It all began on a Date Night last year, when Liz said to me:
“You’ve sold over a million copies of your book … what’s next?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about that”, I said. “And I think I’d like to go to … TAFE.”
Liz stared at me blankly.
“I’d like to study for a Diploma of (not-for-profit) Financial Counselling”, I continued.
“So”, she replied warily, “this will be a correspondence course you’ll do at night … after the kids are in bed, right?”
“Well … not exactly. I’m thinking I’ll head back to class … just like my old uni days.”
At this point, Liz began chewing her food very slowly, and raised her eyebrows.
“But you’re a married man, with a full-time business, and three children under the age of six!” she protested.
“Precisely!” I said.
So this year I’ve been one of those super-annoying mature-age students.
It’s been a lot of fun … I’ve sent selfies to my staff as I enjoyed a lazy beer on the lawn on a Thursday arvo while they worked (losers!) … but I’ve also learned a hell of a lot.
I have the finance part covered, obviously.
Yet learning the art of counselling people who are, in many cases, suffering severe stress and trauma — they may have fled a family violence situation, lost their home, or fallen gravely ill — is both challenging and rewarding.
Helping people who can never repay you is a real honour.
And now, a year on, I can happily say that I made it through my lectures (both in class and when I arrived home late … where my new-found counselling skills have come in handy).
There’s just one thing left for me to do before I graduate. The course has a practical component that I’m still completing: I’m required to spend 220 hours volunteering in the trenches … more on that next week.
Tread Your Own Path!