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Thread: Tell me about FIFO jobs

  1. #1

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    Default Tell me about FIFO jobs

    DH is considering a FIFO job interstate that would be 2 weeks away & 2 weeks home.



    So...does your partner FIFO? Do you FIFO? What impact does it have on your family life? How do you fit in everything while they/you are home? How does it affect your kids?

    I feel pretty positive about it but would love to know the reality of having a parent/partner away from home so much.

  2. #2

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    I had a partner that worked 4 on, 1 off, and that sucked bigtime 2 on 2 off sounds better but yeah hated the one we had. He couldn't use his mobile on site either for safety reasons on those sorts of sites, so I had to wait til the end of the day to hear from him and that was it. He wasn't the kids father but still, you miss them! However some love the lifestyle and space, and some hate it, some to extremes which can have effects. He also told me there were lots of broken relationships and even the odd suicide attempt - don't want to scare you at all - this is just the reality of it and I assume the latter wouldn't be too common, especially with the better on/off schedules. They are all different and I am sure it can work, but depends on schedule and personalities and what they enjoy!
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children

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  3. #3

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    Thanks for your reply - don't worry you didn't scare me! 4 on/1 off would be awful!
    I think DH would just love this kind of job.

  4. #4

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    My DH works 2on/2off and I also used to work the same (I loved it).

    It's all he's ever known for work and it works well for us. He's on his second trip back after our DD's birth and sometimes I think I cope better than he does Yeh it can be hard not having any time out at times but I have my family & friends near by and I'll just go and visit coz someone is always happy for a cuddle and play for a while and I can just sit back and relax for a bit. It does get lonely at times and I generally get to talk to him everynight but I find the 2 weeks go so quick, he's due home in 5 days and I haven't done half of what I had planned to get done while he was gone.

    When he's home it's fantastic as he's here for two whole weeks, not just a couple of hours a night so he gets so much more quality time with DD than if he was a working a 5-6 day week. He's very hands on so is happy to take her for a couple of hours so I can go and do all that girly stuff like hairdresser/waxing etc and it's nice to be able to plan appointments. As his roster is pretty much set for the year we plan around his days off for stuff we need to do. You just get into a routine I suppose.

    He was scared she wouldn't recognise him but definately no issues with that and I love the fact he gets up for her morning wake up, does the nappy change and brings her into me for a feed, he also does bath time when he's home so he has his own daddy/daughter time. I also express and he does a couple of bottle feeds while he's home to help the bonding process.

    We can also take off camping / visit his family interstate whenever it suits - we're not limited by public holidays/weekends/annual leave etc.

    But most importantly it allows me to be a SAHM, if he worked in town I'd most likely have to go back to work - not have the choice like I do now.

  5. #5

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    Phoenix76 thanks for your reply. Sounds like it's really working for your family! You made a good point about being able to go away without certain limitations - that really appeals to us too.
    My DH currently does 12 hour shifts, 4 on then 5 off so at least I'm used to managing on my own to an extent.

  6. #6

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    There are also the downsides, like him being away for public holidays, birthdays, xmas & anniversaries etc if that's how his roster falls. But with xmas / new year - one year he work xmas and the other he works new years but I still think the positives outweigh the negatives

  7. #7

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    We haven't done this ourselves, but I know lots of people who have. It can put an enormous strain on relationships, with one partner away half the time. Also I think the fact that you're a single mother the weeks he's away really puts me off - that might not be so bad if you have plenty of other support around you. I think it's hard for the partner working away too, missing so much of their children's development.
    Don't want to be a downer - obviously there are upsides as well (like the times when he's back, for instance) - but I've told DH we are not doing this. I couldnt' cope with him being away so much of the time.

  8. #8

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    DH has worked 2 on, 1 off and now does 1 on, 1 off (def best!! lol)

    It is HARD. Don't be under any illusions here. It is hard. You are alone. Usually their hours are 12 hour shifts, night and day, so 6 to 6 or 7 to 7. Most likely will be one week days, next week nights, and a swing day in the middle. This means that they get up at 4-5am for day shifts, eat, shower, go to work. and then 4-5 pm for night shifts. Basically this equates to ZERO time for you, even on the phone. Basically I get maybe 20 mins a day - they are in bed by 8pm because they are knackered.

