I would have liked to have done something else

In my working life I only had three jobs that lasted more than five years; a cabinet-maker, a finance manager, and a public servant. Most of them sucked, although the last two I mentioned were very enjoyable.

However, each one was a job and not a career. I would have liked to have done something else. Something I had a real passion for and one that I could have spent my whole working life devoted to.

If I could start all over again there are a few that would fall into that category and I would pursue a career in them relentlessly.

Given the chance, I’d be an astronomer. I studied it for a year at university but the first six months were the most boring of my life. We were drilled with small structures of the universe; things like photons, bosons and muons. They are not exciting, only a fraction more exciting than the equations a half a metre long that we had to damage our brains on. I was more interested in the large structures of the universe; planets, galaxies and anything that might dwell in them.

I threw in the towel.

Second choice would be a paleontologist. Yep, digging up old bones tracing the evolution of we humans or the odd dinosaur. I’m very interested in ‘things’ we know little about and would loved to be involved in new discoveries.

For that reason I could easily take a career in Egyptology or archaeology. Not much work in Australia for the former and little of interest in the latter unless it’s Aboriginal archaeology. I knew a girl who studied archaeology and ended up in a career researching Australian verandah designs in the 19th century. I guess when there’s nothing else around you take anything.

Which is what I’ve done all my life.

Would you do anything different given the miracle of another chance?

95 comments on “I would have liked to have done something else

  1. Migs, by way of coincidence archaeology is something that I would have liked to have studied but like yourself discovered that there was very little employment opportunities in the field in Australia..and it’s probably still the same. At that time (as a school leaver), law interested me not at all..everything in it’s own time and place perhaps.

  2. Migs, like you I am a cabinet maker by trade, and dreamed of being an Egyptologist. My main love though was music, and worked other jobs to pay for instruments, equipment etc.
    I have also run my own business, taught Leadlighting for the adult education system, worked as a singer/songwriter and currently teach guitar, as that is all that I can do since my health has gone down in a screaming heap.
    But at times I still wish I had tried my hand at Egyptology.

    Cheers

  3. Skeptical, another coincidence I am also a leadlighter..worked the markets around Byron Bay and The Channon for 6 years selling, plus private commissions such as windows and skylights.

  4. Skeptical, wow – we are so similar. I used to write songs and even had a song writing contract when I was 16. As I was still a minor my parents had to sign it as well.

    I also dabbled at poetry. Some of my stuff is in the Archived Page under Literature.

  5. Ahh, melancholy……. my first job was as an Aircraft Mechanic (apprentice)… after 11mths 3wks and 6days they put me off.. at 12mths they had to give you a permanent gig…. I was the 3rd one they had did this to… cheap subsidised labour, wish I had known that beforehand as I had been accepted into Uni to do a BA in Social Sciences… and the way my life has unfoldered the Social worker gig could of helped me no-end over the last 2o yrs …. my *dream* job has always been to be ‘that’ guy that sprays the suntan lotion on at beaches at Surfers…. purely for social science reasons 😉 …of course…..

  6. Min, a coincidence indeed, I ran my Leadlight business in Sydney for many years, supplying cabinet makers and doing commissions as well as working with a couple of fairly well known Leadlight artists on big commissions.

    Good creative work.

    Cheers

  7. mmm…when I was little (please bear in mind I lived on a sheep station, 50 klm from a small town, and had 7 brothers and sisters and my grandparents lived out the back in a caravan) I wanted to be a mum….with 6 kids!!! Well I have 3 kids, and as stupidly booooorrrring as it may seem on this link, I reckon I am half way there with 3 beautiful kids. At 42, I reckon I have never been happier!! (no more kids please!!!)

  8. I grew up on a farm on Kangaroo Island. 1450 acres, a couple of thousand sheep and a 100 cows.

    22,000 snakes, 175,000 goannas, 1,525,000 possums and a few wild pigs.

  9. Migs, I have checked out your work before, and responded to one of your comments to a poem I posted a few weeks back with a “right back at yer” for that reason.
    Birds of a feather and all that. 😀

    Do you still write songs?

