IWD2020: how a change of career can change your life
Pic: ANZ's Cathie Drysdale Source: Supplied
Teachers can be very influential people in the lives of their students. For Cathie Drysdale, an analyst in the Markets Financial Institutions sales team at ANZ, her high school economics teacher left a lasting impression on her.
“I liked the idea of combining the social and emotional interactions of being an educator with the focus on economics and business which I really enjoyed,” she says.
For the first four years of her career, Cathie worked as a secondary school social studies teacher. A skillset she says helped when she eventually switched careers from the classroom to the dealing room.
“I had fun teaching economics and business studies but, by staying in that environment, I was never able to explore the technical aspects of those subjects beyond a secondary school level. I decided I wanted a career where I could really get into economic and business studies in a lot more depth,” Cathie recalls.
“Teaching the subjects I loved only formed 10-15 per cent of my job, with pastoral care and liaising with parents forming bulk of my role. I wanted the breakdown to be the other way around.”
Cathie’s desire for change isn’t uncommon. According to Harris, 80 per cent of workers in their twenties and 64 per cent of workers in their thirties want to change fields.
Unbeknownst to her teaching colleagues, Cathie started studying post-graduate Applied Finance part-time at Macquarie University. “As soon as I started the course, I knew following a career in finance was the right decision for me.”
Cathie used her time throughout her school holidays to undertake work experience in the dealing room which helped her affirm the career change.
“I liked how the dealing room was in some ways quite similar to school – there is a lot happening all at one time, it’s equally as engaging and action packed but in a different way.”
Since 2018, Cathie has combined her old skills as a teacher with her newfound knowledge of how financial markets function.
“I think my background as a teacher helped me make the move into the dealing room - working with people all day, every day and trying to manage different needs and personalities. Every student has a different personality and you interact with them in a unique way to form connections. The same goes for my clients in markets,” she says.
“Being a teacher is all about trying to identify needs and forming a connection with someone but I think that's true of any work environment. A teacher-student relationship is a working relationship just like the working relationships I have in the dealing room. The dynamics are similar but the manifestation is a little different.”
Cathie’s ability to inform and educate is also being put to good use, for the benefit of customers rather than students. As customer conversations become more insight- and data-driven, Cathie’s ability to collect and translate market information, and to educate customers about what it means for them, is a real asset.
Think before you switch
- Start with why: If you are thinking about making a career change, ask yourself why. You know you aren't happy at your current position, but think about exactly why you aren't happy.
- Do your research and try it out: Before you quit your job and risk starting another career that may also leave you unsatisfied, do your research and try it out.
- Consider your finances: Changing careers can be stressful for many reasons, but financial uncertainty is often at the top of the list. Before you make a career switch, consider your finances and decide if you can afford to start over, likely at an entry-level salary.
- Reframe your experiences and skills: Take the skills you have developed and honed for years, and figure out how you can use them in your new field.
- Take advantage of your network: Scoring an interview can be hard when you have zero relevant experience. However, tapping into your existing professional network is key during a career transition.
Cathie says her career change has also helped her gain control of her work-life balance.
“As a teacher, you have to prepare for every class, there's a lot of personal autonomy and individual responsibility. I was also taking considerable work home both physically and emotionally,” Cathie says. “In markets, it's about working as a team to achieve common goals across a number of time zones.”
Despite being in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Cathie says she feels very comfortable in markets.
“The reality is it is male-dominated - you can't deny the statistics. But in my experience, there's an active effort to change that balance. My team is mindful of that imbalance and is taking steps to improve it.”
Cathie also works with her old school to organise for senior economics and business students to visit the bank’s dealing room and learn more about following a career in finance and encouraging more women into the industry.
Each for equal
At ANZ, gender balance is a business imperative. Ensuring the equal representation of women and men in leadership teams is more than just an issue of gender equality- it’s about accessing the talent, markets and economic opportunities that gender equality brings.
- Gender balanced recruitment practices: ensuring a female candidate is interviewed for every role, and all interview panels contain at least one woman.
- Flexible working: all roles can be worked flexibly at ANZ, ensuring we are better able to meet the needs of our customers and our employees.
- Accelerating Banking Experiences for Women: a rotational program for female managers to develop broad-based banking careers.
- Employee networks: grass roots networks that focus on gender balance issues and building the confidence of our female workforce.
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