Wishing our lives away..

Wishing our lives away..

boot tree

Image: Our ‘Boot Tree’ in the back yard.

Have you heard this term? Of course you have. We remote workers say it all the time, I do when trying to coach myself to a more positive mindset when having a challenging swing on site.

It rings true for many regardless no matter what their work situation may be. Even 9 to 5’ers no doubt are hanging out for Friday to come around.

No matter what roster you are on or what your job may be, from the General Manager to the TA, one thing we share is perhaps being guilty at times of wishing our lives away.

Sounds like a no brainer. Who would do that, how can we have thoughts like this and then say things like ‘life’s too short,’ sometimes in the same sentence?

Love the working away scenario or not, we have chosen it for a reason, yet deep down in our very soul part of us just wants to be home, all the time. Makes sense, of course we would rather be home, home is ‘where the heart is’, home is where we ‘belong’ home is where all the ‘fun’ stuff happens. Home is where we (are apparently supposed to) celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Australia Day and so on. Home is also on the flip side of the coin, where we should be when life throws curve balls at the ones we care about. How can we not be there when we should be? There have been times on site when we are battling with our choices and have to make hard decisions when the good and the bad go on in our life AND WE ARE NOT THERE.

Guess we need to have a good chat with ourselves, or someone we trust who will just listen, not ‘advise,’ to weigh up our options. You know the old Pro’s and Con’s column on an old fashion bit of paper, even if this happens only in our minds.

Most of the chats on site and on R&R I have had with ‘myself’ and as the trusted person who just ‘listens’ have raised questions to weigh up like:

Why am I choosing to be here?

Why am I beating myself up about not ‘being in my life at home’?

Why am I feeling like this now, today, what has bought this feeling on?

What are my family and friends feeling about this situation?

Have I had a ‘really honest’ conversation with them about this feeling I get?

How many others on my site are feeling like this?

Have I had a chat with any of them about what they did about it?

What are my options?

What is the reality around those options?

What the bloody hell am I going to do about it?

Depending on the answers we come up with, our next move can be planned. If we decide we want to keep living this remote work life, then what?

One thing I have learned by having these conversations with myself and others over the decades I have been living this life is simply:

Whatever happens, I must not, will not, blatantly refuse to continue to:



When building the roads into, then the camp, then the ‘mine’ at Challenger in SA many moons ago, our roster was 10 weeks on and 1 week off. I kid you not. This was the project where I learnt to listen to those thoughts, stop denying them, start talking about them and making a conscious effort to p#ss those unhelpful thoughts off. Many of my crew did not do that. They continued to be miserable wishing they were not there, wishing they were home.

Imagine the day we flew into site, day one. Then spending 10 weeks wishing our lives away, counting down the days, waiting for that very special day when no one, no matter what happens, can upset us.

Fly out day.

It broke my heart to see the profound effect this my construction mates and all around them. On the morale, the work performance and the risk on site in all ways shapes and forms. Long swings, no client, plenty of grog…… we helped each other as much as we could to get through. Some of us even enjoyed it and had a bloody good time. I did, once I took control of that ‘other person in my head’ trying to lead me astray with unhelpful thoughts. Took some work I can tell you.

Even doing even time 2 weeks on 2 weeks off sexy rosters or 8/6, 2/1, 4/1 I have done them all. You know what. It is all relative. No matter what the roster, after a few swings I still found myself hanging out for

Fly out day.

If you find yourself wishing your life away, perhaps consider having a chat with yourself or a mate or a family member about that fact. If you are human then this may have happened to you. Yet if you just let it go on and on and do nothing about it and all the by-products of those thoughts and feelings well,

How’s that workin’ for ya?


My strategy, frame, ‘mindset’ about this now goes something like this:

When I feel those thoughts popping into my head (yes of course they still do) I p#ss them off immediately by reframing those thoughts into some of these:

  • I am so lucky to be here, earning money, and soon enough I will be home again with a good block of time off to, well do whatever the bloody hell I want.
  • The world is still turning without me (don’t know how!) It will be there when I get back and it will be so amazing to see everyone and everything again. See link below for a laugh:


  • It is outstanding to have something to look forward to so very often, to get so very excited about, some people don’t have that, hardly ever.
  • I am so glad I am not one of those who would rather stay on site as the life they are flying back to is really not something they want to face right now.
  • I am so grateful to have something so amazing to miss and to have so many people who miss me, some people don’t have that.
  • I laugh at all the funny sh#t that has happened on site that swing so far, and I know there will be plenty more to come and that I help with that.

Then I say, in my head ‘Now shake, shake, shake, shake it off (love that song, becoming my theme song!) and go spread some joy around the site for those who have not yet figured out that,



Usually followed by a happy dance and a massive smile for the very next person I see.


I would dearly like to hear how you have found ways to deal with these thoughts or what your thoughts are about these thoughts?!


Thanks as always for hangin’ with me till the end.

Everybody dance now…

Cheers Drewie and Hard Hat Mentor

Stay safe, keep smilin’

Only use your power for good. 🙂



‘Fly in Fly out Life’ Mentor: supporting on-site teams + Women in ‘boots’ Mentor. at Hard Hat Mentor

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Drewie has worked her way up through the ranks on remote FIFO sites all over Australia and one project in Canada to date. With a career spanning 30 years, she estimates, a culminated 5 years 'off' trying the 'other life’ here and there in the hospitality and fitness industries. Her first day on a remote site was her milestone 18th birthday and she also celebrated her 21st living in a donga and blowing the candles out on the cake at the wetty. Apparently if her upcoming 50th ends up being the same scenario, that would be ok too. “Though my family may have other ideas about that”. She is currently and shall continue working with Clive Lloyd's team at GYST Consulting where Values Based Safety - using 'The Care Factor' approach to Culture development and Authentic Leadership are front and centre. The big news is that 'Hard Hat Mentor', Drewies’ own consultancy, is now in an exciting development phase where all energy and focus shall be channelled into two causes very close to her heart. The first will be supporting on-site leadership/teams/work crews and individuals to thrive in the, at times, very challenging FIFO work and lifestyle. The second is to be a mentor to the gutsy 'Women in Boots' who may need a hand now and then in a male dominated arena with its own unique set of bumps in the road to navigate. Drewie says, “One cannot spend so very long working remotely on gruelling rosters without picking up some wisdom along the way, albeit at times seemingly from osmosis alone! There are many hard won lessons we learn in such a unique environment, mine are demanding to be shared now, very loudly, they refuse to be ignored, so my new journey begins.' Drewie has also taken her first steps to study ‘The Social Psychology of Risk’ formally and has a new skip in her step due to all the knowledge to be gained and shared in the future.

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