It's a sober realisation when you stocktake your life to date. For me recently, its been a focused study on my career and how its brought me to this point, to my current pathway, which fortunately has been a happy divergence from the original plan.
Thankfully its resulted in a safe landing, and a new job which is also a genuine new career pathway, but it was never supposed to turn out this way.
News journalism was supposed to be my job for life. However in my final few years in Television circumstances forced me to reconsider that viewpoint. At the time I was working on a prime time flagship current affairs program and celebrating a new milestone, but a steep decline in ad revenues, a truncated workforce and evolving media landscape would prove a bumpy ride ahead. Opportunities to thrive were shrinking.
So where did I land? Fortunately, in two career streams.
Career #1. Multiculturalism. As the Chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, not one but dozens of new worlds have opened up to me, by witnessing the rich cultural diversity of the state of Victoria every day. The job is a fulsome one, with a portfolio that covers refugee settlement outcomes to youth issues. The real richness of this job lies in the communities and what they share with us, and how collectively the diversity we all share is the treasure chest of this country, because of what it adds to society and to the world at large. In times of a global refugee crisis its a reminder of what we do have, and how important it is to preserve the original vision of multiculturalism in an increasingly complex world.
and Career #2. I went into Film. So it turns out that my TV career wasn't wasted after all, because as I was exiting the building I decided to make my final project one that I could pursue on my own. This new project would mark the new phase of my new life, but also pay tribute to the old one. It would mean returning to the brand of journalism which kickstarted my career, the long form story which allowed depth of coverage. It would also be a topic which I had resisted covering in the first place: medical marijuana. To my great surprise I made a documentary film from scratch, and was enlivened every step of the way. Satisfying? actually it was thrilling... even though it was tough going and involved a series of false starts, including running out of time and money. But in the end the documentary was completed and will hopefully demystify a largely stigmatised topic, and give people a voice.
So what's the point of this blog?
Well its a 'never give up' story really.. because both pathways have illuminated my world again in a way I could not see at the time my final chapter in TV began to close in on me. And so I wanted to share with you the reason I think things turned out this way.
There's around ten reasons that easily come to mind. I hope they help you if you ever feel you have no options or can't quite see what's on the horizon.
1. I just kept doing what I loved. In my case it was promoting diversity which inadvertently led to a job opening which I never would have considered, but which previous experience had perfectly prepared me for.
2. I didn't forget the why. For me the 'why' was about journalism and how it led to me to take on causes, examine them and give others a voice. The 'why' has always been a key driver in my life.. and in this case it led to a documentary being made.
3. I didn't forget my experience. More than two decades applying myself to a career counted for a lot. I thought about the skills I had accumulated over that time and I knew they would have several avenues of application. That's how it is for all of us, no matter what job we have pursued.
4. I embraced my family and friends and anyone that had supported me over time and through challenges in a giant bear hug, knowing my tribe was always there for me, no matter what.
5. I just kept going. I got up every day, even the hard days, and found something tangibly good to hold onto. I focused on the big vision, reminding myself that faith would carry me through.
6. I discovered who I was and what I was made of, and none of us are breakable if we don't choose to be. Its a captain obvious thing to say but sometimes the only thing that gets in our way is ourselves.
7. I went out of my way to do something good for others and something good for myself. I made it a discipline.
8. I took every opportunity to surround myself in life's free gifts, like nature or the warm exchange of a smile.
9. I counted my blessings. There's always someone out there doing it tougher.
10. I remembered this was just life, and life is never all good or never all bad for anybody. Its just life.