I Didn’t Want Any Career… I Just Wanted to Save the World

I was 20 when I finished my Science degree at an Australian University, with no real work experience but big dreams.
I was wide-eyed and idealistic about the way Science could find the answers and help us Save the World.

Biodiversity, my big passion can specifically help save the myriad of amazing diverse uniqueness from the destruction of habitat, pollution and exploitation – this amazing diversity… from the species up to the ecosystem, from the cell out to the bio-region!
Amazing.

Anyway, getting a real job wasn’t as easy as I had though.
I submitted a few applications, bumbling along through the requirements for government jobs, having never written one before, and getting politely but firmly rejected.
What??

No one had ever prepared me for this; I was well trained and ready to start working, I holding that piece of paper saying I knew my stuff well – who wouldn’t want to hire me to help Save the World?!
I spent the next couple of years working part-time in the hospitality, while also volunteering and studying further; at the time it felt like an eternity of waiting; an eternity of feeling disappointed that I hadn’t started applying my education to proper jobs.

My self-esteem was at an all-time low, and I felt baffled.
Some time later, as I was studying an applied environmental management course at a community college, we had to do a work placement, so I started feeling more confident, and I started applying for jobs again.

Et voilà! This time I finally got a good job – and in the big city, too!
I packed up and moved to Sydney without a moment’s hesitation – this was my big chance, an environmental educator role, working on the Northern beaches doing State of the Environment reporting, community and schools education!

I had to compile a giant report all on my own and have data from right across the organisation, and it all had to be totally accurate and make sense?!
Eeeek!
Little did I know that no one read it (gallows humour there – it’s actually true).

So, a colleague of mine found me a job 18 months later that was more policy; I applied, and I got it.  And on it went with a few more roles here and then I finally got a job in a sustainability research institute.

This turned out to be a great choice – I got incredible diversity… I got to work with literally hundreds of organisations, on many different projects that spanned research, policy, strategy, consultation, education, network development, the transformation of sectors, and across topics of spanning water, waste, energy, built environment, international development.

Under each of those, there is so much I could tell you! About ideas, about projects, about sectors, about locations. I travelled, I wrote stuff, I brainstormed, I presented stuff! I got to learn theories and technical things, and always watch and learn about interpersonal dynamics, what people say and don’t say, how they express themselves, what their passions and talents are, what they see in themselves and what they don’t, what creates harmony in teams and what doesn’t. The diversity was staggering.

Meanwhile, I had been studying art therapy and starting to get interested also in life coaching. I tried juggling the two, but in October 2015 I left my job and started my own business, Jade Herriman Art Therapy, Coaching and Creative Play.
Now looking back it all makes so much sense to me – a paradise of being able to flit between things and learn and teach others, a job that was actually many many jobs all sitting under the one job title, challenging, applied – and all about Saving the World!

The Shortlisted Jade Herriman

© The Shortlisted – 2016

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