G’day, mate! – Introduction to our Associate Consultant – Procurement – Barbie Rogers

If I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to you over the past 9 months at Purcon, you may have noticed my accent - some have asked, Kiwi? Close… Canadian? Hmm… getting colder (get it?) Or some not sure at all. But the majority are correct - I’m Australian! Not rare in London, as I hear Aussie accents in the street nearly every day and even know friends of friends if we get a talking - like we always say, it’s a small world!

I moved to London in October last year on a working holiday Visa. I came from a pharma and purchasing background in sunny Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; originally from a small country town in Central Queensland (fun fact: the driving duration from my hometown to Brisbane is 10+ hours, including a few pit stops to refuel: me and the car. Just a small indication of how big Australia really is! I will add a photo below for scale) - I loved everything about my role and the pharma/retail industry! Fast-paced, lots to do and learn, lots of people to speak to and meet, the customers/ suppliers/ training - everything!

So, when my recruiter in London asked if I’d considered working in recruitment, I said to be honest, no. She said well, you talk fast, loud and you know what you’re saying, so I think you’d be great at it. So here I am!

In some ways, it’s similar to my previous role - fast-paced, lots to do and learn, lots of people to speak to and meet - so it has been a great move for me in many ways. I have learned a huge amount, especially from my colleagues who have been in the industry for many years - my CEO, Tony English, 30+ years! It is always daunting leaving a business and team behind, especially on the other side of the world when you’ve worked with them for over 10 years, so joining the Purcon team was a dream as they are friendly, motivated, hilarious and loud, so I felt right at home.

As I said, there are lots of elements that are similar to work at home, but since moving to London (as I’d only visited once before moving and obviously fell in love with it) I have discovered that there are many, many things that are completely different to home! So, I’m going to make a list of all the things that are said or named differently to Australia and see if there are any that you aren’t aware of! Tried and tested on my colleagues, who sometimes look at me like I have three heads when I mention a vegetable or say some sort of Aussie slang…

  • Courgette = Zucchini
  • Aubergine = Eggplant
  • Kirby grips = Bobby pins
  • Plasters = Bandaids
  • Buggy = Pram
  • Flip flops = Thongs (though I’ve called them flip flops since I was young, not sure why)
  • Trousers = Pants (not referred to as underwear, which was awkward for my partner who is a Physio and kept getting weird looks when he was asking patients to take their pants off…) Pants, trousers, jeans and chinos are all the same for us
  • Underwear, undies, knickers, jocks - all underwear terms for Aussies, not pants
  • Rucksack = Backpack or just a bag
  • Crisps = Chips (and we have different coloured packets, i.e. pink packets are usually salt & vinegar, blue are original, green is chicken…)
  • Sweets = Lollies (sweets for us usually refers to cakes, slices etc)

Other little topics that people sometimes can’t believe:

  • In Brisbane, you’re not allowed to drink alcohol on the street, in public or in parks
  • You’re also not allowed to smoke in most areas, i.e. in cafes, or within 300m of a shopping centre
  • Dogs are not allowed on public transport or in most parks (there are designated dog parks)
  • We don’t use Amazon (shock horror - how did I survive?)
  • I had never caught public transport in Brisbane while I lived there (actually once after leaving a Coldplay show because it was free with my ticket)
  • In shopping centres, if you don’t use self-serve, you go through a register and someone packs your groceries for you into plastic bags - up until recently they were free and given out with every purchase. So, of course, Australia is now in meltdown because they couldn’t possibly take their own bags in…
  • Alcohol is not sold in grocery stores. They have their own dedicated shops which we call bottle-o’s. They don’t open till 10am and you must be 18 to enter and purchase
  • We have had 6 Prime Ministers over the past 10 years, 3 or 4 of which were not voted in by the Australian Public. It is also compulsory to vote

I hope you’ve enjoyed the small insight into the differences between Brisbane and London living!

I am really enjoying my role in London and always looking to expand my network, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

brogers@purcon.co.uk – 0203 745 4422

P.S – a scale of Australia over Europe for those who can’t believe the 10-hour journey!

Helpful Links:

Byron Bay, NSW

Christmas Day on the Gold Coast, 35 degrees

Kangaroo selfie at Australia Zoo at the Sunshine Coast, QLD

Scale of Australia over Europe for those who can’t believe the 10-hour journey!