In honour of the epic cold I’m starting to get over, I’ve started compiling a list of things I really didn’t think about before starting this job.

1. When you get sick there isn’t anyone to cover for you, unless you happen to get sick on a week where we have an extra person. We all get one week off every 5 weeks, and there’s 4 of us on the road team, so usually, once during that 5 week period we have all 4 of us on the road. Also, there’s 3 jobs (explainers, banking, demo), so we’ve basically got an extra person that week. Otherwise, we travel all over the country, so we can’t logistically have casual staff in every town we go to who are able to cover for us we find ourselves one (wo)man down. If you get really sick, someone either has to come back from their week off to cover for you, or our operations manager/director/education manager has to come cover. It doesn’t really work. Usually we just end up working sick.

2. Internet coverage is expensive and not that great. Obviously I move location every couple of days, so I can’t have one internet connection set up in my house (well we do at home, for the week I’m home, also for the other people who live there :p). So mobile internet it is. When I first started I was only on contract for 8 months, and the minimum contract time was either a year or 2, so I didn’t want to sign up for something I was going to have to pay for a lot longer than I might be using, so I went for the prepay, which is about $60 for 1GB per month. Probably should have upgraded when I got a full time contract, but I didn’t!

3. Laundry. How much do you think it costs to do a load of laundry plus dryer? In 2 years of working here I’ve been charged between nothing, and $10 per load (usually includes the dryer). Chalk it up to one of those little extras.

4. Not all motel/ motel rooms are created equal. Sometimes you end up sleeping in the lounge, being kept awake by people watching tv until all hours of the morning, drifting off to the sound of snoring all around you, and then being rudely awoken from your slumber by someone turning all the lights on to go to the toilet. The best part is that the person who does ALL of those things is the person who demands a room with a double bed and always gets it because we get so sick of his whinging all the time.

5. I’m effectively living with 3 people I don’t really have any say in. Luckily we mostly get on, but there are always going to be things you don’t like about people, and those are really annoying when you’re tired and sick of people! Can you imagine living full time with people you don’t get to choose!

6. People are always saying to me that I must get to see the country. Which to some extent is true. But not like people think we do. Our average work day is usually 10-12 hours long, including the drive to the next school. It averages out at 8 if you include the week we don’t work, but when you’re starting work about 7.30, and not arriving at the next location till 5 or 6 that evening, you don’t really want to do anything but eat, sleep, and catch up on friends lives. BUT, we get to spend weekends in some pretty cool/different places, and we don’t tend to work weekends, so I’ve gotten to spend weekends in places like Auckland (obviously!), Fairlie (Google maps is your friend!), Invercargill (went to Stewart Island that weekend!), Tapawera, Nelson (good for Christmas shopping at the markets!), Kerikeri (did a bus trip to Cape Reinga that weekend :D), and Te Kaha (guess how much cellphone/internet reception there is there: none!).

Luckily I’m still really enjoying this job (well most of the time), and I should also point out that when I wrote this I was  on week 5 of rotation when we usually only do 4 weeks at a time, so it’s no wonder I’m exhausted!!

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