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The end of an adventure


MichaelvdBerg
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Hi everyone,

Some forumites might remember me as someone that jumped onto the forum, got involved and within a few months got myself into Australia. I would like to express my thanks to everyone on this forum for sharing their experiences and their advice and would hereby like to plow back a bit of experience for others to have a think about.

I have decided that I am going to return to my father-land and persue a life there. Many may be wondering why and what could possibly the reasons but at the end of the day, everyone's situation is different and everyone have different priorities.

I came over to Australia in the beginning of July 2008 and started my Ozzie learning-curve by my lonesome to see what a possible future here could be like. I made some really lovely friend (a whole bunch actually being Aussies) and can honestly look upon this time favourably and, not having any regrets, smile. Understanding that a lot of people are sharpening their teeth from all over the world to get in Australia, I found it quite ironic that upon the verge of receiving my PR, I am actually not going to use it and the plan is to come over and activate it and then about 5 years later come over again and do a 3 month contract to qualify for a resident return visa..

The main reason for my decision is that my career is a very important thing for me at this stage. I am 28 turning 29 early next year and at that stage where I need to sprint to move up in the ranks. I have been able to do that quite comfortably in SA (BEE and all) but slagged a bit down over here in Aus. Things work differently here. I have found that the hierarchies of the companies to be strange as they have a whole different management style as what I am use to in SA.

What gets to me is the fact that Australia does not really have a culture that believe in financially rewarding hard workers by, for instance, incentives or paying bonusses (yes some of you might be lucky). I'm in the IT industry and have many friends and peers all of whom work for different companies and all over Australia. Not a single one of them have ever been financially rewarded for a job well done. In SA, I never not had a 13th cheque.

I know some people might think that I am knit-picking but trust me, our industry has long and hard hours (even after hours you will always need to read books to stay up with the technology) and it is nice to be rewarded with more than just a couple of 'Pure Blondes' on a Friday afternoon. I have also found the tall-poppy syndrome and never truly understood it till about a few months down the line. I have experienced it where most every company I've worked at/dealt with have a fairly flat hierarchy. This means that the next level for you to pretty much grow into, is your boss' position. I have heard a Brit telling me that if you come over to Aus as a 'train driver', you will always be a 'train driver'. I asked him why and his reply was that life is a lot about who you know and not what you know but it is even more so in Australia. I got away from the issue a little when I did contracting (wangled something even though I was on a 457) and started earning a salary that few people my age gets...still I felt that I will have to have a working wife before I could afford a house lol so I guess I will have to sort that out sometime soon :lol:

Right before my decision to go home, I received an offer at a very good and reputable construction company for a leadership role, but with less money than I had when I started in Australia (pm me if anyone might be interested - SharePoint Developers) but the whole concept of growing into a leadership position was being sold to me without success. I am use to where there is more responsibility, there is greater remuneration.

As you might be reading this you will get an idea that I am quite focused on career-growth at the moment. Aus taught me some great stuff but it is now time to switch to the next gear. If I can advise someone who is considering leaving a really good job behind, think carefully...Australia is an expensive country and it is difficult to make your way through the thick middle class they have here.

The flip-side of the coin is that Aus is a safe place so weigh up what you will pay for safety...I once heard someone on this forum say that they would rather live in a card-board box in Aus than in a mansion in SA...all I say is, think carefully..talk is cheap :whome: Climb the ladder as high as possible but make sure you can still jump accross to the Aussie ladder...

My future plans are to get started in SA, buy a little housey and get married to my girlfriend at the end of 2010. Perhaps one day I might be asking some newbie questions on this forum again but I pray to God that the time doesn't come because I love SA very very much.

Thanks again to everyone over here..your presence has made life over here much better than you think..

Bye for now

Michael

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Whhhaaatt you got a 13th cheque in IT ?!?!?! hehehe, the last time i got that was when I worked for a corporation in 2003. I vowed never to work for a corporation again. I've been contracting the last 2 years, so going up the ranks, doesn't really bother me. As far as reward for hard work goes, contracting solves that too. But to each his own. I just find that through contracting I learn sooo much more. Good luck on your ventures.

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Thanks for your thoughts Michael,

And best of luck back in SA!

Perhaps when "little Michaels" (hehehe ;-)) come along,

you may reconsider Oz, but for the mean time,

as you say, we all have to make our own decisions!

