Phil Lewis 27, UK
What made you decide to come and work in Oz? I’d always wanted to work in Australia. It was an opportunity to gain some experience in my field abroad and also to keep earning so I wouldn’t have to cut my year-long trip short.
What are you doing? I work in trade support, securities lending for JP Morgan in Sydney.
How did you land your job? I used to occasionally speak to people in the Sydney office while working for the company in the UK and used to always wish it was me. So with my can-do attitude and good human skills I lifted my backpack over my shoulders and away I went. I had a working holiday visa for Oz so always planned to work, so after chilling out on the beach for a while, I managed to score an interview at the Sydney office.
Where in Australia have you worked so far? Just Sydney. Investment banking’s mainly confined to Sydney and Melbourne, so it wouldn’t be possible to set up anywhere else. I’m still waiting for them to set up in Byron Bay.
How does your job here compare to back home? The job I had before was in derivatives and was a back office role, whereas here I’m talking to traders/middle offices of other banks etc.
What’s the pay like? Pretty good. It’s one of the reasons I went into banking. I’m not gonna lie.
Have you had the chance to get sponsored? I got sponsored after my six-month stint and have been here for three years now. I finished my travelling for four months after my six months work was up and came back to start permanently in November 2007. I’m now in the process of applying for permanent residency.
What’s the best work related advice you were given? Never think anything’s impossible. A mate of mine had no luck finding a job for ages when he first got to Oz, but he stuck with it and now he’s an FX dealer. Some people would have given up and just sold ice creams on Bondi Beach. Actually, I wish I’d done that as I sit here in my comfortable office chair gaining weight as I munch my way through my breakfast. But seriously, work hard and anything’s achievable.
What’s your best advice for other travellers considering your job? Again, keep trying. I know friends that were trying to get a job out here during the GFC and they succeeded. There are always jobs coming up in the finance industry. It’s probably harder getting a job during December and January as everyone is hanging on for their bonus. A wise guy once said, “If you can dream it, do it”. I think that guy was actually Jimmy MacElroy in Blades Of Glory.