YOU can plan a career or you can sort of fall into a career due to the alignment of a number of circumstances, and that is what happened to local real estate agent Sue Shaddock who never really expected to be in charge of a long established family business.
It took a combination of tragedy and stubbornness to get Sue into her current position but there is no doubting her commitment to the business and her career – it’s something she now has a real passion for despite arriving there unexpectedly.
On leaving school Sue worked at Gould Bros and a local earthmoving company in administrative positions before starting what she thought would be her true career as a photographer.
She started work at Johns Studio in the early 1980s and eventually purchased the business in 1989.
But along comes the usual interruption to most female careers - love, marriage and children and in her case marriage to Murray Shaddock, two sons Callum now aged 21 and Charles aged 19.
Murray, who had previously worked as a mine surveyor, started work alongside his father Perry in the family business in the late 1980s.
Started by Perry’s father Norman Shaddock in 1946, the business proved to be a great career choice for Murray and after the reluctant sale of her photographic business Sue also joined the business.
Tragedy struck the family in 2004 when Murray died of cancer. It all happened very suddenly and Sue was left with a business to run but no real estate licence, an absolute legal necessity to operate the business.
At first she contemplated selling the business as grief and thought of running it all on her own looked very daunting.
But with great help and support from other local estate agents and her in-laws Perry and June she made the fateful decision to keep going in the business.
“I really disliked selling my photographic business, it made me realise how much I enjoyed having a career and being involved in a business,” she said.
“That feeling played a big part in my decision to keep operating Shaddock Real Estate and the fact that it was something Murray was passionate about and had worked really hard at growing.
“It also involved thinking about Callum and Charles and thinking perhaps they would, in the long term, be interested in taking on and making it a fourth generation business.”
Despite being no lover of making the sales pitch Sue learnt the ropes of the business and tackled some male prejudice along the way.
She paid a special tribute to her success from Shaddock stalwart Mavis Marzol who started work in the business way back in Norman Shaddock’s time.
“Mavis worked for three generations of the Shaddock family and she was amazing,” Sue said.
“She kept working here while her husband Alan was sick with cancer because his diagnosis occurred about the same time as Murray’s – Mavis knew everything about the business and her support was wonderful at that time.”
To renew her career plans Sue altered her focus at the business, pursuing what really interested her – property management.
“Murray disliked property management probably as much as I struggled with sales – management is good for women because it involves a lot of details to do it well, “she said.
“It is one area of the business that is really growing in particular the provision of serviced apartments for those involved in the mining industry.
“Today I think we would have the largest number of serviced apartments in town under our management.”
As to the future, Sue is happy to see Charles take over the sales division and Callum is currently studing for a degree in business with the view to also returning to Shaddock Real Estate.
“So I guess it has worked out for the best my career in real estate and I have to say it’s great to see the Shaddock name continue in Singleton although in the early days it wasn’t easy working long hours and juggling family commitments, “Sue said.’