Ageism and Fear in the Jobscape and why writing saved my life

Ageism and Fear in the Jobscapr Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything about writerly advice because I’ve been taking time to, well, write. But I thought I’d share how I created my own job, and the circumstances that led me to it. Maybe you can create your dream job too.

Having difficulty gaining employment once you reach a certain age isn’t a new story. I never really had to face this issue until I moved from the city to a small regional centre. This combined with the reality that my work experience and qualifications typically exceed that of the employers I’m interviewing with… and well, for whatever reason, I did not land a new position. But it is a little my fault because instead of applying for high stress, high responsibility vacancies, I choose to wind down and enjoy the coastal lifestyle – so targeting a less demanding position was key.

I was cited many reasons for the lack of success at the interview stage. I was too over-qualified, they were afraid I would get bored, or I was met with silent wide-eyed blinking when they perused my resume at job interviews. And typically, the jobs going to a more suitable applicant usually meant someone in their early 20’s with little education and experience. I know this because I followed up on every job I applied for out of professionalism and courtesy.

Stock Traders Conducting Interview

There is no sour grapes here. Just a little dumbfounded. I never had any complications gaining employment in metropolitan areas, but country regions have proven fruitless. It’s a smaller market and much less resources. And I hesitate to mention that there was on average 100-150 applicants for each vacancy.

I even went as far as explaining that I knew exactly what the positions I was applying for entailed. The kinds of positions that suited my lifestyle. I have a lot going on outside of a job (like writing, volunteering for marine conservation efforts, and exploring the area). And though I will dedicate 110% of my effort and commitment, when the day ends I like to leave work at the office, and enjoy my personal time with other endeavors. I’m not out to climb corporate ladders or build an empire. I want work satisfaction in a great environment and an income help me earn enough money for holidays, living, and retirement. I’ve already done the hard yards. I own my home and cars. My experience and qualifications should not be seen as intimidating or being over-qualified; but as a value add. An in-house all-rounder at your disposal whenever you need it.

So I was flummoxed to say the least.

My only alternative was an hour and a half commute to the city, to start my own business… or turn a passionate hobby into a new career. Determination and perseverance, and a little outside the box thinking has taken me to a place where I can breathe a sigh of relief. Otherwise it would have been selling up and moving back to the city (along with a substantial financial loss). But I have an emotional attachment to where I am currently located, so moving was a last resort.

I had already been writing in my free time. And when the idea to chase this pastime on a full-time basis struck, I thought – easy! I’ll just finish writing novels faster and send them out to publishers. Raking in the dough.

What a deluded creature I was.

Ageism and Fear in the Jobscapr Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Turning writing into a fulltime career meant diversifying the types of writing I was doing; and diversifying my skills.

Online marketing, website building, photography, and a foray into post-production of images, formatting, mastering algorithms, networking, professional development… and the list goes on! It turns out I’m not writing much more than I was when working full time, it’s just the remainder of my working week is taken up by all the bits and pieces involved in submitting and applying for work, and the industry as a whole.

So inadvertently, the jobscape in a small regional town has actually pushed me into creating my dream job through necessity. I don’t think I’ve ever had this amount of job satisfaction either. It’s interesting and diverse. I can pretty much choose my own hours, work remotely and travel if I wish.

Ageism and Fear in the Jobscapr Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

I will say it was challenging to get started. There is no roadmap for this kind of thing. It’s all about building a portfolio, making industry contacts, and bidding for jobs. There are so many niches within the corporate, marketing, and technical sectors as well. You really need to research and investigate where there is a need for your services. My dreams of putting my feet up with a coffee and churning out the next best YA hit of the season is still there, but I’ve padded it out with screenwriting, speech writing, technical writing, ghost writing, proof reading and editing, and providing content for customers maintaining a website or social media platform. Heck I’ve even had work published for local news outlets.

I think exploring these other modalities has enriched my interest and skills as a writer. I love it.

