career

"I've never looked back." 6 women share how they made the biggest career change of their lives.

Open Colleges
Thanks to our brand partner, Open Colleges

Take the leap.

Make a move. 

Jump in headfirst.

These are the kinds of cliches people often throw around when it comes to changing careers or following your passion. 

But, in reality, most of us can't 'take a leap' or 'dive in headfirst'. We still need to pay our rent or mortgage, the bills continue to stack up, kids might need our attention, or perhaps we need to learn a new skill or get some experience before we move into our dream job.

However, we can take steps towards our dreams that fit around our lifestyle.

That's where Open Colleges comes in. As Australia's largest, private provider of online vocational education, Open Colleges has been helping Australians reach their potential for more than 125 years. They offer nationally accredited courses across health, business, childhood education, trades, design and technology. 

It's easy to enrol and you can learn anywhere, anytime, across multiple devices. That means you can study after work or on Saturday afternoons when the kids are watching Frozen for the millionth time. You can make your study work around your next big trip or a big life moment, and complete modules when you're back in action.

It's taking steps towards your dream job, at your own pace.

Need some motivation? Mamamia asked five women to share how they made the biggest career jumps of their lives and never looked back, from taking on further study to nurturing side hustles:

Simone, 37: "I switched from law to beauty therapy." 

"It was hard but worth it." Image: Supplied. 

"After being a stay-at-home mum for a few years, and having my fourth and final child, I started thinking about a career change. I had started in makeup originally before studying law and had also looked into going into beauty therapy. I had always loved making people feel good about themselves and was interested in skincare in particular after suffering with my own skin issues. I looked at courses for a while and kept putting it off mainly because I was worried about 'throwing it (my law degree) all away' and also sadly about what other people would think of me.

ADVERTISEMENT

One day I just decided that it was better late than never and that I should be happy in my career. So, I enrolled in a part-time Diploma of Beauty Therapy. The course was online with one week long practical intensives throughout, which suited me well around my family and work commitments. 

Now I have my own home salon, Glo by Simone, where I specialise in treating skin, which is my true passion, and I love what I do. I can also be there for my kids and work around my family, which is something I was unable to do in law. 

My advice to anyone looking at changing careers is to be realistic about the industry you want to enter and to realise that you may need to take a step back in terms of career opportunities, but also to ask yourself, 'What makes me happy?' If your current profession is making you miserable, do you really want to be doing it in 20 years' time?"

Liza, 44:"I'm happier than I've been for a long time."

"I lost my passion for marketing. I felt confined sitting in an office for eight hours a day, promoting things I didn't believe in or didn't have a real say in.

Family and friends would tell me I was lucky to have a job that paid well and that I wasn't the only one who was doing something that I didn't enjoy. But I just thought there must be more to it than that. I can't spend half my day doing something that makes me miserable.

Then the pandemic happened, and in a way, it was a blessing. Like many others, I lost my job, and was at a crossroads. I decided to see it as an opportunity to make some changes. Instead of looking for work in marketing, I signed up for a counselling course. I've started collaborating with some amazing people to start a youth program, I'm putting my business and marketing skills into launching a small online business of my own, and helping others through a bit of mentoring.

I'm busier than I've been in months and I don't know what will come of it all, or even if it will all succeed, but I'm happier than I've been for a long time."

Nicolle, 32: "I went back to an entry level role."

"It was hard having to go back into an entry level role but it was worth the sacrifice." Image: Supplied. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"I graduated from university during the GFC. I ended up getting an entry level role at a broadcasting network, which was quite operational. The hours were ridiculously long, and the pay was terrible.

However, I worked my way quickly through the ranks and within a few years I was managing a team of 15 people. I realised that it wasn’t sustainable long term, as all the things I enjoyed weren't related to the role itself. I loved the industry and the parts that came with managing a team - the recruiting, training and development, and general management of the team. So, I studied HR on the side and eventually ended up working in HR in the media industry - which was the best of both worlds for me.

It was hard having to go back into an entry level role but it was worth the sacrifice. I’ve found I can really relate to the people managers I work with because I was them once upon a time, and can understand the challenges that come with managing a team."

Tina, 30: "I left teaching to become a journalist."

"I loved teaching but writing was my passion and I’m so glad I took the leap to pursue it." Image: Supplied. 

"After doing work experience at Dolly when I was 14, I’d always wanted to work in magazines. But I felt discouraged by the end of high school after constantly being told there weren’t many jobs in the media industry. 

I went to uni and studied education instead. I completed a Masters in Journalism and Communication when I finished my undergrad while teaching in a primary school. 

When I graduated from my masters I applied for an internship at Mamamia and did this one day a week while teaching the other four days. I was lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive principal who allowed me to do this. I was offered a full-time job at the end of my internship and I’ve now been working as an editor for six years, most recently at Network 10.

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s a tough time in the industry at the moment given all the media closures, but it’s given me the chance to take on freelancing which has provided me with a new type of fulfilment. I loved teaching but writing was my passion and I’m so glad I took the leap to pursue it."

Loren, 30: "I turned my side hustle into my main hustle." 

"I was always in the administrative space with my career, and I'm a creative person. Sitting behind a desk day in and day out was exhausting for me because I just felt lifeless. I had a talent that I wasn’t utilising. So, I threw in the towel and took action. 

I started studying marketing and moved my side hustle to my main hustle, launching my own graphic design and content photography business. Now, everyday I feel liberated and free from the corporate chains and open to bringing in a new success that works for me, doing something I love immensely." 

Kate, 35: "I switched to massage therapy.">

"I started out as a communications officer.

While I loved writing and editing, the corporate environment just wasn't for me. I wanted to spend my days talking to interesting people and working with my hands, not stuck in an office answering emails for eight hours a day. 

After I left my communications job, I worked at a local dog boarding house, while I studied massage therapy. 

It was a hard slog balancing such a physical job while learning a new skill, but I'm so glad I did it. 

After I completed my course, I moved to the beach and now I spend my days working with my clients and knocking off in time for an afternoon swim. 

I don't regret a thing." 

If you're ready to take those first steps towards your dream job, enrol in an online course today at OpenColleges.edu.au and see that everything could happen.

Feature image: Supplied.

Advertisement

Open Colleges
If you’re looking to move up in your job or start a new one altogether, choose an online course with Open Colleges and discover that once you start, everything could happen.
00:00 / ???