So You're Working in Australia For 6 Months Now - What's The Big Deal?
Have you ever had one of those nights where no matter how tired your body is, you just couldn't go to sleep? I'm having that exact thing, at 2:00 AM - and it is one of the worst feelings, especially when you have work the next morning.
So here I am, typing my thoughts away while hoping by the end of this post, I am tired and sleepy enough to go to bed (I am really, really hoping so). Anyway, speaking of work, I just realized that I am already on my 6th month on my job. Wow. Time really flies so fast. Half a year ago, I was totally heartbroken cause I lost my very first job, after four days. (Read: I GOT A JOB AND I LOST IT (THE WORKPLACE SHOCK). Then on an unexpected turn of events, a month and a half after, I was able to land a job in BOC, Australia's leading gas and equipment specialist as a customer service representative. (Read: On Second Chances - Tips on Jobhunting)
So you're 6 months in the company, what's the big deal?
Nothing, actually. I just consider this a little achievement. I can say that I am now fully adjusted to the working culture and to the "working parents" routine. Admittedly, it was really hard at first - trying to manage my commute to work while trying to make sure that Leon is picked-up or dropped-off on time. Pero ngayon parang nagamay na namin ni Paolo ang sistema. Since technically, I am a call centre agent here and we cater to the whole of Australia, I am on a shifting schedule. When I'm on early shift, Paolo drops Leon and I pick him up, and the reverse happens when I'm on a later shift.
Is there a difference, working here in Australia, compared to the Philippines?
Yes. Big difference. Although I was on a completely different job in the Philippines - I was a medical representative with flexible working hours, working in the field. I can say that the working culture here is very different. Here's why.
Strict, 8-hour working schedule each day.
7.5 hours, technically minus the lunch break.
Here, your time is precious. When your schedule says you end at 5, you end 5 on the dot. In my job, for example, I work only for 7.5 hours a day, plus 45 minutes lunch break and 10 minute morning and afternoon tea break. When it's 5 minutes past the end of your shift, your manager calls you out and ask you to leave. If you have unfinished work, do it the next day. If you opt to stay back to finish work, it means you're not managing your time well.
Doing overtime is not expected, but appreciated
Ideally, you have to go once your shift ends. However, if there is a need for overtime, and if you stayed back, it will be appreciated (and of course, paid). Most of the time (especially in our company), overtimes are often scheduled and discussed first, if possible. Time is valued here. (Unless you're a manager or your role requires otherwise). If you're a parent and you are in-charge of daycare pick-up, of course, you have to leave on the dot, and it is totally understandable. Hence working parents still get to spend time with their kids on weekdays.
Events start and end early
I'm not sure with other companies but each time we have a gathering here, it usually starts at 4:00PM and ends at 8:00PM, or 9:00PM at the most. (Malls usually close at 6:00PM and restaurants close at 10:00PM). I'm not quite sure why, but we've also adjusted to this routine where 10PM is too late already. Probably because people here have no help to rely on chores or duties? Or perhaps, to be able to go home, spend time with family and rest to have the energy for the next day.
Meetings are short, sharp, starts and ends on time
During my medrep days, I always looked forward to our team meetings because it was the time that I get to catch-up with my colleagues. A good amount of time was usually allocated for these meetings - to discuss all the important things plus some extra time to catch-up. Here, meetings are very quick and direct. It starts on sharply on time and ends on time too - without extensions.
You address everyone on their FIRST NAME
Yes first name. No need to call your manager boss, sir or ma'am, or call your senior colleague miss or sir. You call everyone, literally everyone - your boss, your boss' boss, your boss' boss' boss' boss on their first name or even nickname. It was really shocking for me at first but I got used to it, eventually. The workplace feels less intimidating but more welcoming.
The managers sit on a desk, not in a separate office
This was another shock for me, honestly. In my former company, the managers have their own offices, separate from the employees' desks (with the general manager having the biggest office). In our office, the managers sit on a desk, very similar to the kind of desk you are sitting on. In fact, the manager of my manager sits on a desk across me. When you enter the office, you'd see all employees on their desk, without really knowing who's the boss, unless introduced. The workplace has an approachable and comfortable set-up - where you can easily see your manager, approach him or her when you need something. The set-up is so open that you can even talk and share stories with your manager while seated at your desk.
If you're sick, take a sickie
Sickie is their (cute) term for sick leave. Though as much as possible, you try to be present at work, you have to go home and rest if you're unwell. Again, another shocker. Management would rather send you home when you're unwell than risk having others be infected. When I went to work with a mild cough and colds, I was immediately sent home - no explanation required.
They will always find a way to express their thoughtfulness
Whether you are celebrating your birthday, leaving the company or going for a maternity leave, our company will always do something to make you feel special. On my birthday, for instance, they put balloons on my desk and all those memes to make me happy. Another thing I found interesting? The company always prepares a small send-off to anyone who leaves the company. A food day will be organized, gifts will be given and goodbye speeches will be given. The people will definitely make you feel appreciated, even on your very last day.
I'm sure there are still a lot of things that I can share but those were the notable differces I have observed. How about you? Are you also working overseas and noted something different on the working culture there? I'm happy to hear them here!
xx, The Mommy Roves