I have always had the firm belief that there is pride in work.  Regardless of the type of job you have, the industry you work in, the title or lack thereof or the tasks you are doing whether they are very important or mundane.  Being fit and able to work and as a result earning money to provide a living for yourself and or your family is something to be immensely proud of.

I am a frequent traveler to Bali and on my most recent visit, I took some time to speak to some of the local Balinese about their perspectives on work in a bid to learn more about their culture and the relationship between the employer and the employee in their country.    Being in Human Resources and Industrial Relations I am always keenly interested and curious as to what happens in other areas of the world.

There is certainly no Fair Work Ombudsman or Fair Work Commission in Indonesia.  The “boss” or “bosses” as I’m told sets the pay.  They work six days per week, generally around 10 – 12 hours per day and are allowed to have two weeks off per year (this is generally planned so that that they can go back to their villages and or families for celebration/s).  Many Balinese have multiple jobs.  They travel a lot, sometimes upwards of an hour to an hour and a half to get to work and then do a 12 hour shift and drive the same home (these were day spa staff that I spoke to who do this routine, six days per week).

Others, who work in hotels, bars or restaurant s and or who are taxi drivers often work more than one job and on average depending upon the “boss”, it appears that they earn between 1.5 Million to 2 Million Indonesian Rupiah or our equivalent $ 150 – $200 – per month!

Easy to see throughout our trip why a few additional dollars often we gave $ 5.00 as a tip to the taxi driver is met with a big warm grateful smile, that is nearly half a day’s pay!   Our driver for one of the days was paid $ 150,000 Rupiah ($15) of the $600,000 ($60) it cost us and he had to pay for fuel out of his pay.  He picked us up at 9 am and dropped us back at 6 pm – $ 1.67 p/hr less fuel…. He did not stop smiling all day.

What struck me as I spoke to a variety of workers from all walks of life and observed them going about their business was their genuine happiness in general – no sense of privilege, no expectation, just genuine gratitude to be working and to be serving guests and visitors.    There were no complaints – this is just their reality.

They are certainly proud to be providing for their families and genuinely enjoy what they do in some very hard and demanding conditions, especially in terms of repairing buildings and construction – FYI of course there is no Department of Workplace Health and Safety there either.

There is a reason that Australia is called the lucky country, I think sometimes it doesn’t hurt for us all to reflect on how we feel about our work and our workplaces.  Do we sometimes need a little reminder about how far advanced our employment systems are here in Australia compared to other areas of the world?

As a business, EastCoast are incredibly proud of each and every opportunity we provide for our employees across the Sunshine Coast to provide for themselves and  their families and we will continue to strive for a high level of professional dedication in the services we provide to the local community.

By Michalle Faulkner, Managing Director.