It’s something everyone has probably done at work – you sit down every quarter / half year and analyse how you have done – Exceeded Expectations, Achieved Expectations, Development Needed, Underperformed.
It can be a bit odd and perhaps can ignore contextual matters, but it’s something I try to follow whenever I analyse how I’ve done in terms of my professional and personal goals.
This is something I had been thinking about for almost a month or so now but not had the time to properly document it – a performance review of my Australia experience so far. On the one hand it felt like a good idea to do in time for New Year, but on the other I felt it best to leave a few more weeks because at New Year I was still extremely new to Sydney.
It’s been over 2 months now – 10 weeks in fact. That’s still pretty new but it feels like once you get to double figures you’re not quite ‘fresh off the boat’.
One the one hand – man does time fly. On the other, it does legitimately feel like i’ve been here AGES and the UK feels like a distant memory and the idea of wrapping up in warm coats just feels totally alien. It’s as good a time as any to sit back and analyse my experience so far – take a look at where I am and in terms of the objectives I had set myself when coming out here.
Have I achieved them?
See for yourself. I’ve tried to allow for a bit of flexibility in some of them – if you have a rigid action plan of achieving X by date Y you’re running the risk of ruling out anything spontaneous that could happen which may have been a lifechanging moment of brilliance.
But, I think it’s important to have an idea of what you want to have achieved by a certain point, and in 2016 I’m going to be setting more concrete goals (more to come on that)…
- Travel: Done alright. I haven’t been outside of the immediate Sydney area and had planned to try and see another part of the country by now … but not necessarily at the expense of finding work.. To have seen The Blue Mountains and Royal National Park is a very good start but I need to start planning where to hit next. Melbourne was on the cards – had I remained unemployed. However, this trip had to be cut short and with good reason. Come February or March when my contract finishes I’ll probably book a trip to Byron Bay (best get on SkyScanner). Satisfactory.
- Work: To have got myself a pretty prestigious job offer within 5 weeks of landing in Australia was not something I had expected (of course I didn’t start for another week or so). It hasn’t been one that necessarily fulfils my passions or long term career goals (content, music, entertainment, digital strategy etc.), but it has really helped me recoup some of my financial losses and get myself in the Australian digital market and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some immensely talented people. I’m approaching the tail end of it now and to have found myself in this position early on was something to be really grateful for.
It has been intense – a huge learning curve and has resulted in a few late nights worrying over deployments, but that’s where you learn and develop. Feedback from my colleagues and boss has been overwhelmingly positive and to have taken on an immense challenge (project managing multiple complex triggered campaigns for clients in Asian markets) totally out of my comfort zone or experience level … and actually pass it is – it’s something I’m really proud of. Achieved Target.
- Home: My flat is 10 minutes walk to Bondi beach and 15 minutes walk to Bondi Junction station which takes you to the city centre in 15 minutes. It’s a steal rent-wise (with bills included), cheaper than London for certain despite being a premium location, and is a nice sized room, good bed, big wardrobe and a flat that’s always cool on scorching days but not cold either. It’s a 3 bedroom flat with 5 of us but never feels too crowded, and at this stage I had no desire for my own flat or just 1-2 people – I wanted something sociable. As such, absolutely smashed it. Exceeded Expectations
- Friends: This really has been pretty awesome. It’s tough meeting people when you’re 30 anywhere let alone a brand new city / country / continent but thankfully I have had many existing friends do their utmost to integrate me into their social circles, many of their friends instantly treat my like someone they have known for years and many other backpackers and people in the music scene have made me feel super welcome, and of course I’ve got some lovely housemates who have a really close knit circle of friends who have also welcomed me into their group.
What’s quite interesting is how many more female friends I seem to have made than male friends. I still have a lot of guy mates but the ratio is more female skewed whereas back home I was the other way. I don’t have a core collection of male friends I could call ‘the lads’ like in London – which is something I miss – but in all honesty I don’t think I will ever find something like that as those sorts of groups are usually established in your 20s.
Ultimately, most nights there’s somebody I could call up and say ‘hey let’s go for a drink’ and that’s fantastic. Exceeded Expectations
- Fitness / Health: We all know how important this is for me and having spent a month back at my parents’ with no gym and a mother who loves to feed…my physique definitely deteriorated. Because of a recurring back / imflammation problem, I need to remain active – more than a day or two off the gym and I start to seize, so I was worried about how quickly I could get back into it.
Pleased to say I’m probably in as good a shape as I’ve ever been thanks to the multiple Fitness Firsts and classes on offer. Having free food at work hasn’t been good the last month – lots of snacking on bad food I can’t resist, but overall my shape was very good and I’m confident I can get back to the best shape I can be. Achieved Target.
- Dating: Personal dilemma when approaching the subject. On the one hand, I’d rather avoid the subject due to:
- My aforementioned reluctance to write about specific people too, particularly ones who may read this.
- Writing about love / dating triggers visions of 18 year old emo kids crying into their live journal.
- My parents are my most frequent readers.
- To write about such an important subject requires writing skills that I’m not sure I have just yet. I want to develop my writing to a point where I can approach the subject and have it read well and not be corny.
That said, this is a lifestyle blog for a 30-something single man and as such, is a topic that’s a part of my life here and to keep it authentic and relevant it’s something I may well need to engage in.
If you really want to know more, drop me a note and we can chat privately (if you’re not someone I know closely I’d also suggest you re-evaluate your priorities). I’ll try tackle the subject as I get more comfortable writing about such personal topics.
- Music: Sydney just doesn’t have the music scene that London does. It just doesn’t and that’s something I’ve come to terms with. However, I had wanted to go to more random / ad-hoc gigs on the fly and integrate in the music scene a bit more here, and I’ve still only been to a handful of gigs. I don’t have people in the scene I could wander up to and say hi to like in London – where 9 out of 10 gigs I’d find at least one person I know going.
I’m also nowhere near being in a band – not a set-in-stone target but something I had sort of hoped to do. Area to focus on. Development Needed
- Surfing: Initially this was something I’d say I had totally smashed – two lessons and I was already able to stand up on a board and cruise a wave. I then got myself a body board and found myself having immense fun on that. The next step was to be able to read a wave and know when to jump up and stand (rather than have an instructor tell me go GO)
But this is a month ago and I haven’t been surfing properly since just before Christmas. My concern is, having had a month off, I’ll have regressed to a state where I can’t stand up on the board again. My goal was to be able to stand up AND know when to stand up independently by my third lesson. We’ll see come my next lesson whether I can do that. Development Needed
So there you go. Pretty fair review. Lots of people I’ve met have said I seem to be absolutely smashing life out here – perhaps I’m being hard on myself in some areas.
January hasn’t been as fun a month as December. It has rained a LOT, and I’ve been working exceptionally hard, with pretty long hours and therefore my social life has suffered, I haven’t been able to travel or explore and keep up the things like music and surfing.
But, again, the development I’ve gained from the job, not to mention the amount of money I’ve saved, means come February (when it’s supposed to be the warmest) I’ll be in a position to have a summer holiday, get back into surfing, try a few trips (planning a getaway to Byron Bay) and then review my next plan of action.
So far, Australia, you and me make a very good team.