Working in Retail as a Casual in Australia

Hey guys,

Merry Christmas and happy new year! 2017 has finally passed and I can’t be more than excited to welcome 2018! ^_^ By the time I’m writing this post, I still have a mixed feeling towards 2017. I feel like last year was such the toughest period of my life so far. I went through a lot of difficult, yet invaluable experiences throughout my working holiday journey in Australia. Even though it was difficult, I was blessed that I finally secured my so-called temporary career in retail. I absolutely love what I’m doing since I’m always surrounded by makeups, perfumes and now clothing plus handbags ❀

Kalau kalian pernah baca postingan saya sebelumnya, mungkin kalian ingat kalau saya mulai masuk ke dunia retail lewat agency yg provide brand ambassadors (atau biasa kita sebut SPG/SPB) ke David Jones, Myer, Sephora, Priceline bahkan Woolworths dan Coles di seluruh Australia. Kalau belum baca, coba dibaca dan di-like dulu donk postingan saya sebelumnya πŸ˜€ . Setelah saya join di agency ini selama 6 bulan, akhirnya di pertengahan Desember kemarin saya harus lepas dari agency ini 😦 Nama agency nya adalah Marc Edward Agency (MEA). Untuk info lebih lanjut silakan Google atau search di Seek/Indeed. Mereka sering recruit new hire utk brand ambassadors utk promote new product launch di dept stores di seluruh Australia (sesuai lokasi preference kita).

Setelah punya cukup pengalaman di David Jones (DJ) & Myer, bisa dibilang perjalan saya mencari pekerjaan berikutnya di retail termasuk lancar. Karena saya sudah memperhitungkan kalau saya harus lepas dari MEA di mid-December sedangkan visa saya baru akan selesai di akhir Januari, di bulan September saya mulai aktif mencari Christmas Casual job di retail, mulai dari beauty sampai ke fashion. Sampai pada akhirnya, saya cukup beruntung bisa dapat 2 Christmas Casual jobs di Hugo Boss dan Coach.

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Banyak orang mengira, kerja di retail gajinya super tinggi dsb. Sigh! 😦 So, in order to manage your expectations on working in retail, here I’d like to share with you that there are also some pros and cons or loves and hates of working in retail AS a CASUAL.

Loves ❀ :

  1. Pastinya hourly rate! Antara rate weekdays, sabtu dan minggu angkanya beda. Apalagi public holiday! Tapi jangan lupa dipotong pajak yah πŸ˜› (disclaimer: tidak menjawab pertanyaan berapa gaji di retail perjamnya kak? Tanya aja sama temen kamu atau om Google πŸ˜€ )
  2. Karena kita CUMA casual, biasanya sales target nggak akan terlalu strict dipush ke kita. Karena mereka jg mostly cuma expect kita utk tau product knowledge secara general aja, tapi yang penting adalah kita harus bisa serve customer dengan ramah dan professional.
  3. Staff discount! Biasanya retail memberlakukan discount khusus karyawan utk produk2 di tokonya. Policy staff discount bisa beda2 tergantung retail itu sendiri. Tapi gak usah berpikir utk menyalah gunakan staff discount kalian utk keuntungan pribadi yah, karena selain kemungkinan besar akan ketahuan, kalian jg bisa mencoreng nama bangsa dan negara Endonesah!
  4. Karena saya emang CINTAAAA sama kosmetik, parfum, baju dan aksesoris, pastinya kalau lagi sepi saya suka colekin warna2 makeup atau skin care di tangan saya, semprotin parfum yg wangi2 di baju, atau megang2 dan icip2in tas kulit di toko ❀
  5. Friendly coworkers. Sekitar 95% staff di DJ & Myer tempat saya kerja termasuk friendly & helpful, terutama di toko2 yg letaknya di pelosok2 Sydney. The only thing you need to remember is to politely introduce yourself on your first day, they will gladly help you as much as they can.
  6. You get to speak a few languages. Well, at least for me, that’s what I love about working in retail here. I get coworkers and of course customers from different backgrounds, so I get to speak in any language I can speak (mostly English and Mandarin Chinese).
  7. You learn how to actually communicate with customers: listen to what they want/need and like first before you recommend and persuade/convince customers to buy a product.
  8. Dan yang seperti yg mungkin sudah kalian duga, kerjanya ga sesibuk dan seberat hospitality πŸ˜€

