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Jobs, Business, Life

Career Change: From visual effects artist to high-rise window cleaner

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Daily Hive Staff Oct 02, 2017 10:02 am 3,051

Daily Hive is profiling young people in Canada who made a radical career change. Want to share your story? Email [email protected], subject line: Career Change.


Who are you?

Dominica Myles, age 30, living in Vancouver

What was your old career?

Visual effects artist for movies including Star Wars – The Force Awakens, The Hobbit and most recently, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Started out in her native country Australia, before scoring roles at major studios in New Zealand and then Canada.

What is your new career?

Rope access window cleaner – rappelling off buildings to clean high-rises!

Dominica Myles getting ready to rappel down skyscrapers and clean windows (Nicolas Guaiquin)

Dominica Myles getting ready to rappel down skyscrapers and clean windows (Nicolas Guaiquin)

Why did you change careers?

Being a high-rise window cleaner was a childhood dream of mine. I used to spy on them from my high school window and was fascinated that people could get paid to do such a job.

I had some personal circumstances arise in my life that made me realize how short life is, and it was almost like the universe was screaming at me to quit compromising and to pursue my passions.

How did you find your new job?

I met my now supervisor at a mutual friend’s birthday party. When I asked him what he did for a living, I told him that was my dream job! He gave me the details of his company and recommended I write a killer cover letter to his boss.

Dominica Myles rappelling down a high-rise building in her new job (Nicolas Guaiquin)

Dominica Myles rappelling down a high-rise building in her new job (Nicolas Guaiquin)

How did your friends and colleagues react?

Some of my colleagues called me crazy or instantly gave me their opinion on what they thought about the job. My close friends and family were very supportive and excited for me, especially as they remembered me saying I wanted to do it as a teenager.

What’s been the best thing about your new job?

Being outside and away from a computer, using my body and discovering different ways to move in order to reach panes of glass. Freedom in choosing a starting time for the day and the beautiful views of Vancouver from the tops of skyscrapers.

Dominica Myles rappelling down a high-rise building in her new job (Nicolas Guaiquin)

Dominica Myles rappelling down a high-rise building in her new job (Nicolas Guaiquin)

What was most unexpected about your new job?

That the ropes are the easier part! Becoming an efficient and fast window cleaner is quite a skill, making your movements accurate for a great result every time.

How do you feel about the choice you made now?

I feel very happy. Every day I have a big smile on my face on the way to work and I look forward to Monday mornings. It is a physically demanding job, however I feel energized in all aspects of my life.

Dominica Myles cleaning windows on a high-rise building (Nicolas Guaiquin)

Dominica Myles cleaning windows on a high-rise building (Nicolas Guaiquin)

What advice do you have for readers dreaming of a career change?

Be excited by the opportunity to be a beginner at something again and how that can be invigorating rather than limiting.

There is a myth that all our big decisions are concrete and you have to have lifelong commitment to them, including career decisions we may have made before really knowing ourselves.

Even if the switch falls flat on its face, you can always go back to what you were previously doing, potentially with new perspective and gratitude. Although I bet you’ll be lead down a better and more suited path instead!

You will undoubtedly be challenged by external and internal judgments. Breathe, face your fears and wholeheartedly believe you have the ability to build your own version of success.

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too old, or too far down one path to pursue your dreams, especially yourself! This one has been ever present in my life since I gazed out my high school window at 14 years old and saw people rappelling down buildings cleaning windows. It looked freeing, peaceful and incredible. Over the years, as I got more and more success in another career, this job still held my fascination. I’d get that little leap in my chest when I’d walk to my office job and see ropes hanging off a building. ‘Caution, workers overhead’ signs would send my head snapping up and a smile spread across my face as I spied their ant sized bodies all the way up there. This week, I dropped over the edge of a 30 storey building for the first time. As I went over and down I expected my heart to race, instead it soared. For it was just as I imagined chasing a dream would be…freeing, peaceful and incredible 🦅 . . . #vancity #smokyskies #ropeaccess #windowcleaning #dreamchaser

A post shared by Dominica Myles (@minkiepink) on


Have you made a radical career change? We would love to profile you. Email [email protected], subject line: Career Change, to find out more.

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Daily Hive Staff
Launched on June 1, 2016, Daily Hive is the evolution of Vancity Buzz and is now in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

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