Kylie is in her fifties, Australian born, and is currently working in the tourism industry. There is a mix of continuity and discontinuity of her personal trajectories. Kylie’s major transitions are associated with communication and public relations. She has experienced a number of transitions, including becoming i) a maths and science teacher with Department of Education, ii) a PR officer/specialist, iii) state director for the tournament of minds (for gifted and talented children), iv) involved in different (electronic media-related) roles within the Department of Environment and Heritage, Queensland Government, v) involved in a communication role in the department of primary industries, working in animal agriculture – communications manager in animal production, mostly on animal education for farmers, then vi) a manager of visitor experience in Queensland national parks in the Department of Environment and Science.


Linda is in her sixties, Australian born, and is currently managing her hairdressing business. She has been in the business for more than 41 years. Recently, she got a casual nursing role at a breast clinic; however, due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, her employment with this role has been suspended. Overall, Linda has experienced a number of transitions across her worklife, including (i) becoming a hairdresser and having been in the business for more than 41 years, (ii) looking after family members and friends with health issues while working in the hairdressing business, and (iii) completing enrolled nursing and being employed on a casual basis at a breast clinic while working in the hairdressing business.


Marcel is in his thirties, originally from Syria, is currently employed in the community service sector as a community health consultant. Before he could graduate from a degree in medicine in Syria, he had to flee the country. Arriving in Australia, Marcel enrolled in a degree in health majoring in paramedics and have actively involved in community health care.

Marcy is in her fifties, born in Brisbane, but of Greek origin, and is currently employed as a community health worker in a Greek nursing home. Across her working life, Marcy took up opportunities that were available to keep working and learning, giving herself time to find where she ‘belonged’. She knew at a very early stage in life that she wanted to work with people and give back to the community. Thus she has experienced a number of transitions, including (i) leaving school and became a receptionist in a small hotel, (ii) becoming stay-at-home mother and working part-time at the shopping center food court, and (iii) becoming a community health worker in a Greek nursing home.

Maree is an Aboriginal woman from Queensland and is in her early 60s. Most of Maree’s transitions across her working life was associated with skills and experiences gained during her work in the public sectors (8/9 year), moving across different departments including health, DIER, DEET, and state library. On becoming married and having children, plus her husband’s work involved travelling and moving places, she moved out from paid employment in the public sector to start her own community consultancy work for the past 20 years. She conceptualised her working life around ‘compromising situations’, i.e., code switching as a self-preservation survival strategy. She was quite self-directed in her learning and engaged in formal educational provisions such as a degree in human resources management without progressing to completion due to family commitments. 

Mark is in his late forties, Australian born. Mark has a very specific work profile – mainly low skill and contingent kind of work – which, in the past manifested itself for him, rather than requiring him to actively pursue a particular occupational direction. He seems to be quite well spoken, thoughtful, but not particularly driven towards or by a specific occupational focus. By most accounts, he would be classified as being in a perilous situation, with a long working history, but in quite specific low skill tasks that do not, of themselves, provide a strong platform for his ongoing employment or translation across to well-paid work in what will be an increasingly competitive job-seeking environment. Mark has experienced a couple of transitions including i) casual employment for many years in customer service and retail (e.g., a local hardware store, library assistant) and ii) fulltime employment at a local service station for 20 years until the station was closed due to COVID-19.

Matt is in his seventies, Australian born, and has retired from his fulltime employment. Matt has experienced a number of transitions across his adult life mainly in the insurance industry. He finished grade 10 and went to work in the public service for 6 months. He then worked for Suncorp Insurance and its predecessors for 25 years, where his transitions were mainly internal, into different departments, and also involved the introduction of technology and new insurance policies to meet particular events, such as floods. Instead of a possible redundancy at Suncorp, his last transition was to Queensland Government Insurance Offices (QGIO) where he worked on third party insurance for 10 years before retirement. 

Max is in his thirties, Australian born, and is currently doing fulltime cinema work. Upon graduation a dual degree in Arts and Criminology and International Relations, there was a change in government division that all all foreign affairs and trades came under DFAT so all graduate positions no longer existed. Thus, there were far less opportunities in the field. Under such circumstance, Max took the offer of general manager role at the cinema where he had fulltime cinema work during his university study.

Migay is an Aboriginal woman in her mid 50s from the Wollongong region in New South Wales. Most of Migay’s transitions across her early adult life involves temporary and short-term employment. Despite having a dual apprenticeship, she was not employed in her trade but other roles supporting the Aboriginal community. Perhaps her first significant job commenced with the role of a Sports Development Officer with the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) for around 3 years. This employment allowed her to connect with every Aboriginal community along the South Coast. Then her long-term occupation (14 years) was with TAFE, teaching Aboriginal studies and connecting community to TAFE, and developing programs around cultural practices. Slowly and firmly winning her way out of TAFE, she set up her own business, running a language program, providing hands-on Aboriginal cultural experiences for school students. As being constantly encouraged and supported by mentors within the community and workplaces, she became quite intentional about education – completing senior education and participating in higher education as mature age adult. Strong advocate for her community and committed to giving back to community through the teaching of cultural knowledges to young generations.