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What a Rollercoaster of a Year

What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Old Nov 10th 2011, 8:09 am
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Default What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Back in 2008 I decided to leave the employer I had been with for 21 years and pursue my dream about living abroad. NZ ticked many boxes as it had a better climate and spoke English as a first language, I didn’t have the qualifications to gain access to Oz but equally didn’t really want the weather extremes or things trying to eat me and the family.

So after leaving my employer, I went to NZ in the May for 3 weeks in order to look for work. What I didn’t realise at this time was that most NZ companies have a financial year that ends at the end of June, so most were not recruiting until their new tax year. After 3 weeks of fruitless meetings but nice cups of coffee and looking around, I managed to gain a meeting with a person who would be recruiting in the next fiscal year, the guy was great and on returning to the UK I went through two video calls and secured myself a post with an accredited employer.

August 2008 I moved to NZ, and started work, the family came over in the October after the house was sold as the market was starting to collapse at this time. We got a rental place in Auckland, and then in the December bought a place on the North Shore. I got into kayak fishing (what a great pastime), my boys started at school and loved all the outdoor activities, and they are outdoor boys for sure.

My older son (15) struggled and has continued to struggle socially, although I feel there some other issues that I won’t go into here, as well for that. They both do love their schools in NZ with a real passion. My wife got a job at a school and loved it, the house was great etc. However for me, I never realised before going to NZ, just how much of a backward step I had taken work wise. My boss was brilliant and he is now a very close friend, however I learnt the very hard way that many Kiwi’s whilst asking your opinion at work, don’t actually want to take it on board too quick. They will however let it percolate, and will quite often take the advice but it can be a significant time later. This aside it meant that three years running I was basically kneecapped in my end of year reviews despite my line manager being completely happy with my performance, and fighting damn hard on my behalf. It was very frustrating that none of this was done with substantiated feedback, just a few individuals’ subjective comments. This led to me losing thousands of dollars of bonus across my time there and there was no right of appeal.

I did apply for many other jobs out there, but I found the old boys club was working hard, and one thing I personally found difficult was that Kiwi’s tend to blur the lines between personal and work life i.e. many friends outside of work are colleagues inside work, something I had avoided doing all my working life in the UK. I called it the Facebook culture, it never did sit easy with me that I had to share my personal comings and goings with people I worked with in order to get on at work, rather than being good at my job and performing well. For many, drinking coffee and being a nice chap seemed far more important than whether or not you were completely incompetent at your job, something I saw many times in the recruiting of new people into the company.

However in March this year my Mum became seriously ill, my brother had serious throat cancer, and I was left in NZ trying to understand what the situation was whilst my Mum was in hospital, always getting a well meaning but happy clappy update from the ward clerk instead of knowing whether I should fly or not. In the end after two prolonged stays in hospital, at the end of March I got the phone call to say that she had died. I flew over and helped sort her estate out, arrange funerals etc, whilst this was happening my older son, became ill back in Auckland with something that had occurred before, and was looked after by Starship Hospital.

On my return in April, my wife and I then decided that we would split up, as amicably as possible (although it doesn’t feel THAT amicable any more), and I decided that I could no longer stand another year of fun at my employer. One other area I struggled with badly was making many good friends, but I realise now how long it takes to build up that shared history with people that may have been in place for decades in the UK.

So at the beginning of July, after getting my end of year bonus (reduced after more kneecapping) I left the company and came back to the UK, as I thought I would try and get a job I liked and I had mentally missed the British way of life. My wife and boys had the choice of where they wanted to be and they all decided to stay in Auckland, which we are fortunate enough between us to just about be able to accommodate this financially.

I came back here and have applied for over 50 posts, with a high response rate, many interviews, but not securing a job. I could secure one perhaps if I wanted to commute daily into London, but frankly I would rather pull my teeth out than do that. In the meantime, my brother has recently been diagnosed as terminally ill, and sadly will not be here in a few months time.

