Reaching out and choosing life

Thanks to the brave and lonely woman who just reached out to me. It always makes me think deeply about the choices I and so many other women have made when someone tells it like it is. So to you my lonely friend – if it is not worth the waiting, you are not happy, he is not happy working away and you are both miserable what alternatives are available to you? Can you move, change locations and start a fresh – together?

Choice is such a frightening thing that often we choose not to make it. I watched this Ted talk the other day and it really made me think about the choices or lack there of I make in life. Have we become a culture so steeped in choices that we don’t chose to make many any more and therefore just drift along?

Check out Renata Salecl Our unhealthy relationship to choice  on Ted Talks. – See if it makes you think about choices and the ones we need to make. If FIFO is not working choose to talk about it with your man. Choose to talk about it to someone. Choose to seek out a professional. Choose to make a choice about your life and the way you live it. Choose life. Choose.

What choices have you made lately? Did they challenge your way of life? What have you learned about choice and the FIFO life?



Porn and the impact on relationships

I’ve read and heard quite a bit about porn usage and fifo workers over the past two years of my research. In fifo forums across the country and chat rooms put up by the good people at fifofamilies questions are being raised about the issues associated with the use and sometimes the over use of pornography. One executive of a large mining company told me that some men change jobs and sites because there is no or limited access to online material. This he suggested was an issue of access to porn!


My research work of late has led me to investigate the impact that the new era of porn is having on families and our children. Of course this issue is not unique to fifo families but the difficulties of separation and distance make the issue of sexuality and how to manage it potentially more problematic for fifo families.

Here’s an article about the issue that might be of interest to some.

Do you have a story to share about this issue?



Fore warned is fore armed



I met some wonderful international FIFO workers last week on the Crystal Symphony. She was docked in the port of Melbourne.

Today’s report in The Western Australian and on ABC National’s Bush Telegraph give us very little new news about FIFO and its impact on the family but, it does serve to keep the conversation about the impact of FIFO on the family in our minds.

Once again Nicole Ashby from FIFO Families had something interesting and important to say. She called for a longitudinal study that tracks and follows FIFO families across time. Let’s hope this happens soon.

I encourage you to read today’s article and the report issued by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. If this does not suit why not listen to the Bush telegraph discussion?

The Western Australian

The Australian Institute of Family Studies link to the report

ABC Radio National Bush Telegraph (programs are about 24 hours behind on the net)

Keeping your head screwed on


I’ve been doing other things and FIFO has taken a back seat in my research over the past few month. I’m sorry to say there appears to be little new research being undertaken and no interest from the media in following up FIFO issues.

Today whilst looking for something else I have found a resource that I learned about several months ago but could never find. I first heard about the “Keeping your head screwed’ on resources for FIFO workers and families on radio and loved the following about them:

* They were written by FIFO workers for FIFO workers

* They were written for men by men

* The ideas are presented in several ways, book form, audio book and blogs.

This tool kit can be purchased on line and is very good value for $20.00 per item.


See the link below and check them out.


Brisbane FIFOconnections christmas party


When people make life work for themselves by opening up and sharing what they need and what they want they end up helping not only themselves but others as well. An essential element of sharing is being open and vulnerable.  Being open and vulnerable in particular can be quite difficult if it is new or if you feel you SHOULD be able to cope or do it all on your own. However it’s funny what happens when you do put yourself out there, Ironically,   if you begin to open up and be a little vulnerable by asking for what you need or sharing authentically about how you feel it gets easier and easier the more you do it.

Not only does it get easier to share it gets easier to ask for help. We all need to ask for help when we need it and sometimes even when we don’t. Sometimes helping someone else gives another person more joy than you can imagine. Random acts of kindness or help are good for people and good for the soul. Across our community we need to help each other out more often but particularly we need to help out more in the FIFO community when there are so many people trying to do too much on their own.

One person who has asked for some help lately is Beck Meade. She has started FIFOconnections to bring together FIFO people in the Brisbane area. Beck has contacted me several time and shared ideas and thoughts about FIFO life. Today I’m helping to spread the word about FIFO connections and the good work they are doing to support FIFO families in the Brisbane area. In particular I want to share some information and to let you know that they are hosting a FIFO connections Christmas party on Sunday 1st December. I understand that this is a free event and all Beck needs is for any interested FIFO family members or workers to contact her so they can cater for the numbers.

Sounds like the kind of sharing experience we all need. Check out their website or facebook connection below for details.

