Many people think that I am crazy for doing what I did. Others I have been told are jealous. I don’t know what exactly it was that pushed me to leave my secure, medium paid job for a life of nothing, without a clue of what I was going to do.
I joke that I am retired. In reality I am unemployed. For me 2013 will be my year of discovery, although I do not know what I am discovering. What I do know is that I am not going back to my former career. Or so I say.
I went to uni because I thought I had too. I completed high school without any goal in mind. I survived. I didn’t get an amazing score, but I passed. So off to uni I went to complete a degree in something I knew nothing about. What an excellent idea, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.
After a mediocre first year at uni, I didn’t know whether I wanted to go back. I had kissed a few boys, made some friends but I didn’t really enjoy my course. Mind you, I still didn’t know what my degree was working towards.
During this year I had met a boy, who convinced me to stick with my degree instead of packing up and heading back to the small country town I called home. I later married him. What a smart boy, but that’s another story.
So when I finished my degree and realised I wasn’t really qualified to do anything. *sigh*. I managed to get a job as a Research Assistant but I also undertook another qualification so I could be an Environmental Health Officer. At the time I didn’t really know what this meant. I later found out I would become a Health Inspector.
My first official job as a Health Inspector was a 6 month contract. I was told on my first day that experienced people had applied, but I was just so engaging and enthusiastic in the interview they gave me the job. I felt sick. I also realised that I had entered a world that was previously only occupied by men.
University did not prepare me for the real world. After a brief orientation I was sent on my merry way. I was underqualified and I had no practical experience. I was completely out of my depth. Even basic tasks like using a photocopier were a challenge. I was young, but I also looked really young and people would question whether I was actually old enough to be doing the job.
At the end of the 6 months, it was acknowledged that I had been thrown in the deep end of the pool, but I had survived so apparently that was ok.
I may have survived but I had scars. I hated being a Health Inspector. In the year that followed I tried to use my university degree to get a job in another field. It was no good, no one would hire me. After some brief stints in customer service and despatch I ended up being an Administration Assistant for a HR and Payroll department. I was bored. I sat at my desk all day doing timesheets and inputting data. So when I got a call out of the blue from a Council desperately seeking an Environmental Health Officer, I thought why not.
I then stayed in the industry for another 8 years. I don’t know what I was thinking, I just went with it. By the end I was competent and confident in my job, but the enforcement side of things never sat very well with me. I hated being the bearer of bad news, which I was quite often.
I realised that common sense when it came to food safety was not so common. A colleague of mine would often say that Common Sense should be replaced with the term ‘Rare Sense’ due to it’s absence. I liked that.
In many ways my work life became ground-hog day. I would see the same people, have the same conversations and the same disappointments.
One day I resigned. I sighted that it wasn’t enough for me to be a Health Inspector anymore and I left my colleagues with the image of me skipping off into the sunset. That was it. My last day as a Health Inspector was 21 December 2012.