‘History? That’s very different from what you do now, isn’t it?’ I admit, working in financial and economic areas of government doesn’t sound much like studying Australian history or the philosophy of history. In fact, the field has lots of economists, accountants and lawyers – and historians.
An historical training involves questioning, researching and understanding situations, choices, contexts and the dynamics of human affairs, operating in multiple dimensions, over different timeframes. A trained historian will see things in several dimensions, with a strong sense of how the current situation came to be, and therefore what it can become. It is often a richer way of thinking than applying models or working from ‘first principles’. So, historians turn up wherever those perspectives can add value.
Thinking historically is a way of taking some responsibility for how you see the world, and I enjoy actively pursuing interests I started as a student.