Perth has long been known as a relaxed and friendly place that is "like a big country town". While things have certainly sped up a lot in recent years and that characterization is much less valid than it used to be, I think it still has a lot of truth to it.

There's so much space here and the weather is pleasant, so people tend to be generally less stressed than in bigger cities. Then there's the fact that while business is booming, there's not the same level of concentration and competition that you see in, say, Sydney. So the culture in workplaces is not so full on.

I know this doesn't apply in all cases. The opposite is probably true in the construction industry. Those working on the Perth Arena, for example, must be going like the clappers the whole time.

But in at least one business sector I know for a fact that it's still comparatively easy-going here. That's because I've recently started doing some part-time work in it again. I remember that when doing this kind of work in Melbourne, and most recently Sydney, you really couldn't waste a minute so as to ensure a minimum work output.

But there is definitely less pressure placed at the office I'm working at here. Obviously, you have to show up and work hard, and if you are really below par there will be consequences. But there is nothing like the same sense of urgency in the place. It's quite remarkable.

At almost all the places I worked at in Sydney, for example, you went at it consistently, almost without a word to your colleagues, living in fear of being seen as an under-performer. And it wasn't just the lowly underlings who felt this way. The urgency and anxiety in the higher-ups was palpable as well.

Much of this had to do with the fact that Sydney is a hub for this kind of work. So there's a lot of competition for contracts, etc. But I think that the urgency I felt there was also a consequence of the generally frenetic nature of the city, which was in turn due to its overcrowded nature, seeming lack of town planning, and often unstable and quite humid climate.