HASS Young Alumni Ambassadors Funny Memories

What is a funny work story from a job you had at uni or your first job out of uni?


Michael Bruxner - School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry

One of the first jobs I had after uni was at UQ, where I worked as a Room Auditor to audit the usage of rooms across the University. One of the rooms I was assigned to audit was the Schonell Theater, which was usually filled with students. However, one afternoon I went in to audit it and it was completely empty with all the lights off and Rocky Horror Picture Show playing at full blast. It was a weird experience!

 Coco Bu - School of Education

 When I was doing prac at a private boy college in Brisbane, there was this boy being talkative and naughty in     class. I was pretty annoyed and said to him 'If you kept talking, I would have to ask you out'... Then there   was   silence but I can see some students and my prac supervisor were secretly laughing. I didn't realise until   the   end of the lesson when my supervisor explained what 'asking you out' means in English. I was super   embarrassed... I guess part of the challenge with my job is using English to teach. English is not my first   language and even though I can speak fluently, sometimes I make mistakes. Luckily, I've got the best   students in the world who are patient and understanding, which makes my job a lot easier.

Brit Hawkins - School of Communication and Arts

When I got my current and first comms job, I had to tell my boss at the time that I was quitting. She knew I was graduating and looking for work relevant to my degree, so it wasn’t a surprise, but it was terrible timing as it turned out I was the third person to quit that day. My boss dramatically crawled under her desk in defeat as the whole team watched on through the giant glass windows to the office. I didn’t know what to do so I grabbed some snacks and crawled under the desk with her!

 Brooke Szucs - School of Languages and Cultures

 During the summer break of my first year at university, I took part in an internship in a rural ski resort in Japan for    three months. I had been studying Japanese for a few years at this point, but there was still so much to learn about   the culture and it was my first time working in a foreign environment. As such, I made a whole range of extremely   embarrassing and culturally bizarre mistakes, though this one in particular stands out:

 During my first week at the hotel, I was still learning the ropes on my new roles and responsibilities, and had been   helping some of the permanent staff to clean the hallways. They gave me two flags to hang up over some doors to   the hot springs, one red, and one blue, and no further instructions. Assuming these were merely decorative, I   randomly placed these on the hangers and returned to my usual position at the reception.Shortly after, some young women run up to the reception, clearly upset. They cried to me about how some strange old man had been waiting for them in the bath! How horrible, a predator in the hotel! We quickly contacted the local police and a crowd gathered as the excitement continued.

Soon enough, an older man came out of the hot springs and the hotel owner approached him and asked him to explain himself. The man looked confused, and said, ‘what do you mean? Some strange girls came into the men’s bath! Some prankster had switched the flags over the doors while I was relaxing inside!’ I’m sure I lost all colour in my face as I realised it was me! I had done it! I profusely apologized to all of those involved (including the police!) and was so embarrassed- but I had no idea what I had done wrong.

Later that evening, the women that I worked with asked me how I could possibly have made such a big mistake! I admitted that I still didn’t know what had happened, and the explained to me that in Japanese culture blue is male coded, while red is associated with females! I had completely mistaken the meanings behind the colours in a moment of cultural ignorance, and could imagine if I had done the same thing with pink and blue in Australia.

Thankfully, everyone was very understanding and the story ended in a lesson learned for me!

Daisy Thomas - School of Psychology

I had a fun, but bizarre first day at a job once where my first day was Melbourne Cup Day and so no-one really expected us to do much work, especially after the lunch where they served wine at work! Very unexpected!

Matt Watson - School of Social Science 

On my first 'real' job at the tail end of my degree, I answered a ad for a job at Uber, the ride sharing platform. I had read the articles of the amazing offices in San Francisco, London and New York, but the address I was given was a industrial estate that was home to a stamp factory. A little unnerved, I made my way inside, and was told my interview would be held on two foldout chairs out the front as a vehicle was getting fitted out for a cutting edge LIDAR. That turned into one of the most exciting roles I had, leading a team to support operations across the Asia-Pacific region and developing processes for teams across the world.  

 Jacinta Zylstra - School of Political Science & International Studies

 While at uni, I taught dancing at daycare centres (an amazing job that I kinda regret not taking up fulltime, but   moving on...) The kids could be absolute angels, or real ratbags, but my favourite was when the kids whose mums   were pregnant would inevitably come in and ask if I had a baby in my tummy too. Does wonders for the self esteem!   They also got ‘Miss Cinta’ confused with Santa a lot, which was a fun holiday vibe.