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Careers and Development – Central Queensland Today

Nyree and Nathan Johnson at Rockhampton State High School.

NYREE NOTEBOOK by Nyree Johnson

Each of us has a story to share, and each of us has fragments of it that have shaped who we are today.

Our power lies in telling our stories and sharing our experiences with others in the hope that it will help someone on their life journey.

Recently, Nathan and I were invited to a local high school to talk about our careers and how we got to where we are.

It wasn’t the first such occasion, and we hope it won’t be the last.

Shape the minds of our young people, share our experiences and hopefully inspire action.

I sincerely believe that it takes a village to raise a child and any role we can play in it is a privilege.

The focus of the presentation was part of a program funded by the Smith family as part of their “Growing Careers Project”.

Sharing and introducing young students to the opportunities available to them and how to make them happen – thinking outside the box, recognizing that not everyone is suited to the academic, university or professional path, and then to the career.

Sometimes we have to follow a windy road of discovery through difficult times, lessons learned and experiences that bring ups and downs to understanding who we are and what we want and understanding how we will get there.

Sometimes we don’t know where we’re going either, and that’s fine too.

Developing a career from a job was the theme of the day. In some cases, life gets in the way and responsibilities take precedence, so we accept a job that is nothing but a job.

Students were exposed to the opportunities available as a qualified mechanic and a career that can be shaped from an entry-level customer service contact center position – a job.

His trade has led Nathan to incredible opportunities in auto shops, the wheel and tire industry, motorsports, supercars and mining.

It also saw him cover most of Queensland in various roles.

All because he has that piece of paper that says he’s a trained mechanic, plus the not-so-tangible proof that he’s willing to learn at every opportunity.

My journey began with only a junior certificate under my belt and a move from Rockhampton to Longreach at 16.

When the opportunity to complete a Certificate III in Business Administration presented itself, I valued this qualification as much as a trades certificate.

I applied for a position with Longreach Shire Council, eventually successfully gaining my first qualification outside of school.

No one is born with a guide on how to do life and doing it along the way is “all part of the adventure”, as my grandmother – Glenda Ross would say.

Every move made me uncomfortable, but I was willing to try and do it anyway.

After all, getting out of your comfort zone is precisely where the magic happens.

My lovely friend from Gladstone recently shared her story at a careers expo in her local government area, and one key theme stood out when she shared it on Facebook later that day.

She was uncomfortable at almost every step of her unique journey, but she did it anyway.

An inspiring woman, a migrant and an elected councilor – Natalia Muszkat.

After moving from Longreach to Brisbane and already having friends in the capital, my main goal was to get a ‘call center job’ because that’s where I was told the money was intended for an 18-year-old who did not finish high school but had a certificate III.

I thought my certificate would take me wherever I needed to go, just like Nathan’s business certificate did, and it did.

Stepping into a job in a world I would eventually fall in love with, the pace, friendships, on-the-job development and career opportunities were more than I could have asked for.

While I was trying to de-emphasize the school dropout from my story to a class of 9th graders, the point offered was that sometimes you just have to try something to find out how badly you l really like.

When you find a job and make a career out of it, travel is quite an exceptional experience, and what you do with it is up to you.

Education and its value became apparent to me when I discovered the opportunities for growth, learning and development triggered by different thinking made possible by studies.

While it’s true that you don’t need a piece of paper to prove you can do something, unless you’re in a field that does, like a doctor or a lawyer, those pieces of paper have definitely been a collection that I enjoyed getting while ready to be uncomfortable.

Sometimes life also chooses our job or career for us.

A good friend of mine based in Brisbane is an absolute guru in the corporate HR world, with degrees and masters under her belt, having worked for leading organizations and enjoying every minute, until she doesn’t do it anymore.

With a mental health issue and a desire for change, her life experiences led her to seek work in the health field, specifically in mental health and postnatal mental health.

With her personal experience to draw on, her lived experience and her desire to do something different drove her to pursue a career and study social work.

What an incredible gift she will be for new mothers in the Brisbane area, having lived through and survived a time in her life that she never thought she would go through.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to life in school or beyond, and that’s why we need to share opportunities and journeys with today’s young people, and we need to invest in education for life.

Never missing an opportunity to remind everyone not to confuse career with life, I also shared how important it is to have a hobby, join a club, play sports or stay active, to take care of yourself, to serve your community and to take pride in it and enjoy these special moments with your friends and family.

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.

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