A message from Beck at FIFO connections – FIFO Connections family Christmas party is next Sunday, the 1st of December, in Brisbane. We extend a warm welcome to all FIFO fly in fly out worker’s, Spouses, their families and of course your FIFO worker if they are home.
As this is a catered event we request that any family wanting to come along please RSVP via the events tab in
My family looks forward to celebrating the start of the festive season with yours xx

Have you helped someone lately? If so why and how did it feel? Could we give out less presents this Christmas and more random acts of kindness instead?

Write letters for well being – the FIFO snail mail revolution

Science Network Western Australia reported today that a new research project is being undertaken by Edith Cowan University PHD student Philippa Vojnovic to determine why FIFO workers are suffering from a range of illnesses and mental health issues at a higher rate than the average Australian.

Ms Vojnovic will collect data from 250 FIFO workers from areas across WA including Perth, Karratha and Kalgoorlie starting at the end of 2013. It’s great to see another research project will document what we all know is going on in the lives of FIFO workers. images3It is my hope that with the rigor and relevance of an academic project to measure information that we out here know already to be true – the issue of support for workers and their families will become part of the workforce/industry standards in the future.

Things like – after work privacy, better phone connections, personal growth opportunities after work and building strong relationship training, the use of short meditations at work (see free phone app: Smiling Mind), light healthy food, more family friendly rosters and annual family visits to sites -things like this might boost moral, increase productivity and save millions of dollars and a lot of heart ache in the process.

If only a tiny portion of the said $6 billion dollars that poor well being costs the industry was spent on improving the lives of workers and their families I’m sure it would reap great rewards for productivity, the workers economic and emotional lives and the society as a whole.

We must begin to broaden our understanding of what cost is – and consider that the cost of unhappiness or low well being is far more than $ 6 billion dollars per year. Some costs are not economic but social, family and personal and the negative impact of these costs cannot often be measured in a short time.  The cost of human unhappiness and poor well being seeps quietly into individual lives, families, homes and our society as a whole – for generations to come.Time to measure life through a broader range of filters and take the monetary blinkers off.

imagesI have a suggestion today to improve well being for FIFO workers and their families. Let’s bring back the hand written letter. It sounds too simple but it is a powerful and very accessible way of doing something positive and personal right now! I know that when I receive a hand written letter in the mail I am thrilled that someone has taken the time to sit down and write to me.  Can we start a little project that does our bit to bring joy, love and old fashioned happiness back into the lives of someone we love? Could we start a small wave of positive well being and write a letter to someone today? On real paper? With our own hand? Sent in the mail? Why not? Let’s start a revolution of well being and write a letter to someone we love.

Let me know how you go.



Tony Windsor’s sad words

Today I gathered in the Melbourne Town Hall with 2,000 other folks who were interested in hearing our first female Prime Minister speak about her time at the top. The event was organised by the Victorian Women’s Trust who continues to advocate for the rights of all women across Australia.

The previous independent for New England Mr Tony Windsor opened Julia Gillard’s address. Tony Windsor you may recall called for the first parliamentary inquiry into the impact of FIFO on regional Australia. He was chair of the standing committee that tabled the report entitled; Cancer of  the Bush or salvation fro our cities,  in February this year.


Tony was funny and gracious in his words of praise for Julia and the speeches from both speakers were interesting if only slightly inspiring ( I expected just a little bit more!) .

After the speeches Tony hung around and talked to people. I spoke to Tony about all things FIFO. I thanked him for doing more to bring the issues associated with the FIFO workplace practise into the public and the parliamentary discussion. We talked at length about the issues good and bad that FIFO work and life style raises in our Australian context. I closed the discussion with a question which asked him who he thought was really interested in the FIFO debate and still held a seat in parliament?   He pondered the question for a moment mentioned Michael McCormack from the National Party adding that he was a good man and would probably take over the chair of the standing committee that he himself had vacated. Then he paused again, pondered a little more and said, well in fact i don’t think there is really anyone who is that interested in the debate. It’s sad to say but no I don’t really think anyone still sitting is really that committed to addressing the issues presented by the increase in FIFO work.

Tony Windsor is an honest man by nature. His wife who we met as we left the building told me that she was delighted with Tony’s slower pace of life and reminded me that she had married a farmer!

Now I’m left with a nagging, slightly empty hole in the pit of my stomach.

Why is this issue now more invisible to government than it was before?

Why is no one interested? Why have the issue/issues of FIFO and the necessary support for FIFO families fallen off the radar? Why?