  10. nice post migs, Personally I reckon that if you can manage to make a quid doing something that you love then that is pure bliss my current passion is fabriction in steel a wonderful material to work with if you have a good Mig welder. I’m about to start on a hotrod based on a 1948 morris Z chassis with a Suzuki engine and 5 speed gearbox

  11. Migs, sorry to hear that your lupus has stopped you playing, I have a rare genetic lung disease that severely impacts my ability to sing and play the mouthorgan. I can sometimes do one or the other, but cannot do both and can no longer gig.
    As they say those that can’t do, teach.

    In your other life, can you still use your “Space modulator”? And have you experienced the “Earth shattering Kaboom”? 😆 😆

  12. Would still do the same thing, apprentice chef led to me cooking for 15 years, met some wonderful people, then lost the passion for cooking, retrained in the IT industry, taught at the local TAFE for several years, now do community work and loving every minute.

  13. i have done something different- astrophysics. i previously studied another completely removed subject, however serious illness changed my perspective and i took up my dream of becoming a scientist.

    now i am studying astrophysics and cosmology. it isnt easy, however i am fortunate that i find even the ‘boring’ topics fascinating

    regards
    rich

  14. You are right about the Suzuki engine Migs. The thing I like most about it is the fact that its all aluminium so it weights roughly one third of the weight of a cast iron Morris engine, and it produces at least double the horsepower. Its all about the power to weight ratio when it comes to automotive efficiency. My aim is to make a well balanced car that is both frugal on fuel and a stylish ride.

    On a slightly different career dram I to wanted to be an archaeologist and I get pangs about it every time I watch “Time Team” the closes that I come to it is checking out the treasure shed at our local transfer station there are some interesting things that turn up at that dig from time to time
    8)

  15. Initially I wanted to be a teacher and my talent in that area was picked pu by my employer as I was made the trainer for all new recruits at the time. I have been inj finance one way or another for 32 years and my talent is with figures. However my recent heart attack has brought a new perspective and a completely different outlook. While I remain in the industry my desire has now changed. I now desire to simply clear all of my debt, purchase some acreage. Devote most of it to wildlife and a portion to fruit and veges. Slowly remove myself from the ever increasingly stressful ratrace. No longer materialistic I long for the simple life. Maybe I am becoming amish.

  16. When I was younger and unemployed I wrote. I dreamed I’d get off the dole queue and make lots of money writing for Mills and Boon. That’s right, I loved the cheap romances. I’d make enough money doing that then go and write the greatest fantasy novel of all time, good enough to rival Lord of the Rings. Well, then I joined the public service, got married, had kids and haven’t touched my writing in a good 20 years

  17. It was Royal Australian Navy for me though a little late after a troubled mid to late teens.

    After getting through recruit school, just, I knew the Navy would be my lifelong calling, and I was happy in the RAN up until the 22 year mark.

    Some out of touch high ranking officers in Canberra decided that the Navy needed a restructure to bring it into line with the civilian world. Long story short, though being told by middle to senior lower and upper deck ranks this would not work they forced it upon us and as a result a swath of middle management equivalent got out in a short period, me included.

    As an aside, Navy has in large part gone back to the way it was before the restructure and the reports so far are good.

    TB will tell you that the close friends you make in the armed services are without match in the general community. It was that aspect I liked most about my military career, though what I thought would be a lifelong career was cut short by about 20 years because of idiotic bureaucracy.

    Of course those idiot bureaucrats in Canberra adversely effecting the careers of so many must of been Liberal supporters.

  18. I always wanted to do something artistic, like graphic design. Unfortunately, I can’t draw for shit (or so the guys letting those into the graphic design course at uni thought, probably correctly), so I became a toolmaker instead, which, whilst most of the time is mind numbingly boring, did have certain challenges. Now I’m in IT, which I am loving, but still harbour the artistic urge, Unfortunately, my application of the arts hasn’t improved with age, so I just keep playing at it. Everyone needs a hobby 🙂

    I get frustrated though when I hear people say ‘do what you enjoy’ in reference to a job. It’s true to an extent (as I do enjoy my IT work, mostly) The thing I enjoy the most, however, I simply couldn’t make a living from. Some people get the perfect amalgamation of talent and desire, the rest of us just have to try and find something that will pay the bills, and not send us barmy.

