After a 30-year career as a teacher and manager, 54-year-old Linda Day yearned for something completely different—something out of the office and into the great outdoors.
Once completing a Certificate III in Horticulture at TAFE, and earning a place as a finalist in the Victorian Training Awards, Linda set about realising her dream.
‘Since then, my business, Linda Day Garden Maintenance and Design, has grown like topsy,’ says Linda.
‘It all began when I found myself on the other side of the desk learning from some fabulous and inspirational teachers at Melbourne Polytechnic.
I’d been in and out of unis many times but this was my first experience of TAFE, and I found it an incredibly rich experience.’
Linda was a stand-out student, earning the encouragement of her teachers to enter for the Victorian Training Awards’ Vocational Student of the Year award.
‘Although I didn’t win, being a finalist was a very positive and rewarding experience,’ says Linda.
‘I learnt a lot, it was a great confidence booster and I got to mix with people who excelled in their fields.’
Now Linda is excelling in her own field—her business has grown to the point where she has a long list of loyal customers and new customers beating a path to her door thanks to word of mouth recommendations.
She is also giving back to the industry as an energetic member on the Encouraging Women in Horticulture Australia organisation.
‘The lovely thing about gardening is that it’s an optimistic line of work—working with nature, you get the opportunity to watch things grow and flourish,’ says Linda.
While many people say I was very brave to make such a radical career change, I didn’t really see it that way and I’ve never regretted it.
I was 54, I longed to do something more physically active and I liked the idea of working with people who loved their gardens while doing my own small bit to combat global warming,’
Her advice to others who might feel stuck doing something that isn’t “them” is to take the plunge and follow their gut feeling.
‘Life is full of opportunities—new doors open and all sorts of unexpected things happen, so follow your interests and take a chance,’ she says.
‘It would be sad to look back and say, ‘I wish I’d done that’.