Blake Walters

Complex critical thinking and effective decision making honed through the study of Philosophy are crucial to Blake’s emergency response role.

Portrait of Black Walters.

I chose to study Philosophy because I was interested in learning and I wanted broad thinking and reasoning skills. My overall goal in life is to make a positive difference to others and help and I felt that knowing more about how to think and learn and not being pigeon-holed into a narrow field were the best ways to achieve this.

I really enjoyed studying Philosophy, particularly engaging with the foundational arguments or assumptions of a subject. It's perfect for people who prefer creating an answer rather than finding one, and it provides invaluable reasoning tools that help in all areas of your life.

I was surprised to find that Philosophy intersects with every other field of study. I took a few other courses including Anthropology, Religious Studies and Political Science. When I graduated, my first full time role was in retail while I looked for something more related to my degree. On top of part-time work during my studies, this work experience helped immensely. While studying I had also been a mentor in Te Putahi Atawhai mentoring scheme, and this helped me land my first career role with the Ministry of Social Development.

I am currently an Emergency Dispatcher with Fire and Emergency New Zealand. The role is to respond to emergency events by finding out the correct information from 111 callers, and then directing the appropriate emergency response to the incident. The role is very fast paced and can be very high pressure as every incident is time-critical and good decision making and accuracy can be the difference between life and death. Coordinating emergency responses to changing and diverse incidents is a challenge that places a lot of demand on your critical thinking skills, as there is no room for deliberation or second guessing a decision.

I love this job and feel really privileged to be doing this mahi. The fast pace and high pressure keep me on my toes and constantly challenge my decision-making skills. Every day (and night!) at work I am helping people who are in immediate need.

Working in emergency services gives me a real sense of purpose and constantly pushes me to keep developing my skills. I couldn't choose a more suitable career for myself and I am glad to finally be in a career where I wake up looking forward to work.

My advice for Philosophy students transitioning into work is to not undersell your skill set. While the subject doesn't neatly fit into many career fields, it does give you skills that are important in almost every line of work, whether your potential employers know it or not. Everyone wants a workforce who are capable thinkers and problem solvers, so be sure to let employers know these are your strong points.