Casey Carlisle at work 02My success feels like a bit of a ‘up yours’ to those employers who labelled me as too old, or felt intimidated to employ because of my qualifications and experience. They failed to see the passionate person in front of them. But those judgements say nothing about me and everything about them… so I just adapt. Innovate. Overcome.

Write on fellow wordsmiths!

 

 

 

What obstacles have you had to overcome to realise your career as a writer? I’d love to hear your stories… even if you’re only just starting on the journey.

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© Casey Carlisle 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

No fun for this waterbaby ☹

The aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and water turbidity

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I love putting my Marine Biology degree to use and volunteering for colleagues in their research, and I had signed on for a number of data collecting expeditions in the first half of this year, but my excitement was dashed when Cyclone Debbie reared her head in March, kicking up sediment, increasing freshwater runoff.

Many of the species we were to observe or tag left the area and hadn’t returned with enough population to warrant a survey. Additionally, the turbidity and visibility of the water hampered the chosen sites and work was delayed or cancelled for the time being. So I was left with a big sad face.

I would have loved to get involved with a study on the silt deposits from run-off on the reef, or how nutrient run off increases certain organism population or algal blooms in the area; but no-one I knew was conducting a foray into these areas at the moment. No luck for this girl. I was tempted to conduct my own study just for the fun of it, but that kind of endeavour takes a little bit of money and extra volunteers. I can’t justify the time an effort spent to organise when I should be writing. That’s how I weigh up every activity at the moment: is it worth me taking time of writing or not? Only because I’m determined to finish some projects this year, no matter how strong the call of the sea!

I did get one small morning survey for starfish species. A bit of light snorkelling on a sunny day in a more remote area of the Sunshine Coast to compare to the more popular and trafficked areas. More to monitor the impact of tourism and industry on the local species.

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Though because it was only a short amount of time to get the job done, I didn’t have the opportunity to swim around photographing some of the sights for my blog. Though I did manage to get a selfie – the only good one out of ten. My photographer had a hard time keeping the camera still.

It has been the least scientific of all my adventures. And without incident of my clumsiness. Prone to slipping on rocks, falling down, tripping – or getting slapped in the face by a turtle. I endure all of this for my love of the ocean and its inhabitants. Looking forward to a few adventures nearer to Christmas. Turtle tagging, some research into plankton species which will mostly be conducted in a lab, a trawling sample, and maybe a coastline survey. Sadly no dugong studies this year.

I’m still wanting to do some more nosing around in the natural spring in my back yard and get a population survey of what is right under my nose. I hear the spring has been seeded with Barramundi!

But writing first.

Head Under Water by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Turtle tagging – take two

…with a girl named Michele who laughed so hard she was choking when a turtle slapped me across the face.

Turtle Tagging Take Two Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleI loved volunteering back when I lived in Townsville for Post Grad’s doing research, and I finally got my chance to do it again along the Sunshine Coast (with another girl named Michele) studying the migratory and feeding habits of sea turtle populations. She was also garnering information about how pollution is affecting their health. These trips not only feed the inner Marine Biologist in me, but also act as fodder for my imagination. The science fiction series I’m working on (LONERS) has one novel set on a water planet – lots of room to go wild with alien sea creatures! Not that there isn’t enough under our waves that doesn’t look alien enough 😉

The day started really early last weekend, I was up at 4am and met Michele at the dock for a 5am cast off. She had 10 beaches to visit. With the sun already reaching into the sky, it was warm – a sultry 25 degrees Celsius. Sea turtles usually nest between October and March each year with the peak of the season in Dec and Jan. So this is something I’m going to get to do a number of times in the coming months… I’ll update again on more turtle fun towards the end of Jan – hopefully with some pics this time – when I wrap up the entire experience.

My curse is alive and well. In typical form I ended up on my butt at least once on the trip. Slapped in the face by a sea turtle flipper when helping to attach a transmitter to a new subject. It left a bit of a mark, but luckily enough I can pass it off as sunburn. Michele, however thought it was the funniest thing she had seen and just about wretched over the side from laughter. Maybe I would have laughed too if my brain wasn’t still rattling.