  19. The thing about career/jobs is that you first have to learn all the bumf, before you actually get to do the stuff you really like. Funny that — you have to crawl before you can walk!

  20. Nice to see you out and about Shane.

    I too share your passion for some acreage and a patch of growies, and have realised the dream a few times over the years, in between bouts of “dropping in” to replenish the coffers. We’re back into it again now, in the beautiful sunshine coast hinterland. We recently annexed some remnant rainforest and placed it under a conservation covenant that not even Campbell Newman could repeal.

    Somewhere there’s a Leunig cartoon depicting a confused character who was a builder of chook-houses, a stargazer, philosopher, and I think, a boat builder. My wife says Leunig must’ve modeled his character on me.

    Sometimes in a social setting people say, as they do just to make conversation, ‘and what do you do Jack’, and I’m stumped for a reply. Looking back there’s no definable career path (of any length), but I do seem to have picked up some useful skills, like building houses, boats, and chook pens.

    Architecture though is something I regret not studying formally. Especially with respect to energy flows.

  21. Tom

    My old man was a tool maker. It’s a trade for which I have the greatest respect.

    If you were back in your trade you’d probably be one of the last 100.

    IT sounds like a good move.

  22. Umm…not exactly ‘farming’ Tom.

    I can walk into the village for my latte.

    Bugger this ‘rural loneliness’

  23. Yea Mangrove Jack, when I got into it, it was the highest paid trade around, when I left it, almost 20 years later, it was one of the lowest 😦

    Can’t compete with cheap dies made overseas. The unfortunate thing is, even though these tools are cheaper in the outset, they actually cost manufacturers more in the long run. Most toolmaking firms now survive on maintaining these imported pieces of crap

    And, it is a pretty stressful job, or I found it so anyway. tolerances are tight, and you have to be on the game all/most of the time. IT, I can relax a bit more in, and blog away, as long as I don’t waste too much time doing it. Diversion actually keeps my mind sharper. Rather than 8 hours of looking at a block of steel.

  24. when i was a kid in Adelaide, i used to listen to the ABC “children’s hour” most evenings – one of the regular spots was by a guy called “Tom the naturalist ” who i found endlessly fascinating.
    Some time before i was 10, i decided that was the career for me. eventually went to Flinders uni, and emerged with a biology degree, although i stayed for a year doing laboratory research, and then “hit the road”, working in factories, farms, fishing and whatever would supply the $$$.

    I eventually ended up working as a ranger in Tas., which matched my dream, except for the “policing” duties, and the bureaucratic politics which seem to accompany the internal workings of large organisations.
    Eventually “promoted” from the field, i then worked as a land management planner over a few years, before accepting a redundancy, which pretty much coincided with me becoming a single parent to a 10 year old son. I had become aware of the potential utility of IT to the work i had been doing, so went back to uni iand gained a grad. dip. in applied computing, from there. i worked in contract positions involving land management planning (Integrated Catchment Management, Landcare planning etc.)

    once my son had headed into the world to “have a go” , i organised a tree plantation on the property i had planned to occupy when our family was intact, and retired, living off the lease income.

    Was pretty much on top of the world, in my estimation – had a beaut troopy kitted out for long/short term camping, and combined my loves of Oz country, travel and flyfishing, heading north over the winter months and hunting “salties ” (fish, not crocs) and returning to tas. for trout season.

    Then, had a stroke which has pretty much buggered that arrangement, for a few years, if not permanently, through my acquired disabilities. Neuro plasticity is my current fixation :grin:.

    I still don’t regret refusing the chance of a $400 abalone licence or of a position at medical school, and have, for the most part, managed to find work which i love, and in which i believe. 😎

  25. The only career I ever actually wanted was to drive steam locomotives, everything else has just been to pay the bills. A dirty & physically taxing job involving more than just waving at kids by the trackside as you pass by, but I think I would’ve liked it. Born too late.
    In our new, fragmented workplace environment policed by the multiskilling dragoons I’m thinking of training as a TimTam quality inspector. Either that or going straight to world domination.

