Two years ago, I embarked on a journey within a new city (my first metropolitan home) to start a new career, while in the background alot of family issues were boiling at the surface. At the beginning, I instantly knew I would never properly feel at home in the new city, however, so as not to disappoint my mum and her dream for me to become a CEO I thought I should give it a good crack! And so, I dove in and embarked on the most challenging journey of my life.
The new career path that I was entering into was a technical water science career that had the opportunity to be spun in many different directions. I often explain the work I do as mathematically modelling the environment and pouring water in to see what happens in terms of water quantity (flooding) and quality. Learning these skills has given me a great foundation and understansing in the water industry which is transferrable to so many areas including policy, science or management.
Throughout my time I had proven to myself that I can be technical, I can learn quickly, I can learn on the job and I have an ability to adapt to a situation and work through to a solution even if I have minimal tools. I also learnt about my core values and what I need in my day to make me feel fulfilled. I summarise my main learnings as follows;
•You should ask questions. You should challenge others.. no matter how old they are, they might not know the answer.
•It is OK to not know everything.. don’t pretend.
•I need to be working in a team.
•I am very outcome driven, which isn’t what is commonly seen in the science industry.
•I often take on challenges that not many others are willing to engage in. In fact these challenges are what I am to be involved with.
•You aren’t going to get on with everyone you work with/meet, however, your body language does effect how others respond and how well they complete a task.
•It is OK to not be similar to everyone else. In fact it is great to differentiate yourself.
•Specializing is great (you wouldn’t hire a plumber to fix a fence) but it is also OK to gain skills in many different areas to create idea synthesis. The Renaissance used to think it admirable to be well versed in many different areas.
•Communication and interpersonal skills are highly regarded in a work place
•Culture eats policy for breakfast. It is important to have a great culture in your team, my observations lead me to believe that the culture of a company is engrained in employees and it isn’t always easy to change.
•I thrive on uncertainty. I love the idea of not knowing what will happen next. This isn’t something that is common in engineering.
•Persistence is great, as long as it is in line with your end goal. Sometimes it is just as admirable to recognize when you need to step down and allow scope for change (fail quickly).
•Regardless of what I think, I am a leader..
I chose to fail fast and resign from my “career” as a flood engineer, to get my career back on track to working towards empowering others to do what they love and work towards sustainable solutions in the environment with a great focus on water scarcity, renewable energy, recycling, conservation and sustainable farming.