ON­WARDS AND UP­WARDS

Con­sid­er­ing a mid-life ca­reer change? Three Kiwi women who ditched dis­sat­is­fy­ing jobs to pur­sue their pas­sions tell us how it’s done — and what they’ve learned along the way

Fashion Quarterly - - Inside - CLAIRE ROB­BIE @clairer­ob­bie @jack and olive re treats @nobeer­swho­cares

The perks of chang­ing your ca­reer

Claire Rob­bie (37), was a news re­porter on TV3’s Night­line be­fore a tu­mul­tuous time liv­ing and work­ing in Los An­ge­les led her to dis­cover the life-chang­ing benefits of yoga and med­i­ta­tion. At a low point in her life, what started as a hobby be­came an in­te­gral part of Claire’s heal­ing process, and as her love for the prac­tice grew, so too did the sense that she had dis­cov­ered a new vo­ca­tion. Now based again in Auck­land, the yoga and med­i­ta­tion in­struc­tor is ded­i­cated to shar­ing her pas­sions, whether it’s in class or at a Jack & Olive well­ness re­treat, the side-busi­ness she founded in 2013.

Also the founder of mind­ful drink­ing move­ment No Beers? Who Cares!, the sin­gle mother is worlds away from her old LA life­style. But some habits die harder than oth­ers, and as she cir­cles back around to a TV re­port­ing role, Claire re­flects on the ca­reer 180 that’s just come the full 360, and what she’s learned about hav­ing it all.

How did you wind up in the me­dia in­dus­try — what about it ini­tially ap­pealed? Grow­ing up, I al­ways had an affin­ity for sto­ry­telling, a de­sire to be of service, and an over­whelm­ing need to be part of some­thing greater than my­self. I stud­ied po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at Auck­land Uni­ver­sity and had vi­sions of work­ing for the Red Cross or the UN or as a war correspondent. At the age of 21 I left New Zealand for Ja­pan where I got a job at an English ra­dio sta­tion and my ‘jour­nal­ism’ ca­reer was off. From there I moved to China and worked as a ra­dio re­porter be­fore re­turn­ing to NZ and a job on Night­line, which I ab­so­lutely loved. When did you re­alise the in­dus­try wasn’t for you? Ac­tu­ally, I was dragged from

Night­line kick­ing and scream­ing. My ex-hus­band got a job in Los An­ge­les so we moved there for him. I couldn’t get a work visa for a cou­ple of years so I started do­ing a lot of yoga to fill in my time and found that I loved so much about it. When we got our Green Cards and I could legally work again I got a job in mar­ket­ing and events at a beau­ti­ful bou­tique LA ho­tel, but it ended up be­ing one of the most high-stress and toxic jobs I’ve ever had. The Hol­ly­wood party life­style also started tak­ing its toll on me. What prompted your ca­reer change? At this time, I was go­ing through some pretty in­tense per­sonal stuff and re-eval­u­at­ing a lot. In the space of a cou­ple of months I left my hus­band, quit my job, gave up drink­ing, and started my yoga-teacher train­ing — a piv­otal mo­ment and a de­ci­sion I’m so pleased I made. Liv­ing in LA, I got to train with some of the world’s best teach­ers and pretty quickly yoga be­came my life. Tell us more about what you

do now. I teach yoga classes at Auck­land’s Stu­dio Red and run med­i­ta­tion cour­ses through­out the year, as well as re­treats in Bali, Mex­ico, and other amaz­ing places. Of course, you can’t teach what you don’t prac­tice, so I start ev­ery day with med­i­ta­tion, which is hands down the most trans­for­ma­tive life-tool I have ever been given. With­out it I wouldn’t have the where­withal or inner re­silience to do all the dif­fer­ent things that I do. This in­cludes No Beers? Who Cares! for which I put on events around Auck­land, and fun­nily enough, I have just started back in TV, re­port­ing part-time for Seven Sharp.

As a sin­gle mum, I also have to work around my num­ber-one pri­or­ity — my three-year-old son, Jack. But I have an ex­cep­tional mum who is ba­si­cally my wife and helps with EV­ERY­THING. I feel in­cred­i­bly blessed that I have the op­por­tu­nity to do all the things I love. What made you grav­i­tate to­wards your new pro­fes­sions? Hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced the ef­fects of both yoga and med­i­ta­tion on my own life, shar­ing them felt like the most nat­u­ral thing in the world. I also love talk­ing to peo­ple. The hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence fas­ci­nates me. How did your pre­vi­ous work pre­pare you for what

you do now? I’m grate­ful that com­mu­ni­ca­tion and lan­guage has al­ways been a big part of all the jobs I’ve had, as writ­ing is now one of my great­est skills and, be­ing self-em­ployed, I have to do a lot of it. Plus all my own pho­tog­ra­phy, graphic de­sign, ac­count­ing, for­ward plan­ning, mar­ket­ing, and so­cial me­dia, for which my un­der­stand­ing of the me­dia, PR, and mar­ket­ing in­dus­tries has put me in good stead. Hav­ing worked as an event plan­ner in Hol­ly­wood I also know how to roll out a high-qual­ity event, which is ex­actly what a Jack & Olive re­treat is. What gaps in your knowl­edge did

you have to fill? I’m a per­pet­ual stu­dent and my yoga-teacher train­ing is on­go­ing. How­ever, I also teach what I know, shar­ing what I ex­pe­ri­ence in my body and mind, and the things that have helped me with such uni­ver­sal con­di­tions as anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, as well as the stresses of mother­hood and life in gen­eral. What’s it like work­ing for your­self? It’s bet­ter than I ever could have imag­ined — once you ex­pe­ri­ence the free­dom of be­ing your own boss, it’s tricky to go back to other work. That be­ing said, it comes with a dif­fer­ent level of stress in the sense that you are your ev­ery­thing. If you or your child gets sick and you can’t work? No pay-cheque. Plus no Kiwi Saver or paid hol­i­days or ma­ter­nity leave… ba­si­cally you have to be okay with a cer­tain level of fi­nan­cial in­sta­bil­ity. But I got used to that and quickly re­alised that true sta­bil­ity doesn’t come from a reg­u­lar pay-cheque, it’s an in­side job. What are the big­gest

chal­lenges you face in your work? Keep­ing dis­ci­plined. When I was a jour­nal­ist we had daily dead­lines and I work re­ally well un­der that kind of pres­sure. I can be a mas­sive pro­cras­ti­na­tor so you have to set goals and be vig­i­lant with them which is much eas­ier said than done. What are the re­wards? Free­dom. The com­plete joy of be­ing the mo­tor in your own boat can’t be put into words. I love be­ing able to pri­ori­tise my health and well-be­ing, and that I get to spend more time with my son. How has the change of scenery in your pro­fes­sional life made way for per­sonal growth? I’m of­ten out of my com­fort zone and have got­ten used to that feel­ing — to the point where I now love the un­known. I’ve also com­pletely shifted my val­ues. Cer­tain things just aren’t as im­por­tant to me any­more. What’s your ad­vice to

any­one con­sid­er­ing a dras­tic ca­reer change? Life’s too short to spend fo­cused on ma­te­rial gain or ‘en­joy­ing’ a false sense of se­cu­rity in jobs or re­la­tion­ships or en­vi­ron­ments that aren’t re­ally you. Trust your­self and just think about what you might do if you knew life was rigged in your favour — be­cause it is!

Claire Rob­bie is so grate­ful that

she has yoga and med­i­ta­tion in her life that

she feels com­pelled to

help oth­ers dis­cover it too.

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