Matt Harris - Interviewed in London and went straight to Sydney!

Niaz Azad

Matt is an experienced legal recruiter who, in 2008, came to interview with Taylor Root in London only to be presented with the opportunity of a lifetime...

Published in March 2017

Strewth love, grab the kids, we’re moving to Austraaaaalia………!

Those were (roughly) the first words I said to my wife when I called her back in late 2007 following a meeting with Taylor Root in London. She’d known I was interviewing but neither of us could have predicted that 8 weeks later, two kids in tow, we’d be living in Sydney. A decade later we’re Australian citizens, my children almost don’t remember any other home and, I’m going to whisper this so my mum can’t hear,….we’re never coming back….

Moving anywhere internationally, regardless of distance, is stressful. The list of things that stressed us out is lengthy and I’m sure I’ve forgotten half of them. When you’re on holiday it’s the differences that you crave, when you’ve arrived on a one way ticket and tenants have moved into your house, it’s the differences that keep you awake at night. Finding somewhere to live, buying a car, finding schools, buying groceries, finding a doctor and just getting from A to Wagga Wagga are surprisingly difficult when you have no built in compass or touch stones.

The easy thing however was the job. I’d spent 5 years working in legal recruitment in London before moving to Aus and, but for the names of the firms being different, the job is identical. Clients and candidates are the same the world over and once I’d learned my Clayton Utz’s from my Gilbert + Tobin’s I assimilated very quickly and life in the office returned to familiar territory quickly. I think we’re very lucky in Sydney with the team we’ve built. A complete mix of Brits and Aussies who genuinely like each other. Over the course of a decade faces come and go obviously but we’ve worked extremely hard to keep the culture open, friendly and idiot free. I think our tight focus on recruiting skilled, decent people who treat each other, clients and candidates well is the key to our longevity and market standing in Australia.

Before Nick Root said to me “have you ever thought of working in Australia?” back in 2007 I’d never seriously considered this type of move was possible but without doubt it’s the single best decision I’ve ever made. Australia is a phenomenal place to live. It’s obviously beautiful, the weathers nice, the beaches are pretty, everyone has perfect skin, teeth, hair, walks in slow motion etc but more subtly it feels like its “good”. There’s something about the place that encourages people to be friendlier, to open their doors, to invite you over. I just have to remind myself to stop being so British and say yes whenever possible.

*Important extra points to note – television and curry in Australia are both crap, fish is surprisingly expensive and kids stand up when you get on the bus, even if you’re 35 (still weird).