“Live’n the Dream…”
It’s something most of us say in passing about the last meeting, our day, our week or life on site in general. It’s typically meant in jest as this is the furthest thing from actually living the dream that is possible at the time. I know I say it most days. And most days I have it said to me, or in ear shot of me.
“How’s your day?”.
“Oh I’m live’n the dream!!!” (insert sarcastic emoji face)
“You too eh, I thought it was just me….”
Some days I hear it and think it’s a shame these amazing, powerful words; an ideology for most, have been diluted into a sarcastic passing comment. Sometimes we lose focus of why we are doing what we are doing and just get stuck in the daily grind.
So, let’s turn this around. Let’s put some positivity back into these 3 words. After all for some people, working FIFO or other away jobs, are where dreams are made and realised!! In my time, I have come across some amazing stories of guys and girls coming into this line of work with an exit plan; most typically a financial one. Hitting their goal point and then going to fulfil the dream of a life time.
I work everyday with these highly motivated, goal oriented people. Their commitment to their job and their team is a credit to them and goes a long way to achieving all that they want from this lifestyle.
There are many examples of:
- Buying a house, another house or paying off the mortgage;
- Extended / frequent overseas holidays;
- Dream cars…boats and more cars;
- Or just saving to have lots of time off.
A colleague of mine has a picture of a Shelby AC Cobra on his screen saver. I remember first meeting him and commenting on the car, asking if it was his. He responded with “No but it will be. That’s my motivation to keep coming back”.
A few more that have stood out are:
- Successfully starting up and operating an events management company – a keen interest prior to FIFO life;
- Financing an international move for an entire family…the entire extended family;
- Starting up a small accessories business in South East Asia…a result of frequent trips to a favourite R&R destination;
- Family holiday of a lifetime around the US for 6 months, all kids in tow…also made possible with mum working for an airline working away when required;
- Buying a retirement house for Mum and Dad who lost all savings due to investment reasons…
All of these achievements were realised because the workers came into the working away lifestyle, particularly FIFO; with an exit plan. They have / had clear goals, or at least some milestones they wanted to meet.
I’ve always thought it is very important. Not only do I think it limits the sense “why am I here / what am I doing” which can bring you down and magnify other negative emotions. But also allows you to make mini milestones to re-evaluate your choice of career and lifestyle.
I’d like to share with you a fantastic story of an ex-team member who did exactly that. He had a plan, set his goal, spent 18 months “live’n the dream…” and is now living his dream!!
He was (still is) a likeable guy and interesting, but one I knew was getting itchy feet about his time on this project. He came from another department on the site and really settled into the team, found his groove and created his niche.
A young man. Single and quite worldly; he was always up for a laugh and was open about his passion for photography and travel. Most R&Rs he would be off around Australia or Southern Asia in search of the ultimate photo.
One day he came into my office and closing the door nervously behind him, he said “mate, can I have a chat”.
The next couple of minutes we spoke about the resignation letter he had just handed me, discussed leaving dates and also around the extra time he just offered to get the team through a hand over period for his work.
After the official discussion was over and I thanked him for his efforts; we started to generally chat. Nothing outside what I’d usually ask when a team member decides to move on. “Do you have anything lined up”, “what are your plans”, “make sure you look us up on LinkedIn”.
“I’m off to pursue my own business”, he told me.
Obviously this really captured my attention and started an hour conversation that was as memorable as it was inspiring.
I had been following his Instagram page for a few months. Looking forward to the amazing beach, surf and landscape photos that would be posted after his R&R adventures. Remote beaches. Crystal clean barrels closing out with palm trees in the background. Fire orange sun sets with a surfer silhouetted on the face of a perfect crumbling right hander.
I used to think…now this guy is living the dream!!
Hearing his plans to pursue his business, I was so excited for him that I just had to extract as much information as I could.
Me: “So when did you just start to love photography?”
Him: “Around 5 years ago mate…a mate of mine is a phot-hog so I guess I have to blame him” (although I’d say thank him)
Him: “I love to travel and I love to take photos. So thought why not combine the two. I started with beach shots from my trips but realized that heaps of people were doing them, so now I travel to photograph different things. It’s a lot of hard work but with the love for what I do, I think I can make it work.”
Me: “How is it all going then?”
Him: “Yeh, its going well mate. I am at the point now where I have decided I want to do it full time and really make a go of it.”
Now, just when I thought I could not be any more engaged in the conversation…BOOM!! I am at the point now where I have decided I want to do it full time and really make a go of it.
Hearing this I realized that this guy had a plan and this was his next step…planned, calculated next step and he was literally resigning to pursue a dream!!
I had to find out more. More about his FIFO experience. More about his planning, how he got through it. What I can learn from him? What can others take away from this story?
Me: “Did you come to this project with a vision for this?”
Him: “Honestly; I came here to get in and get out. I had a vision of what I wanted to do and a target amount of money I needed to make that happen. I also knew what I needed to do on my R&Rs and over the last 18 months, everything was aimed at that goal.”
Him: “Friends and family were a big help and support network. Also trying to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone to counter the routine of 26 days on swing. I’d take trips to get different / unique images; stuff to set me apart from the competition. Things like diving with whale sharks, great white sharks, sky diving, remote places…just chasing the perfect image”.
Me: “Did you have an exact point in mind on when to exit – time, money, age, experience?
Him: “I had a rough time line but really did depend on the budget I’d set. I had some great photographic experience from my travels so I checked the bank account and decided it was time to pack up and travel Central America with a great mate…who also worked up here.”
Me: “What did you like about FIFO; benefits / opportunities?”
Him: “Clearly it has given an opportunity to get ahead with my life and to set me up to travel, see amazing parts of the world and most of all working to do what I love. FIFO is a hard lifestyle and can see how people get trapped, or feel like they are trapped, but I came here with a plan, a goal and now it is time to go.”
As you can see, this is indeed a success story to come out of the FIFO lifestyle. It is one of many hundreds, if not thousands, of similar tales of folks realising their dreams through pursuing a career working away from home.
I think it is necessary to share these as it is such a positive thing to experience first hand and pass them on. If this story inspires just one person to chase down their dreams through a working away lifestyle; then I call this blog a success.
Until the next instalment, keep safe and stay connected!!
NOTE: At the time of the posting of this article, the subject of the blog was travelling Central America. All images used in the cover photo and body of this article were supplied by him for use in this blog. Once confirmed, I will post all website and social media information on the One Minute Closer Facebook page. If you would to know more about the subject or would like to request contact details, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s a stand up guy and a magnificent photographer.