As you may have guessed by the headline, I recently enjoyed some downtime in the Kimberley. Let me start by saying we enjoyed an amazing trip and if you haven’t visited this beautiful location in Western Australia yet, I highly recommended you explore it by sea or land (for the record, I went on a cruise).
I am a big believer in self-care. We all need a holiday and we all dream about doing nothing, but when we embark on a new adventure like a trip overseas, doing nothing is never really an option. Even in the middle of the ocean, our group was given talks about Australian flora and fauna. Once we reached land, the excursions were not only amazing to see but extraordinarily interesting! Learning was at the centre of almost everything we did, and just as well because we know knowledge is power and that we continue learning through all stages of life.
You might think it would be hard for me to draw a link between holidaying in the Kimberley and career currency, but it isn’t. When enjoying meals together, I was constantly mixing with other passengers and the talk always revolved around those familiar conversation starters:
“Where are you from?”
“What do (or did) you do?”
From there, that good old elevator pitch is never too far away! I met a lot of retired and semi-retired people who each have fascinating stories to share. From farmers, bankers, medical researchers, doctors, lawyers and engineers to travel agents, a brigadier and a dietician, there was such a broad mix of people and it was a breath of fresh air hearing everyone’s unique experiences.
Of course, every good floating hotel requires a fascinating crew. We met navigators, chefs, housekeepers, general deckhands, drivers of the zodiacs and boats, tour guides, lecturers and so on. Many of these people were multitasking, as you may have to do in your own role. One of the general hands doubled up as a singer! Of course, this is her long-term ambition and I was very happy to pass on some tips to help her pursue this line of work. As for the officers, one said he knew from a young age that he only ever wanted to be at sea – and why not? His office is like Stars Wars – amazing views and state of the art navigational equipment day and night.
The people who really captured my attention were those who were so obviously passionate about what they do and have done in their time. These people know why they do what they do and how it impacts their communities and them personally. Their success is all over their face and evident in the confidence in their voice. They are content (even if that’s only temporary). They’ve achieved that balance of staying with the trends and being bold when they had to be, as well as going with the flow.
Too many of the retired people I spoke with had been made redundant and would never secure another role, as their fields were being taken over by computers and technology. They admitted struggling to keep their interest in the field, let alone build their skills. Everything I’m explaining boils down to this simple fact:
Early retirement wasn’t their plan, but it became their reality because of their situation.
Yet, it didn’t have to be that way. Everywhere we go, we build career currency, which is based on all of the things you have and do – your capability, attitudes, behaviours, networks and knowledge – that see you being rewarded and valued in a workplace. It is vital to everyone’s future, even if you’re perfectly happy in your current role.
As you can see, even while holidaying, I was working on my career currency and building my network without even making a conscious effort to do so. The key theme that was so clear is that people need to make the time to find their why. Don’t die wondering — get out there and give it a go!
And remember, you don’t have to change careers or figure anything out on your own. If you are not truly content with your job or career, get the support you need to make a change. You get out what you put in, so invest in yourself and your future.
Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader and a Career Strategist. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose. Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746. www.ontalent.com.au