For most people, finding out you’ve lost your job is a catastrophe, but for Victoria Clark, there was a silver lining: it was just the impetus she needed to change careers.
“I was working as an architect,” she says. “I remember being told that I was being made redundant and didn’t have a job as of the next day.”
“But it was actually for the best. I was becoming increasingly concerned about the impacts of development on biodiversity; environmental impacts always seemed like they were someone else's problem. I felt I could make a bigger contribution to solving environmental and development challenges from outside of architecture.”
“I already had my eye on the Master of Environment, so I went to one of the postgrad info nights at ANU and was sold on going back to uni. I started about three weeks later.”
As part of her program, Victoria conducted fieldwork in both Laos and Cambodia while undertaking research on water resources in the Mekong Basin. She says this was “perfect” for helping her get a job in water policy with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority when she finished her degree.
“My research and time overseas was especially valuable for responding to the job selection criteria. I could show I had both the studies and the experience.”
“The Murray-Darling is a long way from the Mekong, but there are some quite similar parallels in terms of the problems. I was able to translate my experience and use that to my advantage.”
“I also improved my writing skills and got a broad education covering environmental law, sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. And I got to travel and meet people. There are lots of opportunities if you want to take them.”
And best of all, it was a new career.
“I was worried about finding work in my new field once I finished my degree, but I submitted my thesis in August and started my new job in November.
“Changing careers has been the best thing I could have done.”
Turn over a new leaf with a postgraduate degree in environment and sustainability at ANU.