Change Up

July 21, 2017

Did you hear that Daniel Day Lewis is retiring from acting? THIS A TRAGEDY! Absolute tragedy. What a freakin’ talent. He won three Oscars for Best Actor – the only man ever to do so – and I defy anyone to watch him and Michelle Pfeiffer sizzle in The Age of Innocence and not swoon when he slowly takes off her glove in the carriage and kisses her wrist. Hot.

Why can’t Ben Affleck or some other crap actor retire from acting and do the movie-going public a favour? Not the best actor in living memory.

He’s only 60 too which we all know is the new 40. He could go on acting for another 20 years easily.

But he won’t. His agent released a statement saying he would be no longer be working as an actor and word on the street is he’s going to become a dressmaker. Given his penchant for the creative and the fact he once left acting in the late 1990’s to become a shoemaker, it isn’t that far-fetched.

He took it really seriously and worked as an apprentice to the Italian master cobbler Stefano Bemer, so who knows? With his talent he could be the next Giorgio Armani.

He’s infamous for immersing himself in his roles and his last role is in a movie called Phantom Thread set in the world of couture fashion in 1950’s Britain. Apparently he fell in love with fashion and plans to make it his next career. It worked for Vera Wang.

Before she became one of the world’s premier women’s designers, she was a figure skater, and then a journalist and she didn’t get into fashion until she was 40. Julia Child worked for the CIA and well as in advertising. She didn’t even write her first cookbook until she was 50, and then went to become one of the first celebrity chefs in 1961.

This bodes very well for the many people looking to take their careers in a different direction. Long gone are the days when you were stuck with the job you chose in your youth for life. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are currently more than 134,000 Aussies in their 40s studying. Statistics also show that the average Australian will change careers anywhere between five and seven times throughout their lifetime.

We are an ageing population and many people will want to work longer that’s a big issue for us as a society. But what about the younger generation? They have a whole different set of problems. A study from the not-for-profit group Foundation of Young Australians found that 44 per cent of jobs will be automated in the next ten years and 60 per cent of students are chasing careers that won’t exist in the future. Yikes.

I’ve changed jobs in my own career quite a bit – more by fortuitous opportunity than design, but the only advice I would offer is given you will spend a large amount of time at work so do something you enjoy with good people. We have all had that experience of working with people who seem to forget their boundaries, manners and in some cases, common sense. I once worked in a media outlet where Management had to send around a memo reminding all staff that due to work place health and safety reasons, shoes were required to be worn at work. Yes, truly. I’ve still got that email.

As my first boss Barry always used to say, “Nobody ever said on their deathbed ‘Gee I wish I’d spent more time at work.’ and while that may be true, it’s important to get a sense of satisfaction from your work, regardless of what stage of your career you’re in.

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Alexandria Bernard
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.

Alex's voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.