“Thank for a great experience from the time I walked in the door”

Ellen-Maree Gadd
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For more information:
Stephen Crowe

Managing Director

Ph: 02 8042 8907

[email protected]

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Are you considering a move abroad? Perhaps you’ve always dreamt of working in Hong Kong or New York but have yet to make the big move. Ponder no longer! Here are six reasons why gaining international experience is a great idea for you and your career.

1. Upskilling – The knowledge and experience you gain whilst working abroad can be a huge boost to your career. Aside from the obvious exposures to new cultures and languages, you may get the chance to work on interesting projects or with high profile clients – opportunities that could set you apart from your peers at home.

2. Fast Track to a Senior Position – Depending on your industry, role and where you intend to relocate, you may be lucky enough to move in to a more senior role fairly quickly. Perhaps you are highly skilled in an area that is developing in another jurisdiction or experiencing a skills shortage? In that instance, you could be bringing a wealth of valuable knowledge and experience to the table and have the chance to compete for roles that could be far off in your home country.

3. Soft Skills – By embracing opportunities overseas you are revealing your passion and adaptability. Employers want staff who are motivated, ambitious and flexible to adapt to changing circumstances. Moving to a new job and a new country emphasises your determination and resilience in dealing with challenges.

4. Networking on an International Platform – Accepting a role in another country will inevitably open up your network and allow you connect with colleagues all over the world. These connections may prove fruitful in keeping you updated with developments and job opportunities in your chosen field.

5. Personal Growth – Moving abroad especially on your own is no easy feat however it’s a challenge that can bring with it immense personal growth and enrichment. The opportunity to move outside of your comfort zone, experience a new culture and language and meet new people is likely to have an enduring impact on your life.

6. Point of Discussion – Moving to another country and getting that overseas experience will be a point of discussion for the rest of your career. Having interesting experiences and stories to tell about your time abroad will set your CV apart from other candidates on the pile.

travel

Ah the joys of the morning commute. I posted last week’s poll to get a general idea of how many of you out there prefer to fight the traffic battle in the morning on the way to work or whether you like the fight the crowds on the bus, ferry or train on the way into work.

When I often tell people that I live about an hour outside of work I watch as their faces tend to cringe and the response will usually be, ‘how do you put up with the travel into work?’ or ‘Have you ever thought of living closer to the city?’ And my response is always the same, ‘I really don’t mind. I enjoy where I live as opposed to where I work, I find a good balance, and if I have a good book or music to listen to , the morning commute is fine.

Of course that is not what goes through my head on the days when the announcement comes on the train that says something along the lines of, ‘Attention all passengers, due to a technical failure/a police incident at blah blah station/an emergency situation/a passenger jumping from the platform, etc. your train will be delayed or cancelled for today. Cityrail apologises for any inconvenience caused…‘ And of course depending on what the schedule is like for the day, it is often a MAJOR inconvenience.

At the same time, this is my only option as I don’t drive. And when I think of the cost of a vehicle, insurance, petrol and the cost of parking, I often think to myself, why bother! My workplace is across the street from the station, my home is two minutes from the station. So regardless of those unexpected incidents with public transport, I tend to think I’m in a Win/Win situation.

However, I know that not everyone has the same situation and this is what your responses were:

  • 33% of you prefer driving to work
  • 55% of you take either the train or bus into work
  • 11% of you do a combination of driving and taking public transport into work

I also appreciated the valid responses as well:

  • When attending my office in the city, I catch the train as traffic and parking are ridiculous! But when attending a client’s office in the suburbs I drive.
  • Having to work late frequently, it is more convenient and comfortable to jump in the car and drive home after work.  Having said that, I do not enjoy the traffic jams in the morning!
  • Can read and work on the train. Reliable and cheap too

With that said, I can understand if you need to travel within short distances or to an area outside of the public transport zone then I would certainly say a car would be more reliable, but I also have to agree, does traffic add on more stress to your day?

