New Yorker Down Under

Operation ‘Swap Erin’ went underway towards the end of 2011, where Erin Hauck from OMD New York and Erin Hardaker from OMD Sydney swapped seats as part of an epic international exchange program.

In this series of posts, Erin Hauck will be writing about her experiences as a New York digital media guru living and working in Sydney. Over to you Erin..

It’s crazy to think that we’re already half way through this digital exchange. Time truly does fly by…especially when you’re having fun. It’s definitely been an interesting summer here in Sydney, although I’m told that I’ve hardly had a summer at all thanks to the rain consistent torrential downpour.

I’ve been referring to Sydney as “Opposite Land” since my first week or so in the office, and this continues to prove to be accurate.  Yes, there’s the obvious differences such as the weather, time zones, seasons, walking/driving on opposite sides of the street, writing dates backwards, etc… but there’s quite a bit more to it than that and it’s become a consistent (and entertaining) theme throughout my experience here. To name a few random amusing differences compared to NYC: People actually walk in the crosswalk and even wait for the walk signal rather than jaywalking, everyone is extremely nice, streets are clean, cab drivers have NO CLUE where they are going and do I even need to mention the pace at which everyone moves through their day? Oh, and the coffee is way better, sorry Starbucks.

The best part of my work experience here has been how unbelievably accepting and accommodating everyone has been with this exchange. Clients, co-workers and publishers have all been extremely patient and willing to take time out to teach me process, account history, etc. I’ve enjoyed adapting to the culture here at OMD, and have learned quite a bit about the Australian market not only through working on J&J, but also through the constant knowledge sharing that occurs among the digital team.

My day here starts a bit earlier than it did in NYC, but I don’t mind it and the 25 minute stroll to work from Darlinghurst is a nice change compared to the crowded Manhattan Subway. The office is a nice change as well, with open rows of desks rather than individual cubicles. It’s been an easy transition, minus the few cultural differences here in opposite land… no one knows what a sharpie is and kiwis are not just fruit.  I will also never forget the day that a company-wide email went out saying that “someone left their dirty thongs on the bench downstairs” and that they were being thrown out… I was disgusted until I realized that thongs are actually flip flops/sandals and not someone’s underwear.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of this experience holds here in opposite land, and hoping for more hilarious linguistic variances along the way.

More updates to follow!

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