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Determined to go for the gavel: Why you should invest in your career

4 August 2015

By Jacinta Hocking

Bidding $550 to spend a day on the road with an auctioneer may seem an odd decision, particularly when fine dining and romantic getaways were up for grabs. 

But investing in one’s career by looking to those who have achieved great success is a concept not to be sniffed at. People spend thousands on conferences, yet too many consider work experience to be something for 16-year-olds.

I did it back then: one week was at Channel Ten News Sydney.

That turned into four years of work experience while I was finishing school and university, and it led to a full-time job at Ten.

My media career in the end spanned almost 20 fabulous years, mostly at Ten News.

In my later years in management, I found it frustrating when dealing with young student hopefuls who thought work experience was below them; a waste of their time. 

They were oblivious as to how it could lead to some of the most incredible experiences and was often the best way to learn and further their career. 

So when I decided to do a career change to real estate I decided that meant it was time to be the work experience kid all over again. Yes, I was no longer 16 – I was in my late thirties – but, again, I was looking for a foot in the door and to learn as much as I could from the best in the industry. I saw no better way to start. Sometimes I think those I tagged along with found it stranger than me.

Damien Cooley – one of Australia’s best auctioneers and best businessmen – became quite a mentor. It got to the point I joked he might want to take out an AVO because everywhere he went … there I was!

But he didn’t mind a bit. Damien, for all his success, is a man who believes in constantly learning and challenging himself. Whether that is continuing to build Cooley Auctions, or running marathons. Either way, he knows what it means to push yourself and to want to achieve.

That’s one of the reasons I was happy to put my hand in the air at the recent REINSW Novice Auctioneers’ Competition and let the gavel fall on my bid of $550 (for a great charity) to spend another “game day” on the circuit with the winning auctioneer from The Block. There’s always something new you can pick up and this time I also wanted to say thank-you.

Over a year of work experience has helped me become a working property auctioneer.

Luckily for me, not just Damien, but many of Australia’s finest auctioneers and agents have been so willing to help. For a competitive industry, it’s been humbling. Thank-you all.

I would argue that the day you get tired of learning from those around you, is the day to, well, call it a night. So it’s up to you to work out whether it was worth the money and perhaps it’s also worth looking at who is on work experience in your office.