My first job was as a Bank Clerk in Lisbon. I still remember the branch manager being very surprised and wanting to talk to my mom once I told her that I wanted to quit. It was very kind of her to do that because she also had kids my age and didn’t want me to make a wrong decision that I would later regret. But it was nevertheless funny that she wanted to talk to the mom of a grown-up man.
For me, what is also incredibly important, and it is also one of my biggest motivations is to set a good example for my children. I don’t want them to stay in a career that doesn’t suit them, just because it is well paid. I wanted to teach them to follow their dreams and to live a good life, full of meaning and accomplishment. The only way to teach them that is to do it myself.
I sense that we evolve over time and become interested in different things, so I feel it is natural and healthy to have new careers and new experiences in our lives. Otherwise we can get stuck and unhappy. Changing a career is not an easy process, but it has been a great journey for me.
It was while I was in the Falklands that I first experienced the stirrings of a vocation to religious life. I had only been in the WRNS for a couple of years before realising that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. As I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do, I decided to stay where I was until it became clearer. I still had a couple of years of soul searching before becoming a nun.
The dance luminary Jurgen Schneider, our master teacher and also a Ballet Master at American Ballet Theatre, told me I was a born teacher. I resented this because I wanted to perform first, then teach. I also thought many teachers I had seen were bitter ex-dancers or bitter dance lovers who never got to perform. I did not want o become like that!
Imagine running something in between a marathon and an obstacle race every day of the week, five days a week. It is a very demanding physical job that in time can affect your physical health.
Even if I was enjoying the job, I was open to new opportunities. The airline office had an opening for a PR Manager role and I decided to apply, as the role was relevant to my studies, and I got the job.
I worked seven days a week, taking every overtime possible, trying to save money to be able to invest. After 18 months I opened my studio in London. It was really scary. I didn’t know anyone in the area, and I was worried about how to get my first clients.
I have been an airplane pilot and instructor for about four years. I was based in Texas, USA. The main pro is that I was paid to do what I loved, and I never felt tired or bored doing it. Probably because I was too young at that time (in my twenties), I couldn’t realize there were cons. Today I can see as cons being so far away from my family and working very long hours.