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Why Dan turned his back on a high-paying job: ‘Totally worth it’

Aussies aren’t just looking for more money when it comes to the job hunt.

A composite image of Dan Bernasconi and Australian money to represent him changing work.
Dan Bernasconi worked as an electrician for 15 years before deciding on a career change. (Source: Provided / AAP)

Dan Bernasconi had been working as an electrician in the mining industry for 15 years but, despite the big pay packet, he knew he needed a change.

So, after speaking with family and friends, Dan made the decision to do a real estate course, but even that led him down another path.

“I decided to change careers but, by the time I got to the end of that course, I had a gut feeling. I wasn't really pumped about it. So, then that led me into mortgage broking,” Dan told Yahoo Finance.


Dan has now been working as a mortgage broker for around two years. He said, while the pay at this stage may not compete, there were other benefits to his new career.

“It was a massive pay decrease but, for the lifestyle, it was totally worth it in my opinion,” he said.

“I just got to a point where I was going to the same site every day, and seeing the same people. They were great people, but I just wanted to learn about something new.

“I had just been doing the job for so long that I felt like I didn’t have anything else to learn and I really wanted to have more autonomous freedom in my job.”

‘It can hurt when the bills hit’

While Dan said he wouldn’t change his decision, there were moments when he missed the larger pay packet.

“Obviously, on the financial side, when a big bill hits the mailbox it can be a little reminder. But it’s also a reminder to keep pursuing mortgage broking. So, it keeps me focused to get up to speed as soon as possible,” Dan said.

“Part of the reason I love this career is because I've got the potential to get back and earn good money. But that's up to me. If I put in the work, it will come back.”

Dan said, ultimately though, the decision he made was for the lifestyle.

“In the electrical trade in the early mornings, I was missing out on time with my daughter and partner,” he said.

“Now, I get to do things on my own time. I wake up naturally, go and have a coffee with my daughter, look at the ocean and then start the day on my terms, which I think is way better for my mental health.”

Taking the leap, but enjoying the ride

More than half of Aussie workers have put off searching for a job because they find the process too time-intensive, according to the latest research from SEEK.

But Dan said any Aussie who may be feeling stuck in their own career shouldn’t shy away from making a change.

“Do your research by utilising resources around you, create a plan and then don't expect the path to be clear from the beginning,” he said.

“I started out studying for real estate and I ended up in mortgage broking. You've got to be flexible and adapt along the way, and make the best decision at the time.

“And then just enjoy being a student and learning again. I got to the point that I was really enjoying learning again and now I’m so engaged.”

Aussies shying away from the job hunt

The SEEK research revealed 34 per cent of job seekers found assessing whether a job was right for them was the most intensive part of the job search, and only a quarter were excited about the job-search process.

“With work being an important part of life for many of us, Australians are eager to find a job that meets their career aspirations as well as their desired lifestyle and cultural fit. So, it’s understandable that getting started on the process can be daunting,” SEEK head of customer insights Aimee Hutton told Yahoo Finance.

“While there are parts of the job hunt process that are out of your control, there are tools and resources at your disposal to help you in finding your right fit without as much of the headache.”

Hutton said using the skills you already had, and searching for jobs that matched those skills could be a good place to start.

“You may be pleasantly surprised by what is suggested,” she said.

“And [use] a simple but powerful tool - filters. Take any jobs that won’t be a match out of the equation from the get-go by filtering by work type, location or salary to make sure you’re served up the most relevant opportunities for your lifestyle.”

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