Alex is in his seventies, Australian born, has retired from his fulltime employment, and is currently doing some casual maintenance work. Alex left school after Grade 10 and was trained first in a mechanical apprenticeship and later an electrical one, but he could not secure employment in the latter due to the introduction of electronics. Alex has experienced a number of transitions across his adult life, being employed in various roles, including (i) a mechanic working in transport companies, and small boat engines and, after casual employment as a painter, (ii) a breakdown patrolman at RACQ for 30 years.

Anastacia is in her late thirties, originally from Israel, and is currently employed as a lecturer of online undergraduate programs. Anastacia has experienced a number of transitions of different kinds across her adult life. The most significant transitions include (i) a graduand role within Department of Housing, an all-rounder role across various departments, which was her first worthwhile work after one and a half years of searching, (ii) finance officer at a university, (iii) a project coordinator at a university, then (iv) becoming an online undergraduate lecturer in economics while she was completing her Master of Data Science.

Andrea is in her forties, Australian born, and is currently working as an academic tutor and student support officer. Andrea has experienced a number of work roles, including (i) service and bookshop worker, (ii) veterinarian, (iii) administration work, (iv) stock-taking, (v) medical educator/student welfare manager/ communications teacher, and (vi) academic tutor/student support officer. Across the last four phases of her working life, she has balanced between and giving priority to being a working parent whilst also a worker and her choice of paid employment and how she conducts and employment is premised upon being a mother. Hence there is an intertwining between her paid employment and parental roles. However, both are important to her. She refers to enjoying work when it exposes her to the ‘parade of life’. There is also much less of a linear progression than many of the male interviewees. That is, she has moved backward and forward through different kinds of work, taking forms of work that are paid less than previous ones because of her family needs and personal preferences. Also, she continued to work as a vet (transition #2) part-time whilst being a medical tutor (transition #5). A key feature of her transitions is the degree by which personal interest – sometimes on a whim (taking Spanish, becoming a vet) predominated – and also how contacts with others lead to opportunities.

Andy is in his early thirties, originally from Indonesia. He was trained as a schoolteacher in Indonesia but was not interested in being a schoolteacher. He applied to do another study in Australia and completed a Cert IV in Commercial Cookery and a Diploma of Hospitality Management.  Then got a job in a restaurant and has been working there for two years. He is now under a graduate visa which allows him to live and work in Australia for 18 months. He plans to apply for permanent residency when the graduate visa expires and conditions for PR application include one year of fulltime employment in the vocation he was trained and an international English (IELTS) of 8 out of 9. Due to COVID-19, finding fulltime employment in the hospitality industry has become a struggle for most. And gaining an 8 on the IETLTS test is challenging for most, even native speakers of English.

Ann is in her forties, Australian born, and is currently working in the higher education sector as a research and career consultant. Despite having high levels of formal education (including a PhD), Ann was struggling with securing a permanent role in her field. She has experienced a number of transitions, revolving around i) temporary administrative work, and ii) various contracted research and career consultancy work in higer education sector plus being an associate lecturer as some stage.  

Annita is in her fifties, Australian born, and is currently employed in a carer in the Disability Support Sector in addition to her own business providing personal care. Annita has experienced a number of transitions, revolving around (i) receptionist work in Australia, (ii) teaching (aerobics and stretch classes, ballet lessons, and arts and sports) in Saudi Arabia, and (iii) settling down with a viable career direction in the Disability Support Sector. Beau is in his sixties, originally from Britain, and is currently a university academic and researcher.


Beau has experienced a number of transitions before he is settled as an academic. These include: (i) being a fulltime employee then assistant head designer in garment industry in Britain, (ii) travelling the world and moving to Australia and continuing to work in garment manufacturing industry, (iii) becoming a TAFE teacher using his industry experience, (iv) becoming department head of a fashion section of a TAFE college (Head Teacher), (v) involved in teacher preparation program and professions development (TAFE teacher preparation and professional development unit), and (vi) involved in in policy development within the state government (head office).

Bob is an Aboriginal man in his early 60s from Far North Queensland. Most of Bob’s transitions across his early adult life what about mobility associated with his work as a boilermaker (welder). He has had to long-term occupations: i) boilermaker (16 years) and then as an operator in open coal mines (28 years). On becoming married and having children his goals became more about security and stability in employment, but this was disrupted by difficulties within family (i.e., divorce, childcare). All his work life transitions have been quite considered, including not to seek promotion and advancement, partly because of race. Bob is strong advocate for worker’s rights and he has been an active union member. He is also been quite intentional about education – completing senior education, upgrading qualifications and certifications, and participating in higher education as mature age adult.


Carson is in his late forties, Australian born, is currently working as a cook at a daycare centre. Starting his working life early at the age of 16, Carson’s employment involved mainly munal labour jobs including becoming a scaffolder in the construction industry for 7 years. He then moved to work and become a seafarer in the maritime sector for 15 years. As most shipping companies have been taken over by overseas companies thus no viable career opportunity in the sector, he slowly moced out of the sector, starting casual employment including shift work as a wharfie then becoming a cook at a daycare centre. 

Casey is in his early thrities, Australian born, and is currently working in ground operations in the aviation sector. Despite being a qualified pilot, he was struggling to secure a job as a pilot. Casey has involved in a number of casual employment during his flight training, including i) becoming a sales assistant for a plumbing supply centre, and ii) a ground handler the promoted to a turnaround coordinator and supervising departure of the aircraft at the international airport (night shifts). After completing his flight training and looking for a job as a pilot for six months without success, Casey has come to work in ground operations as a flight dispatcher. Starting with the role on a part-time basis then he was able to secure a fulltime position and moved up through various rankings in the system and now a team leader.