My sons are coming to stay with me at the end of the month, something I can’t wait for, as it has been extremely difficult especially as I had never been away from them for more than a week ever and only the two or three times.

After much eye opening and everything else that goes with these periods in life, I have decided that at some point I will go back and live in NZ, as it is the place for me. I know many people go back to the UK and do just fine and they have big families etc that they are close to, but that has never been the case for me, and after my brother there will be no one, and frankly I don’t think day to day the UK is the place I thought it was, and I can say that with actually living back here for 5 months. I am glad I did come back, especially with my brother being so ill, but it is not the place for me to stay.

I apologise for the long post, and the shortness of detail in some areas, but I kept it as open and brief as I could. This is the first (possibly last) time I have shared the story with people, as it sometimes nice to know you are not alone, and it may help me a little also.

So I’ll leave you with my own take on NZ based on living in Auckland:

PRO’S:

Healthcare – The level and quality of care at both GP, physio, consultant and various hospitals has been nothing short of phenomenal. Yes you may have to pay but the time taken and access to facilities is better than I had on BUPA in the UK. For clarity I can only speak about the North Shore of Auckland and Starship. Oh and physio (on ACC and without doctors referral) costing $10 is nothing short of brilliant.
Schools – On the shore the facilities and opportunities are brilliant, something you would pay a heap of money for in the UK. The teachers have been accessible and really want to work with parents. Discipline is so much higher in the kids than in the UK (IMO) and it is ok to be seen as clever.
Climate – Some people moan about the Auckland weather, but it is not Oz and if all you want is wall to wall sunshine then you have got the wrong place. However if you would like a fair amount of sun even in the winter months, mixed with some almighty rain, then it is spot on. It never gets below freezing in my experience in Auckland and only a handful of days get near.
Beaches – Yes lots of them and fantastic they are too, however I accept that this does not pay the bills or feed the kids. Facilities are generally brilliant i.e. toilets, showers etc.
Local community and shops – There is still a feeling of community with butchers, bakers etc all being well used and not taken over by the big supermarket chains like Tesco, ASDA have done here, although I am sure it will come in time.
Leisure – I accept you probably need to be more outdoorsy in NZ, but there is a lot to do. In Auckland I played football for the first time in 20 years (it hurt) but in the UK I can’t get into a team unless I know lots of people and normally based around a workplace or a pub.
Public transport – People pan the public transport on the forum. I think the bus services are excellent generally. They are clean and not too expensive at all and worked well for me commuting into the CBD for nearly 3 years.
Roads – Trust me after driving around the same road works in the UK for months now with very little progress made, I am amazed how quickly and well they resurface the roads around Auckland and quite often through the night, but again this is very Auckland based and I accept is different in a lot of the rest of the country.
Sports facilities – In Auckland.....AMAZING. My boys play football and some of the pitches would grace the football league here, seriously they are amazing. The sports halls at the Uni’s are clean, modern and exceptional on my experience.
Lack of anti-social behaviour – The pavements are clean and free of glass, dog poop etc., generally. The changing rooms at the beaches are not vandalised to death, the school grounds stay open and are generally well looked after. No groups of teens hanging around the shops that are open late. However I should balance this by saying some people have real issues with hoons in very loud cars being daft.

CON’s:

Culture – There is culture but it is very new comparatively and Pacifica based. If you want opera, ballet, big museums etc then I think it will be a big compromise from a large European city (I have never been in either place)
Shopping – Big debate on this one, but if you want your trainers in 8 different colours then you have the wrong place again. If you are happy to accept that it is what it is and to only ever buy in sales then you will generally be ok, how Briscoe’s and co., keep going when everyone tries to buy at weekends only is beyond me. Or you buy from the net if you are really after something.
Food – Can be an issue for people but if you are willing to buy a local brand of something, only buy seasonal veg etc., and then I think you will do fine. It is expensive though to do a week’s shopping, there is no doubt and it will probably always be a compromise.
Work – There is work, but as I said above the ‘Who you know’ more than the ‘What you know’ is a real issue and until employers start employing the right people on skills and promoting people on merit and not cups of coffee bought this will continue. Switching of from any sort of drive at work can be a real downer, it certainly was for me and takes some real energy to cope with.
Beer – The cost of having a beer out is frightening with a Monteith’s costing around $8 each unless you get a ‘Happy Hour’ when $5 is possible.
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Old Nov 10th 2011, 9:44 am
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Fantastic post thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us and best of luck in the future.
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Old Nov 10th 2011, 9:53 am
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

