Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Alex P. Keaton?

How ya going?

Ok. A lot of things to share.

I have a new job.
Yes, that's right, my career as a waitress has officially come and gone.
And I'm more than ok with that.

The last time I worked was actually that Valentines Dinner shift.
The next time I was supposed to work they called me off again because of the weather/rain.
But let's be honest, I had made up my mind before then.

I thought a lot about it and I decided that this was not what I wanted to do with my time here. I wanted a job that was the least amount of stress as possible. I didn't want to start dreading my next shift as I was walking home from my last one. I wanted a job where once I left for the day, it wouldn't cross my mind again. I have a limited amount of time in Sydney, and I didn't want my job consuming all my energy and thoughts. So I'm out of the business. Three nights. Not bad, not bad at all.

No worries...I didn't quit until I had a new job lined up for the following Monday.

I am now working as a receptionist/personal assistant for a Financial Planning Company in North Sydney.

Just the other day Jeff and I were watching the news and I happened to mention that I knew absolutely nothing about stocks, investments, and anything associated with the market. Bite your tongue! Needless to say I will now have plenty of time to learn the ins and outs...or at least learn enough to at least BS my way through the next diversified portfolio discussion I stumble upon (happens all the time).

So I'm back in an office, which I'm happy about, and the only woman, which is a little weird, but interesting. And, drum roll please...minus my nose piercing! That's right. It was a stipulation on landing this job. Apparently people don't tend to trust you with their money if you have visible pieces of metal pierced through your face. And since I've been told multiple times that I am the first visual representation for the company, the piercing had to go.

No nose piercing AND working in a financial planning firm? Will I be coming back from my trip across the world more conservative than when I left? Not likely.

I still have the nose piercing...I'm determined to keep it. So, whenever I go to the bathroom, lunch, or to the post office to pick up the mail, I stick it right back in. Personally I would be more cautious giving my money to someone with a gaping hole in their nose, than a person with a tiny silver spec, but of course that's me.

Everyone has been incredibly nice and welcoming to me, but apparently I'm entering in at a weird transition time for the company. Malcolm Boyd (a co-worker), yeah that's right us MB's have to stick together, filled me in on my first day.

Apparently there were some bad deals going down on the boss' end. Two weeks ago the Board met and fired the boss' wife and daughter who also worked in the office (I took the daughter's position) and they asked the boss not to come in on Monday. So then they hired Jeremy to take the old boss' position. Jeremy is the one that hired me. When I showed up on Monday he started leading me around, clearly confused about a majority of things. He quickly ushered me off to Malcolm who has been training me ever since and filling me in on the office politics. Jeremy had been there only one week when I showed up, so he's almost as new as I am! My first day went pretty smoothly and when I was taking a phonecall at the end of the day on Monday Jeremy wrote me a quick note saying he was heading into the city, he'd see me tomorrow, and that the board was meeting tomorrow morning, so everyone would be in bright and early.

Well come Tuesday everyone shows except Jeremy! That's right, he was a no show, and after the staff met, Malcolm came out to tell me that Jeremy wouldn't be coming back and they were again in need of a boss.

Then John, the head of the entire firm, who is in charge of all the offices in the cities across Australia walks up to Malcolm and I and says that it's a pleasure to have me working with them and that everyone had nothing but excellent things to say about me in the board meeting. Which of course was nice to hear. Then John and Malcolm look at each other and then look at me and John asks me how long I'm going to be in Sydney for. I tell him until August, but my work visa expires in June. They look at each other again and I'm wondering if I've inadvertently used some sort of Australian slang that's inappropriate for the office. Then John says to me, "Well would you be interested in staying longer? Like, maybe permanently?" Who are these people? This was my second day and my FIRST conversation with John. I laughed uncomfortably for a second, seeing a quick flash of me behind Jeremy's/Old Boss' desk in the nice corner office (of course that's not the position they were offering, but it made for a funny visual), and said something along the lines of, "I think that's illegal." To which they responded, "Really? Well, we'll look into it."

I told them that I'd be happy to extend my work period with them to the full time that I am in Sydney (right now I'm only signed on for a month) but that I'd be heading back to the states come August. They shrugged again and weirdly repeated the look into it comment. was nice to be offered a full time position at a company that I'd been with for a day and a half.

So, they're in a transition period, and I don't know what's going to happen from day to day. It makes fielding phonecalls interesting...lots of confused people asking for old boss or Jeremy...I just send them Malcolm's way and hope he smoothes things over.

In a later post I'll go into detail about something extremely interesting that I found out about this particular financial planning firm along with an explanation of Australia's privatized retirement/investment system, but what's a blog post without a few good market cliffhangers right?

Enough of the work related.

Saturday Jeff and I went on a wine tour to Hunter Valley.
It was absolutely wonderful and anyone that has the opportunity to do it while they're here should (Mom, Dad, Jeff, Chris, Mariko). Jeff and I definitely enjoyed ourselves, and sitting there swirling our glasses around, smelling and sampling the wine, I could definitely see us becoming "wine people" in the future. We came home completely exhausted, with a few bottles of wine and a greater respect for real cork

Sunday we took a bus tour around Sydney for free through Jeff's new work (He's working for a leading travel agency here in Australia that basically services young backpackers). It was longer than expected (we thought it would be 2 hours, turns out it was 7) but it was a lot of fun. We got to see so much of the city and it really gives you a good idea of just how spread out Sydney is and how many different things it has to offer.


