Professionally, I’m a bit of a pikey; I wander around between employers a couple of times a year, Littlest Hobo-styley. It’s a way of working that’s obviously not for everyone and there is a significant risk of unemployment between assignments but it’s always seemed to work out fine for me. Plus, it gives one plenty of opportunities to show a finger to the taxman.
So, the first contract in Australia was for 3 months and it finished on Friday afternoon. The promised conversation with the boss of the boss didn’t happen so I managed to follow through and picked up another gig starting on Monday.
I’m aware that some of the readers of this blog are people considering becoming New Australians themselves and so this might be of some use.
After 3 months of employment in Sydney and two successful job hunts I feel opinionated enough to make some one-eyed observations:
- The elapsed time from sending a CV to getting a job offer is double that of London. I first thought that this was just due to the market being smaller or that the recruiters are more diligent but I’m starting to suspect that people are simply more “relaxed”.
- If you pick up the phone to a recruitment agent for a white-collar job and they don’t talk with a British accent, be prepared to be frustrated. It’s not something to be particularly proud of but the Australians are hopeless at it. We do the best parasitic scum. Go us.
- Depending on what it is you do, there are probably only 3 or 4 people in the city you need to talk to to get a new position. It took me a while to work this out but most of the positions that come up are listed with one of three agencies. One of these is represented by an Australian with asymmetrical hair, a big knot on his ties and very little ability. The other two are fine.
- Don’t wear a tie for the interview. It’s a subtle form of submission to conformity anyway and in 35 degree heat anyone who expects you to plod across town with one on isn’t worth working for.
- The only people who’s opinions are worth listening to in the office are either not from Australia or have spent a significant period of time working outside Australia. The others are, in the main, complete wet fish redolent of local government workers sitting waiting for their fully-funded pension to start and not doing anything tangible in the meantime.
- Beware of booking meetings and giving deadlines to the office “investor”. He’s got 3 “units” out in the Boondocks on which he makes a loss because of the crazy negative gearing tax break. He spends half his time on the phone to the rental agency arranging plumbers/electricians, etc. or takes surprise days off to fix issues caused by irresponsible tenants.
- Try to find other ways of saying “in the UK we would do that this way instead” when attempting to correct a colleague’s backward attempt at doing something which they have no clue about. You will need several versions of this phrase. Many versions, actually.
- Good news; you don’t have to work very hard to be as productive as most of your colleagues. Maybe take surf lessons with the spare time.
So, tomorrow is the the first day of the 2nd job. I’m on a plane up to BrisVenice for a couple of days to meet some of the key stakeholders of the programme. That’s a concern already; who would choose to live in Brisbane? Oh well, I’ve got 15 hours to practice talking slowly and with a low-syllabic vocabulary.