All the best,

Chocolate

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Contracting is really good yeah...that is why I have been doing it :ilikeit: .. can't wait to start doing in SA

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Good luck mate,

I was on the verge of going back a couple of months ago, but decided to stay and I think I made the right decision (things are looking up).

Just one comment, I don't think you can come back in 5 years, do a 3 month contract, get a RRV and return to South Africa. Or rather, if you get an RRV, it will be valid for a very short period of time. Or are you planning to come back in 5 years and stay here?

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Hi Michael,

Check the RRV rules - you mentioned getting the RRV after a 3 month contract, but think the time period required is two years.

Good luck on your trip back and hope it works out for you.

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Well done on you ........................ follow what you think is right .................. :ilikeit::):ilikeit::ilikeit::ilikeit::ilikeit:

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Hey Michael , best of luck back in SA. Thanks for sharing with us in the past, heres wishing you all the best Mate.

Cheers

Enrica

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Hi Michael,

Thanks for your honesty in your post.... I can relate as it is really tough to adjust to Australia.... but at the end of the day we have to think of the "safety issue" for our son and try our best to make it work here!

Good luck with your venture to South Africa, maybe you be blessed with your new journey.

Jackie

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Michael hoop jy kom val nog so af en toe in en vertel ons hoe dit met jou gaan. Dankie vir al jou posts!!!

Weet sommer dit sal met jou goed gaan. :ilikeit::)

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Thanks for all the good replies. I will have a look at the Resident Return Visa but I am convinced that I will have a better understanding of where I need to be a few years from now. At the moment, I really am keen on trying to make things work again in SA but I am not going to be shy about doing some contract work over in Oz.

I will drop in and give you guys an update as to what is happening with life in SA again. Maybe I realise 6 months from now that I made a mistake and come back. I won't feel an harsh feelings on any future decisions regarding this. Australia truly grew on me so I can never say that I had a terrible experience...which is always good.

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Thanks for all the good replies. I will have a look at the Resident Return Visa but I am convinced that I will have a better understanding of where I need to be a few years from now. At the moment, I really am keen on trying to make things work again in SA but I am not going to be shy about doing some contract work over in Oz.

I will drop in and give you guys an update as to what is happening with life in SA again. Maybe I realise 6 months from now that I made a mistake and come back. I won't feel an harsh feelings on any future decisions regarding this. Australia truly grew on me so I can never say that I had a terrible experience...which is always good.

All the best to you. You are still very young and many adventures will follow, believe me. You can never know. My daughter is your age. She lived in SA, moved to Europe with us, then the US where she graduated from High School. After one year College in the US she left for Australia, obtained her degree (Marine Biology) in Queensland, worked for the University for almost 3 years, and last year she decided she wants to continue her studies here in Switzerland, and here she is in Zurich now doing just that. She is 27.

You do what you think is right for you, and nothing is forever. Good luck.

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I would double check that Return Visa even if you have a PR. I think you have to work for at least 2 years to be considered.

Anyway, not discouraging you from returning, but it does seem like you had 'permanent employment' in SA. I'm in IT myself and my last permanent position back in 2004 I think I was insulted with a 2% salary increase and no bonus.

I said good bye & good riddance. Been contracting ever since and would probably keep doing it till I die. The one thing I have learnt and seen over and over, perm does not reward like contracting. I worked with peolpe with nearly double the experience some years ago, they earned half of what I did. The nice thing with contracting too, you always keep abreast of developments, you choose your agencies & clients carefully and within a few years you will have a reputation that others will envy. I'm sadly at the point in SA where I'm hunted for my skill, so leaving that behind and start building a new reputation is somewhat daunting. However I have experience that will fast track this I hope. (I am determened to be one of the best in my field after 3 years in OZ and after 5, I shallt be referred to as the Uber Meister - hehehe)

With contracting, you do not need to worry too much about the tall poppy syndrome. You go in, do the job, get paid, get out. Do it good and bob is your uncle (not the zim-bob!). What the ozzies don't like is when you get a chip on your shoulder and they have only one answer for that - back in your box mate!

Good luck with your ventures.

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All the best with your continuing adventure!

You must do what you feel is right for you and I wish you much happiness!

On the job front, do you have something lined up in SA yet? We're really knee deep in the recession at the moment and people are struggling to find work.

Please keep us updated! And pop in to share your experiences with some of the newbies who arrive or others who are sitting in a similar position as you but might be too afraid to take the leap.

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I would double check that Return Visa even if you have a PR. I think you have to work for at least 2 years to be considered.

