Formerly the ANU Legal Workshop

If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters

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Part of our resilience is to not only focus on our goals, but also have contingency plans.  Just like our heroes in zombie movies, who have numerous plans up their sleeves to survive the apocalypse.

Last year I had the privilege to move the admission of a couple of our GDLP grads at the Victorian Supreme Court. As I'm Melbourne-based (the wonders of online teaching) I always feel very proud watching that special moment when they make their oath or affirmation in front of the Supreme Court bench amongst beaming and relieved family and friends.

I had previously met one of the grads at our Becoming a Practitioner course, where he sought my advice on the best way to break into commercial and corporate law. At the admission ceremony I asked him how he was progressing with his goal to be a commercial lawyer. He sheepishly smiled and admitted that after some commercial litigation placements, he just didn't like it at all. Thankfully he's now content with his job in compliance management, and I congratulated him on at least giving commercial practice a try, and assured him it's an area that will likely come in handy in the compliance industry.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I assure my students that every experience has something positive in it, whether it's working hard searching and applying for jobs or getting that job interview. We learn something new from job rejections for instance (as much as they hurt), so we can improve next time. Part of our resilience is to not only focus on our goals, but also have contingency plans. Just like our heroes in zombie movies, who have numerous plans up their sleeves to survive the apocalypse.

You're probably wondering, what on earth do zombies have to do with being a lawyer? Okay, hold the jokes please, and bear with me for a moment of your valuable time. I previously wrote in a law blog about Olga Karlatos, who at the age of 65 became the oldest person to be called to the Bermuda Bar - a more than admirable feat. In Olga's later stage in life she decided, after encouragement from her husband, to enrol at the University of Kent Law School, where she was the oldest student in her class. After much dedication, perseverance and resilience, she graduated and returned to Bermuda to practise as a barrister.

But Barry, what about the zombies? Oh yes, the zombies. Well it turns out Olga Karlatos had a burgeoning career as an actress several decades ago before she studied law, and one of her most famous roles in my humble opinion was in the unforgettable 1979 movie Zombi 2 (for those Zombie aficionados, the movie is also known as Zombie). I remember being terrified out of my cinema seat watching Zombi 2 at the ANU film club back in 90s, distinctly recalling Olga confronting a determined and manic zombie (is there any other type?). At the time I did fleetingly wonder, did Olga Karlatos continue her acting career post-Zombi 2? Well, now we know, Olga many years later became a barrister, and congratulations to her for this high and magnificent achievement.

Olga's words of wisdom on her changing career path is inspirational to everyone young and older..."You can't turn back the clock but you can wind it up again."

And we can be confident that whatever obstacles we face in our career path whether it be job disruptions, life-changing priorities, or even zombies, to quote Claire Cook from her book Seven Year Switch, “if plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.”

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Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  Director, GDLP/Page Contact:  Program Coordinator, GDLP