What an extraordinary privilege it is to be writing to you today, genYOUers! My name is Abby and I’m the current intern for Bright Conferences, parent company of GenerationYOU.
While I’m here, I’m lucky enough to be able to share some stories from my own (windy) career journey with you. I hope they will provide some insight while you are carving out your own amazing futures!
To get where I am today, which by the way, is still not quite where I want to be (yet!), I have needed oodles and oodles of resilience to endure more than a few unplanned surprises, disappointments and dead-ends in the road.
Resilience is (to me, anyway):
Tackling challenges and setbacks as they come – and oh, they will come – whilst always knowing deep down that I am strong enough to get where I want to go. l set and adapt goals and dreams and then forge ahead until I have smashed each one. I might not be able to karate-chop those goals tomorrow, next week, or even next year, but I know that I CAN and WILL at some point.
I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life. When I was four, I told my Mum I wanted to be a dentist during the day and an author at night. This is slightly problematic, as I detest going to the dentist (though – if you’re reading, Dr Roz, you are lovely and it’s not your fault) and writing the great novel is not something that sparks joy either.
I kind of stumbled around in the dark after high school, mainly because I was kind of good-enough in most areas but never got a sudden flash where I thought “AHA! That is what I am supposed to do with my life”. So, here began my need for resilience…
With visions of potentially being a serious radio host, I went to UQ to study Journalism/Arts for approximately three weeks, then quickly worked out that I hated newspaper article writing and the radio segment was right at the end of the degree and so….I left feeling confused and uncertain about my future.
Feeling SO lost, I worked casually for a bit until I then followed my friends into Primary Education at ACU. I stayed there for three years. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, I encountered a more-than challenging prac and thought to myself, “Abby, do you even WANT to be a teacher? Uhhh, nope”. Deciding to leave wasn’t easy, but I knew there was ‘something else’ out there for me.
During this time of being adrift, I came across a job ad in the newspaper (genYOUers, you probably don’t even remember the careers section of the paper, so I am showing my age here!) for a job in the District and Supreme Courts as an audio transcriber.
I am still shocked that I did this, but I threw my hat in the ring (even though I’d never had to spell ‘subpoena’ or used a foot pedal), got an interview, did the typing test sans foot pedal and still landed a job!
Fast forward a few years and I felt quite accomplished in my role. I had delved into staff training, running office events and even began shorthand machine training (just like the Court Reporters you see on Law and Order: SVU).
I hit a wall though – working full-time meant that my stenography study/practice was not progressing.
I saved up and went travelling when I turned 25 (highly recommend!) and upon my return to Brisbane, promptly wanted to pack up my stuff and hightail it out of town to focus on my stenography career.
So, I did. I applied to go to the Golden State College of Court Reporting in California, got accepted and left within a month.
I arrived in America, moved in with a flatmate and began college. It was not easy, especially because I had injured my shoulder at a Brisbane nightlife establishment with too many slippery stairs. But, I kept going and kept practicing.
That, my friends, took some resilience. You see, I am a homebody and love, love, love my friends, so I was next level HOME-SICK.
In the end, the nasty shoulder won that battle. I had to come home for a spot of surgery and BOOM! there went that career in the space of a few hours. I won’t lie, my heart legit sank when my surgeon told me he “doubted” I’d be able to type for a living again. I couldn’t even do a zipper up after six months of rehabilitation. How did I get through this dark period? Resilience.
The rest of the story is an essay in itself (I won’t bore you TOO much), but cut to the present and I’m back in Brisbane after six years in America, I’m just about to wind up Event Management studies, am learning heaps as an intern and am really genuinely happy with where I am and where I’m going.
I have finally found a career path that will perfectly suit my skills, strengths and personal attributes. All at the (ahem, very young) age of 34.
My message to you, rad genYOUers, is: use all the strength and determination, along with support systems and networks, that you can muster to hang on to your dreams and goals – even if you don’t have a crystal-clear picture of what they are just yet.
There will always be bumps in the road of life and career, but you will get to where you are supposed to be with some hard work, courage, belief in yourself and, of course, a splash of hard-core resilience.
I will leave you with this quote by Gregory S. Williams, which seems perfect for a desk post-it note…
“On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.”