This time last year, I had just left my job of three years at uni. It was a good job, I met fabulous people and learned a lot. I left because I wanted to do something different, I wanted to go back and study. It felt like a good time and I now know it was the right decision.
I went from working at uni to becoming a student and sitting in lectures literally across the road from my old office. The course I did (Key Concepts in the Anthropology of Development) was very interesting and I was exposed to the topics I really wanted to get into. But about half way through the course, I realised it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t me for two reasons, one I felt I didn’t have enough background to contribute and felt so far behind that in order to catch up I should have studied an under grad in it (I did a BA (Digital)). And second I wanted to be part of doing something to make change.
For my final assignment my project critique focused on a poverty alleviation project in the Philippines to improve nutritional status of women and children. The research was fascinating and the more I got into it, the more I wanted to be part of this phase of development, the implementation phase. It was a round about way of getting an assemblence of validation. That in fact, it was okay to leave work and try something differnt. And despite not wanting to continue studying, I knew what I wanted to do, sort of.
I completed the course (with a Distinction woot!) and was trying to figure out my next move. At the same time as studying I started working part time (in two roles) at an NGO that stood for the women’s voices in gender equality. Again, I was exposed to issues and topics I didn’t really know about before but was itching to know more. One of my roles was the International Women’s Day (IWD) Project Officer with a youth focus. I was responsbile to produce a campaign to fight negative Body Image to the lead up for the centenary of IWD in March this year.
It was such an amazing opportunity and despite being limited in time, resources and at time patiences, I produced a successful online and postcard campaign I am truely proud of. I got to combine my interest in the topic, social media, marketing background and creative skills. (More on the campaign later). As the campaign progressed, I put more of my heart and soul (and sweat and tears) in it. I was getting quite passionate about all the details and what it was trying to achieve. Looking back now, I have often thought that I am somewhat passion-less, that I didn’t have that one thing I just HAD to be doing. But really, without knowin git I did, I had the drive and the energy to make something of the campaign, I really did throw myself into the project, it was hard work but in a way helped me out of my shell. I gained confidence in my capabilities, my choices and really myself. And I know I wouldn’t have this opportunity if I didn’t stop working full time and try studying part time.
After I finished with the campaign and realised I didn’t want to study, I thought I better look for a full time job. On my very last day, I got a call asking if I would be interested in working full time for three months. I went and had a chat to the boss and walked out with a contract. I became the Violence Against Women Advisory Group Communications Officer. All I could think was whoa, this is sweet, again, I get to work on events, learn what is being done to prevent Violence Against Women and the timing was perfect.
At the end of April, I finally decided to apply for the Australin Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) Program. I say finally because I had been wanting to apply since I finished working at uni. The assignments sounded great but I didn’t really suit them completly, until this one. For Intake 32 there was an Information, Education and Communications Officer role in the City of Talisay, Negros Occidental in the Philippines. The title alone has aspects of what I have loved doing in each of my jobs for the past five years. I had to go for it.
The application process was hard, but the waiting was painful! I kept telling myself, “okay let’s just go for it, hubby and I were still moving to the Philippines (and in that area) in 2012, so if I don’t get it it’s okay”. And so I submitted it and I waited. Oh my goodness, I had to wait two months to find out anything! Then I got shortlisted! I was over the moon. I thought “this is freaking awesome!” I didn’t know what my chances were to even get an interview.
On the day of my phone interview I happened to be in Perth visting one of my besties and because of the time difference, we sat in her apartment all day just waiting. Drinking tea and chatting, she did the best job and distracting me from worry. Everytime the phone rang I jump, literally. I was too scared to go to the toilet in case it rang. And when it did, it was the best interview I had ever done. I was quite nervous but I was very me. I stumbled on words but then the answers came naturally. The interviewer was lovely and and said I had spark! The call left me with high hopes. I rang hubby and raved at how totally jazzed I was.
And on Thursday 4 August, I got an email saying that I was successfull! I jumped, I giggled, I squealed, you name it, I did what every normal excited person does :p It was very surreal. I called hubby and squealed some more.
Today I submitted my documents to accept the assignment to be an AYAD 🙂
It’s been an amazing year, and it’s only the very begining. If I hadn’t taken the chance and left the security and comfort of my full time job I wouldn’t have done what I did. I know I am very lucky to have the support of my beautiful hubby so I can go figure out what it is I want to do for right now. This time last year, I knew I was supposed to be feel overwhelmed at the thought of not having a job to go to, but I was actually excited and liberated, clean slate, I could do anything, I could breathe. I jumped, hopped, skipped and tried a bunch of different avenues and with each step I found something to hold on to, a change that is helping me create my own path and be in the moment. Because all you have to do is take that one step and change happens.
M out xox