Thursday, 2 May 2013

earning more than a fart in a sack

You're in London. You're talking to someone with a vaguely antipodean accent. You decide to start jabbering about Flight of the Conchords, when you're suddenly hit with a problem. Or maybe you just want to talk about how Paul Hogan's turn in "Flipper" redefined what it means to play support to a fish -- regardless, the moment has arrived: you've no idea if you're talking to an Australian or a New Zealander. 

Fortunately, there's a really easy way to find out, without causing offence:

"Are you making more money in London than you were at home?"

If the answer is yes, you've got a New Zealander on your hands. A grateful, begging, bottom-feeding New Zealander, clinging for dear life onto the big wide world of earning more than a fart in a sack.

If no, you've got an Australian, here for travel, here for the experience, but also dying to get back home to the land of $20 an hour at the most lowly retail jobs, of $25 an hour putting crap on shelves at Countdown.

Yesterday while temping I discovered I was alone in thinking that 8 pounds an hour for some filing and standing about was pretty good. Very good, in fact. So good that it was actually the most I've ever been paid (during a day-shift) in my life, and it was just as much as my partner's job as a reporter back in NZ.

The Australians thought we were mad. Their earning power back home is so high that all of them were planning to bugger off back long before their visas even ran out. Compare this attitude to the posts on the Facebook group Kiwis In London: every few weeks someone pops up asking how they can overstay, or how can they get back in as a tourist after their visa expires, or how can they get married to a British-born roll of carpet so they can stay in this wonderful little country for just a few years longer. 

When registering at a recruitment agency, they asked me what my salary expectations were. I suggested the "London Living Wage", expecting it to be about £6.83 -- a rough equivalent of the NZ minimum wage..

"Do you actually know how much that is?" 
"Er, well, no."

They then told me it was £8.50, and I fell off my chair.

No comments:

Post a Comment