It has been a long time since my last blog entry and I do appreciate all the comments. I would do my best to answer your questions to the best of my ability.
Ok, so I think I would like to take the time to write about a blog entry about where should you work.
Australia is a pretty big country. It is divided into several areas called the Modified Monash Model (MMM).
MMM 1 to 7 to be exact.
MM1 is the most developed. Think Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane.
MMM2-7 are regional and remote areas. Examples would be Bundaberg (MMM2), Portland (MMM4)
The further you are from the city, the more likely you’d get jobs. However there are pros and cons for living in the city, regional/remote areas.
City (MMM 1)
- good public transport – it is easy to get around the city – this includes cycling to work. Melbourne in particular was planned for pedestrians.
- more variety in food choices – lets face it somedays you want to eat a nice plate of nasi lemak or a warm bowl or ramen during the week. In the city its a stone’s throw away. i.e. Dapur Dahlia in (Brisbane worth visiting) Sarawak Laksa (Melbourne). You may be in Australia but at least for a brief moment your mouth and stomach is at home.
- entertainment – musical shows, museums, night life, sporting events and other fun events – mostly in the city if you are in to such things. It is a good break from work.
- more diverse demographic – there are times in the city that I forget that I am in Australia. In Melbourne Chinatown, one can be forgiven if one thinks they are back in Jalan Alor or a pasar malam.
- more choices for good schools if you have kids
- closer to the Malaysian embassy if you need to get your passport renewed
- most courses would be held in large cities. Zoom is great but nothing beats face to face lectures in my opinion
- expensive to live in
- rent – to put into perspective rent for a one bedroom one bathroom apartment with no carpark space would cost you AUD 250-350 weekly
- transportation – if you choose to drive in the city, be prepared to pay a small fortune in tolls and parking. public transport is also an option but you would have to plan your trips in advance. It can also cost a lot depending where you live. For example St Kilda’s to Melbourne CBD costs about AUD 9 for a 2 way trip. Multiply that to the number of days you work. It gets more complicated with shift work.
- entertainment – you would be tempted to go to the latest happenings in the city and who would blame you? we did decide to move for a better life after all.
needless to say your earnings can dwindle down pretty fast
- noise pollution – the constant sound is what I found I could not stand in the city. Every few minutes a tram would drive by and I could feel the vibrations in my room. Sleep is an important commodity, in equal worth to time and money.
Rent – I could afford to rent a house with 3 bedrooms, a garden, a garage in a decent neighborhood away from the main street for AUD 350 a week
Transportation and commute – my clinic is 5 minutes drive from my house. I can even choose to cycle there if I wanted to.
Parking – there is free street parking in most areas. It is safe to leave your car there to go to work.
Nature walks – some areas of regional Australia is truly beautiful. During the warmer months, I would take my cat out for a walk through the park. It is a good stress reliver for me.
The quiet – depending on what you prefer. I sleep rather soundly at night without the sound of traffic.
More job opportunities – not many people want to live in regional/remote Australia. This would mean more openings for doctors. In GPs for example they get paid more to remain in rural. A good way to pad up your savings.
Savings – speaking of which, you save a lot of money from transport, entertainment and in turn earn more at your job. You can afford to pay for courses, exams a car within a shorter period of time.
- Isolation – you are away from most things. the nearest city can be 3-4 hours drive. Your family and friends are hours away from you. If you like the city life, you can be in a shock when you start living in regional. I’m not saying you can’t be friends outside the demographic you are used to. You can, but it is easier to be friends with someone you have a similar background with.
- Food – unless you are a good cook, take out food can be rather bland outside the city. they have to cater to the local palate. The local palate may not be used to the exciting favorable food we Malaysians love.
- Lack of entertainment – there may be some musicals or plays even sporting events but otherwise nothing much to do aside from work. Netflix will be your best friend.
- Harder to find schools for your kids
- Personal car – you need a car in regional Australia. Some postings (my rural posting) requires you to drive to different sites. I had to work in 4 different hospitals/clinic in rural Queensland. The furthest was 2 hours away from my rented property.
Living in a fish bowl – being one of the few GPs in the town, privacy would be an issue. when I was in a MMM4 area, I could bump into my patients at Woolworth and they would ask me about their CST results. Heck, my postman (who happened to be my patient) while delivering my parcel asked me about his bloodwork and I was dressed in my pajamas. For a long time I did not feel comfortable leaving my house. It really affected my mental health. Anecdotally, there are patients that stalk their GPs. I’m pretty sure that is the exception rather than the norm but something to digest.
The choice of staying in cities or regional towns would depend on other factors like the 10 year moratorium.
You may be single, married without kids or married with kids. Your decision will be influenced by your social and personal situation. In the end the choice is yours. I do hope this short entry would point you in the right decision on your work place. Remember, do not be afraid to move if you feel that the place you are working at is not for you. You may need some time to discover what works for you. So be kind to others and be kind to yourself.
Till next time, stay safe.