-NOT the "Spider tour"

-Standing and admiring the Harbour Bridge and having an older man walk up to us and strike up a conversation about how he had been there March 17, 1937 with his grandmother and father, the day the bridge was opened

-The little lone traffic light (It stands in the middle of this street, much shorter than any other traffic light, and remains green 24 hours a day, seven days a week) It doesn't have any of the other just has the one little green light that never changes! Cheers to our wonderful tour guide for pointing it out

-Having an older couple approach us as we were walking across the Harbour Bridge. Jeff had his U of I shirt on and they asked if we were really from Illinois? We said yes and they said they were from Naperville. What an amazingly small world. We chatted for a bit and although they were complete strangers it was nice and comforting in a way to speak to someone from "back home"

That's all for now. I miss everyone and am sorry that I haven't called in awhile. My phone is out of minutes and I need to buy another card to recharge it, but I'll do that within the next few days. It's also going to be hard with me working a steady 9 to 5 (That's 4pm to Midnight for you) but we'll figure it out.

I also have been bad with the emails, but now that I have this job I'll be able to write more often, I promise.


Australian Word of the Day:
To wait in line = To Queue (Pronounced just like the letter Q) Don't ask me, it's totally bizarre


At 6:14 AM, Blogger Amy Boyd said...

Do you remember how I told you I read my soap every morning on the internet?... because Rob won't let me get tivo? Your work story is much more interesting and there's actually closure. (Babe still doesn't have her baby) Anyway... congrats on your new position! I can't wait to read more about office drama.

At 7:37 AM, Blogger KrissySullivan said...

Mary working with all men who absolutely adore her...who would have thunk it? You better watch it, you'll make Sean jealous! I tried calling you last night, thought I might catch you on your lunch break. I miss you and will try to call again this weekend. I'm off to St. Louis on Friday for Jodee's first shower. I'll call Sat or Sun.
I love you- Krissy

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Praying4You said...

I read today's blog before leaving for work and then went into school to tell one of the teachers your nose jewelry story as her daughter was thinking of getting one. She laughed her head off when I told her about trusting someone with a gaping hole in their nose rather than a sliver of metal. I am soooo excited about Jeff working for a travel agency. He'll have all kinds of ideas for us when we come. What a great job for him.
Mary, your work story is so funny and you tell it so well. Ilove you and am Praying4you.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Liz said...

Mary Boyd back in the office! I love it. This has to be a quick one because I'm at work but I'll send you an unnecessarily long email later! Survivor is on tonight so I'll wait until that's over and give you the update on your girl. FYI in case you didn't already know, Jackie's pick got ousted the first day! I wish you would have seen it. I'll explain more in the email.
Anyway, glad to hear about the job switch. I love ya and I miss ya!

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Jack said...

Hi Mary!
WEll, good riddens to the waitress:) I wish I could have seen you in action though, that would have been well worth it. Congrats on the office position though, that is great. I love the nose story, you sure are stubborn sometimes:)
And yeah, my girl, Wanda did get the boot the first day! I am not happy about that and to make it worse, liz called me right away in the beginning to tell me that I would love my girl...well...i loved her alright, God! Anyway, I have been so incredibly busy as of late, so I am sorry about not keeping up communications. Tell Jeff I say hi and I will try to write more later. Brian is down here again for state wrestling, so it should be a good weekend and nice to see everyone!
Take care and love you and miss you!
Jacks (:

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Amy, I have a quick fix for you. I assume you and Rob have cable and that it's Comcast since that's what we all have. They have their own version of TiVo, just called the Comcast DVR. There's an installation fee, ours was $30 but we got two so it may be $15 each, and then its just $10 a month. You get 30 hours of recording space, which is still plenty. TiVo is $200 ($100 on sale) for the lesser version and around $12 a month for the service. With the Comcast one, if you get it, be sure to get the dual tuner one so that you can watch something and tape something else at the same time. You'd be surprised how often that problem comes up. Now you can be sure to catch Jaws 3 every time its on.

Mary, got your email and will respond soon. Have an interesting story on how Michelle ripped off the front fender of my car today with the garage. She's such a bad driver.

At 10:04 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Jeff G. --

This is Jeff P. We really have to work something out here. I think anytime one of the two of us comments, we should be mindful to put the surname initial (yeah, I called it "surname") after our name so as not to confuse all and make both of us look crazy. Agreed?


At 8:54 AM, Anonymous godparents-w said...

Mary, want you to know we’re reading your blog. We are impressed – amazed at the technology that enables us to be with you so immediately on this fantastic voyage of yours – humbled by your ability to analyze your feelings and reactions to people, places and things – fascinated by your ability to put that analysis into words – and filled with admiration at how well you describe what’s happening there. Your goal to be a writer (if that’s still it) is well within your reach – you’re there already.

Thank you for letting us share this wonderful experience with you. We send you our gratitude for this sharing, and our prayers and blessings for this journey to continue as a truly fantastic voyage.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

JP -

I'm not a fan of adding the surnames because it bugs me that I can't be known by simply my first name. However, I appreciate the need for it. This could be solved if Mary would email me what she decided my new nickname is. JP has many nicknames, most notably Mr. Chips -- notable mainly to me -- so if I write that, that's him. Mary I've called Monkey, Triaxalil and a couple Jerkstores thrown in there for fun. Until I'm crowned something else, this is JG signing off.

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous J Shields said...

Ok, i listen to NPR all day, every day, and i swear i have never heard them use the word, "queue" and now, today, i have counted at least 7 or 8 times that it has been used. Isn't it wierd how you don't notice things until someone points them out? i love your little observations of the cultural differences!!

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

check your email, dotes


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