A website called www.lifehak.com advises that the use of public transportation can save your sanity and improve your productivity in the following ways:

  • Saving your money – how much does your car really cost you in the course of a year?
  • Saving your time – once you are driving, your hands and mind are fully occupied, on public transport, your time is your own.
  • Saving your sanity – how often do you lose your temper when you are stuck in slow traffic?
  • Saving yourself – how much more exercise can you get in the day running for a train or bus?
  • Saving the world – much better for the environment in the long run

Another website called workawesom.com lists four main reasons to take public transport over driving:

  • Found time – more time reading, working, or napping if needed
  • Save the earth and some cash – as above, good for the environment and costs less per week
  • Employer benefits – employers will sometimes partially or even fully reimburse you for transit costs depending on the work related task.
  • Market research – needing statistical information from the general public, there is no better way to find like minded individuals to chat to or observe then on the train or bus.

Besides time, one of the other major factors appears to be costs. Now I know this can be dependant on where you live, and whether or not you need to rely on a car or not to get around, but you could be saving thousands of dollars a year by taking public transport. Not to mention, have you seen the cost of parking within the central city CBD? It’s great if you have a company car space, but let’s be honest, how many of us genuinely have that?

Well my vote is for public transport, not to be biased as I do like being the car passenger, especially on more remote trips that are outside of the city. But travelling into work, I would prefer to have my time then have to stress and worry before even arriving to work!

Haven’t had your say? Why not add a comment below, we would love to hear from you. Otherwise we have a new online poll this week, which was created by my colleague Susan Kealy, ‘How do you feel about personality tests?’ – why not participate and be in the draw to enjoy a great night out at the movies? The results will be revealed next week, stay tuned!

 

travel

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We’ve previously blogged about some of the experiences our temps shared with us about working overseas, and what it’s like working here in comparison.

But, did you know members of our team have their own tales to tell regarding their experiences working in such diverse international locations as London, Paris, Chicago and Cape Town? In addition, we are very fortunate to have a wonderful English team member of our own, who has shared her impressions of working in Sydney with us here, too.

This week, five of Challenge Consulting’s staff share their stories …

Lost in London by Elizabeth Varley, Managing Director

London is where I commenced my exciting career in recruitment. After travelling for a year I arrived in London broke. I quickly found the best avenue to replenish the meagre bank balance was to go to a recruitment agency and get a temp job. This was the turning point in my career.

After an interview, the consultant introduced me to the Branch Manager and, amazingly, she offered me a job as a Temporary Recruitment Consultant with the company. So there I was, an Aussie in London working in Earls Court (Kangaroo Valley as it was known then) placing other Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians and the odd South African into temp jobs. The word soon spread that I was one of them and before long the branch had a fantastic team of expat temps working all over London.

What did this experience teach me? For one, flexibility. When in a foreign land, adopt “a can do attitude” and the doors of opportunity will be flung open. I also learned was the fine art of combining a raging social life with the professional necessity of turning up on time, every day, and putting the effort in for my manager and colleagues.

After a year of having a ball at work and acquainting myself with a large number of excellent pubs and pommy lads it was time to come home to a much more sober life, in every sense of the word.

Being away from home, the constraints of family, and the career treadmill can be lots of fun, as long as you are prepared for the unexpected, and make the most of every situation.

Lost in London? Yes, but alive and well!

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How I Learned “Hospitality French” in Paris by Melissa Lombardo, Consultant – Temporary Recruitment

I anxiously arrived in Paris after travelling around beautiful and sunny Europe for four months. That means I arrived short on cash and desperate for a job. By short on cash I mean eating €1 noodles for dinner along with some boiled broccoli that I had added for that extra bit of nutrition. By desperate for work I mean, applying for absolutely every job I saw. “Brick Wall Watcher Wanted”. Sure I’ll do it … how many years’ experience required? Brick Wall sounds much better in French anyway.

To add to this dire situation I barely knew a word of French. 

After a stressful four weeks I was lucky enough to be offered two positions, one working for a Parisian recruitment company as a headhunter and the other one in hospitality, at a creatively named English themed pub, Frog Pubs. As the purpose of my trip was more “having a good time” than “career”, I chose the latter option. Quietly, though, I was rather chuffed about being offered the first role, despite not speaking French!