very interesting thank you for sharing.
Quite a mix bag there, sorry about your mum, brother and break up enough for anyone to cope with where ever you are in the world.

Here's hoping that you obtain a job soon and that life settles down for you.
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Old Nov 10th 2011, 10:01 am
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

I am so sorry to see that you've been and are still going through such a terrible combination of difficult decisions and sadness. It sounds like your sons are planning on staying in NZ and so this may be the best place for you in the near future.
There's nothing I can say to help but I am in awe of your resilience and fortitude. You've been through a hell of a lot in the last year. Best wishes and live life to the full with your brother in the time he has left.
Stay strong x
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Old Nov 10th 2011, 10:23 am
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Thanks for posting and laying it all on the line to help others understand how these things can go. Had similar exeriences in work and some of those other areas and being away from your roots does take it's toll. I for one feel for you and sympathise with many of those issues.

Originally Posted by Persephone View Post
I am so sorry to see that you've been and are still going through such a terrible combination of difficult decisions and sadness. It sounds like your sons are planning on staying in NZ and so this may be the best place for you in the near future.
There's nothing I can say to help but I am in awe of your resilience and fortitude. You've been through a hell of a lot in the last year. Best wishes and live life to the full with your brother in the time he has left.
Stay strong x
Can't add a great deal more than than Persephone has said; other than to keep rolling with the punches and wish you all the very best for your future however that pans out.
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Old Nov 10th 2011, 7:01 pm
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Originally Posted by Persephone View Post
I am so sorry to see that you've been and are still going through such a terrible combination of difficult decisions and sadness. It sounds like your sons are planning on staying in NZ and so this may be the best place for you in the near future.
There's nothing I can say to help but I am in awe of your resilience and fortitude. You've been through a hell of a lot in the last year. Best wishes and live life to the full with your brother in the time he has left.
Stay strong x
Ditto what she said!
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Old Nov 12th 2011, 12:47 am
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Originally Posted by Robbo25 View Post
Back in 2008 I decided to leave the employer I had been with for 21 years and pursue my dream about living abroad. NZ ticked many boxes as it had a better climate and spoke English as a first language, I didn’t have the qualifications to gain access to Oz but equally didn’t really want the weather extremes or things trying to eat me and the family.

So after leaving my employer, I went to NZ in the May for 3 weeks in order to look for work. What I didn’t realise at this time was that most NZ companies have a financial year that ends at the end of June, so most were not recruiting until their new tax year. After 3 weeks of fruitless meetings but nice cups of coffee and looking around, I managed to gain a meeting with a person who would be recruiting in the next fiscal year, the guy was great and on returning to the UK I went through two video calls and secured myself a post with an accredited employer.

August 2008 I moved to NZ, and started work, the family came over in the October after the house was sold as the market was starting to collapse at this time. We got a rental place in Auckland, and then in the December bought a place on the North Shore. I got into kayak fishing (what a great pastime), my boys started at school and loved all the outdoor activities, and they are outdoor boys for sure.

