A Volunteer Driver
Along with a few thousand other retirees, I’m a volunteer at the biggest sporting even in Australia’s history. In my case, I’m a driver. So I drive officials from one end of town to the other and visit airports often. That means, I have something to fill in my time in a useful way, but it also give me a long forgotten taste of all the bad things about being part of a workforce.
It’s a while since I worked shift work, but I imagine it will all comes back fairly quickly. I have a number of shifts that finish at 1 am and a couple starting at 5am just to get me back into the swing of things. So all of a sudden, I have an excuse to sleep during the day! I’m not sure how I’ll feel in a couple of weeks, after I’ve disrupted my usually sleep patterns, but I have coped with changing shifts before (about 30 years ago!)
My First Day
On my first day I spent 9 hours waiting and one hour transporting people but I did find out a few things about venues and airport staging places. At one stage I was waiting for a few hours at the Gold Coast airport, right near the end of the runway. Having been interested in aircraft for years, I was I my element. I waited for the aircraft to begin moving but nothing was happening. A few aircraft landed but they were at the other end of the runway. Then after a lull of around 2 hours the planes began to move again. So I rushed over to the fence so I could get a better view, and just as the first aircraft began to accelerate down the runway I was called back because I have to drive some people to the athlete’s village. I did catch a glimpse of the aircraft zooming off in the distance, but I expect I will spend more time there later in the week so maybe I’ll get to see some aircraft taking off at close range.
You Meet Some Different People
It’s easy to forget, when you have been out of the workforce for a while, just how grumpy some people can be and they let you know exactly what they think of everything. One bloke had been on a few shifts and was struggling with the concept of waiting. So I heard about all the issues of the organisation and how they were conspiring against him. Now I understand he had taken some holidays so he could do this job, so it was a serious commitment for him, and I understand his disappointment at not having any serious work. But not everyone from all the countries involved, understand the requirements for booking and letting people know when they were arriving. So sometimes, you just have to wait and see if anybody turns up. Maybe that also says something about his J type personality as well. If you don’t understand what that means, the answer is in this blog.
But there are many good people I met as well. Unexpectedly, I met a woman from a neighbouring town to where I grew up. We were able to share stores like long lost friends. Her brother actually went to the same high school as me. He was a couple of years younger than me, but I’m sure we would have crossed paths a long time ago. The trouble is, my high school days are lost in the fog of the past so when she asked me about people I knew from those days, I just looked blank.
I also met a bloke who worked for a few years where I used to work. He began his career, just after I left, but he was able to talk about many of the people I worked with for years. I’m looking forward to meeting him again and catch up on some of those people he seems to have kept up with.
I met another bloke who had travelled expensively, and to many of the places we have travelled as well, so we shared memories of places we had visited and outstanding events and fun times. So in an organisation of this size there are many, varied people. Some you get along with well, some less so. But overall its a good experience to have a lot of different social contacts again.
The other thing that’s still a bit of a mystery, is that this organisation uses a lot of three letter acronyms. I’ve learned a few on the first day, but I think there are probably one hundred more to go. In addition, there are ID codes on passes and signs, some are two letter, some more. It seems the world is short of printers ink, so we have to shorten everything to just a few letters. Thankfully they have changed their driving app to include the whole words rather than just the acronyms we began with, so now the app is more usable.
So why am I a driver and why am I doing it for nothing? As you can read on this website there are a few things that give retired blokes meaning and purpose in life. You can read one blog about what researchers believe are the keys to a successful retirement here. One of the things mentioned there, that gives us meaning is doing things for others without expecting a reward. Driving fits into that category for me. For others like Peter, volunteering is a way of life. So if you are feeling a bit down or you are struggling with retirement, I suggest you need to find something you can invest your life in that make a difference for someone else. After all finding things that simply make you happy, leaves you with a very small world.