Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Just when you think your rut will run forever…

In early December the wife and I finally decided to put our monies where our mouths are (our faces, presumably) and up-sticks back to Sydney, the land of reasonably priced cafĂ© breakfasts, the Coogee women’s pool, lesbian soccer teams, endless beer gardens and oh, just about everything else I am fond of.

Many Canberra residents I know really quite like the place, and wish people (ie, me) would quit whinging and stop comparing it to Sydney. ‘You can’t expect it to be like Sydney’, they say. Well, we don't. We know it never can be Sydney. Which is precisely why we decided to move back.

To be fair, the place has been remarkably good to us, really. To offset the gaining of a translucent complexion and a 'winter coat', I went from a listless university graduate into a not entirely unsuccessful public servant, and did get quite accustomed to a 10-minute commute to work. It also turns out you meet some of the nicest people in Canberra, even if they are from Adelaide or Melbourne originally…

But there has to be more to life than an ability to nip home for a bowl of ice cream and a cat-patting session during my lunch hour, as good as that may be.

We set ourselves a 6-month timeframe for the move, perhaps assuming this would allow us enough time to carefully prise ourselves out of our comfy, comfy rut, without too much of a shock to the system. I sent my resume out to a few contacts and settled back, expecting to be applying for 50 bajillion jobs before anything really happened.

Just to highlight the yawning chasm (is there any other kind of chasm?) between the public sector, where any kind of recruitment action involves a bureaucratic circus of mammoth proportions (again, any other kind?) and takes about as long as human gestation, and the recruitment processes in the private sector, three days later I was asked to go to Sydney for an interview. One day after that, I was offered a job. And that same day, I accepted. And I will be starting in late January.


Our plans for a carefully coordinated, blissful and stress-free interstate move are thus looking a little shakey. Plus, this means we’ll have to be doing yet another interstate move in high summer, which, let me tell you from experience, fucking sucks balls.

So our Christmas break has been a little more hectic than usual. Apart from the trifling task the lovely wife faces in finding a new job in about one-sixth of the time we had budgeted, there’s the logistics of finding a place and moving our mountains of crap up north.

I’ve been using the past week to go through the ample storage in our current place, finally facing the hard decisions on those items I had previously just chucked in and quickly slammed the door on, thinking “I’ll decide about that when we next move”.

I’m such a bastard to myself sometimes.

I have also been busily trying to decide which kidney I will sell on ebay as a means of raising the funds for bribing real estate agents. I live in fear of battling the Sydney rental market. It hasn’t helped that the papers have been full of horror stories about the lack of reasonably priced rental properties in Sydney, with people paying $1200 a week for a storage shed in what the real estate agents describe as ‘Newtown locality’ (read Zetland).

But it can’t be worse than my original quest for a rental apartment in Canberra in early 2003, one week after the bushfires. If the 50-strong queues forming outside properties 30 minutes before they opened for inspection weren’t bad enough, the real estate agents seemed to be giving preferences to families recently made homeless by the fires, the shifty bastards.

One of the problems we face is that we really, really like the place we are in now. It has just enough room not to feel small, but is not so big as to feel like we are taking up more than our fair share of the planet. There is plenty of storage (ok, this does encourage a little bit of hoarding, but mostly just piles of motorbike magazines), it is clean and in good shape, it is on a nice quiet street and has a number of nifty mod-cons (air-con, dishwasher, off-street parking, etc).

Suffice to say we have become very accustomed to these trappings of yuppie-dom.

The current thinking is that we are willing to sacrifice some of the mod-cons in exchange for a stereotypically charming renovated terrace/semi in a suitably lesbionic inner-west location. Which, judging from online real estate sites, is probably going to cost me not just a kidney, but half a liver as well.

Better cut down on the beers, maximise the value of the ole’ liver, eh?

So please, be in touch if you know of someone looking for a tenant. Or some vital organs, for that matter.

As for the job itself, well, no more wasting tax-payers money for me! I’m stepping out (or stumbling, whichever you think is most apt) into the ‘real world’ to sample a working life devoted to maximising profits and standing up for what the company owners believe in.

Sounds pretty good to me actually. Much less fraught than attempting to maintain a pretence of impartiality in a public service whose motto is increasingly ‘whatever it takes’.

I’m guessing that this will all mean that das blogging will take a little holiday while I sort out such things as a house, net access and my new employer’s acceptable computer usage policy…

Lucky for youse guys as there is a new season of American Idol coming up soon and I could feel some unnecessarily obsessive Idol posts brewing in the system.

But there is one last public service insanity post I am hoping to complete soon. It involves walking around at work shamelessly photographing certain items, so it might not get completed until after I’ve had my final entitlements signed off…


lucy tartan said...

Congratulations! Looking forward to the valedictory post very much indeed.

TLA said...


Insert pithy comment here...

Certain people from Adelaide and Melbourne will miss you both terribubbly! And certain people from Melbourne will still be hoping that you can take a jaunt to beautiful Melbourne in oh, say, mid-April-ish?

/weeps at Canberra's loss/

/rejoices at CSH and the Lovely Wife's exciting move/

Sam said...

Hey CSH, I'd email you about this offline but I don't have your addy. Anyways, I may just have the right place for you ready in Feb.

Email me at to strategise further if you'd like :)

Ampersand Duck said...

Damn. Another decent Canberra resident bites the dust. I hope the private sector has enough nutty people in it to keep you amused. And I wish you all the best with the move! Hopefully Sam has made the ordeal easier!