Some of you might remember that we moved to Melbourne in December 2016 to ‘escape’ the boredom and confinement I felt in Indonesia. (That is not to say the entire Indonesian archipelago is boring, no. I’m just talking about my small slice of Indonesia here, where there is virtually nothing ‘out there’ for expat trailing spouses to do).
Anyways, so off we went to Melbourne where I promised myself giddily I was never looking back.
But, less than 4 months later, here we are back in Batam! What happened?
Well, honestly? The erratic weather drove us crazy. We missed our friends. We hated how dry our skin and scalp became. And we hated how the mere act of taking a shower became such a test of willpower.
Not Even Steve Jobs
For those of you who don’t know it yet, when you’re a foreigner trying to find work in Australia chances are very high that you’re likely to start at a junior position despite how lofty you’ve already made it in your career. The reason is because Australian companies are big on local work experience, and if you happen to have none, well ….
They even have this joke that even Steve Jobs applying for an IT position would be declined on the basis of not having previous working experience in Australia. So many career high-flyers from the UK, US, EU and elsewhere have given up in frustration, even to the point of calling this preference for those with local work experience racial discrimination.
In our case, we were financially prepared to be without income for a year. However, what we weren’t adequately prepared for was the impact to our confidence.
We learned that I was pregnant again in February, so I stopped looking for work. And while my husband bravely continued his job search, it was beginning to bother him that despite ace-ing aptitude tests and making it to the final interviews, the job offer still hadn’t materialized.
It hurt me a lot to see my husband experiencing rejection 💔💔💔 I know this is normal in any job search, but to think that the company he worked for in Indonesia (a world-leading German semiconductor manufacturer), was even prepared to move mountains just to keep my husband in their employ, made me realize I might have been a tad bit selfish to demand that the family move to Melbourne 😟😟
Confidence + Happiness = Sexy
Fortunately, only 3 months into Melbourne my husband’s previous boss [in Indonesia] called him and asked him to come back. The offer was discussed and (of course) it turned out to be much more lucrative than even what he would eventually earn in a senior/better position in Australia.
My husband drove home the point when he said to me “Look, Batam might not be that interesting, but the low cost of living will allow us to live well & save for the future all while doing fun stuff like overseas travel, pursuing hobbies & celebrating special occasions in fancier ways than usual. And all that on just one income. I can’t say the same for Australia.”
And since all I could think of at that time was the wonderful, beautiful sunshine which I missed SO much, I immediately said “yes”! 😂😂
So now we’re back in Batam and my husband behaves as though he’s just had his batteries fully charged. It’s pretty fun to observe! He’s happy, and who wouldn’t be? He feels needed, relevant, valued. The big bosses were all happy to welcome him back and immediately swamped him with high-profile projects. Coming back from his second day at work, he cheekily flashed me his shiny new ultra-thin laptop. LOL! 🤣🤣🤣
As for me, the one who had everything to gain by moving to Melbourne? All that will be in part 2, coming very soon, I promise 😉