Meet our Weployee of the Week - Irene

As a creative artist and part-time burlesque performer, Irene Wade is a colourful character with quick wit and a strong work ethic. She has a treasure trove of skills to bring to the corporate world more dazzling than Liza Minelli's jewelry box but has found it a challenge to prove her business nous to Aussie employers. We spoke to her about how Weploy has helped her to shift assumptions in the workplace. 

What was your first job? Working in the Childrenswear department at Target.


What was your best job? Directing a web-series pilot and composing the music for its prototype, a stage show. Currently, it is in development for television.


Who was the biggest influence in your career? My husband and creative collaborator, Sam.


What would your ideal job be? Headlining a cabaret festival / performing my original work at the Sydney Opera House.


If you could have one super-human power what would it be? Being fit and strong without any effort whatsoever. Just like an automatic Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel, ready to go and take on the world.


What’s your guilty pleasure? Eating foods with dairy in them (I am lactose intolerant) – there’s so many! Custard, doughnuts, chocolate, pizza – but best of all, Arnott’s Mint Slice!


Do you have any other skills or talents others don’t really know about? I create original cabaret shows which incorporate burlesque, original music, and comedy. I guess in the corporate world I am not really known for that!


Name a few of your daily habits?

Every morning as part of a short meditation, I recite a positive affirmation that will help me for the day. I find it really helps me reset and ground myself before I leave the house, so I am prepared for anything the day may throw at me. If I have time, I like to incorporate some yoga or stretching, as well as some self-massage so that my body is ready for the day as well as my mind. I also water my indoor plants!

When I get home in the evening, if I’m not at a show, I decompress with Sam and we catch up on the days events over tea or a glass of red and a meal, then settle in to watch a TV show or get some time together on the Xbox. I love to read before bed; it helps me wind down.


What publications do you regularly read?

The Guardian, ABC News, The Sydney Morning Herald and other independent publications. I also like reading books. Currently cycling through about seven at the moment, depending on my mood!


Can you tell me a little bit about the challenges you’ve faced trying to find employment?

Finding something that fits with my lifestyle has been tricky because most places of employment are looking for full-time workers. As an independent artist and producer, I spend a lot of time and effort on producing and performing shows, coupled with touring, teaching and writing – which means my income is inconsistent, as are my hours! But it also means I have a very wide breadth of skills that are valuable, which can be advantageous even to lower level roles. One of the challenges I have found is convincing employers that someone like me can bring these skills to their team.


Do you feel that the current structure of hiring has disadvantaged some people and not others? 

Definitely. Before I found Weploy I was shifting from contract work to a full time position. I soon discovered that the full time position I found required overtime work with no extra pay and a lot of extra effort! I can understand that some jobs might need that level of commitment but as a creative, it wasn’t working for me – that’s what my artistic business is for! I had to find something that would supplement the time I am putting into my career as an artist that also allowed me to shine. It’s really hard to present all that information in a resume or cover letter, let alone an interview, without employers being scared that you will abandon them at the first opportunity. The reality is, artists have bills to pay too, and we are hard-working and driven people. In exchange for a little bit of flexibility with hours, we are a massive boon to any workplace because we are fast learners, we know what it means to be self-starters, and we’re really good at dealing with all kinds of people.


Did Weploy change your situation significantly? If so can you tell me two ways it has helped further your career path?

Weploy has been fantastic. There have been some times where I’ve really needed the income supplementation due to a lull in performance work or a lack of students, and Weploy has provided me with jobs to go to that I actually enjoy doing. The stability  has allowed me to plan for the future with a greater level of certainty. Weploy has a great support system of people as well, so I can voice any concerns directly and I know that they have my back.


Do you feel that opportunities through Weploy changed your perspective?

Absolutely. For starters, it has demystified the corporate world for me. Secondly, I feel much more at ease with the hiring process after having worked for so many different businesses. Finally, it’s been a pleasure coming in without the pressures of a new job and being able to make everyone happier just by showing up! Knowing my time is limited in a temp role really allows me to shine in a way that would take a lot longer in a regular position - I make the most of it when I am there, seeing as I won’t be there for long!


 What made you try Weploy?

I was looking for a temp agency and they had work going straightaway! After meeting Michael in the interview I began to understand this was a little different than a normal temp agency. They are really invested in making the whole temping process easier for both parties and I feel they are doing a great job.


What was the process like for you?

Initially, I was a little daunted and also sceptical. However after going through the hiring process and on-boarding, I landed my first job a couple of months after that through the app and it lasted for three weeks. Everybody was so kind and appreciative. It made me feel really welcome and valued. 

I never would have even thought about applying for a job in an architecture firm as a receptionist! But it was one of the nicest teams to work for. I have since worked for a couple of HR specialists, an entertainment conglomerate and a national aged care service provider through Weploy. The variety of workplaces is pleasing to me, and I have picked up so many new skills and a greater understanding for different industries by working for them through Weploy.


What was the biggest surprise using Weploy?

How they handled complaints! I felt really nervous telling them about an experience I had at a company I worked for through Weploy, and they were very supportive. I feel much more confident now knowing that they are looking after me.


Has Weploy helped your work-life balance?

Yes, it has. While there is not constant work, it provides me with periods of steady income and support that I am just not able to achieve when I am producing. However, the breaks in employment give me the time and resources to put into making my productions successful. It’s been a great help in this area and ideal for someone like me.

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Written by Sara

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