Last week, after careful thought and a lot of discussions with mentors, I made a huge career decision - I decided to leave my job and gracefully bow out of Australian politics. I have been working for a Federal Member of Parliament for the past 3 and a half years and have loved and adored every second of it. I had never meant to get in to politics, it found me, literally. My boss rang me at my old workplace after being given my name and asked if I'd like to start in his office. At the time I couldn't have told you if we had a Prime Minister or a President - turns out we had a Prime Minister - and I didn't have the slightest clue about anything political. I learnt though, and fast, and over the past 3 and a half years have educated myself on the Australian political system and policies all the while doing it with my loud and crazy flair. I was incredibly lucky to have a boss who let me be my own person within the role and sometimes rather 'tough industry'. I was the girl who would get dressed up in Parliament house and hand out chocolates on Valentines day and candy canes at Christmas, who would make all the politicians go through the 'pits and the peaks' of their week in the Chairman's lounge after a crazy 70 hour week and who still got excited by all aspects of my work - the media (getting on TV with the last leadership spill in Australia) the events (like telling Allan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas that I wanted the mini chocolates back on the Canberra to Perth flights...& getting them) and even just bumping in to the Prime Minister in hallways (this happened on numerous occasions over the years). I had never meant to stay in it as long as I did, but as with all things in life, not everything always goes to plan and so what was meant to be a short term job, turned in to an incredibly rewarding and fun career. However, with a degree in HR and a burning desire to kick start the new chapter of my life when I return from Europe I thought now was as good a time as any to leave - as hard as it was - & embrace my new career with all that I've got. I have been given beyond amazing opportunities, made friends that I will have for life, been very proud of all of my achievements and learnt incredibly powerful lessons that I can carry in to my future working life. I was 'just a girl' who worked hard, absorbed all that I could and made sure I always played harder. I look back on every day with my boss and job with a huge smile on my face and fantastic memories in my heart. Today I share with you just some of the things I learnt along the way .... being 'just that girl' - in a very male dominated industry.
- Always walk in to a room confidently with your head high, eye gaze strong and handshake stronger.
- Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't, that you're not smart enough, or that you're not old enough - your limitations are only what you think they are. Anything is possible, never let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Believe in your worth, if you respect yourself and work hard, others will believe in you to.
- Learn how to network and do it well - it's not what you know, it's who you know.
- Know your social graces - and use them.
- Learn to listen, properly and to emphathise, genuinely.
- Be yourself - of every hour of every day. For me, that meant remaining loud, slightly crazy and sometimes inappropriate (for that industry anyway) but it meant I was being honest, and true to myself and it matters. It really does.
- Work hard and play harder - remember that we are here working to live not living to work.
- Be assertive, respectful and honest in all that you do and you'll always come out on top.
- Use your voice - speak up. Your voice is important just like anybody others, so are your ideas and opinions.
- Don't ever be unlimited by the fear of the unknown. Ever.
- Have fun. With everything. Always.
This is a small snapshot of my life and advice from the past few years and I can't wait to begin the next exciting chapter. Here is to learning and loving all that we do and always believing in who we are.
Below are some of the pics I've snapped over the years including one of my fav's with the ex Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon John Howard. If you're wondering why I look quite different in the pics read the story I wrote here on my major corrective jaw surgery.
[ The Hon John Howard - Ex Prime Minister of Australia ]
[ The Hon Tony Abbott - the current Leader of the
[LEFT: The Hon Joe Hockey - Shadow Treasurer of Australia RIGHT: The Hon Colin Barnett - the current State Premier of Western Australia]
[ Getting to meet the new Guide Dogs for the Blind at Parliament House ]
[ RIGHT: At my desk after a marathon day in Parliament LEFT: The Hon Malcolm Turnbull - ex Leader of the Opposition, current Shadow Minister for Communications ]
[ Visiting the war memorial in Canberra & being able to pay my respects to Australia's fallen soldiers - one of the most humbling days of my life]