My older son (15) struggled and has continued to struggle socially, although I feel there some other issues that I won’t go into here, as well for that. They both do love their schools in NZ with a real passion. My wife got a job at a school and loved it, the house was great etc. However for me, I never realised before going to NZ, just how much of a backward step I had taken work wise. My boss was brilliant and he is now a very close friend, however I learnt the very hard way that many Kiwi’s whilst asking your opinion at work, don’t actually want to take it on board too quick. They will however let it percolate, and will quite often take the advice but it can be a significant time later. This aside it meant that three years running I was basically kneecapped in my end of year reviews despite my line manager being completely happy with my performance, and fighting damn hard on my behalf. It was very frustrating that none of this was done with substantiated feedback, just a few individuals’ subjective comments. This led to me losing thousands of dollars of bonus across my time there and there was no right of appeal.

I did apply for many other jobs out there, but I found the old boys club was working hard, and one thing I personally found difficult was that Kiwi’s tend to blur the lines between personal and work life i.e. many friends outside of work are colleagues inside work, something I had avoided doing all my working life in the UK. I called it the Facebook culture, it never did sit easy with me that I had to share my personal comings and goings with people I worked with in order to get on at work, rather than being good at my job and performing well. For many, drinking coffee and being a nice chap seemed far more important than whether or not you were completely incompetent at your job, something I saw many times in the recruiting of new people into the company.

However in March this year my Mum became seriously ill, my brother had serious throat cancer, and I was left in NZ trying to understand what the situation was whilst my Mum was in hospital, always getting a well meaning but happy clappy update from the ward clerk instead of knowing whether I should fly or not. In the end after two prolonged stays in hospital, at the end of March I got the phone call to say that she had died. I flew over and helped sort her estate out, arrange funerals etc, whilst this was happening my older son, became ill back in Auckland with something that had occurred before, and was looked after by Starship Hospital.

On my return in April, my wife and I then decided that we would split up, as amicably as possible (although it doesn’t feel THAT amicable any more), and I decided that I could no longer stand another year of fun at my employer. One other area I struggled with badly was making many good friends, but I realise now how long it takes to build up that shared history with people that may have been in place for decades in the UK.

So at the beginning of July, after getting my end of year bonus (reduced after more kneecapping) I left the company and came back to the UK, as I thought I would try and get a job I liked and I had mentally missed the British way of life. My wife and boys had the choice of where they wanted to be and they all decided to stay in Auckland, which we are fortunate enough between us to just about be able to accommodate this financially.

I came back here and have applied for over 50 posts, with a high response rate, many interviews, but not securing a job. I could secure one perhaps if I wanted to commute daily into London, but frankly I would rather pull my teeth out than do that. In the meantime, my brother has recently been diagnosed as terminally ill, and sadly will not be here in a few months time.

My sons are coming to stay with me at the end of the month, something I can’t wait for, as it has been extremely difficult especially as I had never been away from them for more than a week ever and only the two or three times.

After much eye opening and everything else that goes with these periods in life, I have decided that at some point I will go back and live in NZ, as it is the place for me. I know many people go back to the UK and do just fine and they have big families etc that they are close to, but that has never been the case for me, and after my brother there will be no one, and frankly I don’t think day to day the UK is the place I thought it was, and I can say that with actually living back here for 5 months. I am glad I did come back, especially with my brother being so ill, but it is not the place for me to stay.

I apologise for the long post, and the shortness of detail in some areas, but I kept it as open and brief as I could. This is the first (possibly last) time I have shared the story with people, as it sometimes nice to know you are not alone, and it may help me a little also.

So I’ll leave you with my own take on NZ based on living in Auckland:

PRO’S:

Healthcare – The level and quality of care at both GP, physio, consultant and various hospitals has been nothing short of phenomenal. Yes you may have to pay but the time taken and access to facilities is better than I had on BUPA in the UK. For clarity I can only speak about the North Shore of Auckland and Starship. Oh and physio (on ACC and without doctors referral) costing $10 is nothing short of brilliant.
Schools – On the shore the facilities and opportunities are brilliant, something you would pay a heap of money for in the UK. The teachers have been accessible and really want to work with parents. Discipline is so much higher in the kids than in the UK (IMO) and it is ok to be seen as clever.
Climate – Some people moan about the Auckland weather, but it is not Oz and if all you want is wall to wall sunshine then you have got the wrong place. However if you would like a fair amount of sun even in the winter months, mixed with some almighty rain, then it is spot on. It never gets below freezing in my experience in Auckland and only a handful of days get near.
Beaches – Yes lots of them and fantastic they are too, however I accept that this does not pay the bills or feed the kids. Facilities are generally brilliant i.e. toilets, showers etc.
Local community and shops – There is still a feeling of community with butchers, bakers etc all being well used and not taken over by the big supermarket chains like Tesco, ASDA have done here, although I am sure it will come in time.
Leisure – I accept you probably need to be more outdoorsy in NZ, but there is a lot to do. In Auckland I played football for the first time in 20 years (it hurt) but in the UK I can’t get into a team unless I know lots of people and normally based around a workplace or a pub.
Public transport – People pan the public transport on the forum. I think the bus services are excellent generally. They are clean and not too expensive at all and worked well for me commuting into the CBD for nearly 3 years.
Roads – Trust me after driving around the same road works in the UK for months now with very little progress made, I am amazed how quickly and well they resurface the roads around Auckland and quite often through the night, but again this is very Auckland based and I accept is different in a lot of the rest of the country.
Sports facilities – In Auckland.....AMAZING. My boys play football and some of the pitches would grace the football league here, seriously they are amazing. The sports halls at the Uni’s are clean, modern and exceptional on my experience.
Lack of anti-social behaviour – The pavements are clean and free of glass, dog poop etc., generally. The changing rooms at the beaches are not vandalised to death, the school grounds stay open and are generally well looked after. No groups of teens hanging around the shops that are open late. However I should balance this by saying some people have real issues with hoons in very loud cars being daft.

CON’s:

Culture – There is culture but it is very new comparatively and Pacifica based. If you want opera, ballet, big museums etc then I think it will be a big compromise from a large European city (I have never been in either place)
Shopping – Big debate on this one, but if you want your trainers in 8 different colours then you have the wrong place again. If you are happy to accept that it is what it is and to only ever buy in sales then you will generally be ok, how Briscoe’s and co., keep going when everyone tries to buy at weekends only is beyond me. Or you buy from the net if you are really after something.
Food – Can be an issue for people but if you are willing to buy a local brand of something, only buy seasonal veg etc., and then I think you will do fine. It is expensive though to do a week’s shopping, there is no doubt and it will probably always be a compromise.
Work – There is work, but as I said above the ‘Who you know’ more than the ‘What you know’ is a real issue and until employers start employing the right people on skills and promoting people on merit and not cups of coffee bought this will continue. Switching of from any sort of drive at work can be a real downer, it certainly was for me and takes some real energy to cope with.
Beer – The cost of having a beer out is frightening with a Monteith’s costing around $8 each unless you get a ‘Happy Hour’ when $5 is possible.
at the end of the day, wherever you are in the world, family is number one. If your family are in NZ, it makes sense to be back near them. hope it gets better on the work/friend front. you have been through a lot, things can only get better. I hope that they do.

Last edited by tweetweet; Nov 12th 2011 at 1:02 am.
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Old Nov 13th 2011, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Wow...really sounds like you've been to hell & back. Sorry for your loses. I really hope you find a job you enjoy & can excel in, it's the very least you deserve...& in NZ where you want to be. Agree with all your pros & cons, good luck & enjoy Christmas in the UK with your boys
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Old Nov 16th 2011, 6:03 pm
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Thank you for your update. As others have said, make the most of the time with your brother and good luck with the job search.
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Old Nov 30th 2011, 5:08 pm
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Blimey, that's some rollercoaster you've been on; sorry for your troubles and I'm glad there's stuff you've enjoyed along the way. I don't often pop in the update bit so I missed this post until this morning
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Old Dec 19th 2011, 3:12 am
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Originally Posted by Robbo25 View Post
Back in 2008 I decided to leave the employer I had been with for 21 years and pursue my dream about living abroad. NZ ticked many boxes as it had a better climate and spoke English as a first language...
Hi Robbo. I just got referred to this forum as a US expat in South America looking to move on to NZ. I'm sorry for your tough times, and hope you can move on to the point where life can be the joy that it's meant to be. I'm sure your mom would prefer that you live life with the fullest joy and that you remember her but not dwell on grief.

