Baby Boomers were born into what was then known as the Industrial Age in 1946 to 1964. An extraordinary time in history when jobs were plentiful and skill training was not essential to get one of them.
Many were menial jobs as compared to today’s Info Age where most workers have to have some form of skill to be employed but you found jobs easy to find and you knew that you could find another one quickly if you decided you didn’t want to stay in that job.
In the Industrial workforce all you needed was a work ethic and some fitness and you could work for as long and as often as you wanted.
I had many jobs during my Boomer life and I would think many other Boomers did as well but the irony here is that if you took the Public Service job as our parents encouraged us to do for security or studied at university then you were introduced to a system called superannuation by early 1980.
Those who were lucky enough to do so ended up being able to retire at 55 or so with money to burn but the majority took the menial jobs in industry where it was not introduced until the 90s and we have little superannuation to our names with an average of $60 000. If only I had listened to my dear old dad back then but such is life.
My first job came as a twelve year old in my cosy suburban locality of Auchenflower. The job was pamphlett delivery where you were given bundles of what’s now known as junk mail and you walked or rode the streets delivering them. Twenty shillings per thousand delivered from memory and it seemed to take forever to deliver that many.
The guy that hired us would walk around the streets after we supposedly delivered them looking for bundles that may have been tossed into a drain or over someone’s fence so a few of my mates never got paid.
Then it was suburban newspaper deliveries where once again it was the challenge of working the streets and dodging the dogs as you delivered the paper into letterboxes before being paid.
By fifteen I was big enough and ugly enough to work as an adult. My first job came through my father who was the Liquor Trades Union Qld Secretary and he found me a job at Kirk’s soft drink factory on Lang Parade Auchenflower.
I started work at 6 am had an hours break at 12 for lunch at home down the road and then worked through until the last truck was loaded with the orders for the next day. Basically you unloaded the trucks as they returned with the empties that day and then reloaded them with their order list and deliveries for the next day.
I am a natural sweater so it ran out of me all day. One of the perks of the job was to have as many free drinks as you wanted and I would consume probably 12 bottles a day which meant that my whole face became a mass of teenage pimples in two months of Xmas vacation work.
I also worked one Xmas break in Dodd's bottle yard at Woolongabba as a yardman sorting the returned beer bottles that were recycled in those days and the breweries paid for their return. I went out as a trucker's offsider as well going to all the pubs around town and collecting the empties.
By time I was 16 my father had me employed (as all my brothers did before and after me) at XXXX brewery on Milton Road where dad had worked as a brewer for many years.
It was a great job watching the stubbies rattling by on a conveyor belt and removing any broken ones as I practised my Beatles songs by singing at the top of my voice. No one could hear for the excessive noise the bottles created.
Two free beers at lunch and after work where my introduction to alcohol and some nights when you worked overtime someone would tap a wooden keg and we would drink the lot before knock off.
The money was excellent and I used it to build a room under our small house at Lima Street so I could have some freedom. I certainly have great memories of that room and my exploits in it with many different girls.
Unfortunately I did not do so well at school so my first job outside school was in 1968 as a police cadet at the Petrie Terrace barracks with the likes of Wayne Bennett the Broncos current coach as a colleague.
After a falling out over the excessive violence used by the force at the time against anti-Vietnam demonstrators I quit and took a mining job in Mt Isa. BHP offered me a scholarship to be an Engineer whilst I was there but I was trained as a contract miner and made good money as a driller.
A severe case of conjunctivitis meant that I was back in Brisbane by Xmas 1968 working as a labourer for my good friend Bruce Murray’s dad. Never had so many blisters in my life but he repeated what my father always said that I was one of the hardest workers he had seen.
After another failed attempt at high school in 1969 when I was expelled for drinking during the lunch hour at school I joined the Commonwealth Public Service as a Fourth Division officer at War Service Homes later that year.
The Public Service was known as a good secure job in those days and was the alternative to training at TAFE or university.
I had taken up surfing at this stage of my life so the mates and I decided we needed a surfing trip down to Sydney so we quit our jobs and surfed our way down the coast to Sydney.
We were able to secure a job on the new Sydney airport extensions at Botany Bay Cronulla which was very timely as cash was short. It enabled us to move into a flat on Bondi Rd and look for more permanent jobs.
I was employed by Grace Brothers Removals as a clerk and settled into Sydney life. It only took three months and I had decided that city was not for me particularly after I was felled in a fight at a local party and ended up in the Eastern Suburbs hospital.
I wanted more out of life so I caught the train back to Brisbane to be met by my father at the South Brisbane station. After viewing the large scar on my eye lid, he suggested that I needed to take life more seriously and I agreed.
This time it was into the Dept. of Social Security where I worked once again as a clerical assistant whilst I studied at Kelvin Grove night school to pass my year 12 and my first child Zac was born.
