In the rapidly changing world of work, having one job for a lifetime isn’t a concrete reality anymore.
According to FYA’s New Work Order research, most young people entering the workforce are more likely to have 17 jobs across 5 careers in their lifetime.
Navigating these shifts requires a portfolio of skills and capabilities which enable us to move between jobs more easily — including transferable enterprise skills and career management capabilities.
Here’s how recognising my enterprise skills, and their portability across all industries, helped me journey through a range of opportunities.
How it began:
I went to high school in Mooroolbark, about 1 hour East of Melbourne CBD. It was good fun — I was captain of the senior school cricket side, I was a decent local footy player, and I had a great bunch of mates. I was also (and still am) a theatre enthusiast, a sensitive individual and a social justice enthusiast.
Unfortunately some people thought those things didn’t go together and the ‘career advice’ I received was poor at best.
With all of this going through my 16 year old brain I did what came easiest to me, and no doubt many others — I sailed through VCE without too much care for my future and applied for an Arts degree at university. After 12 months I was bored so I took a year off, worked at a sports store at the local shopping centre, and saved up for a car.
Finally, at the age of 20, I found the confidence to pursue my passion for theatre and applied for the Bachelor of Performing Arts at Monash University, where I spent the next three years doing what I loved. But at the end of my degree I decided that I didn’t want to be an actor. I wasn’t thick-skinned enough and was sick of pretending to be someone else when I hadn’t even figured out who I was.
First career turn:
I fortuitously ended up working as a legal assistant in a workcover law firm. While sitting behind a desk and recording ‘billable’ hours is the complete opposite to performing on stage, the analytical nature of the work resonated with my thirst to think critically and manage projects with clear deadlines. Even so, 12 months passed and I realised there were bigger fish to fry.
Second career turn:
I moved to London where I managed a hotel bar for large events at 1 Park Lane. This included overseeing up to 20 staff and serving hundreds of guests. Through this I learned how to solve problems, work as a team, and to communicate with purpose. But yet again, this wasn’t quite the right fit for me.
Whilst living in London I met some incredible people who introduced me to the idea of community organising and the lightbulb came on — maybe I could combine my theatrical endeavours with my thirst for social justice and need for analytical thinking.
Third career turn:
I bought a plane ticket to Cambodia where I worked at an arts NGO which ran awareness theatre programs with a group of young Khmer people. I went on to complete a Masters of International Development at RMIT, and I volunteered at YGAP running projects in Cambodia and Bangladesh.
Today, I use all the enterprise skills that I built in every different industry I worked in. And I can say I have my dream job (for now), which is overseeing the design and delivery of new products and services that back young people to create a better future.
As part of my job I get to regularly perform when I run workshops and speak at events. When I speak to young people, I say one thing — no matter what you do, do it to the best of your ability, because one day all of those experiences will join up, probably unexpectedly, and will crystalise into a job or career you didn’t expect to be in.
For those of us that work with young people it is our responsibility to equip them with the knowledge that the journey is complex but to have a crack at what you love and be conscious about building the enterprise skills needed to thrive in the future.
To find out more about preparing young people for the future of work download FYA’s New Work Order report series here.