Author Topic: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?  (Read 4322 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« on: May 16, 2015, 02:20:51 AM »
Hi all,

My amazing SO (she's standing over my shoulder) has introduced me to MMM, and suggested I ask here for career advice.  I live on the west coast of Australia, and I've been recruited for a job on the east coast.  It's a large company, and would look good on my CV, but I'm unsure whether to pursue it.  Most people I ask tell me it's a good opportunity, but I'm worried that is just them being excited for me.  Hence I'm asking people with no personal connection to me.

I recently graduated engineering, and while I applied for graduate jobs (start 2015 or start 2016), I haven't had any offers (market was very bad recently - oil and iron price have caused a lot of places to cut staff - the feeling is that they will now start to recover).  If I don't get anything, then I'd reapply at the start of 2016 for jobs starting 2017.  The job I'm currently working for is an engineering project, but it's not a technical job, and while it's interesting, it's not very fulfilling.  This project is at a decision gate, and if it passes, then the HR manager has talked about moving me to technical work (if not, the office packs up).  This new job is in a third industry that I have experience in.

I have a couple of concerns
1) Anxiety.  I am recovering from depression and anxiety.  It's not debilitating, and my treatment is currently CBT (basically talk to a psychologist).  Where I currently live, I get a lot of support from my family and friends, and I'm unsure how well I'd cope.  My SO is also recovering from anxiety and panic attacks.  We are both a lot better than we were several years ago.
2) Children.  My soon-to-be wife and I want to have children.  Her preference is sooner rather than later - I'm not sure when I'll be ready.
3) Sydney - my knowledge of the city is limited to it's bridge.  I grew up in Perth and am very comfortable here, and the thought of moving to Sydney triggers my anxiety because I don't know anything about it and it's completely unfamiliar.

What do you suggest, what I should know about Sydney?


  • Bristles
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Re: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2015, 02:59:40 AM »
I think there's 3 separate issues going on.

1. Work. You say the job would look good on your CV. But would it be something fulfilling that you'd enjoy and be likely to want to stick with?

2. The anxiety. Only you can know how you're likely to react to the lack of support from family and friends. Would your SO be moving with you so you'd at least have one person's support? If so would she have a job? If not I'd be worried about how she'd cope with the move.

3. Sydney. It's huge and expensive (but then so is Perth). Where abouts would you be working/living? That will make a huge difference to the experience you have. Will the pay be enough to live comfortably in Sydney? A friend of mine just moved there (from Silicon Valley) and he's a little horrified at how much everything is costing. Will the pay be enough to afford regular trips back to WA to stay in touch with family and friends?

Good luck with the decision.


  • Stubble
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Re: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2015, 05:34:32 PM »
If I was in your shoes Mr Duck I would only move if the job really excited me - rather than just 'looking good on the CV'. 

From what you have said, the pros of taking the Sydney opportunity seem (on balance) to be substantially outweighed by the cons. 


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2015, 03:37:31 PM »
I would say it comes down to job prospects for the both of you. If you think you can find something more desirable if you hold out a bit longer, then you'll have to weigh up the risk of turning down a sure thing versus the possibility of something more ideal. If your pickings are slim to non-existent in your preferred location, and you can both work in Sydney, it is something to seriously consider. I also wonder if it may even help the anxiety condition to take the leap and go for it. It will be an inadvertent and extreme form of exposure therapy, so to speak, and admittedly, it will be rough because it will be the equivalent of ripping off the band-aid instead of a gradual process. Perhaps you can talk to your psychologist about this.

We are in a slightly similar situation in that the boyfriend would prefer to stay put but there aren't many job prospects for him at the moment, so he has to cast a wider net and apply for jobs wherever they are available. He turned down a permanent full-time opportunity interstate recently. There are two other interstate opportunities which we both thought were better and seemed promising. So far we haven't heard more about those since turning down the other job, so that was a risk we took. We may still hear from them, but there are no guarantees. Fortunately he did land a short-term contract in another company, so at least we have something.


  • Walrus Stache
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Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2015, 04:51:22 AM »
Hmm. Looking back on my own life (I am 58) , my regrets are for the chances I did not take, the adventures I avoided, the times I resisted doing something new. I had a lot of fear when I was your age, and I wish I had pushed through it more. The best things in my life have come from leaps of faith. I had the realization that fear was an adrenalin response, and that if I chose, I could interpret it as exhilaration instead. Go. Do it. Try it. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work out.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 02:46:19 PM by pbkmaine »


  • Stubble
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Re: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2015, 05:48:23 AM »
Reading your post my initial though is, don't do it.

The two arguments you list pro the job are "large company" and "look good on my CV". In my book, these are not good reasons to pursue an opportunity. Adding in your current health and planned family situation, I would not do it.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2015, 07:35:52 AM »
I initially thought caution would be wise, like Lordy says, some of your reasons for moving don't seem compelling enough. I grew up in Sydney  - its huge and its happening. You could view that as either anxiety provoking or exhilarating.

