Where are you from in Ireland and when did you come to Australia? Under what circumstances?
I’m from Cóbh in Co Cork. I came to Australia as a backpacker for 12 months in September 1998. I worked here in a number of jobs as I did a fair bit of travelling in the first year.
After my first 12-month visa expired, I got a six-month contract, and 12 years later I am still here and finally about to get citizenship.
Are you single, married? Do you have kids? What do you do for a living?
I’m married with two girls, aged five and three. Pure Aussies, the two of them. I’m a product manager for Telstra. I’m responsible for security applications in the consumer BigPond area.
Describe your career path.
Initially I wanted to be a writer or a journalist so I trained as an all rounder in media and publishing at the Cork Institute of Technology. After graduation, I spent five years in the printing industry before joining Apple in Cork. I spent two years there as a tester before coming to Australia.
My first non-temp role in Sydney was for Canon as a software tester for six months. I then worked for a company called Quickcut in the software development team for six years, before moving to Telstra in 2008. On the side I write a blog. Perhaps one day when the kids have grown up I’ll concentrate on that.
Was it easy to use your Irish experience to get a start in Australia?
I think having worked for Apple for two years was very beneficial. I was able to get some well paying contract roles for a few months, which made my first 12 months a fabulous experience. Sydney felt like a series of never-ending opportunities.
Is Australia a good place to pursue a career in your industry?
Australia is great at one level, but in some industries — like when I was involved in publishing — it was frustrating to be on the other side of the world when all the great work with publishers was happening in the US or Europe.
I think Australian Industry must either ensure well padded travel budgets or invest in some serious video-conferencing software and allow staff to work at odd hours.
How would you advise someone coming to work or live in Australia?
Make sure you see the country. Get out to northern Australia. I did an overland trip from Broome to Cairns and down the coast to Sydney and it was two of the best months of my life.
What, if anything, do you miss about Ireland?
Family, old friends and a ‘dacent’ pint of plain. With my Australian citizenship coming up, only serious circumstances would have me move back. I’ll always be Irish.
I’ll be wearing green when we play the Wallabies in September, but this is home for now. I blame the kids!