We were also going to rendezvous with a couple of Flatbacks that also have satellite tracking devices – check their health and record data. Although we ended up only getting to 3 during the day, one of whom must have had a tangle with a shark sporting a scarred flipper.

I was happy to report that we didn’t come across any of our reptilian friends fouled with fishing line, netting or plastic pollution – although that is still a big problem. The sky remained clear the entire time, and the seas calm. Got to have a few short swims. But no time for playing about, even if the visibility was dive worthy!
For such a pale skinned ranga, I feel so at home on the ocean. My spleen for a permanent solution to sunburn!! I think I used an entire bottle of sunblock over the day and still ended up pink. Thankfully the next morning it had faded.

We got close to the HMAS Brisbane, a popular dive site in this area, reminding me that I should take a leisure dive and check it out some time. The pics I’ve seen of the site look amazing and supports a slew of marine life. Just think of all the marine flora and fauna! I was in geek girl heaven.

A large ray swam by and I had taken a few great shots… but technology ARGH! I was a little ticked off when I got home because my camera had some sort of glitch when I was recharging, and the footage I’d shot got deleted. At least I have memories J

The best bit was checking out some turtle clutch sizes. That means digging up some nests and counting eggs. I’m just about beside myself with excitement in hopes to be there when some hatch. Baby turtles are so cute!

Turtle Taggin take two Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

There are a lot of groups that love volunteers along the coast for tagging and recording data, so if this article sparks some sort of interest, do an internet search and you are bound to find something…

Catch you on the flip flop…

Head Under Water by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Travel Abroad…?

I’ve always wanted to travel… but how do you pick where to go when there are so many interesting places to visit?

Travel abroad Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

I WANT THEM! ALL THE PLACES!

That is pretty much what my head screams when I think about booking my next holiday. Truth be told – I’m not that much of a big traveller. Overseas that is. I’ve explored just about all of Australia, but my only overseas trip was on a cruise for my 40th birthday after finally been given the all-clear from the doctors and actually having enough funds for a holiday off the continent.

So now that I’ve broken the seal, taken my first trip, what is holding me back from doing it again?

Well, life I guess. Mum passing away. Selling my house and relocating. But that is all done with now, so the only thing I can think of is fear.

FEAR.

Travel abroad Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

When did I get so scared to take on the unknown. Okay, I’m not cowering in a corner in a pool of my own making, but am uncomfortable to leave the cushy place I’ve finally been able to create. So much of my life recently has been dealt with uncertainty. But I think losing Mum has put the fear of losing everything in me, and I’ve fallen into the security of the familiar and routine.

It’s time to put away childish things.

So next year it’s time to re-visit my Bucket List and look at another adventure over the great blue yonder. At this point in time it looks like Canada and Alsaska. Maybe some other place on the way back home after that. A cold climate may not sound appealing to some, but I live on the Sunshine Coast – its sunscreen and beach all day, all the time. Plus, I love layering clothes, snuggling up in front of the fire with a good book. So it’s settled.

My dream cruise would be to the Antarctic. Imaging floating past polar bears and penguins, catching glimpses of whales… the delicate hues of blue and white in cliffs of ice. I want to see that.

So 2016 is going to be the year I get back on track with my Bucket List and start stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’ve had my year of fear and loss and it’s time to live again!

What is on your Bucket List for 2016?

Travel abroad Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Bucket List by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Hello Old friend… I had a whale of a time!

Falling back into old habits – and what a way to jump back into the coast than with some whale watching.

Hello Old Friend Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleI took a quick day trip to do some whale watching yesterday. There are so many places along the coast here offering trips out to indulge in some good old cetacean-staring. It’s not until you get up and close that you appreciate just how enormous these mammals are.

