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Empathy and FIFO with Lachie Samuel

Updated: Apr 22


Episode 12 - The Professional Empathy Podcast

Empathy and FIFO with Lachie Samuel

Listen on Podomatic or on your favourite podcast platform (Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google)

Ok - so quick warning - we cover some pretty heavy topics in this episode such as suicide, drug use and abuse.

In this episode of "The Professional Empathy Podcast," I had a compelling conversation with Lachie Samuel, delving into the intricate world of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers. We explored the mental and emotional challenges these individuals face while leaving their homes for extended periods to work in remote locations like mining sites and oil rigs. Lachie, drawing from his personal journey, shared insights into the motivations and stresses behind choosing FIFO work, shedding light on issues like isolation, lack of trust in management, and coping mechanisms such as substance abuse. We emphasized the significance of open communication, both in maintaining healthy relationships during extended absences and addressing suppressed emotions. Through our discussion, we called for increased empathy, peer support networks, and positive changes to foster better mental health within the industry.

You can find Lachie (and his amazing body of work) at

Show notes - Empathy and FIFO

Show Notes: Empathy and FIFO with Lachie Samuel - The Professional Empathy Podcast

In this episode of *The Professional Empathy Podcast*, host Leanne Butterworth engages in a thought-provoking conversation with Lachie Samuel, delving into the world of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers. The discussion revolves around the mental and emotional challenges faced by individuals who leave their homes for extended periods to work in remote locations such as mining sites and oil rigs.


- Leanne introduces the episode's topic: "Empathy and FIFO" with guest Lachie Samuel.

- The podcast explores the unique experiences of FIFO workers, shedding light on their mental health and emotional well-being.

**Understanding the World of FIFO Workers**

- Lachie shares his personal journey, having transitioned from being a FIFO worker himself to focusing on mental health within the industry.

- Discussion about the motivations and stresses that lead individuals to choose FIFO work, including financial gains and peer influence.

- The concept of "Ivory Tower" is introduced, representing the divide between management and workers, affecting the overall work culture.

**Challenges and Pressures Faced by FIFO Workers**

- Exploration of the challenges that FIFO workers encounter, including long hours, isolation, and lack of trust in management.

- The psychological impact of feeling replaceable and the insecurity tied to job performance and financial stability.

- Emphasis on the negative influence of certain coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, due to the lack of outlets for emotional expression.

**Communication and Relationships**

- Importance of communication in maintaining healthy relationships for FIFO workers, whose extended absences can strain personal connections.

- Discussion about using FIFO work as an escape from relationship issues, leading to suppressed emotions and unresolved conflicts.

**Advice and Solutions**

- Lachie's advice for individuals considering a career in FIFO: Reflect on personal motivations and understand the potential impact on mental health and relationships.

- Encouragement for workers to communicate openly, seek peer support, and engage in self-care practices.

- Focus on breaking the cycle of fear and insecurity within the industry through increased empathy, active listening, and positive change.

**Towards a Better Future**

- Lachie's shift from working directly with companies to focusing on individual support during workers' breaks.

- Discussion on the potential for a more balanced approach to gender representation in the FIFO workforce.

- Efforts to create peer support networks, promoting mental health and emotional well-being during workers' time off.

**Closing Thoughts**

- A call to action for increased understanding, compassion, and empathy towards FIFO workers and their unique challenges.

- Acknowledgment of the importance of making positive changes within the industry for the betterment of workers' mental health and overall well-being.

Host: Leanne Butterworth

Guest: Lachie Samuel

Podcast: *The Professional Empathy Podcast*

Episode: Empathy and FIFO with Lachie Samuel

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Hi! I'm Leanne Butterworth, Empathy Educator, TEDx Speaker, University Lecturer and Mental Health Advocate.

Empathy First is a Brisbane-based social enterprise offering Empathy workshops, online courses and individual Empathy coaching to help you build connection and strengthen your relationships for personal and professional success.

Contact me today and let's talk about how you can put Empathy First.

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