  26. Either that or going straight to world domination.

    can i be head of the secret police ?
    (always thought that would have pretty good “job security”) 😉

  27. I’m thinking of training as a TimTam quality inspector. Either that or going straight to world domination.

    Wouldn’t world domination come first, and then you can get a job like that?

    Otherwise, I just can’t see how it can be achieved.

    can i be head of the secret police ?

    Not any more, cos now we all know about it 🙂

  28. pterosaur1, I was going to say, you are lucky. That is not true. You knew what you want and had the guts to go after it.

    My problem was, is, I believe is lack of ambition and never been able to work out what I want.

    Worked some of it out as a mature age student, but did not go the whole way.

    In other ways, I do appreciate my working life from the factory floor, to uni and then into welfare has given me rich life experiences. Starting off on that dairy, as Miglo did, can be seen as a real start. Nothing romantic about that, Did love having stud friesians to work with. Loved that side. Always loved biology and associated science.

    The dream, and sadly I always seen it as a dream, even if my mother did,, was to go down the track of veterinary science, not cats and dogs, but research. In retrospect,, I believe I would have succeeded in that field.

    Not a pet person. Do have three goldfish, which for some unknown reason, have thrived. Felt I needed some life about the house.

    I would probably muck it up, if I had a second chance.

  29. Professional fighter in full contact medieval armoured combat. I do it now, but only in spare time outside of my current jobs. If anyone is interested, look up Battleofthenations on youtube.

  30. Bob,

    My grandfather let me blow the whistle on his steam loco in the shunting yards at Narrogin WA when I was 5.

    The unexpected noise scared the crap out of me. It rings in my ears still (or maybe that’s cicadas)

    I guess driving a steam loco back in the Depression days had some glamour or adventure about it. It would’ve been a ‘good job’.

  31. Shane! Good to see you and I’m thrilled you’ve been lurking. 🙂

    I hope you’re coming along fine. I’ve been thinking of you.

  32. Both my grandfathers and my dad had associatons with the railway. I use to read Thomas the tank engine books from the public library, wanted to be an engine driver, so I suppose it is in the genes.

    However after school into a communication type job fitting two way radios in Taxi’s ,police boats, TV,s onto Ships for the officers only, whilst in port.

    Then national service loomed, no army for me hated the itchy shirts whilst in the school cadets. Enlisted in the RAF communications branch saw a bit of the world married, into computers and then Australia. Now all my grandkids are Thomas fans books,DVD’s etc. My model railway items stored now for years will be handed down. The pull of the railways is always there. Still prefer trains and trams when in Melbourne many fond memories. Would love to see fast trains Sydney-Canberra- Melbourne, in fact all major cities. Come on Australia we can do it.

  33. Speaking of Tim Tams . . . I got some work while at uni unpacking Arnott’s trucks in their Adelaide factory.

    Whenever the loo called I could take the quick route past where the Gingernut Snaps were made or the long route past the Tim Tam production line.

    I felt the exercise would be good for me to take the long route. 😉

  34. Bilko, TB is into model railways as well. It must be an English thing. 🙂

    Which reminds me, I must take a visit to Cockington Green again. It’s just around the corner from home. Have you been there?

  35. I went on an archaeological dig while at uni. A farm near the Barossa Valley had old Aboriginal flint spear heads littered all over the paddocks so we decided it was the best place.

    It was very official. Digging area was mapped out and exact position recorded for future prosperity.

    We dug carefully all day, brushing our way down with professional care.

    At 30 centimeters we found a bottle. Yep, a bottle. Buried a foot underground in the middle of nowhere we found a bottle. We were looking for prehistoric campsites and came home with a bottle.

    Bacchus or Tom must have been there before us.

  36. I was a good footballer as a lad but I had a bad attitude. If only I had the self discipline then as I did as a mature adult.

    I would have won a string of Brownlow Medals. 🙂

  37. CU

    Your slightly melancholy post above had me recalling lines from one of my favourite poems, Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.

