Archive for May, 2009

Australia Antarctic Interview – Psych Test (Final Phase)
May 31, 2009

Im hanging out in departures at Christchurch International. Couple of hours to fill before my first Jet* flight. I feel pretty lucky – think I got possibly the only fine window in the weather for my flight from Queenstown for (what seems like) three weeks at least! I like to think of it as an omen, because a similar thing happened when I flew to Sydney for the initial interview. Apparently the weather in Melbourne hasn’t faired much better lately either, with fog disrupting flights. Double the omen-factor!

So, Ive arrived in Melbourne safe and sound. I grabbed the airport bus to my accommodation this time, thank god for ipods, because there was a girl on the bus, about mid 20s, who was so loud on her phone that we ALL had a running commentary of her ex-boyfriend woes, financial situation, recent weekend away run down… It amazes me someone would want to share all of that but anyway.. I managed to drown her out.

My hotel was sweet – cute, tidy and cosy room. Not big, but big enough. My test was at 0800 the following morning, so I spent the evening relaxing before heading off to sleep.

Next morning I set off to my psych test after breakfast with about twenty minutes in-hand. I had a fair idea of where the Defence Headquarters building was, so headed there. I was right and there was one other person checking in for the same thing, though he was going for a different job. We were met and escorted upstairs, after getting our visitors passes. I noticed all the staff had passes around their necks that they showed every time they walked past security – and there was two lots of security to pass before reaching the lifts.

And on up to the Psyche Floor, led into a room and given the tests to complete. There were two tests, both multiple choice and it took a couple of hours to finish them. Apparently we were finished in record time. There were three possible answers to each question, but the preferred choice is the yes or no option, and not the ‘maybe, sometimes, perhaps’ etc type answers. Harder than it sounds for some questions, but that the case, then you need to go with the yes or no that sways more your way. The second set of questions were quite ‘dark’, with plenty of reference to depressive and angry personality traits. A lot easier to answer those ones with the definitive yes or no.

That done, we had time to fill while we waited for the psychologist who was going to interview us, to arrive. Thankfully, there was a nice cafe downstairs – which to get to required an escort from the building, and then another escort back inside again on our return.

The one-on-one interview wasn’t too taxing at all. It was not dissimilar to a job interview – a pleasant surprise because I you cant help but wonder what an individual psych assessment with an australian army psychologist will involve! The mere thought of it is nerve wracking. However, we seemed to be done in no time and I was pleased to leave knowing that she was going to pass me, she informed me of this before I left. I felt pretty comfortable with the whole psyche day in general.

So I was done by 2 pm! Thats it, I’ve completed all four components of an Australia Antarctic job interview process and now, the waiting continues. I’ve been given an expectation of one month until I find out. Sounds long, but Im guessing thats a maximum.

In the meantime, I’l carry on as per normal, with fingers crossed for the job of a lifetime!

Australia Antarctic Interview, Stage 2 (Medical)
May 22, 2009

So! I passed the interview stages, woohoo!! Next on the list, the medical, which I was able to do in Queenstown. I didnt know that a doctor has to be certified to do Antarctic medicals, and I dont know what certification that involves, but, I was able to see a doctor the next day after ringing to make my appointment.

An antarctic medical covers the basics – blood pressure, hearing, sight, height, weight.. It also depends on how long you’re going to be on the ice for – those who will winter over get a much more intense check up. However, Im potentially for summer, so..

The clinic where i went was going through refurbishment, so the hearing test was tricky at times. I was seated, facing away from the nurse, who had me hooked up, via headphones to a machine that ‘made the noises’. Both the machine and the headphones resembled some sort of war time contraption – a morse code device maybe? Anyway, I passed, apparently really well, considering that part of the test was hearing people talking in the room next door.

Next up was an ECG test. Ive never had one of these tests before – which involves being connected via ‘anodes’ to yet another machine, and lying there while it read my heart. Aside from the nurse attaching one of the clips to me and getting a small piece of my skin caught up in the process, it was a painful, easy test.

So, finished with the nurse and into the doctors office. The rest was pretty much a question and answer procedure and an ear, throat, reflex, breast and … anal check. OK, so I wasnt probed, it was more a perfunctory look to confirm I wasnt heamorraghing heamorrhoids – which apparently would look like a bunch of grapes protruding from your anus. Im sure I’d have known if I had heamorrhoids, but.. all in a typical Antarctic medical.

After the doctors had finished with me I went off to the blood clinic to get samples taken and have a ‘mantoux’ test, which will show you’ve been exposed to TB before if it tests positive. Apparently, its quite a common test to have done for employees of various jobs. I’ve had it once before, when I went to the Antarctica with New Zealand. A small dose of TB is injected just under the skin in the forearm, left for five days, and then checked again once the five days is up – as close to the hour as possible. Passed that one fine, and the bloods.

Last on the list was a chest x-ray.

Medical test – done. Gone, posted and, received at the Australian end.

