Share this article!

It’s only during life’s more painful episodes that people are invariably forced to reconsider their place in the world, and sometimes their career.

Inevitably, it involves change, but taking that momentous first step is often the hardest because change fills people with dread, and nothing stymies freewill more than a fear of the unknown. That single decision could turn out to be disastrous, but there’s also a frisson of excitement at the boundless possibilities. It’s an empowering feeling.

For former aircraft engineer Austyn Johnson (pictured), that moment came as he stood in the middle of an airfield getting drenched on a particularly cold and miserable night.

“It was about three in the morning,” he said. “My fingers were frozen to the bone, I was absolutely soaked, and I thought, why am I still doing this? Am I really going to be able to do this in 20 or 30 years’ time when I’m in my 60s?”

That Johnson’s epiphany should happen while he stood alone in the bleak vastness of an airfield was particularly fitting. It was also a calculated risk – no pun intended.

“It sounds a little bit sad, but I’ve always been interested in mortgages, and I’ve always been quite good with numbers. I just get them. My wife was pregnant at the time and I thought to myself, if I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it,” he said.

As you’d expect from an engineer, he methodically set about obtaining his broker qualifications before joining HD Consultants in 2018 as a financial consultant.

Despite the obvious differences between an aircraft engineer’s job and that of a mortgage broker, Johnson believes his previous skills were not wasted.