Aged 22, recently married, a mortgage and equipped with a Bachelor of Commerce, I entered Corporate Australia. My first position was at Woolworth's Central Accounting Division at Chatswoods, NSW. By age 29, we had a toddler and I took over as the Financial Controller of a multinational company 'Inter-systems' who are global leaders in designing, developing and installing airport information management systems for airports across the world. My first project was Changi Airport, Singapore.
I clearly remember, just before my 30th birthday, during a senior management meeting I had one of my 'moments', which was a scary thought 'if I don't get out now, I will be sitting here for the next 20 years'. The surprising thing was that I loved my work, but I became aware of a restlessness that had gradually crept into me; a persistent voice that whispered "surely life must have something more exciting than being a glorified bean counter".
It took another 2 years for another ‘moment’ to strike. During a family holiday in Edinburgh, an acquaintance we met, told us this interesting story of his nephew and his wife, who had given up their careers as chemical engineers to run a coffee shop in Edinburgh. It then struck me that I did not have to stay in my sector. However, very quickly I realised that my coffee making skills may not be up to scratch. Also, why risk something so secure and I did love my work.
It took another few months and our child, to get the courage to change the course of my life. Our little daughter, who hadn't even commenced school was asked by the school principal at her induction what she wanted most, she replied ' I would like my mum home'. This was the 'moment' I grabbed and never regretted. I resigned the next day from corporate Australia.
I sincerely enjoyed working for Corporate Australia and met some amazing people but it was time to move on. Where to from here?
(PS: 20 years later in 2015 I rang Inter- systems who have moved their operations to Brisbane and to my absolute delight found that 2 of our original senior management team are still with the company, still doing some amazing work. So true when people say " success is consistency over time").
Although I loved staying home with our daughter, I knew I had to find something that was fulfilling. Weeks before our daughter commenced school, my hubby who was a Pitt Street Banker at the time, was rushing to catch the commuter train in Sydney. He was handed a free magazine. On the cover was 'change your career become a naturopath'. Just reading the article was a 'magic moment' I knew I had found my calling. I signed up as a full time student for the next 4 years. I devoured the science subjects. I had little or no interest in the emotional subjects like counselling etc. I even did a portion of my clinical placement with a GP who had an interest in natural therapies, but still focused on the body alone.
I embraced everything about Naturopathy and wanted to live by the ethos of this new world. It took a lot of courage and belief to let go of our family and friends in the little seaside village of Wamberal on the NSW Central Coast. In 2001 we moved to a small lifestyle property in the middle of paddocks in rural Victoria. We also welcomed our second child who was a 'surprise' and a blessing to our family.
In 2001, I simultaneously with the help of my husband commenced my Clinical practice in Ballarat, not knowing a single person in this beautiful city. But I felt I had answered my calling, it felt like coming home.
Didn't take me long in clinical practice to have another 'moment' to realise how important the mind and emotional health is towards a wholistic approach to health and wellbeing. I knew I needed to return to University if I was fully committed to my purpose in life. I commenced a Master’s degree in psychotherapy and counselling, which took me over 3 years to complete, juggling a young family, home and a practice. I thrived, just loved it.
I believe life has a way of sending us on a tangent. A 'not so good moment' was a Uni assignment for my Master’s degree, when I refused to change a treatment plan for a hypothetical case study, involving a child and a drug addicted mother. A professor's comment that I didn't know much about addictions again took me off on a tangent. I didn't change my treatment plan but I marched into the office and changed my electives to addictions and my clinical placement to a drug & alcohol centre.
Following a comedy of circumstances, I actually ended up writing a qualitative mini thesis exploring the narrative that men provide for their violence. Since then I have become an advocate for men and peaceful and loving families.
I continued my work for over 10 years as a co facilitator delivering 'Men's behaviour Change Programs' at a local not for profit agency.
"I have learnt that Men and boys are just as deserving of our love, attention and care as women and children".
In 2015 I turned 50. The 'magic moment' was one day I became aware that I suddenly felt an overwhelming maternal love for everyone and everything. A gushing love and gratitude seemed to infuse the pores in every cell and I understood Maslow hierarchy of evolving. I feel a deep sense of gratitude, humility and feel blessed in my work. I am hoping I now can claim a mind, body, spirit growth.
Lots of love and light, Jacqui