Then off to teachers college to become a primary teacher in 1978 eventually carrying Zac in a baby pouch on my chest to classes. I worked at university med balls as a waiter in that time and had causal jobs such as bottle shop attendant at the Paddington Tavern or glass boy at the Doomben races collecting used ones to be washed.
I also worked each year for 3 years at the Ekka as a door attendant on the Councillors Stand during those study years. It was a great job opening the door to Mayors and Governors so they could enter the main stands to watch the ring events at the royal show.
I was even offered a job with Rothman’s cigarette company by their CEO but was anti-smoking so declaimed.
After graduating in 1978 I taught in Mackay before leaving for home when I was informed that dad was ill with cancer in 1980. I returned to Brisbane and bought a home at 30 Lima Street opposite the family home at 29 so I could be closer to him and him to his grandchild. I finished a bachelor of Education by correspondence during this period.
I was able to find employment as an Office manager with Strata Drilling Pty Ltd through a friend and child two Kate was born. I loved the job in looking after the drilling teams that worked at Middlemount in Central Qld for Capricorn coal Management.
Through that large company I was offered the hardware store in Middlemount as the town was only being built at that stage and dad was in limbo with the cancer so we returned to Mackay in 1982.
I was working during the week at Ray White’s Mackay as a Real estate Agent and would drive to Middlemount on weekends to relieve the manager who we had working in what was now a Mitre 10 Hardware store.
Bob Hawke changed the drilling exploration laws at the end of 1982 and we went broke in 3 months as the town stopped building.
I returned to Brisbane in 1983 after being unemployed for a few weeks took a walk to the Regatta Hotel one Sunday afternoon and ask them to let me pour beers for a few hours.
I was given a job as a bar attendant and by busying myself all day cleaning in slack times was soon made bar manager and child three Laura was born.
The America’s Cup was won about the same time and we had thousands of people in the hotel all day. It was an amazing event.
I tired of drunks trying to beat me up so I re-joined the teaching fraternity as a High school teacher at Salisbury High.
I also worked as a cleaner with brother Rod at nights cleaning office blocks and was a security guard for TNT Security on weekends so we could save for a deposit on a house at Chapel Hill.
We moved into a new house there in 1986 and I worked as a P-10 Education Consultant for west Moreton region until 1989 when lack of promotion made me restless.
The next 6 months were spent as Fire and Safety salesman until I applied and was accepted as an Executive Officer Operations with St John Ambulance after my divorce.
Three years alter I met a lovely lady at St John and married which meant another move as no family members were allowed working together and child four Beau was born the next year.
In conjunction with good mate Keith Blake we decided to put in a submission to the Sth Qld Crushers Rugby league team and after being accepted by them, we were told we had 3 weeks to produce it which we did.
To supplement my income I worked at Camp Hill Hotel as a booze delivery driver dropping off alcohol to drunks at all times of the day. One guy hadn’t left his chair in 3 days and 6 bottles of gin. The smell was putrid.
I re-joined the Police force as a Trainee Recruit in 1995 but three weeks after I commenced and 6 months after Beau was born, my wife Vicki was having trouble looking after him alone and I had been offered a job in Charters Towers as a teacher in the School of the Air.
I quit the force and we drove north for a new life.
By 1986 I was missing my daughters who were still in Brisbane with their mother so we moved back to the Gold Coast and I went back to High School teaching at Palm Beach Currumbin High teaching English even though I was a Math teacher.
By mid-year I had reached boiling point with unruly teenagers and quit.
My next role was with the Grey Army when I became their first Franchise Owner on the Gold Coast and then CEO for one week.
The founder and I had a falling out of lack of support for Franchisees so I quit and moved to NZ in 1998 to become founder of Grey Skills in Christchurch which did very well there with thousands of jobs for Boomers.
I really won over the community by doing presentations to groups about the need to keep Boomers working.
There were 25 franchises by 2004 but we had had enough after 3 years of very hard work and returned to Australia in 2001.
My next role was web editor when the BabyBoomer web site www.bonza.com.au was created and is still running. I tried to make it financially viable but decided to supplement my income again with a job as Personal Adviser at Centrelink Nerang and Palm Beach until 2007 when I joined the Community Service Group Epic Employment as a consultant/counsellor and then coordinator to 2014.
This year I have obtained my Cert 2 in Security and worked as a security guard but will change to a trainer of workplace training and assessment in 2015.
I started work as a cleaner in 2015 and work for a good mate in his business and for my son Beau's old school. Not much around for Boomers at my age now but i am happy to be working.
During that period since my first job I gained my Year 12 pass, a Diploma of Teaching, a Diploma of Counselling, a Bachelor of Education, Cert IV in Community Services, Cert IV in Training and Assessment and the Cert 2 in Security and I worked in well over 40 jobs in my life and was never fired from one of them.
We Boomers certainly had options but not the global attractions the current generations have with my children all working overseas at some stage but no regrets as I lived my life to its Boomer fullest.