A Love Affair
Confucius philosophised that if you find the job you love you'll never work a day in your life. Although inspirational and, on first glance, straightforward, the sad truth is that doing what you love is the dream of many, but the reality of few. Approximately one year ago I went from being one of many to one of the select few.
So how do we actually go about finding out what we would love to do? Not even a career adviser can tell us exactly what we should do; it has to come from us. All the answers lie within us; we just need to ask the right questions to lure them out. In doing so we become more self-aware in preparation to undertake career exploration, make informed decisions, take the appropriate actions and evaluate them in the longer term.
The Essential Ingredients
I have always tried to be self-aware of the special gifts, talents and skills that I possess and have developed throughout my career history. This information alongside contextual data regarding what, where and who I would like to work with may be blended together to create a loose and workable description of my ‘dream job'. One could compare this to the process involved in generating a list of selection criteria to establish our ideal option when buying a high ticket item.
Although my generated criteria list may have been refined over the years, the components have remained quite constant. Central to work for me are the elements of people, communication and variety. These are the things I love within my work. Since I can remember, I have had a yearning to help, support and solve problems for individuals, alongside teaching and equipping people with the knowledge and skill to realise their full potential in the most general sense.
The more creative, artistic side of my character revels in the world of new idea generation, promotion, marketing and planning. Together I see these components encapsulated within a supportive, positive and caring work environment with an understanding boss who motivates, inspires and engages me whilst giving the freedom for innovation and autonomy ... preferably within a university setting!
My Career Story
My career history spans the fields of project management, sales and marketing, education and training, career development and research in a variety of contexts. All of the roles I have secured have ticked a significant number of the criteria from ‘my wish list', but it's always felt like there was something missing.
At the end of last year when my son was two years old I decided it was time to return to work on a more permanent basis. I needed to find a position that I would love and so a focused job search began. Initially I followed old habits applying for a number of positions similar in nature to my past employment that only ticked some of the boxes. However by repeating the pattern I was destined to fall into past traps and get the same unsatisfactory result.
But then I came across a job advertisement and position description that called out to me.
The First Year Adviser position within Student Support at UWA works across a diverse range of programs (UniMentor, UniStart, Link Week, ConnectMe@UWA , Parents' Welcome, Open Day, Shenton College Work@UWA program to mention just a few). The nature of the job was as diverse as the suite of programs I would be involved in. One day I could be advising a new undergraduate student on generic transitional queries, devising and delivering new training materials for the UniMentor program and managing an event for new International students under the ConnectMe program banner.
As I read through the position description I was visualising my ideal criteria list being marked off one by one before me. Things took off from there. Within a few weeks of applying I had attended the interview and been offered the position. I started the role in January 2011 and it wasn't long before I came to the realisation that my ideal position was housed within the supportive and positive working environment that is Student Support at UWA with an inspiring motivational mentor, Narelle Palmer, The First Year Co-ordinator, as my boss.
I hope you dare to dream to realise your true potential as I have!
First Year Adviser, Diversity and Transition
Published in UWA News, 28 November 2011