By Sue White
After three decades working in bookkeeping and accounting it is unsurprising that a few years ago 58-year-old Beverley Ryan began losing her passion for her job. When she could not get extended leave to care for her South African-based sister, who was losing her battle with cancer, Ryan decided to resign.
It was the beginning of a career turning point.
“[My sister] reminded me of my dreams of becoming a counsellor and encouraged me to enrol in a counselling course,” says Ryan.
After returning to Australia a few days before COVID hit, the pandemic gave Ryan plenty of time to reflect. She paused her counselling course, but knew she was ready to find more meaning through work.
Caring for her sister had shown Ryan the rewards of supporting someone with their daily living, so she enrolled in a fee-free certificate III in individual support in ageing and disability with Macquarie Community College.
‘There is a beautiful satisfaction that comes from seeing the joy in your participant’s face, it’s an appreciation that you will never get sitting at a desk job day in day out.’Beverley Ryan
Next, a work placement with therapy care in Blacktown, NSW, led Ryan to her first job in her new career as one of the organisation’s disability support workers.
“There is a beautiful satisfaction that comes from seeing the joy in your participant’s face, it’s an appreciation that you will never get sitting at a desk job day in, day out,” Ryan says.
Retraining taught her how to undertake the role and empower the individuals she would go on to support.
“Having training behind you is imperative as it gives you the knowledge, skills and confidence to provide the best possible support to your clients in a safe, legal and ethical manner,” she says.
But while retraining or switching industries was necessary for Ryan to find purpose through her job, for some, staying put offers the opportunities for meaning.
Ed Falls is a marketing manager for Unilever’s personal care, beauty and wellbeing products, and he’s known since university this was the right company for him.
“I studied business at [the] University of Technology Sydney, and Unilever was considered among the best companies in the world when it comes to marketing. Often it is used as a case study for its market-leading brands, groundbreaking campaigns, and best in class example of how a profitable business can make a positive impact to the planet,” Falls says.
Working on projects such as helping Dove redefine beauty standards, and Rexona’s work encouraging Australians to move more has convinced Falls he made the right choice.
“Almost six years later, working for a company that is not just working towards profits, but something bigger, is what gets me up each day excited to go to work,” he says.
While Falls has not needed to take a pay cut to find satisfaction in his career, Ryan readily admits that the smaller salary was a concern when she switched from bookkeeping to support work.
“Although [it] has its own challenges the personal rewards make up for it,” she says.
She also has few regrets about finding her new path later in life.
“Perhaps it would have been good to have chased my purpose earlier, but I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason and when it’s supposed to happen it happens,” Ryan says.
Finding a career with purpose
Those looking for more purpose in their career should consider the following:
- Could you sidestep in your industry to find more purpose, or would it be better to retrain and make a bigger switch?
- Are there ways you could achieve this in the organisation where you are currently working, at least in the short term?
- Do the numbers. Can you afford to take a pay cut to achieve this goal? If not, how else could you make it work?
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Source: Thanks smh.com