I also thank you very much for sharing the pros/cons of being in NZ. I've been wanting to get an accurate take on what it's like. At least for me, the expensive beer isn't a problem as I'm not really keen on the stuff. Since I've always been much more partial to wine, I think NZ would work out quite well for me in this department!

I'm certainly getting the impression about the lack of ambition in the workplace. That seems to be the biggest negative I'm reading about. But no place is perfect. My best to you...
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Old Dec 28th 2011, 7:12 am
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Hi Robbo,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss and the illness of your brother. It is so hard being so far away and we dread those calls. Also sorry to hear of the marriage break down. You know you will have people here to chat to so stay strong all though hard times are ahead. All the very best and hope 2012 is a good year for you

Originally Posted by Robbo25 View Post
Back in 2008 I decided to leave the employer I had been with for 21 years and pursue my dream about living abroad. NZ ticked many boxes as it had a better climate and spoke English as a first language, I didn’t have the qualifications to gain access to Oz but equally didn’t really want the weather extremes or things trying to eat me and the family.

So after leaving my employer, I went to NZ in the May for 3 weeks in order to look for work. What I didn’t realise at this time was that most NZ companies have a financial year that ends at the end of June, so most were not recruiting until their new tax year. After 3 weeks of fruitless meetings but nice cups of coffee and looking around, I managed to gain a meeting with a person who would be recruiting in the next fiscal year, the guy was great and on returning to the UK I went through two video calls and secured myself a post with an accredited employer.

August 2008 I moved to NZ, and started work, the family came over in the October after the house was sold as the market was starting to collapse at this time. We got a rental place in Auckland, and then in the December bought a place on the North Shore. I got into kayak fishing (what a great pastime), my boys started at school and loved all the outdoor activities, and they are outdoor boys for sure.

My older son (15) struggled and has continued to struggle socially, although I feel there some other issues that I won’t go into here, as well for that. They both do love their schools in NZ with a real passion. My wife got a job at a school and loved it, the house was great etc. However for me, I never realised before going to NZ, just how much of a backward step I had taken work wise. My boss was brilliant and he is now a very close friend, however I learnt the very hard way that many Kiwi’s whilst asking your opinion at work, don’t actually want to take it on board too quick. They will however let it percolate, and will quite often take the advice but it can be a significant time later. This aside it meant that three years running I was basically kneecapped in my end of year reviews despite my line manager being completely happy with my performance, and fighting damn hard on my behalf. It was very frustrating that none of this was done with substantiated feedback, just a few individuals’ subjective comments. This led to me losing thousands of dollars of bonus across my time there and there was no right of appeal.

I did apply for many other jobs out there, but I found the old boys club was working hard, and one thing I personally found difficult was that Kiwi’s tend to blur the lines between personal and work life i.e. many friends outside of work are colleagues inside work, something I had avoided doing all my working life in the UK. I called it the Facebook culture, it never did sit easy with me that I had to share my personal comings and goings with people I worked with in order to get on at work, rather than being good at my job and performing well. For many, drinking coffee and being a nice chap seemed far more important than whether or not you were completely incompetent at your job, something I saw many times in the recruiting of new people into the company.

However in March this year my Mum became seriously ill, my brother had serious throat cancer, and I was left in NZ trying to understand what the situation was whilst my Mum was in hospital, always getting a well meaning but happy clappy update from the ward clerk instead of knowing whether I should fly or not. In the end after two prolonged stays in hospital, at the end of March I got the phone call to say that she had died. I flew over and helped sort her estate out, arrange funerals etc, whilst this was happening my older son, became ill back in Auckland with something that had occurred before, and was looked after by Starship Hospital.

