What the FIFO…..????

FIFO… standard lingo for the Aussies. For you other lovelys it means Fly in Fly out.

Fifo is a massive part of the WA way of life, as part of the mining boom, many folks work on a FIFO roster. I have been a FIFO worker and will be again as of next week. In Australia you fly to work (as it is a massive country) and then work and live there for a specific period then fly home for time off.

Generally rosters are 8 days on 6 days off, 9 and 5 or 2 weeks on 1 week off. Sounds awesome right??? It is you get good money, cleaners for you rooms, and all food etc paid for. It is a great way to save. It is a pretty good way to work, intensive for a period then rest for a period. It is a hard way to stay healthy and it is hard on relationships.

Your food is prepared for you, you have choice within reason but less control than you would at home. You are surrounded by big blokes eating a lot, you think you can eat that much too. You only have a small face mirror in your room and I actually attribute this to the ballooning of my arse. For all you pear shaped ladies out there if you can’t see it is very easy to ignore. If you work a 12 hour day in 50 degree heat you feel exhausted even though physically you haven’t done much you feel like you have and so… you don’t work out. It is a little hard to get fresh, fine quality food in the middle of nowhere.

(Let me just add in general companies provide a gym and healthy food options what they don’t provide is will power after a long day- note to self must develop this over the next few weeks whilst I get in my FIFO routine)
Fifo and relationships, this has been in the news a lot over here lately. With many saying it is an unhealthy way of life which has a massive impact on relationships. I disagree a bit. When I met my other half we were both FIFO. In fact we met at work whilst I was wearing Hi-vis coveralls. After we had been together a while he actually told me that on our first date he was pleasantly surprised because my arse was 4 times smaller than he expected and I had boobs. BONUS… I heard this comment and understood it as ‘ honey eat as much of that chocolate as you want you bum can multiply at least 300% and I will still love you’ chomp on chomp on!. Anyway after that small detour the point was this; we were on different rosters for a while, he worked 2 weeks on 1 week off, I worked 3 weeks on 1 week off. That was hard, if you do the maths it actually equals very little time together. What it did mean was that we got to know each other slowly, we talked a lot of the phone, and we were sure we liked each other as we missed each other.
I am a commitment phobe at heart and this has just never been a problem with this relationship as I spent so much of the early years missing him that it didn’t feature. We changed our rosters to match and had full weeks off together, they were amazing. There was numerous times when I would cry at the end of that week as I wasnt ready to be away from him. We always knew that in the end we were working towards a common goal when we will see each other every night. We have had that for a while and loved it and it will change again next week.
This led me to think about the things which helped us first time around.
  • Call each other every day, to show you miss and are thinking of them, but understand if the one working away is exhausted and has nothing to say because often for you whole roster of 14 days straight the only thing which may change is your dinner.
  • If you have TV up there find a show which is on at the same time at home. We conference call and watch ‘Beauty and the Geek’ was our show and we would bitch our way through the show as if we were on our sofas in the lounge and not a plane ride apart.
  • Jealousy can be a problem as I am a girl in a mans world. I am lucky my partner isn’t too jealous but I always make a point to mention him early in conversations on site and also to tell my partner about the chat which involved him so he feels secure e.g.’Oh i met this guy on site today and was trying to tell him about your dirt bike.. what make is it again?’.
We are by no means perfect and what works for us wouldn’t for others but we are happy 4 years in and of that I am proud and happy to work for.  Lets hope this time I can make my body something I am proud of and want to work towards. I would say I could still be loved, based on above comments, with double the junk in my trunk but I am not so sure I would be happy with that arrangement!
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2 thoughts on “What the FIFO…..????

  1. Wow that sounds like an interesting way to live. I can imagine having a good few days off like that being good but as you say there are downsides. It must be such a different way of life than here in England, I can’t imagine having to fly out and back for work. I bet it was really exciting when you first started!

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