When I first started blogging I didn’t know of many inspiring women over 50 who also had blogs.
A few years into writing Lifestyle Fifty I realised there was a blogger who lived not just in my State, but in my home town, who was around my age, and writing a thoughtful, insightful blog about midlife.
Then I met her in real life – and she is lovely.
Meet super talented, Leanne Le Cras from Cresting the Hill who shares her story with us today.
Inspiring Women Over 50 – Meet Leanne Le Cras
COMING LATE TO THE SECRETARIAL PARTY
A lot of Midlife women started their careers as secretaries, then they got bored and moved on to new endeavours. I seem to have done things backwards when it comes to my career choices.
I finished high school with a Yr 12 result that put me in the top 5% of students in our State – but I was “blessed” with parents who thought further education was wasted on girls “because they just get married and have babies”. So, thoughts of university dimmed slowly and I wondered what I’d do with my life.
Somewhere along the line in the month or so after I finished school, I came across a course being offered in a relatively new field – Dental Therapy (or Dental Hygiene for those who haven’t heard of it) and the benefit was that they paid a small stipend over the two years of training. Enough to pay board to my parents and to put petrol in my little Daihatsu 3 cylinder buzz box car.
From there I did my two years of country service, met my husband, moved back to the city, had our two children and kept working part-time to supplement my husband’s fluctuating salary. We decided to move to the country, and after eleven years of drilling, filling, and scaling and cleaning teeth, my neck was pretty well wrecked (from peering in mouths all day) and AIDS and Hepatitis C were becoming more of a concern – it felt like it was time to look at something different.
Fortunately, my husband had been keen to embrace the new technology of computers and I got to play around with his word processor (remember those) and by picking up those skills, it was the beginning of a new career path. I found a job being a Personal Assistant for a couple of years and then a government Call Centre opened in our town and I jumped into a whole new world of cubicles, phones, teams, performance appraisals and customer service. Eight years zoomed by and I realized I’d had enough of sitting in a “cell” answering calls all day and I headed off again.
The next step was a return to my dental roots (a little bit of a word play there!) but staying out of mouths – I took on the role of office manager for an Orthodontist.
The next eight years of my life were spent booking appointments, taking copious amounts of money off patients (braces are expensive), typing, and generally keeping things rolling along until the day I realized that being under-appreciated and under-paid was not working for me anymore, and I bit the bullet and pulled the pin.
As far as I could see, I was 52 and that was the end of my working life – after all, who’d employ a 50+ year old woman with all those young 20-something girls waiting in the wings?
Well, it turns out that Midlife women are still in high demand and I had a new job within 4 weeks of walking out the door. And that’s when I became a secretary – well a Medical Secretary to be exact. I found the perfect part-time job and thought I was settled. 12 months later I was poached by another surgeon who offered me even better working hours and pay and now I’m his Medical Secretary.
I’m happily working two days a week in a job that doesn’t overly tax my brain – but is full of variety, lots of people to help, and a lovely office to work in. I walk out the door at the end of the day and the rest of the week is all mine – I’m free to volunteer, blog, read, walk, coffee with friends, go to the movies, enjoy my husband’s company (he works from home), and generally have a great life. I may have come to the party late when it comes to being a secretary – but better late than never!
For more stories in this series about inspiring women over 50 and their stories on Lifestyle Fifty you might like …
- Once I was a Secretary
- Women Over 50 tell their stories – Kathy Marris,
- Once I was a Bookkeeper – Jan Robinson
Hi Leanne, I enjoyed reading about your journey. When I was younger, I worked as a temp secretary for years. The thought of a permanent job or a mortgage seemed loathsome to me. All I wanted to do was travel. So I would temp until I had enough money for a trip, travel, then come back home to temp some more. It worked great for years. Now I work as a nonprofit executive (complete with mortgage!). There are days I really miss working as a secretary. I could leave my work at the office at the end of the day. I hope you continue to enjoy your work!
Jo – thanks for sharing Leanne’s story!
Hi Kristin, thanks for popping by and for sharing your story. Ahh, I too remember my temping days with fondness. I loved the variety and I loved the freedom just like you.
What an awesome story and a great career path! I never actually thought about the toll that all that peering into people’s mouths would have on your neck. Good on you for changing career paths and going into things that kept you interested!
Thanks, Leanne, for sharing your interesting story and the newspaper photo of you. I enjoyed learning more about you. Thanks, Johanna, for featuring Leanne here. #lifethisweek
Thanks Natalie 🙂
I love this – I’ve had a very non standard career/combination of jobs and what matters the most is a happy, safe and appreciated workplace that supports your life!
Agree with that Vanessa 🙂
Great to read more of Leanne’s story here on the blog Jo. As someone who is almost 69 I am astounded that parents of younger women than I were not encouraging their daughters to have a full education and a career of their own. I am glad my father was my influencer there and that I had a full career in education.
So good to know though how much Leanne did put into the career she chose and now in her semi retirement years has found work that suits her needs.
Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek. Optional prompt next week is “I Remember”.
Hi Denise, I know it’s so lovely hearing about other people’s lives. I love a good memoir too, do you? Gosh, the whole education thing – you were lucky. I was one of those who was expected ‘just to get married.’
Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle
Thanks Jo for featuring Leanne. I have learned so much and found encouragement from reading Leanne’s blog posts. You both being in the same area of WA is amazing. Overviews of life stories are so interesting, thanks for sharing them.
Blogger’s Pit Stop
Hi Kathleen, I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed reading Leanne’s posts. Yes isn’t it amazing that we found each other in our own corner of the world after being online!
It’s such a great story, Leanne!!
Especially to know that age didn’t stop you from getting the job and that you enjoy it!
Great story isn’t it, Jodie:) Thanks for popping by 🙂
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
I was a career Executive Assistant for 15 years. I will always consider myself an EA. Loved it! So much so that I still coach EA’s on occasion. xo
Hi Leanne, I’ve just emailed you. Would you like to contribute to this series too?
Hi, Jo – What an awesome series. Thank you for featuring Leanne here. Even though I regularly follow her blog (and have done so for a while now) I learned many new things about her from this post.
It’s funny the things we know and don’t know about our online buddies isn’t it Donna. There’s always something new to glean 🙂
Janet Mary Cobb
Leanne – thanks for sharing your journey. I love the picture of you! It sounds like you must be great at what you do — being that your current boss poached you. I think the most important thing is not what you do or your title, but if you enjoy it and excel. Sounds like you do both!
Hi Janet, thanks for reading Leanne’s story here. I reckon Leanne is definitely great at whatever she puts her hand to!
Nice to learn more about you Leanne. So fun to hear more about the ladies I meet online.
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
Hi Jo, great series and of course you are putting the spotlight on my BBB (best blogging buddy) Leanne. I too had parents who thought the same as yours Leanne and I wanted to become a teacher. I matriculated and gained entry into University but didn’t proceed. I did eventually teach in a different way. Firstly, I was a ballet teacher from the age of 15 with my own studio of 200 students, until I moved to Queensland in 1988. After working as an Office Manager for years, in 2013 I became a Teacher at H&R Block managing the office and teaching students how to prepare tax returns. I loved it! I also love that you have shown that women Over 50 can change careers and are still valuable in the workforce because of their experience. You seem to have the perfect balance now working part-time. Thank you Jo for having Leanne as a guest to share her story.
Hi Sue, Thanks for popping by. So many similar touch points. I’d love to feature your story too 🙂
I love these behind-the-smile stories. What an inspiring glimpse into the what, where and why of the who!
Thanks Diane. Leanne’s story is fabulous isn’t it, and it is great to read behind the smile.
Hi Leanne and Jo, well, that was an interesting read! Thank you both for sharing it. I must say I’m truly jealous of you, Leanne, working only 2 days a week – I’m putting that on my list of goals 🙂 Isn’t it nice to experience different jobs over the years? That way, you have something to compare and know when you find what’s best for you. And, good for you for quitting jobs where you weren’t appreciated – that takes courage. Well done! Have a nice weekend 🙂
Hi Cheryl, I hope you are doing okay (and not working too too hard – by the sound of things you probably are) Yes Leanne seems to have her life pretty well balanced, in reality and in theory too. I also admire her greatly. Agree with you that changing jobs over the years gives us a whole slew of experiences, which can be life changing and invigorating.
Hi, Leanne! What a wonderful story. I’m so glad you found a lovely resting spot for your career. You’ve led an interesting life. I was a medical secretary for a brief period before bouncing around for many years, trying to find my place. Eventually I did. For some of us, a career is quite an exploration.
This sounds perfect for you.
I did a stint as a secretary in my 20’s, and really had no appreciation for the kind of skill it takes. I’ve often thought that when I go back to work someday, I might have to dust off that skill set!
Hi Jo and Leanne, I loved reading this! So nice to read about peoples journeys and especially when it has such a great direction into a perfect job! Love the newspaper clipping 🙂
Hi Samantha, so glad you enjoyed reading Leanne’s story. Thank you for popping by.
Life Images by Jill
I think after years of working a two-day-a-week job sounds perfect, as it gives us time to pursue other things in life. Great to meet you Leanne.
I loved reading this Jo and Leanne. A great series and I’m so glad you got to meet, living so close to each other! I did like your play on words there too Leanne – going back to your roots 🙂
Wow, what a varied and interesting history Leanne! I love learning this kind of thing about people – how they came to do what they’re doing etc…
Thanks Jo for hosting and sharing!
Thanks Deb. Such an interesting story and I love the newspaper cutting, don’t you? Would you like to take part in this series?
This is so interesting Leanne. I was always jealous of medical secretaries and over the years I applied for a few positions in Medical Practices. It sounds like you’ve found your forte. Well done!
Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
Hi Jo – thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog – and for your very flattering intro (I thought you were pretty special when we met for coffee too!) I also thought I’d mention that the Dental Therapist in the front of that newspaper pic is me – one of my few brushes with fame!
I’m loving your Midlife women series and look forward to meeting the others you feature xx
Hi Leanne, thank YOU for sharing such an interesting story. I’m so glad we’ve met in real life, we must just somehow find the time to do it more often. Not easy I know 😉 Very glad you said the dental therapist in the newspaper pic is you – I can see now. What a precious keepsake!