Hey guys, my name is Darren and I'm a second generation miner, more specifically I'm a Heavy Duty Tyre Fitter/Technician. In a nutshell I fit and service 4.5 ton tyres on 150-200 ton Machines. I am a FIFO worker (2 weeks on, 1 week off but it is really only 5 1/2 days when flying time is taken out) and have been for the last couple of years, mostly due to the fact that there is no work in Tasmania for someone of my trade, not enough Industry to allow for growth so really there is not much chance of me working back home in the near to mid future.
I have 2 children, my beautiful little girl 4, and my big man 7 and I have an extremely understanding wife.
The upside to FIFO is the wages, and working for a large company there are opportunities to expand my skill base. And you meet some good people.
That's pretty much it for the upside.
The Downsides, well 6 planes every 3 weeks, over 5000 kilometres one way and in that I'm away from my family for around 15.5 days out of 21. So I see my family for 5.5 days roughly speaking.
The only contact I have with them during this time away is sometimes by phone, which can be an issue due to the time differences and on my change of shift from 7 dayshifts to 7 nightshifts I can skype.
I'm away from my family and friends for such long periods of time (2/3rds of the year) that it is sometime very hard to get back into the swing of things and the frustration of this leads to me being grumpy for a couple of days when I'm home and arguing with my wife during this time. Like I said thank goodness she's so understanding!!
But you know what the worst thing is?
The very worst?
It's the look in my kids eyes when they see their daddy hugging them goodbye EVERY TIME I fly back to work.
It has gotten to the stage where I don't let them come into the airport to see me off any more because it's too hard, on me on my wife and especially on my kids. I have to hug them and say good bye at the car as it tears me apart inside to leave them. That feeling that it gives me when I have to turn around, walk away and go onto that plane, well
This heart wrenching way to have a good job with fair to good wages is both hard on a young family and the worker, as the 12 hour days can be a strain and can saps your energy.
You will find fly in fly on in both the mining mainly in Western Australia but with a smaller amount working in Queensland with forestry the workers are in NSW and Victoria. Fly in fly out is the only way to find work as in Tasmania there is up to 9 percent of unemployed in some areas and when you get a local job you will only be a casual with unknown amount of hours per week, the men that do find fly in fly out are usually have a hard to find skill that a mainland company has trouble finding a skill within the mine area or state, although Tasmanians have a great reputation as hard workers plus when it comes to work skills in some trade areas. As Darren has said it takes a special type of women to allow a husband to fly in fly out as there is no way he can take a day off for a sick child or come home at an hour or less notice in an emergency.