No wories mate

I’m writing this month’s column from Sydney Australia, where I’m facilitating a conference for senior project managers. It’s been interesting to reflect on the work life balance of Australians, and my impression is they’ve got something right that we in the UK could learn from.

The weather here helps of course, but it’s more than that. Australian’s have a relaxed, though not lazy or laid back, attitude to almost everything. The oft-quoted expression “No worries” is more than a saying; it’s a mindset that prevails. For the Australian’s, lifestyle counts. Enjoying what life has to offer is as important as work, if not more so.  Australians seem to have an innate capacity to keep a healthy perspective and not get too wound up about work related pressures. It’s a country populated mostly by immigrants and maybe that partly explains it. They came looking for a different lifestyle and, for the most part, they found it.

They also have a different attitude to careers. Here, it is not unusual to take a sabbatical, or change careers, sometimes more than once. It is not uncommon to meet people who have left successful but pressured jobs in large organisations to  become tradesmen, sports instructors, or set up a small business, bar or golf course.

There also seems to be less feeling of class distinction in relation to different jobs, which is something the UK still suffers from.  To Australians, their jobs are simply what they are doing at the moment – not what they are.

Their attitude reminds me of a concept that has a significant bearing on work-life balance. This being that success isn’t about your career, what you earn or have achieved in business. Success is about being able to spend your time doing the things you enjoy.


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