Career Change Journey – My personal experience

By Denni- Maree Rankin, Learning Partnerships Business Administration Trainee

Choosing a career is always a difficult process, especially as a young adult about to leave school. There are countless options, which can send your brain buzzing with what if’s, the thought of ‘will I actually enjoy this career’, or even more daunting, ‘what if I get stuck in a career I hate’.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the pressure young students are under to have this decision made all before they start grade 11!

For me the choice was always clear. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a hairdresser. The thought of it excited me, and I was so intrigued by every aspect of my new career that I couldn’t wait to get started.

In grade 11, I completed my Certificate II in Hairdressing. I was having the time of my life studying, I had every Wednesday off school, the assessments were fun and exciting, and the cafeteria even had an EFTPOS machine!!! (Our school canteen didn’t have EFTPOS so this was very exciting for me at the time).

I was also fortunate enough to be employed as a Tea and Tidy assistant in a local hairdressing salon, alongside my studies, giving me my first taste of working in a real salon environment.

I enjoyed this course so much, that my passionate attitude rewarded me with a Certificate of Excellence, in addition to my Qualification. This further cemented my thinking that this was the career for me.

By the time my Senior Year rolled around, I was employed by another local hairdressing salon as a first-year apprentice. I was restless, having to wait until I finished Grade 12 before I could start studying for my Certificate III in Hairdressing but once I started, I found completing the Certificate II Qualification really had set me up with everything I needed in the first year of my apprenticeship. What a bonus!!

My first year was really enjoyable, just as the previous year was. I went to work every week after school for the late-night trading, as well as working a full day every Saturday in the salon.

My high school graduation came and went, and now I was a full-time apprentice. This was when things started to take a turn.

The more time I spent in the salon, the unhappier I was. I loved the job, I loved my regular clients, but the work culture was really affecting me. There were times when I was really satisfied, everyone would be in a good mood and we would have a really good day. But 90% of the time, someone was in a bad mood and making it difficult for others, there was gossiping behind people’s backs, favouritism amongst the employees, and we were being put down regularly. My failures were recognised, and my achievements were ignored. There were even cases of sabotage to my weekly key performance indicators (KPIs).

I tried really hard to continue through my apprenticeship, telling myself things would change when I become a qualified hairdresser, that I would finally be treated as a valued staff member. Unfortunately, two years after I graduated with my Certificate, I was still driving home every day in tears. It was then that I made the decision to leave even though I had no job to go to, a very dangerous move, but I was desperate to get myself out of that toxic environment.

A move that ultimately led to a completely new career and another traineeship.  Stay tuned in to my next blog post to find out what happened next!