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Turning redundancy around

WHILE the word ‘redundancy’ doesn’t have the most positive of implications, in some cases it can prove to be a catalyst to achieving the dream job.

David Midolo accepted a redundancy package from Telstra in 1999 and tried his luck in the job market.

He is now working as a programmer at small IT firm Aglogic and, while he is earning less money than at Telstra and has fallen several notches down the managerial ladder, Mr Midolo is finally in a position he has long desired.

“I was always interested in computers. I remember seeing this huge computer in the 70s and wanted to be able to control it. Ever since then I’ve wanted to be in control,” he said.

“I was an engineer with Telstra and was working to implement systems and procedures that would help procure engineering material to projects.

“I was mostly managing people ... I was on the other side of the developing fence.”

When Telstra decided to demerge its Network Design and Construction division, the section that Mr Midolo had worked with for more than a decade, redundancy packages were offered.

Just about to turn 40, Mr Midolo accepted the package and decided to learn a new trade, but not before spending time with his young family.

‘I met a lot of my goals at Telstra. I took my old Tarago and caravan around Australia for 18 months,” he said.

“It was fantastic for me to get to know the children.”

And even though a friend in the technology business warned him against starting a new career so late in his working life, Mr Midolo began a training course with Spherion Education Group.

“I went to see a friend of mine who also left Telstra and he thought I could get a career in consulting,” he said.

“I wanted to do programming and he thought, as many did, that it wasn’t a good idea. He took younger people in straight out of uni.”

Mr Midolo said he was aware of the risks associated with starting a new career after turning 40, so chose a training course that offered job placement.

“There was something about being 40 and radically changing your career,” he said.

“I’m not a very good networker and Spherion offered a job placement. It’s not a one-sided thing, in the end I’m in this job because of a contact they got for me.”

Also attracting him to the course was the employment training techniques on offer, including interview techniques, instruction on writing resumes and learning group work.

Mr Midolo has been at Aglogic just more than three months and, while he is still learning to master his new-found career, finds it a rewarding process.

“There are some things I know and some things I don’t know. I think most people enjoy a challenge and enjoy new things and being able to perfect them,” he said.

“I’m responsible for something with my name on it and I have a product that is out there.

“It feels good to have products out there with bits of me in them.”

Mr Midolo is not alone in making the decision to start a new career path late in life.

Spherion Education Group Placement manager Rachael Galloway said half of the company’s graduates were of mature age and had left successful careers in management, accounting, geology and trades to enter the IT workforce.

Beilby psychological services and outplacement consultant Samantha Couch said individuals who had access to outplacement services had a greater chance of obtaining employment in their preferred field.

“A lot of people say ‘I want to do this’ but they don’t know how to go about doing it and where to find work in that industry,” she said.

“It would be a good idea to consult with someone who has knowledge of the recruitment industry but can identify their skills that can be used in a different career.”

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