Anyway, not discouraging you from returning, but it does seem like you had 'permanent employment' in SA. I'm in IT myself and my last permanent position back in 2004 I think I was insulted with a 2% salary increase and no bonus.

I said good bye & good riddance. Been contracting ever since and would probably keep doing it till I die. The one thing I have learnt and seen over and over, perm does not reward like contracting. I worked with peolpe with nearly double the experience some years ago, they earned half of what I did. The nice thing with contracting too, you always keep abreast of developments, you choose your agencies & clients carefully and within a few years you will have a reputation that others will envy. I'm sadly at the point in SA where I'm hunted for my skill, so leaving that behind and start building a new reputation is somewhat daunting. However I have experience that will fast track this I hope. (I am determened to be one of the best in my field after 3 years in OZ and after 5, I shallt be referred to as the Uber Meister - hehehe)

With contracting, you do not need to worry too much about the tall poppy syndrome. You go in, do the job, get paid, get out. Do it good and bob is your uncle (not the zim-bob!). What the ozzies don't like is when you get a chip on your shoulder and they have only one answer for that - back in your box mate!

Good luck with your ventures.

You are right about the good perks of contracting although one has a serious drawback on having to always justify each and every hour spent thus having to be the best requires a hell of a lot of technologies to be the best in. In my field I have to be THAT in SQL Server, SharePoint, Asp.Net, CSS, XSLT and basically anything that can sprawl out of the .Net world...truth is...you cannot do that for too long unless you want to lose your personal life. I find going permanent to re-establish some of that skills with a good MS Partner company is not such a bad idea.

I have been contracting most of my time in Aus and started to make a name in Brisbane or at least, in the SharePoint space. I can tell you this...there are some good opportunities here but make sure that you show face with the community here...attend the tech-eds and User Groups...Another thing....the aussies love to tart up their cv's with a lot of useless jargon. They don't give a damn about your degrees or even their own (sorry to say but I don't have a lot of respect for Aussie Uni's ). All they care about is the Microsoft Certs and experience. To them it is all about being able to show the client that 'he has a MS cert in SQL Server so he can do the job'. Most of the time that works but I have seen a lot of idiots in the field decorated with more Microsoft Certs than Idi Amin was with war-medals....not the comparison as both are of the same calibre...

In Short: Go sort out lots of MS certs and even though I personally believe they are not worth much, put it on your CV...that way you will at least make the recruitment agents feel like they've cracked open their first beer on a friday.

You're also right about the chip on the shoulder thing...I just keep my head down and keep out of trouble...the managers here are ruthless..

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All the best with your continuing adventure!

You must do what you feel is right for you and I wish you much happiness!

On the job front, do you have something lined up in SA yet? We're really knee deep in the recession at the moment and people are struggling to find work.

Please keep us updated! And pop in to share your experiences with some of the newbies who arrive or others who are sitting in a similar position as you but might be too afraid to take the leap.

Hi Michele

Thanks for that. I am blessed with being in an industry that still have a lot of work available. I have quite a few interviews lined up for when I return and will get cracking on that early next year. The recession is also terrible here and especially in Brisbane...the community is small here but I have still managed to see movement in a positive direction.

I will keep you updated. If anything, I want people to feel that the entire world can be your home....

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Hi Michael.

Follow your heart and everything else will fall in place. I wish you everything of the best in SA. Thank you for opening your home to me when I needed it, hopefully one day we will get to meet.

Please stay in touch and enjoy your Christmas in Venezuela. (spelling).

Cheers, Jill and Pierre.

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Hi Michele

Thanks for that. I am blessed with being in an industry that still have a lot of work available. I have quite a few interviews lined up for when I return and will get cracking on that early next year. The recession is also terrible here and especially in Brisbane...the community is small here but I have still managed to see movement in a positive direction.

I will keep you updated. If anything, I want people to feel that the entire world can be your home....

It funny you know we came to Oz 2003 validated our visa back to SA came in 2005 stayed for a while moved back to SA. 2008 finally packed up an moved here as we had to, our visa was running out. Done our time got our citizenship visiting SA soon, who knows? Yes we love SA too but fact is when you been in Oz so short you really cannot make a career. My Biz in Oz is only just starting to increase slowly. Best of luck mate. Hope you have your eyes wide open as yes SA is beautiful, fantastic and all but remember why you left in the first place. Not trying to put you off but remember looking over the shoulder all the time. You may become rich quicker in SA but you can also die quicker too. Remember should you be (God forbid) shot and your bills run over a million rand as what happened to a friend of mine, the best medical aid in SA which he had did not pay all his bills. We are talking reality now. Fortunately he is a rich man and he was able to pay.But hey let us be upbeat 2010 is around the corner and lots of moola to be made. As long as you are sure you can go back. Do not wake up one day and say should have or could have as you do not get 100's of chances in life. Do the hard yards and you will be rewarded. Nobody says you have to live in oz forever, just get the kangaroo passport, you never know.

