Stephen Tait arrived in the city on Melbourne Cup day to find the
entire population attired in evening wear - or, rather, top hat and
tails with shorts and boots - and engaged in the biggest outdoor piss-up
he had ever seen.
The next day, a drunken sales manager interviewed Tait in the pub for a
job at the Melbourne Age. ’He slurred ’You can start on Monday’ and then
fell over,’ says Tait, now ad director at Scotsman Publications.
’I started as a group head and on the first Friday my team disappeared
to the pub at lunchtime. When they hadn’t re-appeared by 3.30pm I raised
the matter with my boss. All he told me was: ’No worries, they’ll come
’And they did - at 5pm. Without an apology and giving off a distinct
aroma of booze, they shuffled a few papers on their desks and went home
for the weekend.
’Then there were the ’sickie’ days, which entitled you to go ’crook’ for
eight days a year without any reason or explanation whatsoever.’
The Aussie penchant for globetrotting is also legendary. ’A page planner
went off on a 17-week vacation without even telling me. And the
government pays people a 17.5 per cent holiday bonus on top of their
’After three months, I was promoted because I was the only one who
turned up on time and put in a 40-hour week. They all thought I was a