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Comment author: CronoDAS 06 February 2011 11:29:20PM *  3 points [-]

If the task you're avoiding is boring, try to make it more difficult, right up to the point where the difficulty level matches your current skill, and you achieve "flow."21 This is what the state troopers of Super Troopers did: they devised strange games and challenges to make their boring job passable. Myrtle Young made her boring job at a potato chip factory more interesting and challenging by looking for potato chips that resembled celebrities and pulling them off the conveyor belts.

What do you do if the task is both boring and extremely difficult, rather than boring and easy?

Comment author: Petro 07 February 2011 01:41:25AM 5 points [-]

Stop procrastinating on the job hunt

In response to Optimal Employment
Comment author: Petro 01 February 2011 01:26:34PM 38 points [-]

Given that I'm an American currently living (and working) in the Outback, well there's some flaws in your argument.

There is a lot of employment opportunities here (Alice) because LOTS of people leave after a couple years here. They do that for a reason.

There are basically two economic drivers in this area--tourism and The Base (I'm neither a gardener nor a cleaner, I'm a sprinkler head technician). The Base mostly brings in Americans with very high clearances to do gardening and cleaning, and spends a significant amount of money in Alice for related goods and services.

Tourism is largely due to it's proximity to Uluru/Ayers Rock, and, well, being the only sizable "city" for, well, Darwin is about 1500k north of here, and Adelaide 1500k south.

Alice is a town of about 26k residents. Small town. Very small.

EVERYTHING here, except (oddly enough) pecans, is more expensive than I was paying back in St. Louis MO.

Gas is something like 1.30 a liter. A case of Strongbow is ~50 AUD. A 700ml of Makers Mark is about 40 AUD. Some of the costs are hard to map because GST is 10% and included you don't notice it, you just see it's more expensive, so you really have to keep that in mind.

Meat and vegetables are a tad more expensive than back in the states after accounting for GST. Salmon is a LOT more expensive.

McDonalds is WAY more expensive, but no one here would admit to eating that kind of stuff, right? (3 year old. Playground. And yes, a cheese burger and some fries occasionally is tasty).

So from personal experience I'm calling BS on your food calculations. Also the Department of State claims that (if I read this table right) that Alice is %50 more expensive than living in DC. http://aoprals.state.gov/Web920/cola.asp explanation here: http://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=245&menu_id=74

Also, you like Amazon? Guess how much of it they won't even ship to an APO, much less overseas.

This is what housing looks like in Alice: http://tinyurl.com/4qvnlvx

The houses here are nice, but utilities are purportedly MUCH higher here than in the states (because of my contract my employer provides my housing and pays my utilities, but I have to pay tax on the imputed income, which allegedly is about as much as I'd pay for utils + rent in the US. I haven't gotten that bill yet, so it's just hearsay so far). Here are the tarriffs for utilities: http://www.powerwater.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/1582/2010-2011_Tariff_brochure_-_July_2010_web.pdf

Oh, and it gets fookin HOT here. Really hot. As in 40/105 is not all that remarkable. Then there are the bugs and spiders. Redbacks, Golden-Orbs. 3 inch cockroaches.

There is a LOT of property crime here, and an above average level of violent crime for the size of the town. Some people have been blaming it on "the kids" being out of school (the school year here lines up with the calendar, so December & January are mostly summer break). Many of the Ozzies I work with blame a lot of it on the Indigenous population which (at least many of them who live/sleep in town) has a large problem with substance abuse and the constellation of problems that accompany that. Certainly many of the women here are afraid to be "downtown" alone after dark (Remember, this is a town of 26k, so "downtown" is where the restaurants, bars, and hotels are.

Oh, and if you need medical care there is a local hospital, but if you need surgery you're most likely going to be evac'd to Adelaide. 1500 kilometers south.

I've only been here a short while (2 months), and if you like a certain (relatively slow) pace of life, things here aren't bad. There are a LOT of American's here (mostly working at The Base) who love it. There's a lot of (desert) hiking and camping, you can get old Toyota Land Cruisers cheap if that's your thing, there is "mountain biking", and various sports etc. Recreation seems to be having barbecues (yes, it's cliche. It is also, near as I can tell true) and going 4 wheeling in the bush.

Oh, and this is the Lesbian Capital of the Outback, and purportedly has more lesbians per-capita than anywhere in the world.

But to the OPs point, no, I don't think this is a good place to come to bank cash, and certainly not by coming to the middle of nowhere and working in a bar.

Now, if you have certain skills--either a degree, training or experience, and a top secret clearance, and want to come work as a Gardner, Cleaner, or electrician, then coming out here DOES make some sense. If we watch our money closely we'll be able to take a couple trips around the country and have enough left in the bank at the end of our contract that we can take our time finding our next place to work.

Of course, if you don't mind a little more stress, with those same qualifications you can get a job in Iraq or Afghanistan. If you're single you go over there and you can clear (after taxes) between 100 and 220k with only discretionary expenses. I did that for a year (with a family) and was able to pay off all debts and take about 8 months off, and still had enough when I got here (to Alice) to pay cash for a late model car and have some cushion in the bank.

I've never been all that worried about making a lot of money. It would be nice to be independently wealthy, but it's also a lot of focus and effort that (IMO) could go into better things.

I didn't come here to bank a LOT of cash. I could make more or less the same amount of money (everything accounted for) back in the US, but my wife and I wanted to live outside the country for a while, and this seemed like a good opportunity. We weren't tied to where we were living, we didn't have jobs, family will (almost) always be there when you get back.

There are a lot of benefits to living overseas for longer periods of time--if you're just there on vacation/holiday it's easy to keep your rose colored glasses on the whole time, but if you're there for 2 years, and you have to live "on the local economy" you see things done differently than we do them in the US. Some of these methods are better, and some are worse (for example in the US regulations require that auto makers direct a certain percentage of the headlights up to illuminate overhead signs, which is light you can't use for distance or side. Here the beams are slightly different. IMO this is a better scheme. In the US your shopping car as 2 moveable and 2 fixed wheels. There they have 4 movable. This can be a problem on slopped sidewalks.)

In response to comment by Kevin on Optimal Employment
Comment author: datadataeverywhere 01 February 2011 03:39:40AM 0 points [-]

I wasn't actually suggesting it!

Regardless, I would be really surprised if police officers get to take home three times as much. A $20k salary is pretty small, but given a $12k housing allowance and a $3,500 food allowance plus special tax breaks and deals on everything from meals to airfare, I doubt many first-year police officers are that much better off.

If there wasn't a possibility of getting deployed into a war zone, I think it might be an unreasonable choice. Soldiers really don't have to do much, whereas most police officers seem overworked. Socially, I think people have a greater aversion to police officers and more praise for soldiers, though both sentiments apply to both groups. However, the prospect of deployment entirely shifts the balance to finding domestic employ.

Comment author: Petro 01 February 2011 11:54:14AM 1 point [-]

Police officers in larger cities make decent scratch to start with (IIRC 60k in some areas of California), and then have significant opportunities for overtime and "moonlighting" as security. In some cases there are Bay Area police making over 120k a year.

And as far as "soldiers really don't have to do much".

Yeah, I don't wanna get banned here, so let's just say you have no idea of what you're talking about.