While most return from their gap year with tiger selfies or veneral disease, Tristan Hughbert-Snargleton, a recent Oxford grad, came back with something better: a high-vis vest and a pair of Redback steel-caps.
“Travelling is about discovering who you are and what you want to be,” said the economics graduate. “And what I am is a fucken’ roof plumber. Who knew?”
Due to obscenely high hourly rates for even the most menial manual labour, construction work is a popular option for backpackers of all backgrounds. With the other options being hospitality or commission-only marketing, cleaning up toilets on construction sites is in fact the most dignified and respectable career for the working traveller.
Tristan lied on his resume about having experience when he gave it into Johnson and Sons Roofers Ltd., but on the job he managed to not mess up badly enough to get fired. He’s now been there a year and a half, after he lied and said they were based in Katherine, NT, to get a visa extension.
“Did I at 18, after leaving private school, know I was destined to be a tradesman? No. But working in an office is bullshit. Here I can call my boss a dickhead and he’ll just laugh and tell me to get fucked. I get paid $35 an hour to just carry things around, then I hang out at Bondi Beach all afternoon. There’s no way I’m going into a grad job now.”
Although Tristan had previously considered manual labour as the last resort of the unwashed poor, nearly two years in trades has completely reversed his worldview. He is now, in fact, a card carrying member of CFMEU. “Yeah, mate,” he said, “us working people need to look out for each other.”
The reformed Oxford grad then asked if our reporter needs any work done on his house, or if he had any mates that want some reno work done on the cheap.
More to come.