Melbourne skyline in Australia

August 4, 2021, by indybamra1

My Excitement To Escape My Job Led to My New Career in Australia

By Jade Walley, BA Hons Philosophy graduate

All the gear with no idea

Graduating with a BA Honours in Philosophy, I left university with no career plan. Throughout my final year of studies, I made the most of the Careers and Employability Service and my personal tutor, exploring graduate schemes, masters degrees, and the job market.

Even with all these great resources, nothing leaped out at me. As my friends seemed to instinctively know their life’s purpose and how to achieve it, I gazed at an empty calendar with zero commitments.

Staying true to the advice of my working-class family, any job was better than none. So my career path quickly developed from “Step 1: Look for a job” into “Step 2: Look for any job”.

The first year after graduating

One of my Dad’s customers took a chance on me to help around his office. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this would be the crème de la crème on my CV that would lead me to land my current amazing role.

I was a personal assistant for an entrepreneur. Suddenly, the skills that I had gained throughout my studies that had become second nature to me became grounded in real-life work tasks. Taking part in the Nottingham Advantage Award really prepared me for this. Re-evaluating how your specialist skills or knowledge can be used day-to-day in the workplace might just surprise you in their uses.

I gave my role total dedication, but after a year I felt I had everything I could from it and was frankly burnt out. So, I left to go backpacking around Australia.

Now I had a plan though. I would go have fun for a while, come back to adulthood with a refreshed perspective, then seriously consider my career. Little did I know I would arrive in Australia as a tourist and remain here as a resident.

The “going overboard” part

Until I met other people who were doing it, I wasn’t aware of the options for working in Australia.

I was meeting people from all over the world who were doing temporary work, being sponsored, or had been headhunted. As my social circle grew so did my professional network. They gave me the knowledge and inspiration to take a leap of faith and I decided to stay and work in Melbourne.

But applying for a visa isn’t as easy as sharing a beer over the barbie. Although I never used a migration agency, a lot of my friends found this an easier but more costly route. Government websites are great research tools as well. With so many visa options available, a little time spent planning can lead to a life-changing decision.

The “Down Under” part

Coming overseas with a versatile role under my belt and a university degree made me a very attractive candidate for temporary agencies.

This tasting platter of jobs was like my own graduate programme. I experienced a new place, industry, and role every few months. Temping was a great way to gain real career experience. Just because a role doesn’t comfortably fit into your career plan, doesn’t mean it’s not right for you.

Now my career path has come full circle since joining a subsidiary company of the Australian governing body of engineers. I help new international engineering graduates come to join the Australian workforce through our employability programme. Obviously, I didn’t do an engineering degree. Yet the transferable skills I gained from my studies led me to be placed in a role that utilises these. I’ve been here a year and unlike my first “real job” I plan to stay and see where my role takes me internally.

Expect the unexpected

Even if I had wanted to, I could not have planned a career path that would lead me to my current role and lifestyle abroad.

To plan in the current climate of the world can be very daunting. Sometimes that’s a good thing though. It can make you search for courage within yourself or trust the process more than the result.

When it comes to considering working overseas, it’s okay to not have it all figured out. Every step in your career journey, no matter which continent it’s taken on, has a purpose.


If you’re interested in working abroad in Australia take a look at our webpage for more tips. University of Nottingham students and graduates get free access to Passport Career, a subscription-based website that provides things such as job-seeking advice covering 80 countries worldwide including CV advice.

Posted in Alumni StoriesCareers AdviceUncategorized