Career change without a plan

As I wrote in my first post, this blog was partly to tell the story of leaving a 15-year career as a public servant for something new. But unlike many people who embark on a career change, I didn’t have a new career in mind – and I still don’t .

I don’t have a particular creative talent that I want to explore or I job I always wish I’d done. In fact for me, being a diplomat was probably the best job I could have imagined. The jobs I thought about as a child – fashion designer, journalist or lawyer don’t hold any attraction anymore. And leaving the public service, the big thing for me was changing the way I worked – being able to work from anywhere and not necessarily doing just one thing – which apparently even has a name – a Portfolio career.

Telling the story of how we came to be in the Barossa to new people I meet is quite funny because as I listen to myself speak, it doesn’t really sound like me. The fact that we pretty much decided to move here on the basis of some great recommendations and some enticing Facebook pages (so glad the Farmer’s Market has lived up to expectations), arrived on the Tuesday and had a house by the Friday makes us sound really adventurous. Whereas I’m actually someone who organises travel with spreadsheets, who spends whole days agonising over which hotel to stay in and writes packing lists. In truth, we were packing up and leaving Hanoi and were going to end up somewhere different!

Deciding to do a Masters in Arts and Entertainment Management because I enjoyed the public relations/cultural relations/event management side of my job was a great choice because the skills I’m picking up are fairly broad (although my main take-out from Financial analysis may simply be – employ a good accountant) and could take me anywhere. Doing a subject on Community Arts Management this semester, which involves designing a community project has also been a good excuse to meet with local artists and get to know the area.

And while formal full-time work has been replaced with 3 subjects for my Masters (involving a lot of catch up after spending the first few weeks moving), I’m less worried than I should be about finding a job (although I guess I need to earn some money soon). I’m enjoying being able to focus on my studies while still having time to cook and spend time with my family. I’m having fun painting furniture and some gardening and sewing are next on the list. I’m enjoying sleeping in past 5.45 and meeting new friends for a coffee in the morning.

Most importantly, I am loving having the chance to sit back and think about what really matters and explore new things. My Dad had some significant career changes (all after he turned 60) that came about from the connections he had and probably being in the right place at the right time. In only a short period I have met some great people and talked about some interesting possibilities and realised that some of the skills I acquired in the public service over the last 15 years might actually be useful on the outside.

But not knowing what I want to do is actually exciting because it opens up a world of possibilities.


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I started this blog almost 3 years ago when we first arrived in the Barossa Valley. I've always wanted to write and I wanted to share my experience of my career change, our move to this beautiful wine region and discovering my next adventure. After 15 years as a public servant working in Canberra, Beijing, China and Hanoi, Vietnam, I decided it was time for a career change and more importantly, a lifestyle change. In 2014, we left Hanoi and headed to the Barossa Valley in South Australia with a dream of a more fulfilling lifestyle in one of Australia's premier food and wine regions. My husband and I both work in the wine industry - where my job could be described as anything but making the wine. In 2017, I decided to wind-up the consulting business I established in 2015 and focus on learning as much as I could about the wine industry and writing - both on this blog and a memoir of our time in Vietnam. This blog is an opportunity for me to share my writing - about everything from motherhood, to career change, fitness, travel and our vine-change/career change experience.

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