Culture shock

My head is starting to clear after the shock to the system brought on by the move from Durban in South Africa, my former home, to Brisbane, my new one. I really did think that I would arrive and start work immediately, but it has taken time to adjust to my new circumstances.

In many ways, Brisbane is similar enough to Durban to make it feel eerily familiar. Both are on the east coasts of their respective continents, both were founded in the same year, 1824, and were settled and built by the same sorts of people. They enjoy similar weather patterns, the inhabitants have laid-back lifestyles, and they are important gateways to their respective regions.

Similar, yes, but there are also differences that are taking this immigrant some time to get used to. There is different terminology and pronunciation to get used to as well as new approaches and ways of doing things to be learned. One of the most important things I missed was the critical importance of correctly structuring applications for contract and permanent positions.

Many organisations, including many State government departments, have been advertising for media and/or communications staff for permanent posts or, quite often, on short to medium-term contract. I know myself to be an extremely good communicator but, in spite of those skills and all my experience, I wasn’t even getting to the interview stage. I was feeling pretty low about things but thankfully, after input from Frances Cahill of Emerald Writing & Training, I now know why.

It’s not enough to point to jobs I’ve done and work I’ve produced and expect employers on this side of the water, to be impressed. And so, from here on in, it’s a change of tack and my best foot forward.

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