The year is 1987, I’ve been living in South Africa and working for Iscor for the past three years, I’ve got married and my first child was born. Thinking back to my original plan of working here for a few years and then moving on, I started to get restless.
I had heard from one person who had moved to New Zealand, having been interviewed by New Zealand Steel. So when they did the next round of interviews in Johannesburg, I made sure I did have an invite.
The interviews took place in a hotel on the outskirts of Johannesburg, and both my wife and daughter tagged along, since they wanted to see the family unit rather than just the interviewee. In the end the question came: how soon would I be able to come to New Zealand? My reply, which was that I was on three months notice, clearly did not satisfy them, and in the end I did not change jobs.
What if I had been more positive that I could have wangled a shorter notice if need be? I notice that around that time New Zealand Steel was acquired by Equiticorp, which went bankrupt later in the year. Two years later it was acquired by BHP, and it still exists as New Zealand Steel under the BHP corporate banner.
So let’s suppose I had moved to New Zealand. The first question would have been: could I, as a newcomer, have survived the disturbance of the bankruptcy and take-over? And if so, would I have stayed in New Zealand, about as far as you can get from my family in Belgium and the UK? Or would I have been tempted to try and move to BHP Australia, having one sister who lives in Adelaide?
All interesting but ultimately unresolvable questions. I don’t even know whether reducing my notice period to one month would have been sufficient for them to make a positive offer.