Tuesday 5 October 2021


It was a moment five years ago, today - 3:25pm, Wednesday 5 October 2016 - when I stepped into the Arrivals Lounge at Canberra Airport. It was one of those crossroads moments. I didn't know what the future held in store, but it was time to take a leap in a new direction, and trust that my skills and experience would carry me.

I'd pressed the pause button on my career. My next options were to either un-pause or reset.

This was on the back of having spent much of the previous four years living and working abroad in the development sector, and a particularly enjoyable two months of backpacking around Europe for the summer. However, I'd decided that I'd done my stint of globetrotting and exploring weird and wonderful places, and it was time that I got on with being serious about my career and settling down. 

Canberra seemed as good a place as any - it had its share of cultural institutions and I wasn't ready to live in a big city yet. I didn't have a job to go to, but I had some promising leads, and within a couple of weeks I'd managed to land two jobs. One of them was in Sydney, which posed a logistical challenge, but I made it work for the short term until I finally committed full-time to the role in Canberra.

Five years on, I find myself back at those crossroads.

I feel like I've now come full-circle, and the time that I've taken in recent weeks has helped me re-centre and provide the opportunity to consider my future directions. (A couple of months backpacking in Europe would have also helped, but I clearly need to postpone that for the immediate future.)

Looking back, I realise that I've subconsciously been taking the time to 'reset' every 5 years or so. Ten years ago, in September 2011, I left my job to go and live in Japan - again putting my career on hold for a period of time, before seeking new career directions and adventures. Pause. Reset.

In hindsight, all of this has made me appreciate the importance of taking proper breaks in our working lives. Whilst I'm immersed in a busy job, I don't have the space and time to deeply consider my place in the world and what new opportunities to take. Now I'm on pause, I feel like I have all the time in the world before making the next move - whether I unpause and do more of the same, or completely reset and find a new direction.

And then... bring on 2026!

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