But of course, there are some challenges that come along with those perks I mentioned above. Here’s some downsides or the things I dislike about it:

  1. If your job contract writes: CASUAL, that means they don’t guarantee how many hours you work in a week. For one shift, they only have to give you at least 3 hour work. Some weeks when it’s too quiet, they might not give you any shift, AT ALL! Karena alasan inilah makanya saya ambil 2 Christmas Casual positions di 2 brand yg berbeda. This can be a little tricky especially during busy period like Christmas, but with a good time management, you should be able to sort it out. Or you can also keep another part-time job in cafe, just in case!
  2. I don’t actually hate this part at all, but working as a brand ambassador from an agency means you get to work for multi brands. For some people who don’t have passion in beauty, this can be a bit challenging. Misalkan hari ini kita dapat shift di brand A kosmetik, besok kemungkinan kita dapat shift utk brand B fragrance. For the sake of professionalism, seringkali kita harus belajar tentang brand dan product knowledge secara otodidak dari internet. Karena nggak lucu aja kalau customernya nanya bedanya moisturiser sama serum terus kitanya gelagapan saking nggak paham fungsi produknya.
  3. Selain itu, kalau kita join dengan agency seperti MEA, kita harus siap dialokasikan utk kerja di seantero Sydney. Saya tinggal di Chatswood dan so far saya udah pernah traveling sampai ke Liverpool, Bankstown dan Miranda. It’s not something to hate, but sometimes it can be a bit tiring if you have to travel for more than an hour (for a single trip) just to work for 5 hour shift.
  4. Sebagai casual, biasanya kita dapat shift lebih pendek daripada permanent staff (mostly during 11AM to 4PM). Dan kita bakal jarang dapat shift hari Minggu, jadi jangan over excited dulu sama Sunday rate :p
  5. Β Of course, you don’t get free meals and coffee 😦

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I realise that my point of view in this job can be a little subjective, that’s just because I’m happy doing this kind of job. I’m pretty confident in my ability in selling and also I love beauty and fashion. I feel like I’ve learned a few things in higher end fashion brands and also some basic things about fabrics and of course market and retail conditions in Australia. I would also say that this is NOT the best job for people who want to focus their working holiday objective in earning and saving as much money as possible, since working in retail requires you to always maintain your appearance and you usually get to spend some every now and then.

I hope you guys find this post helpful and last but not least, wish you an amazing 2018! πŸ™‚

Cheers,

Ariesa

 

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Working Holiday Australia – How Much You Need on Your First Arrival

As I’ve promised earlier, I’m gonna write another post on how much budget you need to bring for working holiday in Australia. Since the living cost, especially rent fee, varies across cities, this is probably most suitable for people who want to land in Sydney as their first point of arrival. Although in the visa requirement we are all required to have AU$ 5,000 in our bank statement, many of working holiday visa makers, as far as I know, don’t actually bring that amount of money on their first arrival, including me!

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So, how much do we actually need to bring when we first come here? Hmm, before giving you the answer to that question, I think it’s best that you answer this question yourself first:

What kind of accommodation do I want to stay and where?

This is a very crucial question since accommodation will contribute to a significant (if not most) part of your first expense. Some people want to live in the city and some others don’t mind living at outer CBD area. Some people need to have a private room while some others don’t mind sharing with a few friends. It all depends on your preference and of course, your budget. Now, here’s the budget you’re looking at when you make your choice.

