• Eugene McGarrell

Drive our own transition or be passive in the changing landscape? I opt for the former.


Last month I reflected on the day I walked into a hospital in Stafford to start my journey in the public sector as a nurse 40 years ago. The world in 1979 was a very different place. Jimmy Carter was POTUS, Margaret Thatcher won her first general election in the UK and Disco was the music genre topping the charts.


I was naïve and I have a sense the world was more naïve back then. I remember an innocence that was lost when communities were torn apart as coal mining was ripped from the hearts of towns and villages in the UK and when international terrorism began to take away the sense of freedom we took for-granted.


Change has come in may forms over those last 40 years. The internet, PC’s, mobile phones, sms, social media, crypto-currency and uber eats symbolise the extent of that change. What we accept today as the norm were not even in our dreams for the future back in 1979. Well at least not in my view of the future.


40 years working in the public sector at every level of health and social care in the UK and Australia has been a privilege. Change was slow and gradual but constant and permanent. So, what to expect for the next decade or 2?


As a “young baby boomer” (yes, it is a thing) I am excited about the future. I am excited about the possibility that the future of work, technology and the raised social consciousness of people in community can create. We have the resources and collective will to end poverty, to end hunger and to create an emerging inclusive world where all the people can reap the rewards of humankind’s efforts.


So, I was stuck in a choice, almost paralysed by the suit of options ahead of me. Continue working in the public sector, set up my consultancy, work as a contractor, trade cryptocurrency or retire with 40 years’ worth of public sector pension. What to do?

Then a good friend referred me to the Transition Hub. They were running a week’s foundation course and a place had opened, did I want to go. I thought about it, another course… did I really want to go on another course?


I researched the Transition Hub, cleared my diary and committed to complete the 5-day course. And after 5 stimulating and thought-provoking days I have clarity on my strengths, my values, my skills and the work I am going to engage in to help create opportunities for people to escape poverty.


The Transition Hub not only helped me refine my offering, but it also helped to reinforce my resolve and confidence to execute the legacy I want to leave behind.



We have all experienced significant changes in our lives. Change is often out of our control; some change we can influence but there is a significant part of that change that we can design and execute for ourselves. There is a responsibility we must accept when we are the author of that change and we must therefore own the failures and successes that emerge from that change. That scared me, now it inspires me.


And then there were the other people I met on the course. The other people that made me realise that I wasn’t the only one on this journey to design and create a future. The other people that made me realise that they too had challenges and self-doubts. The other people that saw the potential of each and everyone who had committed to making that first nervous step. 17 other people all with remarkable stories of their lives past, present and future. We are not alone in our journey, but we need to get connected.





The future of work means that we will have to continually reinvent ourselves. There are very few jobs for life anymore. Technology is emerging exponentially. Tomorrow is going to change at a more rapid pace than yesterday did. And those of us with tools and resilience to adapt to that change will rise to that challenge.


Know our strengths, get clear on our values, understand our skills, take on and develop new skills and jump into the future with inspiration and clarity. That’s what we can control, the rest will happen anyway.


About the author: I am an experienced health and social care executive. Passionate about eliminating the causes of poverty and creating opportunities for vulnerable people and communities to thrive. Fortunate enough to have contributed to successful social innovation projects in NSW.


@Louise Watts @Karen Thomas @Karen Wallace @Shannon Dolan @Alyson Standen, @Aimee Foster @Monique Dykstra @Sarah Fearnside


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