- Flat White
- Giddy Up
Partner secured, AusLaw billables and leave culture
August is nearly over and so is winter! Whilst we’re mourning the Matilda’s recent loss, the broody mood within AusCorp also continues. Unsurprisingly, we have started hearing about cancellation/downsizing of end of year parties, further trimming of staff and high-profile executive exits.
At TAC HQ, in case you missed the huge news, Ansarada, a leading Aussie data room provider has partnered with us to sponsor Flat White for the rest of 2023! We’re super excited to have them on board and you’ll be seeing a bit of them around on the socials. We’re also open to more partners, so hit us up if you’re interested!
We’ve also launched our new AusCorp Layoffs Tracker. We’ve been receiving an increasing amount of DMs about culls, redundancies, layoffs of late so have decided to collate this all into one place.
And here’s an exclusive first look for Flat Whiters - we’ve crunched the numbers on your submissions to bring you the current state AusLaw Billables, which sets out the billable targets of nearly 100 law practices across Australia!
💡 Brain’s Trust - conversations in AusCorp
I. Leave Me Be
Working overseas is a dream for many, with common destinations including the US, UK, Asia and the Middle East. Many who have come back have said that the cultural differences between countries also mean that perspectives on work differ greatly.
Why is it interesting?
We love annual leave because it means holidays, hanging out with family / friends and most importantly, not working. And whilst the number of annual leave days for overseas workplaces are similar to Australia (ranging from 20 - 30 days of leave a year), the attitudes towards taking leave differs greatly.
In Australia, leave is accrued over the course of the year, and uniquely all unused leave can be rolled over to be used in the next year. This means that you could theoretically have a huge annual leave balance after several years of working.
On the other hand, in the UK/EU, leave cannot typically be rolled over (with the exception that some companies allow a rollover of up to 5 days). This means that people take more holidays every year given they need to “use it or lose it”.
The differences between the “rolling over” mechanics are simple but creates two entirely different holiday cultures. Instead of a culture where everyone takes leave during the year and enjoys more frequent breaks (as in the UK/EU), Aussie leave culture results in only a select few taking a holiday each year (and typically in big chunks). Interestingly, despite this, 75% of AusCorp polled still preferred the status quo.
Finally, we can’t forget the rest - US, Middle East, Asia. Unsurprisingly, people at the higher-performing firms never really use more than 2 weeks at once, and at some, you’ll still get disturbed. Annual leave is largely seen as a perk, not a right.
So which leave culture do you prefer?
II. Productivity versus Wages
The ABC published an interesting article earlier this month about the growth rate of productivity relative to the growth rate of wages.
Data from the Centre for Future Work (Greg Jericho, ABS)
Graph from ABC Australia
Why is it interesting?
Looking at corporate profits growth below, its obvious that it has been relatively strong and growing over the past 20-odd years. Given real wages looks pretty flat to us, our question (with a very obvious answer) is: where did the profits go?
A Message from Ansarada
The legends at Ansarada have been crunching the numbers to uncover future trends for the deal market. They’re getting ready to launch their latest Deal Indicators report surfacing some ripper global trends, from what’s happening in M&A and bankruptcies to previously unseen Data Room behaviours. As a Flat White reader, be the first to digest the latest trends with your morning coffee…
📮 Postbox - DM highlight
Optus Out of Here
It feels like only yesterday that Optus was a reputable Aussie household name, trying its best to provide cheaper internet than Telstra. Recently, it seems like it is hitting low after low. After it suffered its 2002 data breach, it has just been named the most distrusted brand in Australia.
Why is it interesting?
It’s clear that the Optus brand is reeling from the data breach, and the related ongoing class action. To make matters worse, we understood from our DMs that Singtel (its Singaporean parent company) has made comments about a 5-day return to office and it’s now up to the CEO to decide when it will be implemented (all eyes on you Kelly!).
We’ve heard that morale is already pretty low, so a return to office mandate may just break the proverbial straw. With this trajectory, people have humoured that Optus probably won’t make it to 2025, but whatever actually happens, it’s clear there’s quite a bit of turnaround work to do.
🙊 Community Bantz - DMs that didn't make the feed
There’s hope yet
If you caught our Q&A earlier this month, you would have seen that not landing a grad role at your dream firm is not the end of the world (see our story highlights). Many of us (including MDs and Partners) made it to where we are today via different routes and methods. Not all paths to success are equal!
For those young professionals out there that are worried, just know that there have been plenty before you that have had the same struggles and it has always worked out as long as you set your goals and work hard towards them.
Here’s three more submissions we received in our DMs we didn’t get to post, but thought it worthwhile to share:
🩺 Health Check - health tip/reminder
We’ve all heard that dopamine = happiness hormones and that exercise, sleep, eating well, all contribute to us getting more of it. However, it’s worth knowing that dopamine is also strongly linked to motivation.
Why is it interesting?
