Do What Ever You Like.
How I won the rat race, doing what I liked and being paid to enjoy myself.
I never needed a fast car when I was young or to take up some extreme sport to get my adrenalin buzz. I was paid to ride a crane hook and show-off high up on the steel purlins, what a buzz and no danger of snake bite.
I love the smell of bread baking and getting my work done early. So my first job was in a bakery the work gets done by midday and I could go swimming. I also like money and labourers on building sights were being paid more than I was earning in the bakery.
I gave up the bakery job and chased the gravy train for a fatter pay packet in the construction game.
There was a down turn in the building boom, I was retrenched, that was the word used instead of put off. As often happens what looks like a problem turns out to our advantage. One should never get upset when things do not go as we plan, it often turns out better in the long run.
I left my home Sydney and went to Port Kembla steel works for work.
I got a job with the Riggers they were working long hours and getting paid over-tine rates.
I was taken to the open hearth furnace where a 250 ton gantry crane was being built. I followed the boss up a series of wooden ladders lashed to the end column. It was scary up there walking along the crane track. I thought if I trip on the hog-ties I am going to get electrocuted on the wires and fall in the soaking-pits where the steel ingots softened for rolling, if I escape that the sudden stop after falling about 80 feet would be really bad news.
We had to reach out to a ladder then step on to it, that was a real challenge. I made it and I had never felt so hyped-up.
I was introduced to the head rigger. Then Sam Treseter, the man that led the way up, said. “There is an easier way up here I took you short cut.” I think he said that so my new work mates would know I had passed the test.
Rigging has more ups than downs, no pun intended, from then on I was paid for exercising and getting a buzz, showing off.
As a 20 year old, I was driven by the pursuit of money and the pleasure of spending it, having what I considered a good time.
It was not all wasted on frivolous things. I went around the world in the 60s, not as a tourist, I got off the beaten track hitch hiking and mixing with the locals. I only speak English so it was a real adventure at times.
I learned a smile is the same in all languages, A smile will get you a ride where a worried look makes you look desperate and perhaps dangerous.
That smile became a habit with me if I am finding the going tough I smile.Then I believe my own smile and feel good.
When you can earn a living doing what you like, you have it made. You have escaped the rodent treadmill and life is a work of joy. When you love what you do you do it so well you get promoted. This change was all for the best, I was no longer capable of being the admired show off. The young blokes won the show-off title from me. I became the brains of the outfit or mother hen.
Wet steal and rubber sneakers are deadly, so on rainy days I would run a class on rigging safety. Based on a “Guide to Riggers.” by the Australian Labor Department, New Zealand had no equivalent in the seventies. A lot of the fun went out of rigging. I applied for a job on quality inspection on the Maui Pipe Line Project http://mauipipeline.co.nz/ and to my surprise was successful.
That is a story I should tell you as it shows how lucky I am.