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My adventure in the Top End

Old 27th Jan 2010, 11:53
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My adventure in the Top End

In the spirit of Kash360's thread, I thought I would blog here about my upcoming job hunt rather than my usual travel blog spot. If it helps others out (people who were in my boots up to a week ago), then great. If you don't like it - then feel free to tell me to blog somewhere else!

Anyway, after many many months of oohing and aahhing, I finally made a last minute decision to 'go for it'. I am a career changer. I have had good desk jobs in the past and have a new job lined up for the near future (having quit my last job last year). But, after many years of flying privately, and finally doing my CPL last year, I can't hold off any more. If I never give it a go, I'll never know. I have tried everything short of going to the Top End to get a job, but have realised, it just ain't gonna happen unless I'm there in person. The hard part is, it's so different to what I'm used to in the 'normal' professional world. But, when in Rome....

So, after sleeping on it last night, I bought my ticket this morning to Darwin. I leave tomorrow morning. I'm all packed - I hope - and roaring to go. I have lists and lists of companies to go visit and people to meet. Many of whom I've spoken to on the phone. I've also been fortunate enough that I have been put in touch (by people on here and elsewhere) with various people in the industry (from line pilots, to CPs, to pilots doing way cool stuff that I'm still to new to even dream of right now). So, the adventure begins.

I haven't given up my upcoming job yet. It's hard to let go of such a great safety net when you're a fully grown adult! Thankfully, I've got a bit of time before things have to be finalised.

So - if you are in Darwin, Jabiru, Kununurra, Wyndham, Broome, etc. etc. and are up for a drink, let me know!

Given that I've never been to the Top End before even as a tourist, I'm looking forward to this. Even if I get nowhere in terms of getting a job, I'm looking forward to the adventure!

First step: organise a car for myself in Darwin (to those who suggested I drive up - I wish I could - but time isn't on my side).
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 19:17
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First thing ya gonna need is an umbrella



Cars
Ask where the roadside car markets are ( corner of Totem and Bagot on Sat-sun is one)
If you are insane check the dealers
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 19:43
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Yeah it's pissing down right now, going to be an interesting fright today!
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 21:26
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Cars

You may also want to check the notice boards on the Backpackers, as some of the travellers are selling up before going back O/S.

Also, ask to check the notice boards at the Charter companies.

DIVOSH!
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Old 28th Jan 2010, 07:21
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Hey Krazy,

Keep us all updated on how you go. I hope to be doing the same thing in a years time once I finish my CPL.

I also will be doing the career change thing and leaving the safety of a well paid job (Why do we do it? ). Hhopefully, I shouldn't have a problem getting a job in my current profession (I.T.) until I get that first elusive Pilot Job.

Anyway good luck and all the best up there!

Last edited by jezzaa; 28th Jan 2010 at 11:50.
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Old 28th Jan 2010, 10:08
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Elusive pilot jobs may cause illness
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Old 28th Jan 2010, 12:06
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You won't find too many good, cheap set of wheels in Darwin. You WILL find a lot of very high km vans and old Falcon wagons, etc, that have belonged to backpackers, and that they now want to quit, because they've finished with them. Sometimes you can get a bargain if you catch them as they are getting ready to leave. Remember that waving a few notes in cash works wonders. If you do a deal, and need to go get more $$'s or a bank cheque, remember to seal the deal with $50 or $100 deposit - or it might be gone by the time you get back.

Gumtree is pretty good for sussing out stuff - there's a 1994 Camry there with a few dents for $400. You can't kill that model Camry, and if you ain't fussed about appearances, it will get you around, until you find something better.

Used Cars in Darwin - Gumtree Free Classifieds - 1
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 08:48
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Well, after being annoyed beyond all belief by QANTAS trying to get over to Darwin, I finally arrived 5 hours after planned and the humidity hit me smack in the face (as expected). First time here and I already like the city.

I organised myself a car today. Thanks for all those suggestions. In the end I bought a nice and girly Toyota Echo from a private seller. I decided the key features required were mechanical stability (ie., good servicing and no issues) and functioning aircon. This did the trick quite nicely.

I also popped out to the airport to meet some of the operators there. I found people overall to be quite friendly and willing to have a chat and give suggestions. However, nothing here seems particularly promising. I either fall well below the minimum requirements as a fresh CPL, or I am just one the dozens of people/CVs (many of whom have 5 times the experience I do). Still, you never know your luck in a new city! I did get the impression that due to the GFC and severe pilot surplus of late, many organisations have raised their minimum requirements because they can. That sucks. But hey, what can you do?

Anyway, I wasn't expecting much out of Darwin, it was just a convenient starting point. Tomorrow I head to Jabiru to make contact with the people I have spoken to on the phone. Again, Jabiru doesn't sound like it will be promising by any means, but since it is not too far away, and in an area of the country I'd like to see anyway, I'm going to stop by.

I am getting the impression that the 'popular' places already have dozens of pilots in wait. I also have the feeling that to get a job in these places, I would have to sit and wait potentially for a year. And I don't mean sit and wait while I do something else (like continue working in my professional capacity), but sit in town and do work which is unrelated to my profession. The downside of this is that I would be risking distancing myself more and more from my 'old' profession without any assurance of ever working in my 'new' profession....

