Finding work in Canberra

Whenever you make a big change in your life, it’s inevitable that you consider the odds of failure too – of falling flat on your face while others shake their heads and whisper: “I thought that might happen.”

This comes to mind most frequently when friends ask us if we have jobs lined up and waiting for us in Canberra and we say: “No, but we’re starting to look already and hopefully we’ll find something soon after arrival.” At this, they usually raise their eyebrows and the conversation shifts to the Australian weather: “Still, you’ll be arriving in time for summer.”

The jobs market in Canberra has changed a little since we first made our visa application. Back then, Mrs CBRbound’s skills, as a project administrator, were in great demand, and we were easily able to supply the five job advertisements required for our visa application.

Since then, a new national government in Australia has set about reducing the number of public servants employed by Canberra-based government agencies – the major employer in the area – and the ads for suitable jobs seem less frequent these days.

Just last week, my wife had her first rejection letter from a job we thought she had a good chance of getting. It’s only the first, and there will be other opportunities, but nevertheless, it still smarted a little.

For my part, I’ve spent the past six or seven years freelancing in corporate communications. Here in Denmark, I’ve found a niche that sees me spend most of my time on employee communication projects for large companies, and writing the occasional commissioned book – usually for companies with an interesting story to tell about who they are or what they do. In my spare time, I write fiction too, but I suspect it’ll be a while before that pays the bills.

A collection of magazine front covers.

A lot of my work comes from writing articles for internal company websites and magazines.

One reason I’ve been able to thrive in Denmark is that I am a native English speaker, which gives me a head start on local freelancers with Denmark-based international companies. But, of course, in Australia, being a native English speaker will hardly be a rarity.

Initially, I hope to continue my work for European clients from afar, with regular trips back to maintain the relationships. But I also hope to pick up some new clients in Canberra, and I really don’t know how that’s going to go.

Book covers and ebook readers.

I also write non-fiction books and novels.

There are plenty of reasons to believe that we’ll succeed in Canberra, and if we don’t, it won’t be for want of trying. We know that one rejection letter doesn’t spell disaster, and that I have yet to even contact potential clients about my work, but there’s always that nagging ‘what if?’ I don’t think we’d be human if we didn’t have a few worries once in a while but this is one we’ll be happy to put to bed soon after arrival.

2 thoughts on “Finding work in Canberra

  1. JasonPerelson says:

    As usual, we’re in the exact same position and get the same raised eyebrows when we explain that we have no jobs waiting. “We’ll figure it out when we arrive” is my response, and plan of action.

    And why not! What an adventure! I’ll wash dishes if I need to pay the rent. The rest will fall in to place! 🙂


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