Originally from Iran, Mahdy Merry saw an opportunity for a brighter future for him and his family, and made the decision to relocate to WiseTech’s Sydney office almost three years ago.
With more than 20 years’ experience in software development, Mahdy joined WiseTech’s Rating team as a senior software engineer and says that solving new problems every day and creating value for customers is what he loves most about his job.
We spoke to Mahdy about his decision to relocate to Australia, how life has changed for him and his family, and what life is like at WiseTech.
You relocated from Iran to Australia with your family in 2019, why did you decide to move?
In Iran, I was a senior software engineer working for one of the top companies there. I had quite an established life after working for more than 20 years. But my country was facing sanctions and other issues, and I was looking for a place with a brighter vision for my family. So we decided to move to a new country, and we chose Australia.
Relocating to a new country has its own challenges as there are so many unknowns, and we had to face so many things for the first time. For example, say you want to go somewhere - you have no idea where to go or how to get there, so everything was new for us. We also had to learn another language and this was challenging, because we didn't speak English that often in Iran.
Despite all of this, I knew my family and I were capable of facing these challenges. I looked at relocating as a project and something that I could achieve. So I moved here to prove to myself that I could do it. If I was a good developer in Iran, I was going to be good in Australia too.
I was fortunate because my family were excited by the idea of living in another country and the adventure that this chapter would be, so they were very supportive of me. I have a young son and I knew there would be so many new opportunities for him here. Australia is a really beautiful country and it has a very diverse culture, so I felt confident that we would be accepted here.
What support did you and your family receive during your relocation?
When I made the decision to relocate, I started applying for jobs in Australia, Canada and Japan, and I was really fortunate to get an interview with WiseTech. The process was fairly straightforward. Besides wanting to understand my technical skills, they also wanted to know how they could help me grow at the company. From the start, I felt that they were wanting to invest in me and help me grow.
WiseTech supported me through the visa process, and also with the costs of tickets to moving my family to Sydney and they arranged for us to be picked up from the airport. When we first arrived, we had temporary accommodation so we had a bit of time to research where we wanted to live and schools for our son. I started looking at the suburbs that had schools with high rankings, and eventually we found a school and an area that we really liked.
There were so many nice people here to answer our questions and to sort things out for us, so it made my family and I feel really supported when we got here.
What are the biggest differences in your life now, compared to your life in Iran?
Tehran is a really big city, and the speed of life is very different. For example, travelling from point A to point B is a major issue. You might spend hours sitting in traffic just to move one kilometer, and there’s a lot of pollution so the air quality is poor. In Iran, a lot of my time was dedicated to work so I had less time for myself and my family.
In Australia, the pace is a lot slower and I have a lot more work-life balance, so the biggest difference here is that I have much more quality time for myself and my family. This has been a huge factor is helping us establish a quality life.
Sydney is also a very liveable city for families. There are so many different things to do here, such as outdoor activities like having a picnic or barbeque. This wasn’t something we would do in Iran, but here it’s really common and it’s one of the activities we love doing as a family now.
Some of my dreams were to learn how to play piano and to ride a motorbike, and those are activities I’m able to do now that I live here. These things would’ve been impossible for me to do living in Iran, so I’m really happy that I now have the time to do the things I enjoy.
What was your experience like when you first joined WiseTech?
I would say the first week at WiseTech was challenging because there were so many unknowns, but there were so many supportive people here that helped me feel welcome and settled. I met other Iranians who worked here, and they were so supportive and friendly and they helped me meet more people in the Iranian community. Within the first couple of days of joining WiseTech, I realized that I’d made the right choice and I could feel that I would be successful.
The rotation program was also a big benefit, because it enabled me to expand my network of people within the business and get involved in different industry problems. During the program I had the opportunity to work in three different teams and to get to know the business and our products from different perspectives. At the end, I could decide which team I wanted to join.
I did some research about the teams that are here and the work that each team was doing. I also asked my colleagues and my direct manager their advice on what my next rotation should be, and they helped me choose the right team for me.
I also think the role of mentors is really important. When I first joined, I never felt alone because I had my mentors assigned to me. They helped me through my first day and introduced me to new people, so as a newcomer it made me feel comfortable. They also helped me understand the goals of the team and helped me work through any problems, which helped me gain confidence in the early days.
What do you enjoy most about working at WiseTech?
As a software engineer, I really enjoy that my job is dynamic. It’s challenging every day, I’m always learning new things and solving new problems. At WiseTech, I solve real business problems through our software and create value for our customers, which is a great feeling.
There’s also a lot of opportunity for growth. Whether that’s in a technical role or in a leadership role, you will be presented with opportunities to choose which direction you want your career to go in. It’s not a hierarchical company, but if you want to be a leader, you can lead projects and teams and develop your skills.
For myself, I like both aspects. I’ve always been in very hands on roles, even when I had leadership roles in my career because computers are my passion so I always want to be involved in the technical side.
Most importantly, I can really be myself and I’m surrounded by smart, lovely people. It’s a company that is very supportive of its employees, and I’m fortunate to be able to experience this.
What advice would you give to others considering relocating to Australia?
Based on my experience, any doubts and fears I had vanished very quickly once I arrived. There are so many people that can help you and who are willing to help you feel comfortable and settled in this new way of life. The best thing to do is to not overthink it and if it’s something you want to do, just keep moving forward towards that goal.
What I have learned about myself through this whole journey is that even after all these years, I still have so many strengths and capabilities that I wasn't aware of. No matter your age or what stage of life you’re in, if you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
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