The big “OE” or “overseas experience” is a rite of passage for the many young New Zealanders and Australians who arrive in the UK every year armed with two-year work visas.
Most are looking for life experiences and travel opportunities – not high-pressure jobs that see them holed up in an office all night and weekend.
Contracting provided the ideal work-life balance for Kieran Munro when he arrived in the UK from New Zealand. Back home, he was in corporate banking, but he found UK employers were reluctant to want to hire someone they knew was going to leave in two years.
Kieran says contracting is ideal for the many Kiwis who move to the UK, where “employment is a means to support our travel habits”.
His contractor friends either take off between contracts to explore several new countries, take long weekends in order to tick off a new destination, or – if they’re really lucky – simply work a three- or four-day week.
Admittedly, many contractors struggle with the idea of not earning while they’re on holiday so can end up taking less time off than they would in a salaried role. Kieran found that allocating weeks of the year for down time helped him to travel and relax. He also advises those who work for themselves to use their dividends to help fund travel. At one point he had built up enough retained earnings in his company that he was able to take his annual dividend in one lump sum, which helped fund his travels.
Kieran says travel has opened his eyes to the world, honing his problem solving skills and making him a more tolerant person. He feels so fortunate that his London-based contracting career has allowed him to see so much more of the world than he would have been able to from his native New Zealand.
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