The Call Centre


As any fresh arts grad knows well, getting that first job is tiresome slog of embarrassing interviews and polite declines. I do my best to blame the GFC’s marriage to Tasmania’s well documentary job shortages, but the fact remains that for the better part of two years my life was (barely) sponsored by the dole.  Despite the pleasures of having time to focus on Ivy St, it was an incredibly depressing stretch.

Brief encounters with paid employment were few and far between as I desperately danced backwards down the creative arts path. Casual advertising, writing & film jobs helped to keep my spirits intact though for the most part it Dick Diver living – minus the optimism.

When debt came calling, so too did my heinous savior  From one side of the queue to the other, my first full-time job was led me to the Centrelink Call Center - where misery knows no bounds.  Where the bathroom breaks are scheduled months in advance and abuse is an hourly reminder of the exact price of your time. The prospect of becoming a future “TL” in one hand I looked swiftly to the other - truly I had found a lyrical gold mine surpassed only by a latter gig as a courtroom & wire-tap transcriber.

I gave my voice to the phones but kept my head in a notebook.

Inevitably it was only a few months before I was invited back to my rightful side of Centrelink queues. Getting fired isn’t something I’m proud of by my god the entire experience taught me a great deal about the significance of doing something you enjoy. Which, in more ways than one, brings me to where I am now.

In addition to writing the entire lyric set to Picture Machine, a short comic strip was born that I rediscovered last night whilst shifting through some old computer hard drives. Based entirely upon my call centre cell mate, I give you episode one of ‘Shake Every Bone’.

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