Not that long ago, the average career path looked much the same for most – choose your course, do the study, graduate, get a job, climb the ladder, pay your mortgage off, retire. Not anymore. No longer can you expect a job for life, or to be married to the same industry for the lifetime.
Digital transformation has not only dramatically changed industries and disrupted traditional careers, but has also created opportunities for the brave ones to reinvent themselves through following their passions and ditching unmotivating jobs.
It is truly inspirational to watch those who embrace the wide world of opportunities and career reinvention, breaking through and creating something that has not existed before through passion, guts and hard work.
Kate Reid is certainly one of those remarkable people who put everything on the line, making a U-turn on her career highway.
KATE THE ENGINEER
Kate’s career reads like every engineer’s dream.
‘Ever since I was a little girl, I loved watching the stars and the moon. I read everything about astronauts, and Yuri Gagarin was my hero,’ says Kate. ‘ All I ever wanted to do was aerodynamics engineering and work for F1.’
With a degree in Aerospace Engineering, Kate spent eight years working for companies such as Volkswagen in Germany, Formula One in the UK and Ford in Australia. From the outside, landing such jobs was something everyone would want to get into.
‘The reality of the sterile anti-social corporate engineering environment came as a complete shock,’ says Kate.
‘I had all these dreams, passions, and I studied so hard to get there. When I finally did, I was stuck in front of a computer day-in day-out, and I quickly realized that if I stay this would be my life at work. I felt so miserable, completely out of place, as if I was playing a dress up wearing my mum’s dress and doing her job. I wanted to be somewhere where I felt I owned my job.‘
Making a life changing decision is extremely stressful and takes a toll on everyone. Kate was not the exception. ‘I was so depressed being stuck in my career that I got physically ill for a long time, ‘ says Kate. ‘I felt guilty, scared, vulnerable. I quit, but then I felt like a failure, so I forced myself to try again, but nothing worked. I just couldn’t see myself doing that for the rest of my life. The problem was I had no idea how to change it.’
‘Every day I would take a short break escaping from the dull office grind into the next door cafe where I would watch the hustle of the crowd around, with the coffee aroma and smell of fresh pastry. I have always loved baking, especially pastry, yet I somehow couldn’t dare to even consider baking as a career choice after all the time and money invested in my engineering career. Yet sitting in that cafe made me feel happy.’
‘I knew I would rather serve coffees than go back to the office.’
THE WORLD IS HER … CROISSANT!
As it turns out, a croissant is the best medicine for depression. Among so many delicacies gifted to all of us by the French cuisine, le croissant or the crescent, holds a special place. Little known is the fact that global popularity of croissants occurred largely as a result of American fast food chains taking over the world. French got so deeply offended by the look and the taste of hot dogs and hamburgers, that they counteracted by launching the first Croissanterie chain.
The defining moment that triggered the whole chain of events in Kate’s life was when, during one of her coffee breaks, flipping through the pages of some magazine Kate saw a picture of an incredible cake from the French boulangerie Du Pain et Des Idèes.
‘When I saw that amazing place and the pastry they made, I knew I wanted to go to Paris,’ says Kate. ‘I went to the travel agent next door and 5 minutes later I had flights booked’.
A few weeks later Kate the Engineer walked into Du Pain et Des Idèes. Several months later Kate the Croissant Artisan Baker returned to Australia to open the new chapter.
From France, via America to … Australia! Yes, it is not a misprint. According to The New York Times, the world’s best croissant is made in Melbourne in Lune Croissanterie! Voila!
Lune started as a humble hole-in-the-wall Elwood bakery for all things flaky and buttery. It quickly developed a notoriety as aficionados started queuing up for daily dose of their croissant from 6 am on Fridays. By 11 am it would be all gone and tens of unsuccessful would-be-patrons were seen aimlessly wandering around desperately looking for crumbs.
Kate and Cam, her brother, best friend and business partner, realized that the world could be their … hm – croissant? – and moved to the larger premises in Fitzroy. What has not changed, though, is the sumptuous taste and air-light texture of their now world-famous croissant. According to Kate, one of the most important reasons for her success and for the wonderful taste of her croissants is that she, for the first time, loves what she does and enjoys every minute she spends in Lune!