I know Oz can be bland, boring, same old, same old, difficult getting a specialist, some crappy schools,sameness no richness in vibe, colourless unsmiling people, fat blobs, mcdonalds culture,bogans, drinking culture, hoons, bashings, conformity, restaurant blandness, no SA Woolies, no proper biltong, cost of ordinary items like nuts and bolts etc. but hey positives, free schooling, medicare, bulk billing no paying when seeing a doc, much less crime, freedom of movement being able to walk, run wherever whenever, no electric fences, no armed response, almost zilch murder, no traffic light sellers, beggars etc, proper police force, councils that work properly, public transport, electricity that works,broadband,Centrelink family assistance, cheap insurance, being able to sleep at night and not barricade yourself in jail. My friend when you are single or do not have kids hey you can live wherever, whenever but once you have children your protective mode comes in so remember what I tell you. Kids change your whole outlook so make lots of money in SA and make a plan to get you Ozzie PR/passport. It will be worth it in the end. Cheers, and keep in touch, SA is a beautiful, beautiful country, i cannot wait to visit

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I am a little surprised at your experience. Both Hubby and I work in different industries and our experience has been totally different. Hubby is in Engineering and I work in Architecture and Planning. At both our companies there are incentive bonuses and all the little bells and whistles. It goes from the large-end scale bonuses right down to small things, like if a client gives good feedback, the company gives you a dinner voucher to a good restaurant and movie tickets.

Systems, methods and ways of doing things here are different, but not impossible to learn. What I would say is that there is a lot more "competence" here than I experienced in SA and competition if therefore much higher. In SA, it was easy to be considered "really good" in your company - here, everybody is "really good" and people work hard.

Having said that, I am a "back room worker" type by choice - I am not an ambitious corporate climber, and don't put myself forward. I just like to work on my designs with relative autonomy . My experience here is that to get sent up the ladder - you don't need to "sell" yourself - the company is constantly evaluating peoples roles and abilities and promotes people not based on how long you have been in the country, or how long you have been in the company, or how well you can talk the talk (bullshit), your progress is based on raw ability. Corporate climbing in my experience here is easy - you don't need to be your own personal cheerleeder, you just need to be able to do the job well.

As for the train driver remaining a train driver - again, my experience is totally different. I have degrees in Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Recently I have been working with our company's planning department and have found I am really interested in Urban design. I didn't even have to ask - the director saw my interest and has been putting me on all the new projects with an Urban Design component. Moreover, they have offered that if I wish to do an Urban Design course next year at the university, they will sponsor me.

Honestly, I think that work experience are not based on the country you are in, it is based on the company you work for. There are good and bad companies all over the world and there are no "set ways" a company operates based on the country - it differs greatly. Some companies for example will offer great maternity benefits, others will offer you massages on Fridays and fruit baskets on Mondays. Some companies offer you nothing other than your salary. It is like that in Australia and in SA.

I am sorry you didn't have the best work experience here - but on the bright side, at least now you can put on your CV that you have international experience. :ilikeit:

Good luck with your new job back in SA - hope it turns out to be a fantastic opportunity.

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Good Luck Michael!

Yeah I must say I am too in IT and have been working here for 2 years now and can relate top what you are saying fully.

Everyone has to take the decision that is going to work for them and I wish you good luck!

Nats

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Hi Michael,

Oh my word… :blush: I am so sorry (and happy for you) to hear about your decision of moving back to SA, but I do respect your decision. You won't believe how many people I heard of who is returning to SA in the next few months ! What is going on?!

Personally, I had a lot of trouble accepting Australia as my new home initially, but after about 14 months, I started to be more content and now I am really enjoying it :ilikeit: . It really depends on what your priorities in life are…

It is rather unfortunate that you haven’t given yourself some more time in Australia, but you are the most important person in your life and if SA is the place where you want to live, get married and have a family, then no one can argue with that.

