This whole ‘help people in mining’ thing started a little while ago during my time I was living in the beautiful and very under rated South Australia.
I’d clocked about 4 years in fifo/dido/local by this time (not much compared to some) and I was working really hard in admin. I was squeezed into a 11m x 4m donga with 8 other people (sometimes only 4). A donga is basically a removable room/office/lunch room/bedroom that majority of mine sites use for some purpose or another. It was a tight squeeze some days, living in each others pockets. So basically I got to know these people very well. It was a very small site and I dealt with each of our employees onsite and got to know them all very well too.
It was this site where I realise I just wasn’t living to my dharma. Which is your souls purpose. I knew I had to help these people but it wasn’t booking them into medicals, booking their flights, checking their pay roll, entering figures for material they moved or making sure they were booked into the right room.
I started to observe the lifestyle that the majority on-site where living. I began to watch, notice and learn what everyone was doing.
Wake up >> Go to work >> Be grumpy >> Go to the bar >> Eat dinner >> Go to bed late >>>> Repeat.
I watched them do this day after day. I watched them come to work unhappy, unmotivated, complaining, unhealthy, tired, grumpy, negative and even run into health conditions, the list is honestly endless but I’ll stop there because you get the point.
Before going to South Australia I had always lived in the town that the mine was in, so I always went home each night. I never observed the ‘mining lifestyle’ before as much as I was now.
So after watching this for 8 months. I got fed up. I couldn’t be bothered being surrounded by this anymore. I new deep down I needed to help these people because it doesn’t have to be this way. The human body is created to feel good, healthy, energetic, motivated, happy and positive and I wasn’t seeing a lot of this. I knew I could help.
So I flew back to WA, completed my studies at The Australian Institute of Fitness (loved every single millisecond of it) and finally I have been back into fifo for about a year now.
Here is what I have learnt to have a successful/happy/motivated/healthy lifestyle in mining:
- Understand that you are in a different world when you’re on site.
People try to think its going to be the same as being home. It’s not. Your surrounded by the people you work with for 2 hours, plus at breakfast, dinner & pub time. You have to schedule time to connect with the ‘off-sifters’. This is your parents, family, partner, children & your friend.
- Know that you do miss out on events.
Whether it’s for a wedding (hopefully you can pre empt this and book it off), you child’s first words, your friends 30th, that festival you go to every year, Christmas, New Years, Easter or school holidays. You will miss them so plan ahead. Last year I had Christmas on the 20th and Easter this year on the 8th of April. This way none of our family ‘missed’ the event.
- Make good food choices to eat well.
I am all about moderation and the 80:20 rule. Eat really well 80% of the time and then 20% what ever you want. This keeps you healthy in your body and mind. This helps you feel good and be at your best. If you need help to know what to eat please do reach out to me.
- Exercise, move your body, every single day.
You can’t keep using the excuse of “I don’t have time” & “I don’t have the energy”. Make the time and you will start to feel the energy come to you. Whether it’s a walk along the track, a gym class or you youtube pilates in your room. Also, if you need any help here, please do reach out.
- Find a good support system at work.
Mining life can feel isolating, you can feel distance from the whole world and you start to feel like you’re really missing out. Find people that don’t sit in the crib room and moan about work and this person and that thing. Find people who want to talk about what they are looking forward to. Find people who can hold an interesting conversations – they are out there, you just have to ask a few questions.
- Create a good support system at home.
Whether you live alone (like me), or you live with family/housemates, or you live with your partner, it’s so important to be able to have them to vent if needed or call when you just need someone to chat to. Don’t try and do you whole swing without talking to anyone at home, you’ll feel much better when you get to chat to them. The more you talk to your friends and family the more you stay in the know of what’s happening and especially so you know what’s happening when you get home. I always try schedule a time in with the girls for even just a coffee. If you don’t schedule it, it doesn’t happen, so take care of your home support system.
- Remember why you started.
When times get tough, boring, mundane or frustrating – remember why you took the job in the first place. Remember your goals. Reset them if needed. When I was doing admin, some days I just wanted to walk my self ‘out the gate’ (a very common term for mining). Some days I was just fed up, but I always had travel plans so I remembered that I wanted good money when I went travelling so that always brought me back to why I am here and helped me set some new goals and feel good again.
Tell me, why did you start fifo/dido in the mining life?
Was it for a trade? Was it to save for a holiday? To up-skill? To provide for your family? To take care of the animals and land on-site? To help people? Or was it to try something new?
I originally started because I was local (15 min drive to site), I knew the Project Manager and just kind of fell into it. 9 years later I have a bigger purpose and a bigger reason.
I hope you enjoyed these tips to a successful life in mining. Remember we all start somewhere. I used to stay up late, not eat well, complain and occasionally miss a work out. Let me know how you’re going in mining and where you are in the world.
Teags Lee x