It’s been over 18 months since I’ve indulged in a post around Marine Biology (my other love.) There wasn’t a lot of opportunity when I was living in Melbourne, and now on the Sunshine Coast, it’s on my door step. A Freshwater natural spring on my property and the coastline a 20 minute drive away… it’s about time!

Hello Old Friend Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI caught up with Philip, an old friend from my JCU days who has some contacts with diving and tour establishments locally, and did some light cajoling to get me on a cruise. It’s been over ten years since I’ve been on open water, and forgotten just how much I love it. I was also roped into some manual labour to get the vessel ship-shape before cast off – and cheeky Philip pulled me up to share some knowledge on Humpbacks and what other great marine animals were present in the area. Boy did I have to dig deep having been away from the coast for so long.

We were treated to some curious visitors and rewarded with a few breaches, mind you, you’re out on the water for half the day and the encounter (if you are lucky) may only last 15 minutes.

Hello Old Friend Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleWe also used a hydrophone to record some whalesong too, which Philip collects and sends to one of the Universities. Someone there is trying to decipher whale language. The whole day had me melancholy for my research days.

At least this time out I didn’t trip, or fall, or manage to clumsily do something to embarrass myself – I’m famous for landing on my backside at least once an excursion. The closest to a mishap was narrowly avoiding some spray from a motion sick passenger.

All in all a magical day!

I’m going see if I can do some volunteering with Dugong or sea turtle tagging later in the year; or maybe venture out on my own and do some diving if I can borrow or hire some equipment.

Head Under Water by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mountain Apocalypse

Novel-esque dystopian conditions make for interesting living on my mountain top.

 Mountain Apocalypse by Casey Carlisle

 

Some days I feel like my life mirrors the post-apocalyptic YA novels I enjoy reading. I was forced offline yet again from failing hardware. Finding a solution with my smart phone and an online order, thinking I was being clever ensuring a quick resolution, I ordered the parts needed and awaited for them to be delivered to my door. When in reality it added an extra month to my hiatus from the world wide web. It would have been so much quicker to suffer the forty minute drive to a regional centre and purchase the parts in person. Grrr!

 

That was my easiest obstacle to overcome these last few weeks…

 

We ran out of water.

 

Nothing to drink, no showering, I couldn’t even wash my dirty dishes. Learning all the life hacks up here is character building. Living on a remote range means I have to pump my water from a rain tank or from the natural spring…. It’s no longer as easy as turning on a tap and paying the bill at the end of the month. Just like my writing had resorted to the primitive: writing on paper with a pen, it was strangely exhilarating to overcome these obstacles.

 

The fact that the days up here are incredibly humid and temperatures average between 32-40 degrees Celsius – you get hot and thirsty! (Not to mention develop somewhat noticeable body odour) I was concerned about my three fur babies in the extreme heat – they are covered in tick luxurious hair and used to the cool Melbourne weather… for three days they did not stop panting. It called for plenty of douses in the shower with cold water (until it ran out) and trips in the air-conditioned car. I’d Maguyvered a tray to slip over the steering wheel to act as a desk, the blessedly chilly air from the vent and novel make-shift office, only spurred my imagination. I managed to scribble out the plot points for a sequel and finished writing a few chapters.

 

Next week a cooling unit is going to get installed into the Writer’s Cottage – thank heavens. But will the quiet everyday pace be less challenging and my writing suffer?

 

At night I’m battling toads, and all manner of biting insects – I have what is dubbed our ‘snake rake’ when venturing outside, a torch in the other hand following the dogs to relieve themselves while I stand guard. It’s pitch black out here… you really can’t see more than a few metres in the glow of the led light. But looking up – it’s breathtaking the amount of stars you can see filling the night sky. You only really see snakes in the daytime when it’s hot, and the trusty rake is used only as a deterrent for all the curious local wildlife. All the critters up here are BOLD. They aren’t used to predators or human habitation. Birds will practically eat from your hand. Reptilian and rat-things simply stare at you uninterested. And there I am, this crazy redhead, waving my rake and hands telling them to ‘shoo!’

