On this day in 1981 I walked through the doors of The Nambucca Guardian News for the first day of my journalism cadetship.
It seemed like a good career at the time. I had a plan to be working at The Sydney Morning Herald 10 years later.
My first assignment was the local cattle sales at the Macksville Showground. I would go there every fortnight to report on the prices achieved by local auctioneer John Beaney.
I covered courts and council, road accidents, strange animal tales (including snakes on car engines, mouse-eating spiders), weddings and births. Sexism was everywhere.
We took our own photos and developed the film in the make-shift darkroom of the sink area of the women's toilet. You always had to check with the women in the office before you went in to develop rolls of film, in case anyone was busting.
It was a great initiation into journalism and I moved to The Newcastle Herald three-and-a-half years later and The Sydney Morning Herald four-and-a-half years after that (I resigned from the NH when they wanted me to do a job previously done by a man, but for less pay. But he had a family to support, I was told).
My career has taken many twists and turns, including stints on the dark side. I love writing and I love journalism but there are few jobs these days and the standard is quite appalling now, apart from that being practised by the old hands.
Time to do something different, which is what I will be doing this year. Looking forward to it.