But then I'm thinking hanging around in Perth under employed waiting to find a job suited to your training, is probably not doing your self esteem a lot of good either and whilst pbkmaine's post is a bit full of bravado for me, the last sentence made me think. " The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work out".

We of the inter-never-never don't know you, don't know the severity of your anxiety and how resilient you are. You should talk it over with your counsellor as to whether you need to challenge your self  more, or whether this is likely to create too much stress for you. However what I was thinking, if your mental health is up to it, why not move over and give it a go, even if only for a trial in your own mind. You'd then presumably be more employable with the experience under your belt back in Perth if you decided to move back. If its not uprooting your SO too much, maybe you could look upon it as a working holiday and opportunity to visit another part of Australia. You like, you can stay. You no like, come back.



  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2015, 08:23:27 AM »
It also helps to think about the root of your anxiety. Is it being judged by other people, lack of financial security?

Honestly I find that whatever risks I take don't really affect my anxiety. I'm going to be anxious if I go, I'm going to be anxious if I stay. What helps is the actual treatment of the anxiety. So don't hold yourself back from your career. The regret will make you anxious.
I recommend the book "Feeling Good, the new mood therapy"


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2015, 10:44:30 PM »
From what I can tell, the situation in Perth is probably going to last a few years, and each year, a new crop of bright young engineers is going to graduate into a pretty dim situation. However, being in the east, I don't know what it is really like there.

On the other hand, as you say, for some, it is really difficult to move. This may be especially true for you - you may need to move first and be followed later by your SO, so that she can switch jobs...

Many years ago, the job of my SO moved to Canberra from Melbourne, where he had lived and had always planned to live. He moved but was very unhappy in Canberra - he hated it. He drove the 8 hours to Melbourne and back every second weekend, starting on Friday at lunchtime, and (because he could work a nine day fortnight due to flex time) driving back each Monday. Looking back on it, I think he never gave Canberra a chance, because his "life" was in Melbourne. That lasted for nine years.

Then I was seconded to Canberra, and moved here. Moved house, and finally had a home together again. He likes Canberra. He wants to live here for the rest of his life.

You will probably love Sydney (I don't - but I've never lived there) if you give it a chance. Personally, if I were you I would take the chance because you are currently underemployed and hating it, have limited prospects where you are and have been offered a job in a city where other prospects will be easier to find. However, if I were you, I would also have a six month reality check and live apart from your SO for that time.

Before I retired I managed a number of people, and often hired people - including people from Perth. Sometimes things worked out, and sometimes they didn't - and people who were in a completely new city without family and friends were more likely not to work out (they usually did work out). In my opinion, it would be better to have six months apart while you ensure that you can live in Sydney, and are happy with the new job. Also, as a manager, we often had people on probation for the first three months. If you do have a probation period, it would be better for your SO to work out a transfer after that is over and after you have decided you are not completely adrift in Sydney.


  • Stubble
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Re: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2015, 04:13:59 PM »
I'll say this: only you two can know if you are ready to take the step of moving and where you are in your struggle with anxiety. This is a good thing to discuss with your therapist, in fact! I would evaluate what your normal anxiety triggers are. Financial uncertainty? Job stress? Relational issues with others? Too generalized to pick at one thing? Then think through how you might improve or worsen the situation. Consider whether you're not giving yourself the chance to grow because you're not sure how it'll turn out (plain old fear of change), or if there are compelling reasons to stay put.

On a different subject, a caution. Bigger company does not necessarily mean better. I would get more specific about what exactly appeals to you about the opportunity. I work for a small company and I think I have a lot more chance to make huge jumps in my career than several of my peers. you get to wear a LOT of hats, but we also don't have "career development", we sometimes have limited resources (both financially and people wise). On the other hand, I'd be interested to work in a place that has the potential to move us around and especially abroad.


  • Stubble
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Re: Should I stay or should I go (to Sydney)?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2015, 11:08:39 PM »
I'm an engineer in Perth. I haven't read everyone else's replies, but my gut feel is GO GO GO. The market here is terrible, and new grads are by far in the worst position. As a new grad, now is the time you most need to learn and grow your experience, and missing that window will make your career path a lot rockier. Sorry, not going to help that anxiety I know.
On the plus side, your SO is wonderful and supports you, so big win there. Sydney is not that far really - plenty of my friends have moved east and it's not unheard of to come home for a weekend on the spur of the moment if they are really homesick, so it can be done. Tempt your friends to come visit with your awesome "spare bit of floor for sleeping bags" or "great cheap hotel nearby" that you can offer them, you can call and skype / facetime to keep in touch, and you're young. Once you have those kids you're considering, moving becomes much harder, make the most of the opportunity now and come home in a few years when this recession is over.
Not only is it not that far, it's also relatively painless in terms of culture shock. You don't have to learn a new language, new legal, medical or  tax system, new dress code or cultural norms. You don't even have to learn new Standards for work. People in Sydney are not that different from people in Perth, maybe a bit more cosmopolitan and from what I saw a bit more rushed, but its the same country, and you'll find a new niche there, a new counsellor / psych etc.

Good luck, I hope it works out for you