In our parents’ era, the typical career path looked something like this: you did well in school, go to university if you were lucky, then you’d find a job and stay in it for decades. The focus wasn’t on enjoying work or where you spent the majority of your week, it was just a means to pay the bills.
Today, we’re living in a time of unlimited opportunities – in theory, you can kick-start a business from your kitchen table, run a shop from your living room, work part-time on a side-hustle, create your own hours by freelancing, campaign to get the career opportunity you really want, or ramp up your passive income and not really‘ work’ at all. The options are endless and also overwhelming. How do you figure out what you want to do? And how you make a pivot once you realised you’ve chosen the wrong career path without it negatively impacting your future prospects?
We spoke to three Premium members about ambition (and how it’s a fluid thing), career pivots and stepping bravely into lives that have made them happier, and ultimately more successful.
A breakdown made me step boldly into the life I wanted
After almost two decades of working in jobs that clashed violently with my values, I finally collapsed having pushed myself far too hard for too long. Within the blink of an eye, my life shattered in front of me and I went from being a highly functioning, award-winning executive to on the floor, and unable to stop crying in minutes.
When I collapsed, it was like I had become a blank canvas and I could start to paint the new picture of myself from scratch. I was like a sponge, and through finding teachers who taught me to make conscious decisions I was able to start learning from myself. Along my road to recovery, I learned a lot about the way I had been conditioned, how to turn the auto-pilot off and most importantly, how to start to consciously make my own decisions for my life and how to boldly step forward into the life that I wanted.
As I recovered, I started to write. Initially, the writing was an aid in my recovery process, but the more I talked to people about what I was writing, the more they encouraged me to publish it as a book, emphatically telling me that ‘the world needed the words I was creating’.
Once ‘Keep It Super Simple’ was published and started doing its work in the world, I found myself being sourced by people globally to be interviewed for their Podcasts, Radio, Facebook Live, YouTube and online TV shows, and I was also suddenly contributing written articles for members sites like Huffington Post and Mywellbeingmagazine.com.
While initially I accidentally became an entrepreneur, now everything I do is aligned with my values and through corporate programs, conference platforms, retreats, professional mentoring and in the online environment I get to spend every day teaching people there’s another way to live.
-Bronwen Sciortino, entrepreneur and life coach at SheIQlife.
I quit the medical profession for a career in travel
When leaving school I wanted to work in the Medical Profession and so decided to study Radiography at RMIT. I worked in hospitals for 3 or 4 years, then left to do the “working holiday” thing in the UK for 12 months. During this time I travelled around Europe on my own and with friends, I met along the way, and eventually returned home to Melbourne after being away for 10 months.
Upon my return, I went back to Radiography but something was missing – I was bored with my job, and wanted something more exciting. Also, I wanted to travel again. I went back to the UK after I got married (another story for another time) and worked for 14 months whilst travelling around Europe – this time driving a VW Kombi from London to Istanbul and back. We came home to Melbourne via the USA – after 18 months away the travel bug had well and truly hit me!
After six years of marriage, we split, and with no commitments or responsibilities, I decided to look at changing careers to work in the Travel Industry. I was the person my friends turned to when they wanted help with travel (pre-internet days) – it was something I loved learning about. I enrolled in a Diploma of Tourism course (2 years part-time), which allowed me to work part-time and earn an income.
After 12 months in the course, I was offered a job as a Junior Consultant (at 33 years of age!!) and grabbed it with both hands. From day one, I knew this was where I was meant to be. Helping people plan their dream holidays and being able to give them an experience of a lifetime is so amazing and rewarding!
Moving to the current day – I bought the agency I was working for 8 years ago (then part of the Jetset Franchise) and am still here today with a great team of staff who share my passion for travel, knowledge and great customer service. We are now part of the HelloWorld Travel network, and I am looking for a second store in the next few years.
I truly believe everyone should see the world at least once – if all you learn from this is how good home is, then it is worthwhile. Travel can take many forms, and every single trip is different – that is the great thing about working in this industry – always something to learn and the amazing destinations.
– Jenni Marr, Managing Director at HelloWorld Travel in Victoria.
I left on maternity leave and never looked back
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a people-pleaser (I’m a recovered one now thankfully!). I’ve always been very sensitive to everyone around me and, in attempt to fit in, I spent years watching how people communicate. I always gravitated towards jobs that involved a lot of human interaction (waitressing, wedding planning, flight attending, etc). When I got back from Dubai in 2008, I started a job in marketing and my boss suggested I would be better suited to communications. I almost fell over – there was a job that would pay me to talk?! Since then, I’ve spent the past 10 years working in communications, public relations and branding and all of it has served for creating my dream job, a small business social media strategist.
I followed what I had enjoyed doing for the most part of my life: talking and listening. Then I added to my love of business. I know it sounds a little odd, but I love how business works. I love how people build a commercial enterprise to create a product or service that appeals to their target audience, then their success is reliant on how well they hone that connection.
After six years of working in corporate communications within the advertising industry, I left on maternity leave and I knew I wouldn’t be going back. I wanted to work with clients who had their hands on the tools and were the decision makers too. Now I work with businesswomen who are awesome at what they do, that just need help finding their business’ voice and so they can use social media to shout out loud about it!
-Renée Ballard, Owner of Renee Ballard Communications