Job hunting mental health

How I ended up in my current job

Let me tell you a story of how I got my role at one of Australia’s big four banks. Back when I was last job hunting, I had a few different leads come about from networking at meetup events and this bank wasn’t my first choice.

I had another Job Offer

My trip up to Newcastle to present at the Newcastle coders group had lead to job offer from a startup. The job offer was a mobile app team lead to a potential head of engineering upgrade career path. It was a super exciting offer and after chatting to my partner about it (they weren’t super happy) I signed the job offer.

Moving to Newcastle

I gave notice to my house mate, my previous contract and my community. I had arranged a few inspections and had put down a rental deposit on a new apartment up that way and had my heart set on living a 20 minute walk from walk, a 15 minute walk from the beach and a 5 minute walk from a brewery. All for less than $350 per week rent for a 2 bedroom apartment right in the centre of Newcastle. I had my priorities straight 😆 .

Then it all fell through

2 weeks before moving, the startup calls me up and cancels my employment contract. The level of transperancy I practice personally was a culture fit concern. Apparently someone on the board spoke to a previous colleague while doing “extra background checks” and my history of depression and performance came up. It’s not like I publicly speak and blog about these struggles. But they didn’t want to hire someone with this history. However the formal reason for cancelling the contract was for “culture fit” reasons.

This was over a phone conversation with one of the founders of the startup so the termination reason was never written down formally. I’m on good terms with the founder, they were annoyed with this decision but there wasn’t anything either of us could really do.

I think someone had spoken to a colleague who didn’t have the full context of why I left a previous role. The role didn’t suit my skills and expertise.

Where as from the outside, it looked like my broken leg blues was impacting my performance. Now it did impact my engagement but it wasn’t the reason for the departure. you can read more about that story here.

Mental Health Discrimination

If you feel like you’ve been unfairly dismissed or discriminated against, you have a few options. I had a chat to a fair work lawyer, they believed I had a valid case but because I hadn’t started employment there wasn’t a lot of financial reimbursement I could claim and their fee was $7000.

Claiming Unfair Dismissal

You can claim on your own with no lawyers fees but it’s harder if you chose to self represent. Also you have to let the fair work ombudsman know within 21 days of being dismissed. I let that time window pass. You can claim a few other ways too, one way has a 6 month time frame and another is within 12 months with the human rights commission. *

*Disclaimer; I might have some of these facts mixed up and this is not legal advice. Please reach out to a lawyer for further clarification

Opting out of unfair dismissal

I opted to not go down the unfair dismissal route. The startup had reimbursed me the direct expenses I had already paid with the move (my rental deposit and inspection fees), so there wasn’t much else I could claim except for the lapse in work/stress from moving because I now had to find a new job and move (my house mate had already found a new room mate and I couldn’t undo that). I didn’t feel all that hard done by and felt like they had already made fair reimbursements.

The only other reason I’d want to pursue the case is because I’d want people to acknowledge that mental health is important and it’s illegal to discriminate on this basis.

Rekindled previous leads

After the Newcastle job fell through, I rekindled all of the previous job leads I had. The original job at this bank I had interviewed with had been filled but there was another mobile QA engineer related role with another team that had just opened up. My details were passed along to someone else on the Talent Acquisition team. I did have to redo the 2 stage interview process again but it was a successful process this time round.

Moving and the new job

In the end, it all worked out for the better. I moved into my own 2 bedroom apartment in Crows Nest which had even cheaper rent than my last place (it wasn’t as cheap as Newcastle) and ended up with a job with this bank with a higher salary package compared to what the start up was offering. I’m still on a mobile team and I’m working on an interesting product. I have a financial update here if you are interested in reading more about my current state of affairs.

My partner is happier with this option and I can continue to do all of the awesome event based stuff I’ve been doing for Sydney Testers and YOW! Conference. I really dodged a bullet, I wouldn’t have wanted to work for a company where people didn’t like my transparency.

I’ve also written about fatness and bias before. This doesn’t constitute illegal discrimination under Australian law but it’s another story of how society can feel like it treats us unfairly.


Turning 30

I’m turning 30 next week and I’m actually looking forward to it. A lot of people say, “life is all downhill after 21” but I reckon the next decade of my life is going to be pretty awesome.

Age is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a measure of how many revolutions around the sun you’ve survived on this planet since exploding out of your mother’s womb. And you haven’t died yet. Now that’s worth celebrating.

Reflecting on my 20’s

My 20’s were a tumultuous time of my life. There was uni, going on exchange to Sweden, moving in with a partner, getting kicked out of home, partially failing uni & falling into bout of chronic depression. Scrapping through uni, moving to Sydney and struggling to find a community. Not to mention credit card debt, weight loss surgery and a broken ankle. My 20’s saw me go through 1 bout of chronic depression, 4 bouts of minor depression, 4 relationships, 12 jobs and moving 18 times. That’s a lot of change and disruption.

Finances (All balances in AUD)

My finances aren’t great but at least they are moving in a good direction. In the spirit of being transparent; it’s all here bear for you:

Super balance: 47k

My super (retirement fund) is growing nicely. I’m lucky to have had the one superfund since I was 14 and it’s over twice that compared to the average male’s super my age (reference). I’m with Verve Super, I transitioned from TasPlan Super who I had been with for 15 years. Verve are a super fund run by women for women and only invest in ethically run companies that have some diversity on their boards. They are a new kid on the block and I’d highly recommend checking them out.


Credit card debt: 30k; I paid for my weigh loss surgery on the credit card and a few other things (like a holiday and moving). I’m not proud of this but I feel like it’s a pretty common thing for people my age to go through. I’ve blogged about my struggles with credit card debt before.

HECS Debt (University fee’s): 39k


Salary (annual): 120k + super; I’m super proud of myself and how I’ve been able to grow my career & salary. When I started work at 14, I was on $7.42 an hour, that had doubled by the time I was 18. When I moved to Sydney 5.5 years ago, my graduate salary was 55k. I’ve now seen my salary double again since then and I’ve now been a software tester for 7 years. This salary also doesn’t include the extra 10-15k I can make in a year with the part time side business stuff I do, though I’m planning on investing most of this side cash in growing my business.

I currently spend a minimum of $1050 a month on debts (the credit card debt + a motorbike loan), I only have 1 year left before I finish paying off the motorbike.


$210 per week. I recently moved into my own 2 bedroom apartment in Crows Nest. The total rent is $460 per week and I’ve got a house mate in the big room that I charge $250 per week for. I recently spent a total of 4k furnishing the apartment (mostly second hand furniture) and I’m proud of my interior decorating skills: Here’s the Shared Photo Album if you want to check it out.


Why would I expect my 30’s to be worse? I don’t plan on changing anything about my existing job, relationship or living arrangements for the foreseeable future.

I’m looking forward to more stability in life, getting on top of my credit card debt, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having less depression. What isn’t there to look forward to?