During a tour of UWA Ocean’s Institute building (in construction) – my current relocation project – one of the future occupants of the building asked me “how do you become a relocation officer”? I’d never been asked that before. There wasn’t any plan, I sort of fell into the role – and I am finding this happens to many people who find their career niche. During a year in Melbourne (I finally took a gap year!) – I wrote, directed and produced a documentary, “Ageless Warriors” about the 1981 Australian Cricket Team, and after about 6 months of not working it became fairly obvious I needed some pin (actually rent) money, so I took on a couple of jobs. One was in a lingerie shop where my sit-com “Storm in a Double D Cup” was born – and the other was as PA to a fairly large organisation in Elizabeth Street.
The organisation was relocating to another building a few blocks away and I assisted the Office Manager on this project. My daughter (residing in Perth) then announced her engagement – so I headed back to Perth to be mother of the bride to be. As my most recent role had been as a PA – I took on another role as PA to the CEO of one of the larger superannuation companies in Perth. They were moving from one side of the building to another – and I helped in that process as well.
In 2009 when the “Relocation Officer” role came up at the UWA Business School – my husband to be (that’s another story) – suggested I apply. And I am so glad I did. History reveals that their preferred candidate refused the offered role, I was second on the list and got the job! Reporting to the General Manager and liaising with project managers, staff, students, builders, architects, facilities managers, relocation companies and more – I was in my element. With a basement, ground floor and first and second floors it was an ideal project to really get my teeth into.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool in Perth, and when the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research relocation role was mooted, my name was put forward as a direct result of my UWA Business school experience. Ten storeys is a little different to 3 storeys, and I hadn’t relocated laboratories before. This role was the busiest one I’ve ever undertaken, except maybe being a mum to a new born baby! On a personal note, it was also very exciting to see first-hand the wonderful work that the staff at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research carry out – as my son is currently working at a German University in medical research.
While each relocation role has many similarities – they also have individual complexities and challenges. My last three relocation roles have been in education and research – so I’ve also been pretty lucky to have the wonderful old buildings at UWA as a back drop.