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Cultural Advice: Working and Living in Australia

It is important to know the cultural mores of a foreign place before relocating, and do be open-minded about them! (Why Australian Cities are Among World's Best Places to Live in)

Australians tend to take an easy-going, informal approach to their business dealings. Business cards are exchanged primarily for information; don’t be surprised if you hand your card to an Australian and don’t receive one of his in return. Australians, in general, don’t make impromptu visits, so schedule even the most casual meeting in advance. Even so, the Australian attitude toward time may be a little more casual than the North American one—be patient if an Australian keeps you waiting.

Business talk in Australia is often preceded by good-natured bantering. Australians particularly enjoy discussing sports and travel. After small talk, Australians are ready to get down to business, but they tend not to like negotiation or aggressive sales techniques. Maintain eye contact—avoiding it may be considered an insult—and respect the Australian sense of personal space.

Rather than “G’day,” Australians prefer to say “Good morning” or something similar when in a business situation. Australians are suspicious of authority and of snobs, and they have a fondness for the underdog. If an Australian invites you to dine in his home, consider it an honor. Ask what to wear and bring a small gift—flowers, wine, chocolate, or something homemade.

English is the language of business in Australia, but jobseekers should be aware that Australian English can be rather idiomatic. For instance, to “table” something in Australia means to bring it forward for discussion, literally to put it on the table.

In general, the business day is more carefully defined in Australia especially for workers and staff. It begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., with senior managers perhaps staying in their offices until 6 p.m. or later. Working weeks have been steadily lengthening in Australia over the past 10 years and most people in senior, white-collar occupations would rarely be walking out the door at 5 p.m. every day. It is not uncommon to socialize in the local bar after the workday with one’s office colleagues for an hour or so, but travel time between home and work is a real consideration and people often head home, to the gym, or to the beach after work; however, it is common on a Friday night to have an end-of-week drink with colleagues. (Getting a Job in Australia)

Even though some habits or colloquialisms in Australia may not fit well with you at first, do keep an open-mind about them. Soon enough, you’ll get the hang of things and their way of life may very well become yours!

Source: Overseasdigest, Goinglobal

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