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Get inspired: David McMahon

When David McMahon decided to switch careers at 47, many thought he’d taken on more than he could handle. With a young family to support, he had to continue working while studying part time. Here’s how he managed what so many of us often think about.

My passion has always been to teach. But my father is an engineer, my brother is an engineer, so I became an engineer too. After graduating from university in Australia, I worked in Queensland for many years before my company sent me and my family to Dubai. But every morning on my way to work, I’d think to myself, ‘I’d much rather be on my way to the classroom’.

When did you decide to make the change?

Strangely enough, it was while I was travelling to oversee a construction project in Oman. I was flying from Dubai and just happened to start chatting to the guy next to me on the plane. He was a teacher. The ways his eyes lit up when he told me what it was like… I decided I had to make the change.

How did you make the time to pursue your goal?

I knew I couldn’t afford to stop work and retrain as a teacher. My wife didn’t have a job and my kids were in school. I also had financial commitments back home. So I decided to study part-time. Every morning for 3 years, I’d wake up early and while my mind was still fresh, I’d study. I stopped socializing on weekends and just buried myself in my books. My friends and family just couldn’t understand it. But I graduated and started my first teaching job 2 years ago. I’ve never looked back since.

What would your advice be to others?

Don’t stick with something you no longer enjoy. There’s always time to make a change for the better.

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