I do believe that you have to make a mind shift about money and status if you decide to move and stay in Australia. Making it through the “thick middle class†in Australia is not our main priority. If your main concern is money and status, SA is probably a better option, but if quality of life and safety is of importance to you and you can be content to be middle class, then I think Australia is a good option. In the end, it is all about personal choice and personal priorities.

Good luck with your plans and the journey back to South Africa. Enjoy our mother country and stay safe.

All the best,

Pippa! X

PS.

Honestly, I think that work experience are not based on the country you are in, it is based on the company you work for.
Well said Gizmo!
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I am a little surprised at your experience. Both Hubby and I work in different industries and our experience has been totally different. Hubby is in Engineering and I work in Architecture and Planning. At both our companies there are incentive bonuses and all the little bells and whistles. It goes from the large-end scale bonuses right down to small things, like if a client gives good feedback, the company gives you a dinner voucher to a good restaurant and movie tickets.

Systems, methods and ways of doing things here are different, but not impossible to learn. What I would say is that there is a lot more "competence" here than I experienced in SA and competition if therefore much higher. In SA, it was easy to be considered "really good" in your company - here, everybody is "really good" and people work hard.

Having said that, I am a "back room worker" type by choice - I am not an ambitious corporate climber, and don't put myself forward. I just like to work on my designs with relative autonomy . My experience here is that to get sent up the ladder - you don't need to "sell" yourself - the company is constantly evaluating peoples roles and abilities and promotes people not based on how long you have been in the country, or how long you have been in the company, or how well you can talk the talk (bullshit), your progress is based on raw ability. Corporate climbing in my experience here is easy - you don't need to be your own personal cheerleeder, you just need to be able to do the job well.

As for the train driver remaining a train driver - again, my experience is totally different. I have degrees in Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Recently I have been working with our company's planning department and have found I am really interested in Urban design. I didn't even have to ask - the director saw my interest and has been putting me on all the new projects with an Urban Design component. Moreover, they have offered that if I wish to do an Urban Design course next year at the university, they will sponsor me.

Honestly, I think that work experience are not based on the country you are in, it is based on the company you work for. There are good and bad companies all over the world and there are no "set ways" a company operates based on the country - it differs greatly. Some companies for example will offer great maternity benefits, others will offer you massages on Fridays and fruit baskets on Mondays. Some companies offer you nothing other than your salary. It is like that in Australia and in SA.

I am sorry you didn't have the best work experience here - but on the bright side, at least now you can put on your CV that you have international experience. :ilikeit:

Good luck with your new job back in SA - hope it turns out to be a fantastic opportunity.

so true what you say about Ozzie competence. Here most people have been to Tafe of Uni. Lots of South Africans have made it big in corporate terms so I really believe the opportunities exist. Just do not expect it immediately. Hubby works for a great co and you can go as far as you want to. It is up to you. Same as people told me how hard it is to start a business, bollocks. In SA I struggled with everything from trying to get a CC registration, here I got my ABN number over the phone! Talk about more honesty and integrity in business as well. In SA I feel we are constantly having to share our hard earned wealth in the form of taxes, beggars, insurance premiums, high security costs, corruption, banking costs, poverty wherever you look, useless staff who can hardly read or write but expect handouts, BBBEEE. What a pleasure to deal with competent people and the UNI here not being on a high level? huh? gosh not my experience at all!. Not all Unis are good I know but lots of Oz unis in the top 200 so you figure. I have found people in IT to be really competent. Anyhow I know it is hard to fit in but if you really try hard Oz will welcome you and you will be paid what you are worth. Stuch as a train driver forever? You know why a train driver is a a train driver forever? He has no furthar inclination. Same goes for the guys who dig holes in the road in SA or are train drivers in SA. Same type of mentality. Use it or lose it! What abouth the SA lady who was a bank teller and now is the Chief exec? Seems she did not stay a bank teller now did she

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Hi Michael

Like everyone else I respect your decision, I know it could not have been easy. We all have diff. priorities at different times in our lives. But as I've told other people going back, "Get the PR first". I'm sure you have contact with people in ZA, and have some idea of the circumstances you'll be going back to. For myself, wanting to build a future for my son, Australia is the place for us by all the accounts I'm hearing from ZA is no place to raise children.

Ok enough of that, good luck for the future journey mate ;-)

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Ai Michael - kan nie glo jy gaan nou al so gou terug nie!!! Maar ons verstaan!!!! Volg jou hart! :)

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