Graeme Simsion started his career with a degree in physics. He progressed to a job in data modelling and went on to run a successful IT consultancy. But as his career matured, he developed a keen interest in short films, and the creative drive to write one grew.
As he started to write, he found that he enjoyed it so much that he enrolled in an Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting at RMIT. At 50 years old he decided he wanted to be a screenwriter.
Graeme’s not alone. A recent survey by SEEK found that continued learning is crucial for career success, with more than 52 per cent of Aussies continuing to upskill throughout their career.
This, coupled with the fact that jobs of today may not necessarily be around tomorrow, mean it’s important keep your skills relevant and your passions stoked.
American psychologist BF Skinner says that “when you run into something interesting, drop everything else and study it.” And with so many postgraduate study options available, it’s never been easier to follow his advice. No amount of money and prestige will cut it long term if you don’t have a real passion for what you end up doing for a career.
The combination of passion, persistence and talent paid off for Graeme, who ended up writing a screenplay, The Rosie Project.When it didn’t sell, decided to rewrite it as a novel.
After being passed up by several publishers, he entered it into – and won – the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Since then Graeme explains the book ‘took on a life of its own’ and has since been optioned to a major film company.
Graeme puts his success down to perseverance, hard work and the opportunities he got during his postgraduate course at RMIT.
“If you want to make it in a new career, you have to expect to put in the same sort of effort as you did to make it in your original career,” he says.
He’s also realistic about the changing nature of his career path and the need to be adaptable.
“The things I want to do have changed as I've gotten older. Right now, being able to write and reach an audience is foremost in my mind, but that may change.”
Graeme shows that it doesn’t matter what point you’re at in your life. If you have a dream and take the opportunity to explore your passions and develop your skills - you too could end up with your very own brilliant new career.