There aren’t too many times when I’ll randomly make a substantial purchase without doing a heap of research into the pros and cons as well as the terms and conditions. Everything comes under scrutiny – from pet insurance and roadside assistance plans to a new TV and/or washing machine and don’t get me started on a new home loan. Each decision demands time and effort and sometimes even flow charts.
Problem is that I’m not sure if that’s normal behaviour. I never see Nigel spending hours poring over the NRMA website to determine which level of cover is appropriate when you’re planning on breaking down 300 kilometres from the nearest Nissan mechanic but perhaps that’s because he knows I’ll do it all for him…. and then present it to him in a glossy coloured brochure (just joking). To be honest, I suspect that I’m one of that annoyingly tenacious group of misfits called nerds…… and proud of it!
Of course, sometimes common sense prevails and, as much as I might like to research a clothing purchase, I can hardly try on new jeans and then parade around the department store asking customers whether my bum looks big. My solution to this clothing dilemma is to shop at the local Vinnies and if I never wear it / them, well at least I haven’t spent a fortune.
Such is the life of a research nerd and if you fell asleep reading Lines in the Sand 1 and 2, then this is a warning to quit reading now.
As I’ve mentioned before, when Nigel wanted to complete “just one more” outback tenure – to change from General Duties to Highway Patrol – the four years’ was a sticking point. It’s never an easy decision to pack up your life and leave friends and family to move hundreds of kilometres to the desert, complete with summer heat waves, snakes, blowflies and dust storms.
There are only two Highway Patrol stations in NSW that are classified as special remote – Cobar and Walgett. But while Walgett is a 3 year tenure, Cobar is 4 years, which is the maximum tenure for any special remote police station in NSW including general duties. In fact only Cobar and Lightning Ridge fall into the 4-year tenure category. (See what I mean? Nerd!!)
Remembering that Ivanhoe and Enngonia are both two and a half year tenures, asking me to commit to this “final” outback tenure was a very big deal but the deciding factor, as always, was the priority transfer.
Nerd alert coming up!
Human Resources policy regarding special remote tenure (Section 6.5) states, “Six months prior to the expiry of their period of tenure, officers must either seek preferential transfer or seek to extend their period of tenure”. This guarantees that any vacancies coming up in the 6 months prior to completion of tenure, will be quarantined or set aside for the officer once tenure is completed.
When Nigel’s mate at Forster Highway Patrol emailed in March that he’d been granted optional disengagement with a last day of service of the 20th May, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Nigel’s application had been in for months, plus there were no applicants ahead of him and he was due to complete tenure on the 27th May. All the ducks had lined up.
In theory it’s a good system and essential in staffing hard to fill vacancies in outback areas (did I mention the hundreds of kilometres, snakes and blowflies?). But while it works well for Outback Commands, we’ve discovered that not every Command is enamoured with the system, especially if they have other ideas for filling vacancies. With two relatively smooth special remote transfers under our belts, I never understood Andrew’s fear that the new Command wouldn’t ‘get it’ and his transfer application might be overlooked…… until it happened to us.
So after spending the last 15 years promoting the advantages of a special remote transfer – and we’ve loved every one of them – in the interests of honesty and integrity this is a cautionary warning that sometimes things won’t go as smoothly as I may have led you to believe. Don’t forget to do your research!