when it comes to finding job opportunities, and I’ve never found it all that difficult to make it by on whatever random assortment of skills I can throw together in my current location. Whether that means writing advertising copy and selling lemonade at festivals in New York, marketing bingo halls and slinging margaritas in Austin, teaching creative movement classes to elementary kids in Costa Rica, travel writing and bartending in Maui and Bali, and making websites for friends in between, as long as I’m given a relatively wide array of options for making money, I know I’ll be just fine.
Furthermore, since our Australia Work & Holiday Visa stipulates that we are allowed to pursue any kind of employment within our allotted 12 month stay, I figured getting (and more importantly, keeping) a job in Australia would be no big deal.
WRONG, y’all. I was just plain wrong as hell. And I will note, this is not for a lack of trying. Since my arrival nearly 4 months ago, I have gotten 4+ part time jobs, applied for 60+ more, and been professionally ghosted more times than I ever want to remember.
So without further ado, I give you some advice for professional success in the land down under.
If you’re on a work visa, don’t mention it until they ask.
For those seeking employment in any kind of specialized field you likely did back home – for me, this is copywriting, but assume it’s any field in which an office is the appropriate work setting – you’re going to want to avoid admitting you’re on a work visa (and thus can only stay at the same job for 6 months unless they decide to sponsor you for an extended stay) until it’s absolutely necessary. Like when you show up for an interview and they quickly realize you don’t have an Australian accent. But hey, you’re already there, so at least it got you in the room, right? If it’s a position you’re really interested in, also mention that you’re open to staying longer should they offer any sort of opportunity for sponsorship. Hint hint.
When an employer says they’re going to follow up, do not believe them.
I’ve had a shit ton of bartending and serving jobs in my lifetime. And while I believe it’s a certain right of passage and an experience everyone should have, I’ll grant a free pass to all Australians simply because I find it so utterly stupid here. No tipping, extremely short shifts and milliliters instead of ounces? Get out.
My first month on the Goldie, I got a job bartending at an upscale American restaurant called Lester & Earl. After emailing them my resume and going in for an interview (during which I was quizzed on my knowledge of all things Texas and BBQ, and not much else), I purchased the appropriate uniform and went in for my first training shift, which went smoothly and without incident. At the end of the evening, after asking when I could return to finish my training shifts, the manager informed me she’d call me after she looked at the schedule. There was no call. There was no email. There was no conversation about why I did or did not work out. There was no voluntary offer of payment for my time. There was only a level of professional ghosting I had not yet encountered in my previous service industry career.
Not long after, the same exact thing happened to my friend Carissa, who’s here on her work visa from California, at a different upscale Mexican restaurant nearby. And while yes, we could have easily picked up the phone or walked back in and pursued the opportunity further, we didn’t. Are ghosters really the people you want to be working for? I vote no, though at the time I didn’t realize this trend was as widely acceptable as it is.
When an employer contacts you to express their interest, prepare your personal pride for ghosting.
Seriously. If I had a 50 cent Australian coin for every time I submitted a resume and received a timely reply from employers who say they’re interested in my skills, only to immediately have them disappear into Aussie nowhereland once I’ve followed up, I’d probably have enough money to afford the mass amounts of wine this repeatedly brutal, pride-punching process requires that I consume.
Alternately, stalk them! Who knows… maybe stalking is a culturally acceptable pastime here. Like lawn bowling, or moderate alcoholism.
Get 8 part time jobs.
If all else fails in your simultaneous hunt for employment and avoidance of farm work (any job where I get paid by the barrel sounds like my personal hell, not to mention skin cancer and mosquito heaven), simply do as the holiday visa’ers do and get a shit ton of casual, contract, and part time jobs, which, assuming no more than 4 of them ghost on you in the same week, should nearly equal one full time job. Hooray?
Good luck out there, travelers! And to all the professional ghosters of Australia, please stop it. Sincerely, your many ghostees.