On my return in April, my wife and I then decided that we would split up, as amicably as possible (although it doesn’t feel THAT amicable any more), and I decided that I could no longer stand another year of fun at my employer. One other area I struggled with badly was making many good friends, but I realise now how long it takes to build up that shared history with people that may have been in place for decades in the UK.

So at the beginning of July, after getting my end of year bonus (reduced after more kneecapping) I left the company and came back to the UK, as I thought I would try and get a job I liked and I had mentally missed the British way of life. My wife and boys had the choice of where they wanted to be and they all decided to stay in Auckland, which we are fortunate enough between us to just about be able to accommodate this financially.

I came back here and have applied for over 50 posts, with a high response rate, many interviews, but not securing a job. I could secure one perhaps if I wanted to commute daily into London, but frankly I would rather pull my teeth out than do that. In the meantime, my brother has recently been diagnosed as terminally ill, and sadly will not be here in a few months time.

My sons are coming to stay with me at the end of the month, something I can’t wait for, as it has been extremely difficult especially as I had never been away from them for more than a week ever and only the two or three times.

After much eye opening and everything else that goes with these periods in life, I have decided that at some point I will go back and live in NZ, as it is the place for me. I know many people go back to the UK and do just fine and they have big families etc that they are close to, but that has never been the case for me, and after my brother there will be no one, and frankly I don’t think day to day the UK is the place I thought it was, and I can say that with actually living back here for 5 months. I am glad I did come back, especially with my brother being so ill, but it is not the place for me to stay.

I apologise for the long post, and the shortness of detail in some areas, but I kept it as open and brief as I could. This is the first (possibly last) time I have shared the story with people, as it sometimes nice to know you are not alone, and it may help me a little also.

So I’ll leave you with my own take on NZ based on living in Auckland:

PRO’S:

Healthcare – The level and quality of care at both GP, physio, consultant and various hospitals has been nothing short of phenomenal. Yes you may have to pay but the time taken and access to facilities is better than I had on BUPA in the UK. For clarity I can only speak about the North Shore of Auckland and Starship. Oh and physio (on ACC and without doctors referral) costing $10 is nothing short of brilliant.
Schools – On the shore the facilities and opportunities are brilliant, something you would pay a heap of money for in the UK. The teachers have been accessible and really want to work with parents. Discipline is so much higher in the kids than in the UK (IMO) and it is ok to be seen as clever.
Climate – Some people moan about the Auckland weather, but it is not Oz and if all you want is wall to wall sunshine then you have got the wrong place. However if you would like a fair amount of sun even in the winter months, mixed with some almighty rain, then it is spot on. It never gets below freezing in my experience in Auckland and only a handful of days get near.
Beaches – Yes lots of them and fantastic they are too, however I accept that this does not pay the bills or feed the kids. Facilities are generally brilliant i.e. toilets, showers etc.
Local community and shops – There is still a feeling of community with butchers, bakers etc all being well used and not taken over by the big supermarket chains like Tesco, ASDA have done here, although I am sure it will come in time.
Leisure – I accept you probably need to be more outdoorsy in NZ, but there is a lot to do. In Auckland I played football for the first time in 20 years (it hurt) but in the UK I can’t get into a team unless I know lots of people and normally based around a workplace or a pub.
Public transport – People pan the public transport on the forum. I think the bus services are excellent generally. They are clean and not too expensive at all and worked well for me commuting into the CBD for nearly 3 years.
Roads – Trust me after driving around the same road works in the UK for months now with very little progress made, I am amazed how quickly and well they resurface the roads around Auckland and quite often through the night, but again this is very Auckland based and I accept is different in a lot of the rest of the country.
Sports facilities – In Auckland.....AMAZING. My boys play football and some of the pitches would grace the football league here, seriously they are amazing. The sports halls at the Uni’s are clean, modern and exceptional on my experience.
Lack of anti-social behaviour – The pavements are clean and free of glass, dog poop etc., generally. The changing rooms at the beaches are not vandalised to death, the school grounds stay open and are generally well looked after. No groups of teens hanging around the shops that are open late. However I should balance this by saying some people have real issues with hoons in very loud cars being daft.

