For most of us, returning to NZ after living overseas comes with many challenges. Reasons vary, but family and the love for the outdoors are a few that spring to mind when speaking with returning Kiwi’s
Today we speak to an HR consultant returning to NZ after living in the Middle East. He’s requested his identity to remain confidential for work purposes.
How long had you been living away from New Zealand for?
For about 6 years, from 2011 to 2016. My wife and I decided on living in Dubai.
What were you doing for a job?
HR consultancy, working mainly on people development projects with organisations in and around the region. I started as a consultant in a team but soon enough I started managing clients, project teams and delivery. Extremely fast paced environment, time just flew.
Was it the intention to be away for so long?
Not really, we wanted to go for a couple of years, maybe 3, but it was the obvious choice to stay longer. Young couple, no kids, great work experience, big clients, life style and weather of course (although it did get very hot during summer)
What motivated you on returning to NZ after living overseas?
Family and we were also home sick. I also wanted to come back to get into the property market (well try to get into the housing market more like it!)
What was the family’s reaction when you told them?
Over the moon of course, they started creating lists of over due stuff I have to do around their property. But they couldn’t be happier, specially my wife’s parents.
What was it like in the first 3 months of being back?
It was really cold. really really cold. The first few month were interesting though, I felt like this home and I know everything, but I actually didn’t. I can’t remember it being that expensive and I’m talking about just general things, standard shopping items, it’s actually really expensive now. I also noticed that the quality of service has generally really dropped, people are not as patient anymore or maybe this is just me.
Work wise, it was not as straight forward as I thought, although I did a lot of research about this. I thought with the experience I have gained it would make it easy to find a job, I was actually looking forward to it, what I found however is that not much people understood my experience, mainly because of the scale compared to here (maybe), even HR recruiters didn’t understand it. One recruiter asked me if I had any NZ experience, well yes..if you turn the page (on my CV) you will see that I worked in NZ before I went to Dubai, I lived here all my life, on the other hand, I want to use my experience I have gained, I worked on multinational projects, I specialise in this area, surely this has to be of some value here. Nope, wasn’t of any value to that particular recruiter as well as others.
I think at this point all I was thinking was maybe coming back home wasn’t a good idea after all. I am more valued overseas.
What 3 things would you tell returning Kiwis to help with the transition home?
- Test your CV well in advance (3-6month) before coming back.
- Try to get first hand information about the job market, research is not enough at all. Things are really different on the ground and it’s different in each city/industry.
- Things might be the same, but you have changed, so adapting will take a while.
Don’t lose track, spending habits are the hardest part about adapting back
What are some of things we Kiwis take for granted that other countries are envious of?
The work life balance in NZ is no doubt the best thing about coming back. The fresh clean air, the water. I forgot how much you can get done in a day without having to rush. The good old kiwi culture, the BBQs. Of course it goes without saying, going to watch rugby, the skiing and outdoor activities
What do we need to change in NZ to become truly attractive/liveable ?
I think NZ is still running to cater for the older generation, more is needed for young professionals, across the board.
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Nick's Dutch wife is mostly concerned about the quality of NZ chocolate and cheese.Hope we don't disappoint.
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