  1. Private room, shared bathroom – CBD area –> min. approx. $300-400 pw
  2. Room share (2 person), shared bathroom – CBD –> min. approx. $200 pp/pw (per-person/per-week)
  3. Room share (3-5 person), shared bathroom – CBD –> approx. $125 – 150 pp/pw
  4. Private room, shared bathroom – suburb –> min.approx. $200-250 pw
  5. Room share (2 person), shared bathroom – suburb –> approx $120 – 150 pp/pw
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My room in Mascot

List of CBD area: Ultimo, Darlinghurst, Central, Chippendale, Pyrmont, Surry Hills, Haymarket, Redfern, Newtown, Darlington, Glebe, Potts Point.

List of suburb areas preferred by backpackers: Mascot, Ashfield, Marrickville, Leichardt, Eastern Suburbs (Bondi, Maroubra, Coogee, Randwick, Kingsford, Kensington) .

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Residential area in Mascot

Check on Gumtree and Flatmates to browse for accommodation. Some people also find accommodation through Facebook group, including me.

So, have you made up your mind yet? Don’t forget to budget the deposit you need to give to your landlord upon moving in. It’s usually 2-4 week of rent and refundable when you move out, given you’re well-behaved, of course!

SIM Card

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Now, when you arrive in Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, you can immediately get your prepaid SIM card on the way to the exit. There are Optus and Vodafone’s counters that sell and help you activate your SIM card. I bought the Optus one for $20 (which worth $40 recharge voucher). With $20, I get a new phone number, 6GB internet data, unlimited calls & SMS to Australian phone numbers, and 90 mins international calls to selected 20 countries (the sales assistant will explain to you everything on this) for 28 days use.

First transportation to your new house

Ok, you’ve got that SIM card and now you have these big and small luggage and bags. Are you sure you can take bus or train with all these luggages? I couldn’t! So, I decided to take Uber instead. In Australia, you can only pay Uber with card (debit/credit). You don’t have your debit card yet, so it’s best to keep your old credit card active and use it in such emergency. I took Uber from the airport to my rent house in Mascot (near Rosebery) for $17. If you think you can carry all your bags and take the bus, the bus stop is not far from the arrival gate. Just ask some officers in the airport where it is. They’re very helpful.

Public transportation

OK, how about transportation budget during your first exploration days in Sydney? The transportation in Sydney quite expensive. For detailed information on Sydney transportation, check out: http://www.transportnsw.info/Β Β . They don’t charge you for the new card, just how much money you want to deposit in the card. I put $50 for my Opal card balance, which lasted for a bit less than 2 weeks. I don’t hang out everyday, so I don’t spend too much on this. But if you hang out everyday, you’re probably going to spend around $40 a week for transport.

Groceries shopping

After you put all your luggage in your room, you might want to to a little bit of groceries shopping. My first groceries shopping at Woolworths cost me about $40 for rice, veggies, fruits, Greek Yogurt, canned fish, etc. And I also did a little shopping at Daiso for some household tools. Daiso’s one price for everything in Australia is $2.80.

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My first groceries shopping in Australia

Here are some groceries’ price examples:

Rice (1kg) : start from AU$ 2

Sugar (1kg) : AU$ 1.00

Chicken egg (6pcs) : AU$ 2.99

Milk (2 Litres) – homebrand : AU$ 2.00

Pasta (500 gr.) : start from AU$ 1.00

For more info, check out Coles & Woolworths websites.

Summary

To wrap up everything I’ve mentioned above, here’s the list of expenses on your first days in Sydney (with examples on value):

  1. Accommodation : Β $800 (2 week deposit + 2 week rent)
  2. SIM card : $ 40 (for 28 days)
  3. Uber : $ 17 – 30
  4. Opal card : $ 120-150 (for 4 weeks)
  5. Groceries : $ 100 (for 4 weeks)
  6. Home supplies & tools : $ 40
  7. Meals (when you eat out) : AU$12-15 per-meal

Those add up to around AU 1,500 for the first 4 weeks of your stay in Sydney. And I believe that’s the minimum amount you will spend in your first month, because many people spend more than that. That, of course, depends on your lifestyle and how long you want to relax without working.

So, I hope this helps you plan your budget to move to Sydney and don’t hesitate to drop a comment if you have anymore questions.

Cheers,

Ariesa