CON’s:

Culture – There is culture but it is very new comparatively and Pacifica based. If you want opera, ballet, big museums etc then I think it will be a big compromise from a large European city (I have never been in either place)
Shopping – Big debate on this one, but if you want your trainers in 8 different colours then you have the wrong place again. If you are happy to accept that it is what it is and to only ever buy in sales then you will generally be ok, how Briscoe’s and co., keep going when everyone tries to buy at weekends only is beyond me. Or you buy from the net if you are really after something.
Food – Can be an issue for people but if you are willing to buy a local brand of something, only buy seasonal veg etc., and then I think you will do fine. It is expensive though to do a week’s shopping, there is no doubt and it will probably always be a compromise.
Work – There is work, but as I said above the ‘Who you know’ more than the ‘What you know’ is a real issue and until employers start employing the right people on skills and promoting people on merit and not cups of coffee bought this will continue. Switching of from any sort of drive at work can be a real downer, it certainly was for me and takes some real energy to cope with.
Beer – The cost of having a beer out is frightening with a Monteith’s costing around $8 each unless you get a ‘Happy Hour’ when $5 is possible.
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Old Mar 13th 2012, 1:57 am
  #13  
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

I have been meaning to say a big THANK YOU for all the words of support and encouragement.

Whilst life is still very much up in the air, I am now back in NZ and starting to piece things back together, albeit rather slowly.

Thanks again
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Old Mar 13th 2012, 3:40 pm
  #14  
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

Awesome post and sounds eerily familiar - kind of.

I just happen to have to two teenage kids - girls though and went through a bad divorce - the ex had a mid life crisis and decided the grass was greener somewhere else and then proceeded to take me to the cleaners - fun stuff.

So I figured what the hell, a change is needed and moved to NZ. Finding a job was the easy part but being lonely and meeting people was tough and I kept second guessing my decision. I originally thought the move would be sooo easy and it was at first but, and there is always a but, doing it by yourself, as a guy in your mid forties (me) is tough - the loneliness creeps up and bites you in the ass. You hear how tough it is for couples and families but at least they have each other. Then to top it off, I had a couple of other factors that pushed my buttons like my Dad having a health scare back in Canada with the phone calls from my mom "you're the oldest and should be here" and pressure from my daughters missing me and wanting to join me in NZ but the ex wouldn't give them their passports. The health scare is dealt with (Dad's fine) and we (me and my daughters) now have our British passports so the ex can't play havoc with my kids and they can make their decisions now.

Back then I wish I had someone to talk to or even knew of these types of forums to try and help me thru things but I didn't and succombed to the pressure and ended up packing up and moving back to Canada. I thought it would make things better - for me it didn't and I regret it, I should have toughed it out and stayed to the original plan of giving NZ a minimum of two full years. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids but my oldest is just about to venture out on her own and the youngest won't be far behind.

So now I'm seriously thinking of moving back to NZ to give it a proper go as the company I was working at would love to have me back working down in Christchurch with the rebuild.

I've resolved myself that my life may continue to be in choas for awhile but it will eventually find some calm waters. Keep telling yourself that you're doing the right thing, you just have to give it time and remember all the reasons you decided to make the move, cross your fingers and hope you are making the right decisions.

Lastly, sorry to hear what you went through but you're not alone and hope it all works out for you.
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Old Mar 21st 2012, 11:06 pm
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Default Re: What a Rollercoaster of a Year

What an informative and interesting post. Hope everything works out for you and good luck for the future
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