If I knew then what I know now, would I still be in the same career?
Don’t get me wrong I like my job. Like every job there are good and bad days but in general I like what I do. And as a manager I love my team who are supportive of me and their fellow team members.
However the other day I caught myself thinking about what would have happened if all those years ago I understood my passions and what parts of work I enjoy the most. Would I have gone in a different direction?
When I was young I always wanted to be a primary school teacher. Maybe that was because I saw women doing it every day. I don’t really remember there being any male teachers at my primary school but it was a long time ago.
As I moved into high school I got more creative. I had always been a dancer but I added every form of arts and graphics I could into my school schedule in my later secondary school years.
So when I finished school I naturally thought about what I could do to continue these interests, especially graphic design. As you needed science, which I had dropped as soon as I could, to go into architecture I started to lean towards advertising. Incredibly competitive and difficult to get into I went and studied business/advertising.
Life rarely goes as planned and after I finished studying I needed a job, which was very hard to find with my qualification. So I took a job that was close to home, interested me a bit, and allowed me to use a few of my skills. That job led to another job starting at my current employer.
There I showed a keen interest and passion in Training and development so a role was created. Fast forward many years and many roles and I am still working in the Learning space at that company. Isn’t it funny how I started wanting to work in teaching with young kids at the start of their journey and ended up working in Learning at the other end of the cycle with adults in the workplace.
Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time working on my mental health and well-being, self awareness and understanding my triggers and strategies. Through this I developed a passion for these topics and read books and articles, listen to podcasts and discuss with other people. Through reflection I realise the parts of my job I love the most are when I am connecting or helping others. In my team we are often discussing work life balance, mental health and burnout. Problem solving with them to come up with solutions to their work issues, or developing and mentoring people in the organisation are things I look forward to and plan to increase over the next few years. I have been known to “geek out” when I discover new solutions to trial to help my team or our customers.
In my home life, I am a single mum to two boys – one tween and one teen. That brings a whole new level of understanding and skills in this area, especially as one of them grapples with mental health issues.
When I reflect on where life has taken me so far over my 25 years of working I love that I have ended up in a place where I have the opportunity to support and develop other people. However if I knew then what I know now about my passion for mental health and well-being, and my quest to understand human behaviour and emotions would I have taken a different path?