My name is Ryan Sheehy, and I initially created this website to be more of a guide and assistant to my children as they grow to one day be adults and lead their home.
I had often cast my notes and thoughts on my favourite journaling app Day One, but found when reflecting back on these notes that they weren’t cogent or hadn’t carried the thought through to its fullest.
So by creating this website I thought that it would help me to focus on squeezing out all the oil from the olive press, and making sure I had covered a topic thoroughly enough to exhaust most questions.
One day, once there’s enough content, I hope to convert it all to some meaningful book that my kids could use when they are older and running their own households.
My eldest son, Jude, is almost 10 years old, so I have about 10 years to collate everything I’ve learned into some meaningful manner and then to convert that into some type of book.
I was born and raised in the small port town of Fremantle in Western Australia.
I was typical of most boys growing up in my neighbourhood, I enjoyed playing and didn’t enjoy school. I lived for recess, lunch and the school holidays, and my academic results showed.
It wasn’t until high school where I was really floundering, but a helpful teacher guided my parents to get extra tuition with mathematics as I was really falling behind when it came to the abtract concepts in math – such as algebra.
Thankfully, with assistance from my tutor, and sacrifice by my parents to undertake this additional study, I was able to enjoy and improve my mathematical ability immensely.
Unfortunately, while I ended up performing well in my mathematical classes in high school, my English was not too good. I struggled to properly use grammar effectively, and in my final year at school… I failed. Repeating my final year was not fun, but I was thankful I was able to attend a school much closer to home.
Not having any friends in my final year, second time around, allowed me to focus more on my studies, and I was finally able to get through with an above-average mark. I was happy just to be released!
Another shock I learned upon graduating from high school was that employers weren’t willing to pay me based on my good looks, or fancy basketballing foot work! I barely had any skills.
My first actual employer ended up being a popular Sunday newspaper publication in WA, and here I was at the bottom, right next to the cleaners, as a copykid.
I enjoyed working with the journalists and assisting them work to strict deadlines, but I knew this was not where I wanted to be for the rest of my life. After working there full-time for about 18 months, I had saved enough to buy my very own car – a white Toyota Camry.
As I had no real direction on what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I was approached one night by my grandfather who had successfully run a few businesses, where he asked me if I could work for him as an accountant.
I had no idea what an accountant was, or even what they did, but all he said was, “You’re good with numbers, right?” to which I nodded in agreement. “Good,” he answered, “you’ll go get a certificate from TAFE, and then come work for me.”
Sounded like a plan.
So off I went and enrolled at the local college for a certificate in Business. I found the course and accounting concepts straightforward to learn and wondered if I could take this study a little further by achieving an accounting degree from the local university.
No one from my family had ever attended university, so when I told them what I was going to do, my parents just encouraged me and told me to go for it.
Three years later, I came out the other end with a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree.
My parents were tickled pink, and now with this flashy new certificate, I thought I could conquer the accounting world. I had a friend who worked in one of the big 4 accounting firms, and asked me to apply for a job as they were frequently recruiting. However, I had decided to go it alone and after setting up my own company was caught by the glitz and glamour of day trading.
The biggest problem I had when I started day trading back in the late 1990’s was that I had earned a lot of money during the tech boom, and had translated that success which everybody was achieving as though I had some superpower in picking winning stocks.
When the tech bubble popped, and then 9-11 happened, my day trading dreams began to wane. I persisted for a few more years later, trying my hand at some consultancy work for a small tech start-up, but when that work eventually dried up and my day trading returns weren’t sustainable, I finally let go.
On my 30th birthday, I went around the world with a friend and did some soul-searching at the same time. I loved the time away and exploring the expanse of this little planet we call home.
It was a time when things began changing for me.
I no longer saw what I had been doing in running my own company as something that would sustain a family, or even myself consistently, and during this same time I also started getting more involved with my local church.
It was here by reflecting and helping others where I developed a love for teaching and asked some dear friends who I knew were teachers what the profession was like and whether they thought I’d be able to be a good teacher.
My sister was perhaps the most insightful: “You have to love children,” she put quite frankly, having been a teacher herself for nearly 10 years at the time. And it was good advice. I enjoyed teaching kids, and I hoped one day I would even have a little tribe of my own.
I took the plunge in my 30th year and applied to undertake one year of full-time study and even though it was one jam-packed year I came out the other end unscathed with a Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary).
With another new shiny certificate, I was able to land a job teaching mathematics at a large private school. I was able to use some of the skills I had developed with spreadsheets and programming during those formative years working for myself.
However, God had other plans, and while I could have remained happily working at the private school, perhaps becoming head of department, then head of school, maybe deputy principal or principal one day, God presented another option: a wife.
Well, she wasn’t my wife at the time when I met her, but she did after about 18 months when we first met.
As she lived in Sydney in a very specialised role, it was difficult for her to move to the other side of Australia, so I made the decision to move and at the same time popped her the question if she wanted to marry me.
I didn’t have a job, I didn’t know anybody here in the big smoke of Sydney, but I trusted in God and believed this was where He wanted me to be.
Thankfully, she agreed to my proposal and I worked hard trying to find a teaching job in Sydney. Initially things weren’t easy as I had to transition all my education and experience to NSW standards, and after going through all that process months had gone by.
I had landed a job working at UNSW as a data-entry casual employee, and had only attended one teaching job interview during that time – and I thought that interview went quite well!
As months passed I was soon offered a contract position at UNSW to work in the Vice-Chancellor’s executive office, and at the same time I was offered a teaching job working for a private school in Sydney’s growing north-west corridor.
I turned down the lucrative contract working at UNSW, and followed my heart with my newfound teaching career by agreeing to the employment at the small Sydney private school.
Similar to what I had done working for the larger private school back in WA, I offered my skills to help where I could with helping in areas I saw lacking: such as the school’s own website.
Working alongside the marketing manager, we were able to build an impressive looking school website, which ended up winning some award somewhere. But it was from going above and beyond where the group CEO took an eye at what I was doing and could see I had other abilities besides just teaching mathematics and business.
After being employed as a teacher for a few years at the small Christian school in Sydney, the CEO took me aside and asked if I’d be interested in working at headquarters in the Business department to assist the current Business Manager as he transitioned into retirement.
Unbeknown to me at the time, the current Business Manager was nearing retirement age, and there was no deputy or assistant that would be an easy transition into that role should he leave. As the CEO knew my background, knew my abilities with programming and helping the school administratively, he knew I’d be the perfect candidate for the role.
Upon being presented with the role, my wife and I took it to prayer, knowing that I’d be removed from the classroom and back into the office.
After feeling no resistance to accepting the role, I took the step forward and accepted the new position.
Since then, I still work in the Business department, but have now taken the lead as Business Manager within the organisation, having swapped roles several years ago.
I have enjoyed working in an organisation that aligns with my faith and beliefs, and I have enjoyed the challenges that have been presented my way.
Even though I do not know what the future will hold, through what has happened in my little life I can continue to trust in God for He is faithful to help and provide in time of need.