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Interview with Lisa de Rooij - what's it like to work in Australia

Lisa de Rooij worked at Deloitte Netherlands for 2.5 years before leaving for Deloitte Australia in February last year. What was her motivation to make the switch? How does she look back on her time in the Netherlands? What differences does she notice between the countries? And what impact has COVID-19 had on her adventure?

How do you look back on your time at Deloitte Netherlands?

"With pleasure. It was my second job and I learned an awful lot from it. I have been able to grow and within Clients & Industries I got various roles and projects, from CRM specialist to the rollout of a large international CRM project. I met some very nice colleagues and have been able to build a big (international) network. In fact, I think this network and my international experience have enabled me to make the move to Australia.” 

What motivated you to move to Deloitte Australia?

“My partner and I have both wanted to live and work abroad for a long time and experience what that is like. At one point we made a list of the countries that appealed to us in terms of nature, temperature and culture. When we decided to take this step, our choice had quickly been made after a beautiful holiday in Australia. It checked every box in terms of its culture, stunning nature and great temperatures all year round. When it became clear that there were great opportunities for both of us in the work field as well, the move towards Australia quickly became irreversible. And I must say, the switch has not been very complex. Of course, there are different processes, different methods, different learning opportunities and different growth opportunities. But so far it has been a very positive experience all together."

Which lessons from the Netherlands do you still use?

“I still use the knowledge I gained at Deloitte Netherlands a lot. I have regularly worked with different teams within Consulting and the methods they applied there, I can now put to good use within my current role. My Dutch network is also still very valuable to me. With certain issues, I know exactly which Dutch colleague I have to contact.”

What is the main difference between the Netherlands and Australia?

"The Dutch and Australian cultures are very similar; Australians are open which made me feel at home very quickly. But of course, there are differences, Australians are generally active people who really enjoy the outdoors. Many social activities take place outside and when you walk out of your house at 6am you are never alone. Furthermore, social life is a little less planned and people mainly do what they feel like doing at that moment, which I love! On the work floor, I particularly notice that work and private life are a little more separated than in the Netherlands, in addition, building a working relationship is hugely important to promote cooperation with colleagues and customers."

What impact has COVID-19 had on your experience?

"The start was pretty strange; we were only just settled in Sydney and then went into lockdown pretty quickly. But we definitely used the period in lockdown to our advantage, as we started rebuilding a campervan then. This was a super fun experience and as a result we have now been able to see many beautiful places in Australia. In terms of work, it was also a strange start, after two weeks at the office we had to work from home, at that time I had not met all my colleagues. Yet working online and meeting each other turned out to work out just fine. We have now been going back to the office for four months. Despite the bizarre start, I'm happy with the timing of our switch. We shouldn't have gone much later because then the borders would have been closed. And compared to the Netherlands, we had little trouble with COVID-19 and our lives became quite "normal" after just a month or two."

Has anything changed in the corporate culture post-COVID-19?

“There has been more room for flexibility. If you want to work at home, you can work at home. If you want to go to the office, you can go to the office. Certain freedoms have emerged, and I do not expect that we will return to the way it was before any time soon.”

What do you miss most about Deloitte Netherlands?

“Especially the social aspect. I had very nice colleagues at Deloitte Netherlands and I miss them. In the Netherlands we have more friendships at work and there is a stronger ‘Friday drinks’ culture. In Australia, work and private life is more separated. We'll have drinks, but it's a bit more formal and organised.”

What would you bring with you from Australia if you were to work in the Netherlands again?

"I have a better work-life balance in Australia. Everyone here is active from six in the morning and that suits me just fine. I often go to the beach to exercise or meet up with friends for a walk and a coffee, which is a really nice and relaxed way to start my working day. I also love the fact that the weekends are not fully planned so there is plenty of room to do something spontaneous or meet up with friends, I definitely want to take this with me!”

Will we ever see you again at Deloitte Netherlands?

"Who knows! I really enjoy working at Deloitte, so it could just be. But for now, we are still having a great time in Australia.”

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