    Two lines are indelibly etched:

    “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air”

    If you know the poem you’ll recall that the author was wandering through a country graveyard and wondering to what greatness the “rude forefathers” (the deceased villagers) might have risen had their circumstances been different.

    In the bush I’ve come across quite a few folk who could’ve been Nobel Laureates had things been different for them.

    So keep blossoming CU. Unlike Gray’s flowers, some of us notice.

  38. When I turned 30 and complained about the event to my father about how it’s all downhill from here, he said: “You’re worried about being 30! I’m about to turn 70 yet I reckon the best years of my life are still ahead of me”.

    Ouch.

  39. @Tom R

    Not any more, cos now we all know about it 🙂

    but we potential future commissars are aware of several methods to correct that situation 👿

  40. I think there’d be plenty of jobs available in the Lib’s dirt unit. Bit like archaeology really. Digging up the past.

  41. I would have liked to be a multi-millionaire retiree, but I haven’t found my multiple millions yet 😦

    How’d you manage it Migs? :mrgreen:

  42. i had to clean blocked sewage lines and the like while working in parks – the libs dirt unit looks to be a much dirtier job, imho, and would leave me with a worse smell than i acquired when feeding out silage to cattle, i reckon.:shock:

  43. but we potential future commissars are aware of several methods to correct that situation

    oh oh 😯

    I see nuthin, I know nuthen 😦

  44. Migs
    Re Cockington green been there a few times with visiting UK rellies and a great Guiness in the pub next door. My eldest grandson also had his recent engagement party at the pub, also our first meet with the inlaws. On my 25th birthday mu OH complained I was like a kid with a sore head I said do you relize I am half way to 50, now I am half way to 146 ouch.

  45. I once considered motorcycle racing and actually got my racing licence, did one circuit day became aware of my own mortality day and decided they are all insane.

    I don’t think I would change a thing. I wish I was better at maths (my much smarter girlfriend is a gifted Maths PHD). If I could I would change the order of things. I started off as a technician for Telecom, did engineering and ended up specialising in a very profitable application area (voice compression). My hacking days served me well (I was a white hat!!).

    I have been a gadget geek all my life but I have been a musician since age 5. Life’s journey has been consumed by musical and technical pursuits. My dream since I got my first second hand national reel to reel at age 8 was to someday own a recording studio. I have owned 3 recording studios that are all sadly closed now. I still have most of my gear though. My brother and I have done lots of advertising, (yes I write those annoying product jingles and made lots of cheesy regional TV ads). We had the radio broadcast rights (from news limited) for Rugby for 3 years when nobody wanted them. We put together a call team and when the networks had big OB vans, I had the whole shebang in two suitcases using ISDN years before the network’s cottoned on (should have patented that one oh well). We did the first live sports stream on the net using OZemail (people thought we were nuts).

    If your into Rugby League we produce this show out to 65 stations across Australia and the UK
    http://talkingnrl.com/

    I too had a publishing contract with Warner and have been blessed to engineer, produce and write with some of the most gifted people in Australia. I got really sick and eventually was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease that has slowed me down. Thank my stars for the PBS my meds are 2k a month.

    Totally frustrated with music and after losing my waterfront (long story a business partner ripped me off), I was broke. Moved to Coffs Harbour and built a studio in town. We made ads, produced a regional news service employing 6. One day we paid all 6 staff, bills and had $120 left being owed 50 grand (the rich ones never pay up) We went to the club, got pissed and just thought: bugger this so we closed the doors (We started up again with no staff, just the way I like it). Broke, sick and ready for the next chapter, my mate let me live with him, encouraging me to study while I was recuperating. I went back to Uni, got a Masters in Media, Art and Production @ UTS (love that place) then got a scholarship to COFA and did a Masters in Digital Media majoring in film.

    I concentrate on film scores now, writing scripts and cinematography. I have made films that I am very proud of. When I was a kid I was dyslexic (I still am but I have learnt how to control it). Once I was diagnosed, the world was my oyster as I began to understand, like someone cleaning a dirty window where you can see the future and what is possible. I have a veracious appetite for knowledge and realise I know nothing.
    I love my life; I have crammed so much into my 51 years and enjoyed every second of my jouney.
    I live to meet people and feel enriched to hear their journey and life experience. My dad was a respected, self-educated Union official who taught me to listen, learn and be empathetic.
    This bit looks a bit like the non-existent visitor.

