Setting a new course for your career
When you land your first job in your dream industry it can be hard to imagine that you’d ever want to do anything else. Until you do. A career pivot can come at any time and strike at any age, as ACU alumni Javier Batista and Louwana Saba can attest. Here’s how they changed directions with no regrets.
Banking on values
After completing a business degree, Javier Batista entered the lucrative world of banking and was quickly working his way towards a life of financial stability. But five years later he was struck by the realisation that what mattered most to him was not reflected in the industry he had found himself in.
“We focused on assisting our already wealthy clients with special care, and minimal help was offered to those who were less financially stable,” Javier said. “I learned that this is just the nature of the industry – and this didn’t align with my values.”
Following his instinct, he made a move into employment services. “I was looking for an industry that involved people in need,” he said. “I started my own not-for-profit organisation called Walk of Life Training Inc. We help the most in-need, disengaged youth. Sometimes they’re homeless, have been abused, or been led to a life of crime. They can feel like they have little to no hope for their future.”
Since leaving banking behind, Javier has never looked back. “This career move brought meaning and purpose to my life,” he said. “The look in a young person’s eyes when they change from helpless to hopeful evokes something in me that is much deeper than any luxury I could ever wish for myself.”
Javier’s advice for others thinking about a career change is to see every misstep as a learning opportunity. “Persevere instead of living with regret,” he advises. “There may be a hidden gem in every difficulty or mistake.
“To study something different does not deny the lessons you’ve previously learned. A new beginning enriches us internally and brings us an opportunity to be our best in the mature (not old!) period of our lives. Plus, statistics tell us that people change careers every five years on average. I think every change brings us closer to our true purpose in life.”
From high school to the hospital
“I wasn’t searching for a big change, but I was ready to challenge myself professionally” is how ACU graduate Louwana Saba best described her unexpected move from teaching to health care. “I have a young family, and while I was at home with my two small children having a break from teaching, it dawned on me that I could be other things. Teaching didn’t have to be my end goal anymore,” she said.
What Louwana found by changing careers was satisfaction of a different kind. “I discovered how rewarding and meaningful this line of work is,” she said of her new role as the Mission Integration Manager for the Mater Hospital in Sydney, where she is responsible for ensuring that its Catholic mission is integrated and understood by the staff.
“I have always been drawn to working with people and working in health care is another expression of that,” she said.
While high schools and hospitals are worlds apart, Louwana discovered she was prepared for her new role in ways she never expected.
“Being a teacher gave me the experience of different people, different ways of doing things, and different abilities,” she said. “I thought that moving into health care would be completely new, but I’m reapplying my skills and prior learnings in fresh ways and not necessarily starting from scratch. I used to adapt to the needs of different students within a classroom, which has enabled me to adapt to the different groups of staff within the hospital.”
As a graduate of ACU’s Master of Theological Studies, which she completed after her teaching degree, Louwana also recommended postgraduate study for those reassessing their skill set.
“As we grow older, our desires and interests change and our skills and abilities develop,” she said. “We need to stop and reassess what we might want to do with the next chapter of our lives. After all, we spend more time at work than at home. We may as well be happy in our work.”
Considering a career change? See where ACU can take you.
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