New Zealand: Actually Employed

Alright so I may have jumped the gun when I wrote my last post “Employed”.
I wasn’t totally employed; I was like, 70% employed. I’d been hired on by a recruitment agency but hadn’t actually been given a role. Nowhere to go and do stuff to actually earn money, just the promise of such a thing.
I got a couple calls offering positions I didn’t really want, like a 9-month contract doing data entry Wednesday-Sunday. That’s a bit of a bummer when data entry is boring af, your friends are going on adventures on the weekends, and your visa is only valid for another 10 months.
Once they called me at 7am asking if I wanted to work reception for the day at a random office. I woke up at 9 and had missed the opportunity, but I’m pretty sure I’d have declined if I’d answered the phone at 7am, too.
I was in noooo position to be picky, but also didn’t want to get myself stuck in a job I hated.
I was down to my last few hundred bucks when I got a call about a 6-week contact with Auckland Council doing data-entry. 6 weeks seemed like the perfect amount of time. I could do anything for 6 weeks! Especially for $22 an hour.

So here I am, at 8am, wearing my only dress pants and a passably-formal black top, on my way to my first day on the job. I’m actually employed! The office building is right in the city center, and no more than a 10 minute walk from my hostel. Probably more like 5. I got up and left early, and am feeling like a big ol’ morning person. Perhaps I’ll even have breakfast! I stop for a smoothie, which is generously filled to the brim. Seems nice, eh? Yeah, it’s cool until it starts over flowing out of the little straw hole, and the laws of physics send the droplets off the edge of the lid, hurdling towards me, and splattering all over my black top. “Nope nope nope, this is not happening right now, thanks”, I say at full volume in the middle of the street. It’s too late to turn back, and I can’t be late on my god damn first day, so I do what I can with a napkin and try to use my hair to cover up the white blotches. I am a CLASSY lady. Such an adult.

The smoothie is aggressively thrown into the next available trash bin.

I gather with 5 other newbies in the lobby, where we wait for our new manager to come and collect us for orientation. We follow him around like lost little ducks as he gives us a brief tour of the building and introduces us to the other staff members. There is really nothing worse than starting a new job. Everything is awkward and weird.

We’re shown a demo on how to use the system, but I’m over here, still not even sure where I am or what the job is, trying to understand a new computer program by watching someone else click a bunch of stuff on a projected screen. The hour long informational session basically goes entirely over my head and I’m finding it hard to keep my eyes open. On the bright side, no one has noticed my smoothie shirt.

I’m assigned to a team and am super lucky because the team leader is about my age and seems super chill. Could this be a friend? I finally get to sit down and have an actual go at doing whatever it is we’re doing, and only now do I start to understand what the purpose of this whole thing is.

BASICALLY, Auckland Council sent some surveys out recently, collecting data and opinions on things like public transport, housing, the environment, and the Maori community. My job is basically to collect the information from the surveys and input it into this system thingy so it can be organized and then presented to the city councilors. I’m working for the government! I didn’t realize it but I’m kind of a huge nerd. I’m actually finding it super interesting. After visiting and living in a few cities now I’ve experienced both epic and dismal public transportation. The housing market in Toronto is insane, and house hunting in Auckland has been challenging. New Zealand’s environment is probably one of their biggest selling features tourism-wise, and I’m totally intrigued by Maori culture. It’s soooo interesting to read these surveys and people’s opinions. Especially because most of them are crazy. People are too much.

Some real life responses:
(I’ve modified the questions to make them less long winded and boring, but the answers are no joke)

35-45 year old white male
Q: Would you pay $60/year to save the beaches and environment?
A: Bullshit on a shovel. Fuck off.

15-25 year old man
Q: What is your ethnicity?
A: Human

35-45 year old man
Q: What is your ethnicity?
A: American

65-75 year old white lady
Q: What are your thoughts on the housing crisis?
A: The university has made an absolute cock-up of student accommodation.

65-75 year old white male
Q: What are your thoughts on our initiative towards Maori rights?
A: This is racist. I’m sick of them getting preferential treatment.

It’s insane, guys. There are also a few people who type out, no exaggeration, 500 word essays per comment. I wish I were kidding, but I’m not, and that means I have to read the whole damn thing and allocate each bit to a sub heading. Half the time their rants go off into such a different direction that the question isn’t even answered. Immigration? Not mentioned on the survey at all. Responses providing opinions on immigration? Every other submission. Humans are nuts!

This is great, though. I pictured data entry as me copying a bunch of numbers into excel sheets or something. Had no idea what to expect, but I’m seriously finding this entertaining. Speak to me in a week and I’m sure I’ll be more than over it, but currently, I’m enjoying my little desk job. It’ll be even better when I get paid for the first time in 2 months!

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