Ask a Nerd!

Since I am well-known amongst my peers as being something of an Internet junkie, I am frequently asked to provide information to my friends about various things. It isn’t that they are incapable of finding out what they need to know, nor is it that they are lazy or want to take advantage of me. Instead, it is simply because I love information and actually enjoy doing research on just about any subject.

Recently, a friend of mine who is thinking of spending a year in Australia asked me to find out what I could about the different job opportunities that might be available to him. He has a college degree but no formal experience or training for anything other than an office job. However, he is not looking to establish a residence in Australia-he just wants to be able to work and earn some money while he is there.

He almost made this sound like a challenge to me. You know, one of those “I bet you can’t…” scenarios. He really did not think I would be able to give him any truly useful information! Apparently he doesn’t know me as well as he thinks he does!

There are actually many different job opportunities in Australia for people with no experience or even college degrees. It is simply a matter of not being picky and of being willing to do some of the jobs that no one else wants to do!

For someone like my friend who is only going to be in the country for a predetermined length of time, I focused my search on jobs that could be considered temporary. For example, he could find work in the following areas:

  • Hospitality-while being a waiter might generate the most income in terms of tips, there are many other jobs like housekeeping, maintenance, and janitorial services.
  • Tourism-Australia depends on tourism for a significant portion of their revenue, so there are nearly always jobs available in places where tourist congregate. From working in a gift shop to providing a taxi service, the choices are endless.
  • Construction work-As the global economy improves, there is more construction work going on than there has been in years. From building new offices to refurbishing homes, there are a variety of jobs for unskilled laborers.

One of the best websites I came across while researching jobs for my friend and the safety course he would need (white card) was It provided a plethora of information about the construction industry and the training people might need to perform different jobs.

I find it very interesting that there is actually a certification that anyone working on a construction site needs in order to get a job. In fact, in some cases everyone who even walks onto a construction site has to have this certification! It is called a white card, and you have to take a course (either online or in person) and pass a test to receive the card!

Although I am not sure what my friend will decide when it comes to choosing a job while he is in Australia, I am confident that I was able to provide him with a lot of useful information. That, and the fact that I met (and exceeded!) his challenge, serve to make me a very happy nerd today.

Step By Step

As I mentioned some weeks ago, I recently received my nursing certificate that I had been working on for some time. This was a huge milestone in my life, and I have already started benefitting in my job (I recently enjoyed a nice little pay bump). I’ve had a few of my readers here ask about how I got started in nursing and asking if there is any advice I would offer to those interested in making the leap into the medical field. Here’s my story.

Most people actually don’t know this about me, but my first introduction into the field of medicine was shortly after I had just graduated from high school. I got a part time job as a receptionist for a local chiropractor and while I was working there, the billing person in our office came down with a terminal illness and was not able to continue employment with us. We were unable to promptly find someone to replace her and so I was forced to quickly start figuring out the billing side of the business. Most of our patients were billed through insurance and I cannot describe the headache that I first encountered while trying to figure it all out. Lucky for the provider I was working for, not only am I a quick learner, but I can read anything. I found a textbook entitled “Step-By-Step Medical Coding” by Carol J. Buck, and I plowed through the material as quickly as a I could. Since I was completely new to medical billing and it can be a very technical subject, I actually had to read through the text a few times before I really understood everything.

To make a long story as short as possible, I quickly learnt enough to get by. My boss at the time saw my potential and offered to pay for me to get a coding certificate offered by a nearby community college if I continued working for him for a minimum amount of time. I took the deal and became proficient as a coder. A couple of years after I got my coding certificate, I left that chiropractor’s office to work for a hospital who was willing to pay me much more. I was actually making some really good money in the billing department (You can check HERE to see the salary range for medical billers and coders), but after working very closely with the nurses in the hospital and seeing the changes they were making in others’ lives, I felt “called” to become a nurse myself.

Everyone has their own talents and abilities, but here is the advice I would give someone looking into having a career in the medical field: Go the medical billing route first! You can get your foot in the door much easier that way and you can also get a really good feel for what to expect from other jobs within the field. For anyone wanting to learn about medical coding on their own, I highly suggest “Step-By-Step” textbook. It’s not an easy read by any means, but when it comes to coding you won’t find an easy read. It will, however, give you all of the information you need in a very organized format. Although it might take a few readings, it can help you learn virtually everything you need to know.

Left for Dead Review

Imagine being attacked while you are walking to work and minding your own business. This sounds like something from a movie, but unfortunately this happened to Samantha Barlow when she was on her way to work at the police department as an active police officer. Barlow was attacked randomly and was left for dead in the local park by her attackers, who had beaten her with a brick. This attack could never be understood by Barlow or her family members as she had no grudges or enemies.

Barlow suffered severe physical trauma as well as head trauma injuries. Her husband and children had to watch their mother fight for her life and try to fight through the therapy and counselling. This traumatic experienced lasted 22 months, where Barlow needed to learn to do many things all over again and start her life from scratch living with that death-defying experience in the back of her mind constantly.

Barlow went back to work and pushed herself to become the police officer that she was before the brutal attack. She decided that she did not want to lose everything because of some random attack, she wanted to prove to herself and the world that she could still be the officer that she was and had always been. Samantha pushed herself and made sure that she was not going to be a victim but rather a police officer like any other police officer.

Barlow had always wanted to be a police officer and believed that becoming a police officer was the best thing in the world. Not only were you giving back to your community but you are also making sure that the community is a better place for your children and family. Samantha did not know any other career besides the police force, and could not see herself working anywhere else. This proves that the police force is not a terrible career and that the policemen and women feel that they are all a family and have lots to offer each other.

The police force might be a difficult and tiring career but in the end you are part of the family and you know that you will be taken care of till the end. Samantha Barlow suffered severe post stress disorder but she was paid off as she was medically boarded, and she was still considered a member of the police academy. Samantha is welcome regularly at the police department and is considered a hero to many of the community members as well as the public.

The main point of this book review is not to show that Samantha Barlow was medically boarded, but to show that she pushed herself to go back to her police force and work for that amount of time because she loved her career so much that she could not stay away from it. She had another family with the police force and felt that she could not stay at home and abandon a career that she had decided on when she was six years old.