From
Tallangatta, Victoria
Age
20
Work
Product and sales specialist, Automotive Industry
Aspirations
Graphic Design, Animation

Tom’s Journey

Being a Rural Youth Ambassador

My brother was a Rural Youth Ambassador two years before me so that’s how I got involved in Rural Inspire. The program helped to broaden my ideas of what people can do. Seeing that other rural people are doing loads of different things was great. That was a big benefit of the program. It helped me consider new or different pathways that I hadn’t thought of. 

Deciding to leave uni

I did start studying last year. I was doing electrical engineering at RMIT, then covid hit and I got sent home. Studying remotely wasn’t working for me so I left the course after six months, and life kind of came to a standstill after that. I was locked down in Melbourne. 

I started working a bit. I got a casual job for the liberal party, phone campaigning and things like that. I moved around a lot, I lived on campus for the first six months, then I moved home, then I moved back to Melbourne with my brother, then I moved into a sharehouse, then I started working on the other side of the city so moved into another sharehouse. 

I’m not great at studying at the best of times. So when 2020 threw everything into the air, it got worse. I wasn’t in a good place so I realised I needed to get out of the study for a time and find a different way to move forward. 

It was a tough decision about whether or not to break from uni. I ended up putting myself and my long term mental health above just trudging through a course that was taxing and that I wasn’t enjoying. It was making me feel low because I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted to or could do. 

Landing fulltime work

Right now I’m working full time at an office job. I’m a product and sales specialist. So I’m a product manager and a salesman, selling automotive equipment to mechanics like car hoists and tyre changers.  

I got this job by just applying. There were no connections or anything like that. I saw the job, I applied and I must have interviewed well. I also had a full resume with plenty of experiences on it which would have helped. 

I hadn’t really been into cars and accessories before this. I don’t have any qualifications in business or anything like that, but I saw the job and thought this would be a good way to overcome that issue. 

Day to day my job is a lot of office work. I manage products and inventory, I manage supplier relations. So I’m the go-between person for the CEO, the board, our operations and our suppliers overseas. I deal a lot with supplies in Korea, the US, Spain and others. I focus on ordering stock, sending out orders. A lot of operational stuff. 

Working full time was a shock to the system. I had never worked full time before and I was really thrown in the deep end with this job. It worked out ok. I just had to persevere, ask for help when I needed it and make sure I was supported, not just at work, but by my friends and family. They were a big part of helping me get used to the change.

Plans for the future

I definitely want to keep doing stuff like this for a bit.

Study might be on the cards again, once I work out what I want to do. I might go back to engineering or I might consider something that I’m more passionate about and enjoy a bit more. Something like graphic design or animation.

For me it’s all worked out and I feel good about the decision I made. I’m happy not having that qualification now, but being in a better place than I would have been if I stayed. I would have ended up miserable saying oh well, I’ve got an advanced diploma

My advice is to go for any opportunity that arises no matter how little chance there is you might get it. I shouldn’t have gotten this job, I think there would have been a million other people more qualified than me. But I went for it, I backed myself and while it’s not always going to work, it definitely won’t if you don’t try. 

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