The Sageco team is so saddened at the recent and sudden passing of Jeff Milne. Jeff was an enthusiastic advocate of Sageco’s Envisage – Create your future program for late-career and retirement transition. An early adopter, we worked with him over a number of years with Sydney Water. Jeff joined us a Sageco associate in 2013, and was a trusted coach and facilitator – an intent listener and genuinely interested in people. He was a man of great integrity and warmth, who helped many participants create their future in a new way. Jeff moved on to work with the NSW Department of Industry, but remained a generous supporter of the work of Sageco and never stopped helping others.
Our condolences go to Jeff’s much-loved family. In honour of Jeff and to give you an insight into the man he was, we are re-publishing a blog he wrote for us in September 2013.
We invited Jeff Milne, the ‘older’ new kid on the block or the new ‘older’ kid on the block to share some of his career journey with us. We’re thrilled to have Jeff on the Sageco team.
Being a ‘newbie’ in my sixties sounds odd but does give a first-hand personal case study of mature age transition that up until now I had experienced mostly in a supporting role as a coach. Transition to purposeful work that it seems life has destined and crafted me to perform, coaching.
A brief background of vocations seems like ‘Heinz 57 varieties’. From starting working life as a ‘tradie’ to various roles in retail, sales, running my own business ‘unsuccessfully’, to the last couple of decades working in corporate life in people management roles and human resources. Interspersed along the way with part-time jobs to support a young family ranging from working in a pine forest to early morning work as a cleaner and a newspaper shop getting kids paper runs ready and many others. During this time the tapestry of personal experiences was typical of most people’s lives being mostly routine and hard work interspersed with times of great joy perversely contrasted with times of completely debilitating human sadness. This amalgam of ‘life experience’ typical of a mature-age person creates a unique frame of reference that shapes and attunes their wisdom. For me, it has brought to an innate interest in people, the willingness to hold a non-judgemental safe space for others to do their own inner work and assist them to move through their journey.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with Sageco as it is a natural fit. Mature-age people have a deep investment over time of developing their natural gifts. Sensitive and empathic coaching can assist with greater awareness of what they have to offer – this is the essence of Sageco’s mission that I have seen as a customer and now part of the team. I first met Alison in 2004/5 and started sponsoring ‘Create’ now ‘Envisage’ seminars for Sydney Water staff. Judy and I became very good friends over those years with hundreds of staff coming to the sessions. It gave me an insight into an organisation where the employer encouraged the ‘conversation’ about life and career planning. As a manager,it gave me a reference point from which I could stimulate many discussions with colleagues to take ownership of their future ‘before’ the employer through change processes imposed change on them.
Transition should be an ongoing mature conversation within the workplace. This requires appropriate trust created by behaviours of honesty and integrity. I’ve witnessed and been part of spectacularly successful cases of where this has worked so effectively for both the organisation and the individual. In contrast I’ve also seen the opposite and sadly this experience has been more common. A comment from a recently displaced employee laments a lost opportunity, “management certainly isolated themselves from our expertise very quickly, to the extent that there was no way back when (if) they realised it. We would happily have worked closely with them to achieve the outcomes they were looking for (and successfully too!!) if they had just asked us to be part of the team.” This is a direct quote that demonstrates the gulf that can be created when ‘change’ processes ignore the human factor.
As a coach, consultant and facilitator with the Sageco team I am looking forward to opportunities to bring awareness and experience to both life and career transition albeit that I still have the familiar nervous energy of being a ‘newbie’.
As Marcel Proust said,
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Farewell Jeff – and thank you for your great contribution to the lives of so many.
A memorial service will be held on 1 May 2017.