    This makes it really hard for you to vent or get support through your tough days - they are so tired, and the work they do is SO physically demanding. It really does make it tough to complain and you are both as tired as each other... Honestly it really does mean you have to be the old school wife, put up and shut up and get on with it - the man works hard, etc etc...
    Not to say you can't still get the support from your husband, but you need to be very careful - there is a fine line they walk having to be away for so long, missing their kids, and you, and feeling useless being away and not being able to support you - so fine line you need to tread about how much you let them know it is tough on you...

    Wow, sounds horrible! lol
    Like I said, it is not easy and take take a long time to fine the rhytmn that works for your family and your personal relationship.
    When they are home, the first couple of days is sleep and rest and recouperation - they are SORE and TIRED and they don't get a day off while they are gone, so it is crucial you realise that taking travel in to consideration travel - they will often fly in LATE and fly out EARLY - so your week fast becomes 5.5 days, add on their rest time and your time with him is practically speaking, about 4 days of quality time.
    BUT it awesome having a weekend everyday they are back, it really is fab...and you really do appreciate waking up with someone next to you

    Everyone thinks the money is fantastic...but when you think about it, the money is what it is because they work 84 hour WEEKS and they are only working 2/3 of the year... And because the pay is huge each fortnight, the tax man takes about half Bastards! lol

    As for you at home by yourself with the kids - it is HARD lol But you do find your grove, and I have found that DAYCARE is a goddsend - even just one day a week to give you time to catch your breath and have a day off - you will need it. It is really important you don't forget about yourself, it will creep up on you and then you will find yourself being very irritable, snappy or tired and it hits like a ton of bricks. So if the washing needs to go by the wayside for a day or so, so be it. If you let your headspace go, it will all crumble.


    Wow, could I sound anymore dramatic??
    Basically it is hard, but the rewards are worth it. So many people I know are "Oh, DH will just get a job FIFO on the mines and we will be rolling in it" - FAIL. It is tough, it is a TOTAL change in lifestyle and routine, for you and the kids. And it will change every swing when he comes back - all of a sudden there will be another adult around, and other parental, and the you may find the kids take a while to warm back up to him, they may get more clingy to you. It will also mean he is back and that will affect how you perform your days - there is now someone else there who needs your attention and you will be amazed at how quickly you get over the "oh he's not here, sob sob, never spent more than a few days apart since we were married" or whatever - you will quickly get used to NOT having sexy time () not having to shave your legs all the time or think about how someone else is feeling. It really is important you do what you can (BOTH of you) to keep your personal relationship alive, or it will very quickly become all work and no play for both of you.


    It is tough - they LOVE the work - DH is an explosives expert - spends all days blowing things up and loves it lol, but they HATE being away from you and the kids, and it creates an interesting dynamic in the family and your relationship. If it is successful though, the money is ace, can do fabulous things for your family - but make sure you do a new budget or it will vanish as quickly as it came and you will wonder where it all went


    Anyway, now I have scared the living crap out of you lol I hope it all goes well, I am sure he will love it.

  9. #9

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    Phoenix - another good point about special days, especially Christmas. DH hasn't had Christmas off since I've been married to him so am used to that too!

    Marcellus - thanks for your reply. I'm practically a single parent on DH's work days as he's out of the house about 14 hours per day, some weeks I do struggle so can only imagine the difficulty in being alone for 2 whole weeks.

    Lime - I appreciate your honest answer! You have given me some things to really think about in regards to FIFO. It would definitely be 2 weeks away interstate, won't see him at all during that time. You're right about them loving what they do!

    Thanks everyone, it's great to read the different experiences in regards to this kind of lifestyle.

  10. #10

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    Hi Hestie, I just came across this thread. I realise its from 2010 but I just thought I would see how things turned out for you? Were currently contemplating my hubby doing FIFO work next year.

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