I eventually learnt “Hospitality French”. I couldn’t have a conversation with somebody but I knew when they wanted the bill, to know where the bathroom was, or another drink. Well, except for the time somebody ordered four “coca’s” (coca-cola) and I presented them with four Coronas.

Generally speaking the French were pleasant and friendly and were happy to speak English when I struggled to understand them or ordered them the wrong drink. They were also easy-going when at first I made the assumption of handing over the beer to the male of a couple and the Virgin Pina Colada to the female. I grew to learn that Parisian men absolutely love their mocktails and to never stereotype what a person might drink again.

Working for the pub in Paris was certainly a wise decision. The culture was warm, friendly and team oriented and we were always given fun targets to meet at the start of our shift. I made some amazing friends from all over the world and it was definitely a valuable insight into French culture. I wouldn’t change this experience for the world!

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Chicago, City of Extremes by Jenny Madden, Senior Consultant

When my husband and I first went to America to work in 1987, our first port of call was Chicago, a wonderful city hugging the shores of Lake Michigan. 

Chicago is a beautiful city to walk and ride around. We lived in a cosmopolitan area an easy 15-minute bus ride to the CBD.  Chicago is a city of extremes, absolutely freezing in winter and incredibly humid in summer. 

I worked for Hilton Hotels as EA to the GM of the Palmer House, the oldest operating hotel in the US.  It is an amazing structure with gilded, hand-painted ceilings.  I found the Americans to be extremely hard working and demanding. For example, I started off with one week’s annual leave per year!

The next stop on our American odyssey was New York, where I had my first child … but that’s a whole other story!

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Movies for Morale in Cape Town by Carmen Mackrill, People Services Consultant

One of the best and most memorable experiences I had whilst working in Cape Town was during my time with a national insurance company.

The company held a large internal drive to motivate staff. It was decided that all 1000+ employees needed to see the movie Antz. Of course.

Each divisional office had to nominate a specific day to watch the movie so, one day, Head Office (where I was working) shut down at 3pm in the afternoon so its 450 employees could watch the movie. The whole cinema was booked out just for us and we all received individual snack bags.

I know you’re dying to find out if, in fact, staff morale was boosted by this movie-going experience.

Well, I am happy to report that my sister-in-law now works for the same firm and has advised me that it remains a very happy place to work, and similar morale-boosting exercises continue to this day!

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Sydney: I’m Impressed! by Anna Carveth, Administration Assistant

I remember my first train from Bondi Junction into Sydney on the way to work and remember looking out of the window feeling immensely happy and content. Replacing the familiar view of grey clouds, rain, and more recently snow, was bright sunshine, warm surroundings and a city that was new and exciting.

It’s all about location and Sydney is definitely it! Sydney is an impressive city; it is modern and clean and there are a vast amount of shops, bars and restaurants to choose from. The Sydney Harbour is a 15minute walk away from work and the view of the Opera House and the Sydney Bridge never fails to amaze me.

Having been in Sydney now for several months, I have been lucky enough to have worked for that time right in the centre on George Street. I work in an office where I am the only British worker and have had the opportunity of working with Australians and a South African. Living in Bondi and having friends out here from home, has meant that I have not made as many Ozzie friends as I had imagined. Being able to gain this opportunity through work has been a great advantage. I am always asking questions about everything in order to learn more about different backgrounds and upbringings and although most of it is similar to the UK, there are still some differences.

There are the funny towns that I still struggle to get my tongue around such as Woolloomooloo, Yagoona and Wahroonga, and I have found that if a word can be shortened, it will be! I have also been confused when faced with alternatives such as ‘Mufti’ day.

In comparison to working life at home, apart from the hot weather and the few days of torrential downpour, I don’t find it to be much different. There is the sense that things are more relaxed, however, people still have the same work ethic and work the same hours. There are still the rules and regulations that different companies have to adhere to and the company I work for shares similar core values to the company I worked for at home.

Overall though the experience so far has been brilliant! I am lucky enough to work for a great company and have met some wonderful people. Working in Sydney has only been a positive experience and I know I will go home with some great memories!

Share your stories! Leave a comment below …