    Miglo, when I was broke and left my house before it was repossessed by the bank (ripped off by a business partner) my brother and myself spent a few years in Coffs Harbour, built a studio and made TV ads and delivered a regional news service. We rented a house in Sawtell and I had never really looked at the stars because I lived in the city.
    I wrote this song:

    Skeptical: I love stained glass, through my travels I would gravitate to churches and amaze at the mastery of the stained glass and leadlight.
    Mins; I dated an archaeologist and she was fascinating. Her stories of digs around the world blew my mind. Sadly she was gay and that was that.
    Lovo: My close mate is an Aircraft mechanic, (LAME) 30 years Qantas; he now works on Helicopters for Tubo Mecca. How those things stay in the sky astounds me. You gravitated to social work because you are one of life’s special people, you live social conscience most talk about it.
    Di: The most important job of all and as a man with no kids, one that I appreciate.
    Paulwello: I am a passionate cook, doing it for a living is a completely different story.
    Richardbyers: Astro Physicist…WOW!!!! What do you think you are a rocket scientist? Well actually..lol. Amazing how sickness changes your life perspective and imperative. Living your dream is the coolest thing,

    Möbius Ecko: Now I understand… You left so now you ask yourself about the girl. Everything happens for a reason is my mantra even though it Sux.
    This is my comment on how “Fragile” we and everything around us are.

  46. Thanks MJ. Not that much melancholy I believe. It is just life that I believe many of us live. Much to be thankful for,

    We all just play the cards that are dealt,

  47. Someone keeps dealing me the wrong cards. But still, you can only play with the hand you’re dealt the best you can.

  48. Miglo, I intend to follow your father, for my best years to be ahead of me. At last I have woken up, and now believe I know how the game is played. Yes, it is the glass half full that counts. It is rarely ever empty.

    Grasp every advantages that passes my way.

  49. I notice that many on this site, have a leaning to the sciences. If this is true, why do we get into so much trouble with the deniers?

    Parliament is still quiet today. No screaming or interjections yet. One could be amazed at the soft and measured way the Opposition speaks, along with his deputy.

    Though the younger Bishop is having problems keeping her voice down.

    Wonder what they dreamed about as kids. That is Abbott and Bishop.

  50. Hi Migs, Min, Roswell and one and all, thanks so much for welcoming me back. I am coming along fine at the moment. Only in the last 2 weeks has the stress and anxiety seemed to start to lift and I am sleeping most of the night again. This is why I am starting to comment and chat again. I will start slowly and see how it goes. Hope all you guys are well. Yes I have been lurking and needed to check out who was saying what, just didn’t have the right frame of mind to comment or become involved in the discussions at the time. Now I seem to be getting back to the old self. More tablets than a chemist shop and bleed like there is no tomorrow if I so much as scratch myself, but otherwise coming along good now.

  51. I’m glad you’ve been taking it easy Shane. Many here will attest that health always comes first, followed by politics and then family. 😉

  52. Cu, re “luck”(kismet, karma?), i guess i’ve had my share of it, – i’ve probably had about 3 lives , having to make major changes with unknown outcomes, and survived so far, sometimes more in desperation than determination, though 😆

    would like to spend more time involved with the first peoples than i have to date, which is one of my ambitions.

    closest i can come to as a motto : “shit happens….you die”, both being unavoidable, but there’s a potential universe beyond those “events”, where we can play our “cards” as best we are able.

    @ Tom R
    duly noted 😈

    Cu

    why do we get into so much trouble with the deniers?

    Because they don’t follow the unspoken rules of rational discourse, and “deny” all evidence which threatens their delusions, which pretty much determines their claims as made in “bad faith”.

  53. The problem is, that given enough time, the facts become undeniable. This is something I believe our PM understands and Abbott is learning.

    Some today were calling for an election. No one has told them that it is now to late.

    We now have pictures of that ice melting. The North West passage is open. Just cannot be denied.

