Saturday, July 31, 2010


Here's the thing, I don't think I've ever had a job I really loved. I've had jobs I really enjoyed, and felt good about, but nothing I've ever been truly passionate about.

I can enjoy aspects of it, and I can make the best of whatever I am doing, but there's not a lot to love about being an admin pleb. I sort of fell into doing secretarial work after a checkered job history that involved retail and hospitality as a teenager, a stint in my 20's where I considered myself employed by the Government to party and get a bitchin' tan, then the agency I went to to help me find a job employed me as their receptionist, I moved up through the ranks into Accounts Clerk, PA, and then swapped over into consulting myself.

I worked as a Recruitment Consultant for about 3 years, for about 4 different companies (no, that's not unusual in recruitment). Then I got made redundant and as no-one was hiring in Recruitment, took a temp maternity leave contract that turned out to be last job I really enjoyed.

It was as State Sales Secretary for a pharmaceutical company. I worked for a great bunch of people who appreciated what I did for them, and gave me the autonomy to just get it done.

From there I worked as an Executive PA in a few different roles, and then I have been doing part-time admin since having my Gorgeous Gal. Recently, I have been doing full time temp work to help with our finances.

I have always regetting not going to University after I finished high school. At the time, I was so over schooling and desperate for 'freedom', plus I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I just binned the idea and moved in with my boyfriend (I know, I know, quit groaning...)

I have always felt less than adequate about that. I know I am intelligent, capable and hard-working, but really feel inferior when I am around people who are 'educated'. Even when it's apparent I'm probably just as smart as them.

So I have been thinking a lot lately about what I want to be when I grow up (no, you don't need to remind me how old I am). This has been a bit of a tricky subject for years, as there have been so many things that have interested me over time: law, journalism, psychology, policing, teaching, but have lost their sheen the more I thought about it: defending crimals, harassing people, being shot at, dealing with other people's bratty kids all day. Not sure which is worse out of those last two.

You know how often in life, the Universe will keep throwing things at you until you finally sit up and notice? I have been having that a lot lately, all around career fulfillment and seeking menaing by what I do.

It has lead me to a conclusion I didn't expect.

Given that's it probably to late to become an international secret agent, I have been spending the last few months thinking about what it is I really want from a job. I don't need a job to define me, and my family is still the most important thing to me by a mile, but I do feel like I need something more now. So here's what I've come up with, what really matters:

I want to feel like what I do makes a difference in the world. I want to make a meaningful contribution.

I want to work closely with people, and feel like I have helped them, not just with little things, but at important moments in their life.

I want what I do to give me flexibility to enjoy my family and my life.

I kind of want my job to be a 'real' job. This is a hard one to define, but a job that needs a qualification. One that as soon as you say what you do, people know what that is and that you went and got an education to do it.

Once I had defined these things in my head, the answer kept being shown to me, by the friends I kept thinking about, dreams, bumper stickers I would notice, t.v. shows, even the articles I would randomly flick to in magazines.


The more I think about it, the more passionate and excited I become.

I ran into a friend I haven't seen in ages yesterday, and she is now also studing nursing. We got talking and she was full of information. I had assumed that I would need to keep working admin roles until I could not only afford to take time off to study, but to afford the tuition. I have since learned that as early as your second semester, you can work in Assistant in Nursing roles, and that I might be eligible to have my fees fully deferred, like a student loan. That hadn't even occured to me.

So I am off to Griffith Uni's Open Day next Sunday, and ready to start changing my life! Maybe this will be the kick off we need to bring about positive change in the rest of our life, we seem to have been stuck in Groundhog Day lately.

And you know what else is funny? This fits in perfectly with another little dream I have. When GG is a teenager, I want to take her and go do a 'volunteering holiday'. This is where you travel to a developing part of the world, and volunteer your time and services; you might help build a school in Africa, work in a medical clinic in Peru or teach English in a Cambodian orphanage. Can you imagine how valuable it would feel to immunise babies in a village in a third world country?

So I have been doing a lot of research, and speaking to a lot of people, trying to find out as much as I can, and here's what I'd like. I know a few of my readers are or have been nurses, and I'd love to hear what you love and don't love about your job. Actually, whoever you are and whatever you do, I'd love to hear what you love or hate about it.



  1. Wow, that is a change! But so exciting when you feel you've found your place in life. As you may or may not remember (!) I am a nurse and I can recommend it as a career, vocation or job. It has many advantages (where to start...flexible hours, huge choice of specialties, ability to travel, work anywhere, lots of career advancement if that's your thing, work full time part time, casual, agency, do whatever fits your life and the rewards are of course immeasurable). It also has disadvatages, but it depends on your viewpoint as to how disadvantageous these are... shift work including night shift, pay could be better, unpaid overtime, stress sometimes, emotional commitment, working with old school doctors. Oh yeah, and the odd sight of blood, vomit and unmentionable other bodily fluids. There are other down sides, but all jobs have goods and bads.

    I could rave on about nursing all day, but as I blogged about my own struggles with career choice recently (as in earlier on), it is definitely for me but not necessarily for everyone. If you ever want to hear more, be happy to email about it with you any time.

    Oh, and congratulations on figuring it out! I hope you can find a way to make it work for you. xxx

  2. I'm so glad for you! I've worked in medicine for twenty years, as an EMT in the Emergency Department, as a hyperbaric technologist, as an athletic trainer, and as a medical assistant in a several specialties. I'm not a nurse, but a medical assistant (some people call us "office nurses", but that's inaccurate). I loved it. Oh, there were parts I didn't like (can we say stool samples), but for the most part I loved every bit of it.

    I've since moved on to teaching medical assistants and love that as much as I loved working with patients. I still get the itch to go back to work in a medical office, especially after one of my 14-hour days at the school, but I've found that I can make even more of a difference by teaching the medical assistants - because I can send out multiple MAs to different offices and they can each help multiple patients.

    If you really like helping people and day-to-day contact with them, you're going to love nursing.

  3. Discovering a new direction in life can be so exciting and motivating. I'm thrilled for you!

    My job isn't related to nursing at all but I absolutely LOVE what I do. It often takes me into the medical arena which is fascinating each and every time!

  4. Wow! This is so strange since Kessa, my oldest, is thinking about changing her major from pharmacy to nursing. She just announced this to me yesterday! We're still looking into it, but it is definitely an alternative for her.
    I really do think, given all your circumstances, it sounds like a perfect fit for you!

  5. Congrats on figuring out what you want to do! I'm in that limbo right now. I've got a degree in writing/journalism, I've worked in theme parks and finance companies. Nothing ever really floated my boat.

    One of my girlfriends took up midwifery at uni two years ago. She's got two little kids and is a single mum, so it was a struggle at first to get into the swing of it. She absolutely adores it now and we all know she's found her calling.


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