I did the training. I got the accreditation. I even stood in line for about an hour to collect my pass. I went to another training. And after all that effort to get on the list, I have recently decided that I’m not working at Rugby World Cup.
I have worked in hospitality for most of my life. Hospitality jobs can be rewarding for many reasons… flexible shifts, free meals, interesting coworkers and customers, etc. Although, as anyone who has worked in hospitality also knows – it is the most work for the least money. You have to work long hours, be always on your feet, and you either have to wear something either really ugly, or really revealing. It is the most work, for the least respect.
Hospitality work is always a great fall back for travellers. These jobs are easy to find, you can usually start working right away, you can work as much or as little as you want, and there are no hard feelings when you move on again. This is probably why most of the people working at the Rugby World Cup in Wellington are foreigners.
Somehow, I feel that I should be making a little more than minimum wage if I have to stand for several hours, one arm laden with heavy plates of canapes, while being hit on by middle aged men. Or if I have to stand, hunched over at an espresso machine, burning myself repeatedly in order to make the perfect flat white.
Rugby World Cup, like all events at the Wellington stadium is run by an army of temps. We hail from various work agencies from around town. We know very little of the job, the layout of the stadium, or each other. We are usually notified of our shifts a day or two before they actually commence. We have to turn up for work at least an hour early to put our names on the list, have our names moved to another list, stand in queue for a uniform, and then get lost while trying to follow vague directions to our work station. We also have to spend another good thirty minutes after our shift, trying to locate a manager to sign our time sheets so that we can get paid.
Now, I don’t need to work at Rugby World Cup. I have a day job in an office environment that allows me to live comfortably. But as a self proclaimed world nomad, I have the attitude that I should take all the work I can get. Also, its Rugby World Cup! Who wouldn’t be wooed by the promise of being a part of one of the biggest events to come to New Zealand?
At first the temp agency was excited to add me to the roster of temps for the games at the stadium. I am skilled as a barista, which apparently they are always short of at the games. But then, the demands began.
You must take out your piercings. Fine, I’m used to that sort of demand, even though I manage to handle quite a bit of responsibility at my office job with them in… I do understand that they can offend some people.
You must take out your earrings. Well, that is a little bit more difficult. You see, I have stretched ears, and the dragons that live there at present take more than a little coaxing to come out. I.e. I have not removed them in over a year, and I suspect it would be no easy task.
You must carry a wine knife. But I don’t work in a bar? I make COFFEE. But fine, I will go buy one at my own expense.
You must wear black leather shoes. Ok fine. I already own some. Oh wait, you don’t like those shoes? Ok, I bought some new ones. Oh…those are not good enough either? No worries, I don’t mind spending several hundred dollars on three pairs of shoes at my own expense so that I can work for minimum wage.
You must pay for your own accreditation training. Now here is where I got a bit agitated. You want me to pay…..in order to learn how to pour the perfect beer and set up a cocktail function…. when the only work I do for you is make coffee? I refuse! It’s ridiculous! Eventually I was talked into it, with the promise that I would be guaranteed first pick to shifts at all stadium games.
Oh sorry, we sold less tickets than expected. We can only offer you one shift. grumble grumble grumble
Oh wait! This just in! Now you need a DIFFERENT pairs of shoes! Oh, and can you buy new trousers as well? AHHHHHHHHH!
Considering that my one and only RWC shift, would not even cover the cost of my accreditation, I whole heartedly refused to go out and buy a new wardrobe. Especially since James and I are leaving New Zealand in a month and already must leave some of our accumulated possessions behind….
So instead of dragging my tired butt to Rugby games, an hour or two before my shift and with less than 48 hours notice, I have decided to actually go out and ENJOY the RWC atmosphere with the rest of the public. I will NOT be working at Rugby World Cup, and I even got them to refund me for my accreditation….
So it seems, even work obsessed travellers have their limits….