  54. Speaking of finding things in the middle of nowhere, once upon a time the crew stopped for a piss somewhere between Nyngan & Bourke, I think. I wandered off the road & promptly discovered a set of rusty old clippers. In my wild erratic fancy I imagined them to be a set of shears left there many years ago by an old blade shearer. My more practical mates said they were probably garden shears. Will never know as I left them there. Someone here could probably disabuse me & say there’s no resemblance at all between the two? I still don’t actually know.

  55. BSA, the shears you talk about can be used for both, shearing and gardening, we had them lying around our place for years, as my father was a shearing contractor.

  56. paulwello
    Thanks for keeping my dream alive! I’ve seen an old time shearer using these blades but in a domestic suburban setting. A friend had a sheep as a lawnmower & the old neighbour helped out. Wasn’t sure if it was recommended practice or not.

  57. BSA, some of the farmers still use shears on the rams just in case of an accident. there are still competitions around OZ and NZ that use the old blade shears.

  58. Loved all your stories! Not many of you talk about someone in the family encouraging you in a particular direction. I think that can make a big difference. I never experienced that myself, but wish I had. If I have any sort of unmet dream it’s about being born in a different family, wanted and then growing up encouraged to read and become the best that I could be. I never dreamed of being anything really. I just let myself be pushed along by great teachers who saw my potential and got a charge out of bringing me on, a clever kid from a rotten background. I enjoyed the praise and liked the work, which was such a contrast with home, though I never did learn to write a decent hand. God knows how much more I could have achieved with a decent script! Anyway, I started out being a teacher because I couldn’t think of anything else to do! I loved it, and can see the charge those long ago teachers got out of it. I ended up running my own school and found that even more satisfying, encouraging good teachers and developing progressive programs in disadvantaged areas. That was many decades ago, in the days when not wanting to hit kids was considered strange!

  59. What a fascinating collection of thwarted ambitions. I always wanted to be a writer. A storyteller. Certainly after I found the maths in original theoretical physics was beyond me. So I had spells as a lab tech (in physics at UWA), public sevice, delivery and 17 years as a spouse carer (Thanks to Bob Hawke). Then I had a decade in the desert teaching and shopkeeping in a Community. Then I retired, poor but happy. Would I have changed anything? I don’t think so. I learned something new in each phase and now that I have retired i can dabble with my writing (all non-profit, of course). Knowing what I know now, I probably would have chosen to nuture my artistic side and taken to photography very early on. However, I’m with the Little Sparrow, “Non, je ne regrette rien”

  60. What’s wrong with hitting kids Patricia…if it wasn’t for fear of the cane I’d never had learned my tables !

    In an odd coincidence, my wife and I shared the misfortune of having the same teacher at different times in different schools in NSW, a real sadist.

    He was fair but. No concessions to gender. My wife got caned for being cheeky (age 10).

    To this day it doesn’t seem to have had any disciplinary effect.

  61. I always think, could I have done any better than with the materials and opportunities of that particular time. The answer is no. I could not take up the opportunity to go to uni as a school leaver, simply because my factory hand father couldn’t afford it. Therefore the next best option for a tertiary education was to enter teaching as there were things called teaching scholarships in those days. That qualification enabled me to do may other things.

  62. Cane’n stories…… I remember 5 of us getting caught smoking by the English/History Master, he marched us off to his office to get “the cane”….. and then proceeded to ask us to pick a number between 1 and 6,so as to help him to determine how many strokes he would apply…… 1st kid said “one”… Franksy (the teacher) said “alright then thats six “….. next kid says ” six’, (obviously applying reverse thingymawhatsit)…. Franksy says “ok then 6 it is “…… then he asks the 3rd kid …ME… and I say “three”………. and Franksy says ” alright smart-arse, thats six for being so clever” 😯 🙄 , then he goes through my pockets.. pinches 3 smokes out of my packet, gives the rest back and tells the lot of us to ‘piss off’… ahh, high school in the 70’s 🙄 ….. not to mention the coffee cups full of wine in english in 5th form, including the teacher… but hey, thats another story 😉 ….. I guess bush HS were a bit different to city HS back then …. *whack*

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