Anyway, time to check out Darwin at night!
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 12:02
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Positive

Someone give this bloke a job. Please.!
And yes Tin you are a silly old git. But a funny one.
Cheers M
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 12:13
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While in Jabiru might be worth giving the cowboys over the East Alligator a call ?.
Gunbalanya, at Oenpelli.?
Goodluck.
Just a thought.
M
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 12:45
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OK - I don't get tin's comment. Maybe I'm too much of a newbie - but there is obviously something funny in it...

And re: Gunbalanya - already had a chat, and plan on another chat when I am literally around the corner....
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 23:04
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If you are going to get a job in the NT, Jabiru/Oenpelli is the place!
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 23:15
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Well, after being annoyed beyond all belief by QANTAS trying to get over to Darwin
As you are about to find out when looking for that first job.....very rarely do things go to plan. A 5 hour delay is probably not the most disappointing thing you are going to have to endure in your search for work.
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 07:33
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Well, thankfully the Echo performs very well - even at 130km/h! After feeling like I was back in the 80's where an overnight storm cuts off electricity to a major city for 6 hours, I made my way over to Kakadu NP. It's beautiful here!

Unfortunately the CPs I want to talk to aren't around today, so will stay in town for a couple of nights at probably one of the more expensive places I'll be staying at this trip, and hopefully catch up with them tomorrow and/or Monday. In the mean time, I plan to make the most of my time here and be a bit of a tourist tomorrow. Looks like there are some good short hikes around.

Thanks for the PMs full of suggestions and hints - keep 'em coming :-)
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 12:18
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Cool

WORK.?
Forget about flying, they want to see dedication and committment, re Ice Pilots and the poor bastard rampy loading frieght for six months. Its entry level stuff.
Poor wages, hot hard work. Especially in Arheimland in the wet.
To be honest the Chief pilik doesn,t want to be there either.
M
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 20:23
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In agreement

yep, I second WannabeQF. how do you approach these guys? They've heard it all before and how do you ask for a job or even ask for their time to talk about employment?
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 21:28
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Though you were desparate to be a flight attendant Wannabe?
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 22:41
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im interested to know how you approach a CP and ask for a job?
There is no answer to that! What works with one CP might not work with another due to differences in personalities', or even what sort of day they are having.

It's all a numbers game, the more people you ask, the more likely it is someone will say YES!

Up until a couple of years ago I had every 'thanks, but no thanks' letter that I had received, I had over 200. That doesn't include those who didn't reply and those I met face to face. So you see, ask the question enough times and someone will eventually say YES!

The good news is, once you get your first yes, it's easier from there!
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Old 31st Jan 2010, 01:55
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HH
'The good news is, once you get your first yes, it's easier from there!'

Until you don't fit the profile because you have 'Too Much',
or 'Wrong Types' - Requires Training,
or you're too 'Old' !!!
(or any other reason that comes to mind when people aren't needed right this instant...)



Anyway young fella, keep at it, its character building as the other African thread proves yet again. This is what sorts out the 'Really Wannabees' from the 'Maybe Wannabees' . A screening procedure.
(then again - some Daddy's will influence their offspring into a position without the drama and starvation).

Last edited by frigatebird; 31st Jan 2010 at 02:14.
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Old 31st Jan 2010, 06:48
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Well, today was a day of being a tourist. It's great up here. The landscape is beautiful and coming from drought country, it's amazing seeing so much water everywhere. Just fantastic! No progress on the work front though. However, to answer a question which a couple of people have asked - how do I approach the CP?

Well, I am taking my skills and knowledge from the old world (ie., that of my previous profession) and trying to apply it here. Firstly, let me say that going in to an operator's office is a bit like asking a girl out on a first date. I'm talking about the adrenalin rush part of it. Given the circumstances you pretty much expect to get no where, but you are going to try your hardest, put on a brave smile, and do your best to show them what you're made of.

My view is that you have to come across as yourself, as the person you really are. There is no point ever getting a job on false pretences as it won't last very long, and it will do more harm than good in the long run. So I act myself.

The other thing I try to do is differentiate myself from the crowd. Firstly, age. I think a little extra age can be seen as a good thing and a bad thing. So naturally I try to emphasise the good side of my age. Together with that I can show that I'm different because I have other knowledge and experience to draw on. Anyone coming from another career will know what I mean. Whilst, for example, being an accountant doesn't give you flying experience, you can use it as a selling point as any small business does book-keeping, BAS's, etc. Not saying that you would do all those things, but for a business to have skills and knowledge in-house is always helpful. The same applies to most professions. Lastly, any flying skills I have which may be different to the standard I try to bring in. I'm a low timer (like many), but I do have time in a C210. Whilst talking about this hasn't got me a job yet, I think it brings me a tiny bit closer.

In the end, I also know CPs are busy people and probably do get harassed a lot. I try to not waste their time, and try to read their body language. When you show up - the pilots and CP know immediately why you are there. So I don't believe there is any point wasting their time talking about other rubbish first. By all means, I am not saying don't be friendly, just be weary of their time.

All this being said - not sure if anyone really should take my advice since I don't have a flying job [yet]!!!
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