Yeah right lady, this is our mountain.

Talk about a fish-out-of-water story!

 

You have to dress practically here – gone are my business attire and high heels – I’ve had to purchase “gardening outfits” that make me look like I’m about to venture off on a long hike. But I suffer the fashion crisis rather than get sunburnt, bitten, scratched, poked, or slip on my backside. I’ve already done all of those things, and value these new rumpled clothes and hardy footwear – if only there was something to stop me from walking though spider weds and swatting-waving for ten minutes afterwards in hopes the creator of the sticky structure in not still clinging to me somewhere.

 

I half expect to see Katniss break from the trees with her bow and arrow…

 

Really, I’ve only been living here four weeks and already sustained a hip injury, bitten by spiders, had a tree ant fall into my top and wreak havoc, bruised my legs so badly moving boxes and furniture I look like I fell down a ravine, poked myself in the eye with a stick (don’t ask) and turned beetroot red from overexposure (10 mins in my case) to the sun.

 

But for some reason, have written one of the highest word counts in a while… so there is a lot to say for unplugging and returning to nature.

 

Let’s just hope my situating does not escalate, although I’m prepared. Bring on zombie frogs and vampire wombats I say!

 

What difficult situations have inspired your writing?

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© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

When do you write? How do your write?

Where dou you write by Casey Carlisle

Hermit writers, coffee huggers, napkin scribes… we all have our own way of spanking our inner moppet.

I have colleagues that can write anywhere, but for me that only happens when I’m in ‘the zone,’ a sink hole could open up and suck down the entire block and I’d be none the wiser. Unfortunately those moments (of manic writing) aren’t so frequent.

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If I have my earphones and cell phone, while listening to whatever playlist I’m in the mood for, it enhances my ability to shut out the world and focus. The tram on the way to and from work was the best place for me to utilise some downtime. Sometimes in the park, library or a café. I think without music I’d lose the best tool I have in helping me to write. (Secretly – having the earbuds in helps block out the flatmate and his frequent nonsensical blurts, and other noises *cough-farting-cough*. He loves to think out loud and constantly pulls me from the narrative I’m creating.)

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Now it’s all about the nature fest!

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Comfortably set up in my new digs, offering frequent trips outside the study – or just the magnificent view – inspire me… a natural spring, view of the beach, discovering edibles on the property macadamia, avocado, orange, mango, brazilian grape (jubuticaba), paw paw, and lemon fill my nose with cool fresh scented mountain air, energizing me to work (and tempt me into adding more to the garden beds – who knows I could develop a green thumb and live self sufficiently? Here’s hoping 🙂

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My new soundtrack while at the computer consists of wildlife – ducks and ibis on the spring, kookaburras laugh every evening, colourful rosella parrots, frogs galore (tiny ones) and a multitude of insects… such a change from the city. There is less noise to block out and I’m finding focus easy.

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With the warmer weather, I’m more inclined to be found outdoors, scratching on a pad with an old fashioned pen. I’m a little wary at times because I spotted a snake yesterday, weaving past and up into a tree. I had visions of happily scribing away before a ninja tree snake descended from above. Bonsai!!

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The sky is so clear at night and I can see far more stars compared to the Melbourne skyline. I’d love to perch on the balcony and tap away at the laptop, but until I get a screened enclosure, I’ll have to skip it. The mosquitoes are like an itchy death squadron and I’m covered in ugly red bumps.

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So, for now, I keep to the study and coffee shops (and maybe poolside at my Aunty’s house) until I make a few changes. And who knows, the beach is fifteen minutes away and there are so many quaint places of interest close by. Next time I feel claustrophobic a short drive and a change of scenery…

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Where is the best place you find your muse? Do like to shut out the world or be in the thick of it?

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Do you always use a computer to write, or switch it up with an old fashioned typewriter or pen?

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© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.