This week 30 years ago was a major milestone in my life. A couple of days after my 17th birthday, I left school and started my first job. Three decades of adventures and learning!
It felt a bit strange because a lot of my school friends were staying on for another year or two of school to earn university entrance. Going to uni was never an option for me though, and not something you needed to be a bricklayer or landscaper.
The day after I left school, I received a call from Cor at Moores Valley Nursery, a wholesale nursery where I’d done work experience. He said “you start work tomorrow”. Not a job I’d applied for, but they wanted me straight away. No break, off to work.
I wanted to be a landscaper. I grew up as a bricklayer working with my dad, I’d done a little landscape design, and I wanted to do horticulture to bring it all together. A natural progression.
For six months I immersed in horticulture. Learning all the botanical names, propagating, potting up, watering, moving plants around, weeding, mowing, reversing trailers, serving customers, packing orders for retail nurseries, and all the things that go into growing plants and getting them to people.
Cor was a small business owner and very focused on efficiency. Everything had to be done in a very specific way and the moment he saw a suboptimal movement, he sure let you know. A mostly fun time full of learning and hard work. But it was also very isolated, being located down a valley in Wainuiomata, a semi-rural suburb of Wellington a couple of kilometres from where I lived.
Then I was offered a job at Westpac… and I made the major career pivot from the trades to financial services. A job in the city, wearing a suit to work, and now surrounded by a lot of people. My whole world opened up and led to a life of adventure and possibilities that I never knew were an option for me.
The accidental beginning of my non-linear career in strategy, design, tech, innovation, consulting, program management, startups, social enterprise, and wellbeing. The start of my focus on taking a human-centred approach to designing and leading strategic change in Australia, NZ, the UK, and Europe.
I’ve been lucky to work with and learn from so many awesome people over the years who’ve helped me on my journey. I’m stoked to have so many of these people as close friends. In various posts, I’ve called out some of these people and reflected on the journey and learnings so far. I’m still learning every day, and this is very much a story in progress. Start with Reflecting on 25 Years. Part 1: The Westpac Years (1993-1998) if you’re curious.
30 years of work done… and 21 of them spent running my own business Dynamic4. It’s very likely I’ll spend at least another 30 years learning and exploring my endless curiosity. I’m looking forward to the adventures to come…