Next post – Psych Test

The Great Pork Debacle
May 18, 2009

So, New Zealand awoke today to the reality of pig farming. Yes, it would seem that some of those amongst us actually believed that pigs roamed free, rolled in mud and did all things piggy, before being slaughtered. Enter intensive farming, with crate-reared animals who cannot move, with some staying cooped up like this for up to five years.
I think its about time the public became aware – informed means making CONSCIOUS choices, and its about time the ‘out of mind, doesnt affect me’ belief system was shaken at the core.
Hurah! to those in-touch beings who brought this to the news. May it continue to rage amongst the headlines – to educate the humans and liberate (eventually) the animals.
Next issue should be cleaning and personal products. If you cannot accept or cope with the concept of vivisection (which, by the way, is quite normal) then shop consciously!! There are so many alternatives on the market!!!
wakey wakey…. 2009 is upon us ūüėČ

Australia Antarctic, Job Interview Process – Stage 1
May 18, 2009

Australia, Sydney, for a job interview with Antarctica Australia.  Fantastic! count me in!

After a phone call, and letter (which arrived on the same day) to advise me Id been short listed for the ‘Aerodrome Camp Support Officer’ role, I had a 3 week wait until Id be Sydney bound, for what would be a 3 stage process, over two days. ¬†Slightly extended for me, due to direct flights only leaving in the morning, once a day.¬†

Whats an aerodrome camp support officer? ¬†Exactly what it sounds like! ¬†The Wilkes Aerodrome is 70km from the nearest Aussie base, Casey. ¬†Because its an aerodrome, it operates only in summer, with a small crew of 8-10. ¬†Apparently, the weather is notoriously bad, with horrendous winds and blizzard conditions, and on a good day,¬†theres¬†nothing to break the flat, white of the¬†horizon¬†– fantastic, I wanna be there!If I get the job,¬†Il¬†be cooking for the crew as well as various other duties –¬†ie¬†runway work, baggage handling, snow clearing and driving – including the re-supply trips to Casey. ¬†

Sydney….

we were staying at a hotel near the university. ¬†We was 15 of us, I was the only female, and no one else was there for the same job as me. ¬†The rest were varied – chippies and plumbers mainly, and predominantly ‘aussie-miner types’, which¬†isn’t¬†intended to sound ‘segregational‘, sexist or judgemental – I believe, there certainly is such a man! ¬†

Monday morning, 8am and I was off to my ‘Technical Interview’. ¬†Thank God it was one-on-one, which makes me nervous enough, but a panel can be torturous for me. ¬†I was with the guys getting our individual photos taken for future reference, when my interviewer came to get me.. okay, so hewasn’t¬†exactly unattractive…. ¬†I had made some jokes about ‘Australia’sNext Top Model’ when we were getting photos done.. as the weekend progressed it did feel a tad ‘reality show’, with half a dozen staff from Antarctic Australia making notes on us, as a group and as individuals.. Life is a catwalk, walk tall ūüôā

So, ‘usual’ question and answer session, and a bit of an insight into the third session of the day, the ‘Selection Centre’. ¬†For me, it was to be myself and Id be fine.. great! ¬†Next up was to be the Psych Test, a multiple choicequestionnaire¬†conducted by army personnel, however, no-one showed up to conduct the test, so we had a spare two hours. ¬†Coffee time!! ¬†The coffee at the hotel was decidedly average, so we headed for the local (dare I say it)McDonald’s! ¬†Hey, they do soy and at least it was espresso coffee..

Then, we started our afternoon sessions of the ‘Selection Centre’. ¬†Basically, our group was given countless scenarios, predominantly involving drillers or drilling, and ample opportunity to come up with results, outcomes and ideals – be it individually, as a large group or as a smaller group. ¬†I guess I did feel like ‘little voice’ at some points, but in saying that, not all of the guys were loud or conversation hi-jackers, there was definitely one though,isn’t¬†there always? ¬†

The scenarios were… scenarios, lots involving drilling, drillers and drill rigs.. all relevant from an ‘isolation and small community’ aspect I guess. ¬†Its quite interesting to see who comes up with what, ¬†how each person interprets a certain situation. ¬† The days activities finished after drinks, dinner and conversation. ¬†It was midnight New Zealand time, and Id been awake since 4am (6am New Zealand time), my starched hotel bed was a welcome respite from the busy day.

Next morning, another 0745 start, for another scenario Рthe last on the list. And, thankfully, when the scenarios had been put to rest, we were given a chance to have a final say, on a) how we felt we came across for the selection centre, b) qualities that may not have been shown and c) why we should be chosen for the job.   I was so grateful for that final opportunity, because I, like some of the others, was wondering about my technical interview and selection centre, and hoping Id come across as Id wanted to etc.. So, after a final wee speech.. its a waiting game now.  

The overall interview is made up of four stages 1) Technical Interview, 2) Selection Centre, 3) Medical Exam and 4) Psych Test. ¬†To get a job offer, you need to pass all four. ¬†I guess now Im awaiting a call up on the medical / psych side of things, unless they’ve decided not to go further with me.. but Im not even going there as an option, I want the job too badly, so thinking that way instead. ¬†Positive vibes, meant to be ‘n all.

Made some great friends, and it was definitely an experience. ¬†And as an added bonus, I had an extra night in sydney, so caught up with my brother and one of my best-er-est friends who I haven’t seen for ten years!! (Apparently I haven’t changed a bit). ¬†Mind you, I didnt think he had either.