Changing careers in your mid-thirties

There's nothing like a mid-life crisis to bring perspective. When getting up in the morning becomes a chore, when you feel like all you've done in your life is be an office drone, maybe it's time to shake things up a bit. So I quit my 8.30am-5pm cushy IT job at the law firm and went to work at the airport.

Ah shift work. How much easier it would be if Brisbane had daylight savings. Having to get out of bed at 2.30am is not appealing. What is also interesting is the variety of having that solid, 37.5 hour week at a guaranteed rate, and suddenly find yourself working anything between a 20 hour week to a 44 hour week at penalty rates. Variety is the spice of life they say. Well curry tastes great but gee it has some side effects.

Now I don't have money, I'm tired most of the time, but my job is definitely more interesting. I see more daylight hours (starting work at 3.50am and finishing at 9am does have its up sides) and I'm bringing home more or less the same except that it averages out over several weeks and I have to work more. Now I don't sit on my bum for 9 hours a day - I can walk about the terminal for anything up to 5 hours as an ambassador, lift suitcases, push people in wheelchairs and hold babies. Even behind the check-in desk I'm standing up for the whole shift. As the pounds drop away, but not, unfortunately, into my bank account, I dream of staff travel discounts and tell myself it's worth it.

At the moment I feel like I am tiptoeing slowly round the edge of a vortex, in ever decreasing circles, waiting to be pulled in. The vortex will be a culmination. Maybe that is a Culmination. It's going to be bits of my personality, my soul, bits of every job I've ever done, the workings of karma and destiny and a few other factors thrown in for good measure. I am not sure what is going to be the other side of the vortex. However, I do know that whilst I roll slowly towards the middle my finances are rolling slowly out of the door. Right now I'm mentally learning to adjust to that situation, because whilst I have taken a step into a riskier unknown, I am having fun at work. Seven hours flies by as you help people zoom around the world in metal tubes. I no longer sit and clock watch, getting withdrawals between one caffeine fix and another. Now I'm tired because I'm genuinely physically exhausted, rather than the mental exhaustion that comes from extreme boredom. I get up without fuss at 2.30am, rather than dragging my butt slowly out of bed at 7.30am, or 7.45am, because I can't bear the thought of commuting and sitting at a desk for the whole day.

So it's possible for an old she-tiger to change her spots. Okay... I admit... I got a second job just to have some guaranteed hours. And whilst it's in an office, it's not a law office, it's still in aviation. I still do my shifts at check in. Some days I have to work from 6.30am until 8pm. But it's an adventure... and I've got plenty of loo paper handy.