We’re Melbourne bound for 2015 and beyond

We’re delighted to say that our inter-continental job hunt is complete, with jobs secured and our home for 2015 and beyond confirmed: we’re moving to Melbourne.

At times it felt a long and winding road but in the end we were super lucky to receive offers for jobs we are super excited about within the same hour for not just the same city, but a city that will be great to live in.

  • Fiona is joining the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet. She’ll be working in the education team, an area the newly elected Labor government has signaled as a key priority.
  • Joe is joining dandolopartners, a boutique policy and strategy consultancy which provides high quality advice to government or clients that work with government.

Strangely enough, neither of us has ever actually visited Melbourne. But every friend, relation and acquaintance that has raves about it. Plus it is, you know, objectively the most liveable city in the world. As our travels have worn on we’ve increasingly been seeking some cultural familiarity in our next home. Melbourne will certainly provide that, but still be different from New Zealand. For one thing, it houses almost as many people within its municipal bounds.

Some reflections on the job hunt

Hunting for new jobs and a new home has been a significant emotional investment, required a lot of time and effort and generated more than occasional bouts of worry and stress.  Here are some random reflections.

  • We know how lucky we are and we’re hugely sympathetic to those who aren’t. We could search around the world safe in the knowledge that a meaningful position at home wouldn’t be too hard to find. Many, many people are looking without that security, like the one in five Spaniards that are out of work, or the highly qualified civil servants in New Zealand who have been made redundant in the cost squeezes of the last five years. Our thoughts are with all of them.
  • Recruitment processes are imperfect. If you don’t get the result you expect, that might be about the process rather than about you. I applied for a junior role with an international organisation called ‘aero-political advisor’ which, I think, anyone who knows me would see as a good match, but never got so much as an interview for it. On the other hand LinkedIn continues to assess me as in the top 25% of candidates for technical insurance ‘policy’ roles I can’t begin to understand.
  • It’s tough to look for work overseas. You have to think creatively about how you can use existing contacts to identify opportunities and suss out potential employers. A former colleague of Fi’s works at DPC. I heard about dandolo on a facebook post. When you don’t have connections like these applying for jobs feels like cold calling.
  • It is even tougher when you are both looking at once. You get yourself pumped up to apply for roles that pull you towards different cities and you have to confront difficult trade offs. We’re not keen to do a global simultaneous hunt again, and don’t recommend it.
  • To the recruiters in Australia who told us we wouldn’t get jobs until we were actually in the country, you were wrong. Learn about skype.
  • That’s not to say interviewing from a distance is great, though. If you’re on the phone, or your skype picture is choppy, you lose the important visual clues that tell you when to start and stop talking, and give you a sense of how well your answers are received.
  • Free immigration, done right, would make the world a better place.

Our part in the brain drain

National Party Prime Ministers have a habit of making political points about New Zealanders crossing the ditch to work in Australia. Confronted with the brain drain of the 1970s PM Sir Robert Muldoon said: “New Zealanders who leave for Australia raise the IQ of both countries.” Fair enough. Sounds like a pareto improvement.

Then before the 2008 election John Key stood in Wellington’s stadium to demonstrate the number of kiwis leaving each year, the best and the brightest drawn by sunnier economic climes. Government needed to turn the brain drain around, he said, (“wave goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones”) and now that many kiwis are coming home, I suppose he might claim it has.

To Mr Key I’d say our move isn’t about government nor the economy. Current Australian refugee policies, among others, are downright repellent to us at the moment and there are some suggestions that the ‘lucky country’s’ economic luck might be changing. We’re going because Australia offers things New Zealand never realistically will: life in a big cosmopolitan city, somewhere new to explore.

We’ll probably be back at some point, though the similarity of Australia makes our move more plausibly permanent than, say, jobs in Shanghai (the professional equivalent of a student exchange). And we will be back regularly in the interim, starting with five weeks from Christmas this year. Catch you there, or, if not, in Melbourne.

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