Dopamine basically controls our drive, motivation and cravings. You don’t really need to understand the technical bits but just being aware that you can regulate dopamine could lead to less procrastination and higher productivity.
Here are some other practical tips:
Don't always trigger dopamine (including via social media, video games, sugary food etc). Too many dopamine spikes cause your “baseline” dopamine to drop, which makes it harder get motivated.
Take a cold shower to raise dopamine healthily.
Try not to layer in dopamine-raising activities for tasks you want to get motivated for (e.g. eating whilst working) - doing so lowers motivation for those tasks.
Don’t reward yourself before or after something difficult. The task itself should produce dopamine for you.
Have a listen to this Huberman Lab podcast on how to leverage dopamine to become more productive and driven.
👴🏻 Old is Cool - meme throwback (4 August 2022)
The pain of getting back crappy work
👍 The Nook - AusCorp recommendations
🏉 Rugby World Cup (event, 8 Sep - 28 Oct) - Hosted in Paris, the Wallabies come in as underdogs. We also haven’t lifted the silverware since 1999 so we’ll be hoping for a Matilda-esque run when September comes around.
🎭 Moulin Rouge (Melbourne) - Being performed at the Regent Theatre, this amazing show is multi award-winning, with 10 2021 Tony Awards® under its belt including Best Musical.
📕 What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma (book) | Goodreads 4.5/5 | "It's an honest and gut-wrenching memoir on growing up as an immigrant child who endured abuse and abandonment and having to come to terms with the trauma in her adult life whilst working in her dream job. I think many children of immigrant parents will find aspects of it that resonate with them or they have experienced, as I felt understood whilst reading this book."
🎥 Karen Puzzles (Youtube) - "Wholesome content of a woman who we must protect at all costs doing and reviewing puzzles. Great for WFH background noise."
🎵 Eat Your Man (Music, Dom Dolla / Nelly Furtado) - “Sick song, like crack for your ears. Perfect for crunching excels spreadsheets to whilst wishing you were at the next Friday rave.”
🗣 Rebuttal (Podcast) - "Podcast by Reb Masel, a millennial America lawyer that goes through wild previous cases in history and discusses and breaks them down. As an Australian I am continually shocked by them. Also hilarious."
🗣 Empire (Podcast) - "Podcast about empire that explores complicated history in a relaxed way. It consists of mini series such as the Ottoman Empire and the history of slavery. Very easy listen"
🍷 Bar Messenger (Wine Bar, Sydney) - “New hidden wine bar in Circular Quay that offers an intimate setting for dates and a great wine list”
☕️ Indo Cafe (Cafe, Canberra) - “The best lunch spot in Canberra! Located opposite the Legislative Assembly, $10 for a lunch box that will hit the spot every damn time. Don't sleep on the Satay Ayam, it's GOATED.”
🍺 Duke of Clarence (Pub, Sydney) - “A cozy nook for after-work catchups and they do great Sunday roasts - yes, a proper yorkie! (yorkshire pudding)“
🌶 That Hot Sauce Shop (Shop, Manly), “Hole in the wall shop in Manly, dedicated to hot sauces. The owners are cool, former corporate warriors pursuing their passion, strong focus on Aussie small batch makers, and awesome tasting bar to trial the different flavours, takes, heat levels etc.”
💻 Made in Australia - showcasing Aussie start-ups
Brave New Web
Advised by Malcolm Turnbull during the investment process, Fivecast is an intelligence start-up (specifically, OSINT) headquartered in Adelaide that raised A$30m in a Series A round in April earlier this year (Ten Eleven Ventures, Main Sequence Ventures, SA VC Fund).
What is it?
Founded in 2017, Fivecast scans the public and dark web for potential dangers to companies and governments. It’s key markets are in the Five Eyes nations and serves a growing need for better tech around data and risk analytics.
Specifically, it aims to help defence, intelligence, police, border security and corporations by helping them identify threats, reduce risks and mitigate incidents.
We have seen Australian companies increasingly becoming targets of bad perpetrators. With the continued development of Fivecast, corporations will hopefully be able to rely on this technology to protect their data, brand and reputation, as well as to ensure regulatory compliance by providing fulsome KYC/AML/CTF data on potential customers or clients.
If you know (or are creating) a great Aussie product, we'd love to hear from you!
🚗 Under the Hood - what we're working on
We’re continuing to talk top companies in Australia who have expressed an interest in partnering up with our AusCorp Jobs platform.
If you’d like to build your firm’s profile and get jobs in front of our community of 90,000+, send us an email!
We’re currently looking for any firms in finance, law, consulting or tech.
Partner/MD Insights Survey
We received ~50 detailed responses from Partners / MDs at law firms to the Big 4 and our interns are working diligently to get these gems of wisdom across to you.
✍️ Feedback Loop - share your thoughts
What did you think of this month's Flat White?
If you have want to provide more detailed feedback or have any topics that you want to hear more about, you can let us know HERE.