Read: Micha Swallow's Journey Back From the UK

Tribe consultant Micha Swallow, has had somewhat a similar journey to those of many Kiwis who are making the move back to New Zealand. While she did not make the move in the midst of a pandemic there are some key takeaways for those considering the move in the coming year.  


Having grown up partly in the UK and New Zealand, what prompted your decision to move back to New Zealand?

Having worked in London for five years in recruitment, I was ready to get out of the rat race. My partner and I were a little sick of the grind and we wanted to switch up our lifestyle and be back close to family. 


What were some of the key decisions you faced when making the move?

I moved back with my partner and the first thing we faced was getting a visa approved before we could move. The next biggest decision was about jobs and thinking about what we wanted to do while back here. If we were going to come back for the work/life balance and get out of the rat race, we had to make sure we didn’t fall straight back into the same roles or responsibilities that we had in London. That was quite a hard task initially, to think about how we were going to set up life and make sure our jobs were different. 


How did you find the culture change when moving back to NZ?

It was tough. It took me about a year to integrate here at Tribe. I put my own deadlines and pressures on myself while everyone was pretty relaxed around me, there was definitely some adapting that needed to happen. I found New Zealand’s work culture to be relaxed and more relationship focused. London was cut throat and at times transactional whereas here I think the culture is about longer term partnerships with clients and embracing the opportunity to have a work life balance, so it was quite a hard transition initially. I remember a moment when I realised Auckland was basically a village and then that helped me understand how things work around here. 


One of the biggest fears hanging over any expat returning home is job security, where did you start with finding a job?

I reached out to old connections, there’s merit with who you know not what you know in New Zealand. I set up coffees with family friends to get insight into the market and then I went straight to a recruitment agency. I knew the benefit of how an agency can help you open doors that you may not be able to open on your own. 

My partner’s experience was quite different. He was really set on getting a job before moving for the security. He had a job lined up that he had interviewed for overseas and I think that made the transition for him feel easier. The job didn’t actually turn out to be quite the right fit but looking back, the role he did secure was through connections he made through another interview process while interviewing when we had arrived. Taking time to settle when you arrive and having chats with people on the ground about companies can also be beneficial. 


What are some of your tips for making the move?

For finding a job, leverage off who you know here and go to networking events. Don’t burn any bridges as it’s a small market so you want people in your corner. 


Any last words of wisdom for the apprehensive Kiwis returning home in the coming year?

Do your research, stay connected with people but ultimately you won’t regret it!


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