“Good afternoon, my name is Alex and I’m calling from Financial Security Solutions (not the actual name), I was hoping to speak to you today about your financial plans as you near retirement age”
This was the line I spouted what felt like 60,000 times during a one week period at the beginning of 2014. This vile and disgusting sentence slid through my mouth with the ease of a butter knife through the hide of an armadillo. It was during a very brief stint in a job entitled ‘Appointment Setter’. I was tasked with cold calling individuals in a specific geographical location with the intention of luring the person into the office to discuss their investment options and tax incentives. A guttural and repellant audial invasion my voice must have been on these peoples lives, a voice rotted with doubt and lacking any cohesion with the words that it limply paraded. Despite being the most white collar job in existence, I still felt as filthy as a pig farmer after each of my five shifts in this depraved establishment. Mercifully I was fired after five days in the job…due to being completely and utterly incompetent. My boss was more aptly described as a creature than a person, his reptilian charisma stained everyone and everything that fell into his his scaly clutches. A narrow head with dark shifting eyes that ran a course razor over everything in front of him searching only for his next dollar, the decomposition of his sleaze laid bare for everyone to see. I had failed to set one appointment as a person with a job titled Appointment Setter. They were justified in their decision. Yet the lizard that was my boss had struck a chord inside me, his serpentine gaze would linger with me, the image of him literally licked his lips in the moments after firing me wouldn’t leave me if I lived to see another millennium.
This was just another job in a long line of attempts to fend the wolves from my door by working a temporary job – it was simply another way of cloaking how unmitigatedly directionless i was at that time. Those who know me well will attest to the fact that when it comes to something I’m not passionate about, my work ethic is as fickle as it is fleeting. I’m someone who is motivated by my love or connection to a particular cause, person or outcome. I’d always spent more time on an array of creative projects over the years than anything else in my life – a job just didn’t seem all that important to me and I wasn’t interested in the idea of getting a secure 9 – 5 – I’m still not. However, as University came and went it become clear with a blistering shot of reality that I was letting my thinking be filtered through an incredibly naive prism. I took jobs and left them just as quickly, I couldn’t see the bigger picture for what I was working towards. Money simply couldn’t be only reason for working – especially when it was something I hated.
This time i got fired before I could quit – which was a refreshing change from the self doubt I was usually riddled with after leaving a well paying but soul destroying employment situation. I was content, perhaps proud, of how shit I was at this job and knew I deserved to be fired, there was something strangely satisfying in that. I strongly and brutally contemplated my situation after this point. I was 25, unemployed and drastically in need of something or someone to change the pattern. It’s funny how one single act of kindness, one moment taken out of your day to help someone else can have, literally, a life altering impact on them. Such a moment occurred to me a few months down the road.
I had just caught the bus through Brunswick West to be at one of a seemingly unending line of Employment Service meetings (a requirement of my Newstart Allowance privileges). My usual meeting would entail waiting 25 minutes in the waiting room, scrolling through the months of outdated Herald Sun editions that were haphazardly strewn across the glass table. I would then head in for the ‘meeting’ in which my assigned staff member would ask me if I had a job yet. I would say ‘no’. They would say ‘OK, see you in three weeks for another meeting.’ A redundant cycle that is seemingly too heavily populated by personnel who have systematically had their passion carved out of them – this is a blog for another time though. Anyway, I was about to leave when another staff member popped their head in after hearing that I was trying my hand at freelancing. It was in this simple act of sharing a piece of information that will benefit someone else without thinking of the personal reward that changed everything. She went on to inform me about a small business course that was being offered as part of a scheme called NEIS. It’s a framework on which small businesses can build from to get their ideas off the ground. I loved the idea, why wouldn’t I start a business? Two days later this women had convinced RMIT to let me into the next course which was starting in another two days time. I wasn’t her client, yet she was still kind enough to show me the door to this future. She won’t ever know how big an impact that moment had on my life, but then again she probably wouldn’t want to know. Truly the best and purest of deeds are done without the need to bask in the glory of it’s triumph.
A path materialised in front of me. In solidifying the direction of AWS Productions I had began working towards exactly what I wanted. If I could thank one person for the position in which I now find myself it would be the man that looked more reptile than man, whose eyes bulged and darted around the office as his female employees walked past – I would thank the man that fired me. I wish I could print the mental image of his face, with that slender tongue rolling out over his thin blue lips, eyes narrowing with abhorrent glee at releasing me from his presence. I would blow it up and stick it on my wall. I was once told that the most destructive person in your life can also be the person you learn the most from – I think they nailed it.