We managed to secure our first job as backpackers: counting the number of passengers on the city trams. Sounds simple enough and to the average person somewhat of a waste of time and resources but it’s a job for 10 days so that’s all that matters to me. Basically all I am expected to do is show up at my assigned tram stop and record the times the trams arrive and how many people are onboard (either at arrival or departure). Sounds quite simple but it actually proved to be a lot harder than expected. The first couple shifts were tricky as you develop your system for counting and recording while working independently or a team. The shifts were twice daily during peak travel periods from 7-10 am and 4-7 pm. This made for little sleep and back to working for the weekend! But it also meant we were able to spend an extra week exploring a city I love, Melbourne. Working for the department of transportation in a place to highly dependent on public transport really made me feel like I was part of the city and not just a bystander. And working with the city of transportation meant I was forced to go beyond the central business district and see parts of the city I probably would have never seen before. As well, standing in the open in my florescent yellow safety vest made me hard to miss so it also provided a means of meeting and interacting with the locals – even if it was only for them to scream their frustrations at me.
Bean Counter Extraordinaire May 19, 2010