Axons Unleashed Podcast: Transitioning Out of The ADF Before You're Ready - With Renee Macartney

Welcome to another great episode of Axons Unleashed with own Axon’s own Build Support member, Renee Macartney guest starting with the team! 

What happens when an unexpected injury puts an abrupt end to a promising military career? Axon’s own Build Support member, Renee, bravely tells this story to RT and Dan on this emotionally-charged episode of Axons Unleashed. 

How did this fork in the road affect Renee’s life and how did the ‘soft landing’ of Axon Property Group help propel her in a new direction? Do not miss this episode!

Related: Meet The Axon Team: Renee 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Episode Transcription 

Speaker 1:
Axons Unleashed.

Robbie:
Good day, everyone. My name’s Robbie. Welcome to another episode of Axons Unleashed. Today we’ve got a very special guest with us. Of course, I’ve got my off-sider here, my right hand man, my right hand woman, in Dan.

Dan:
Am I the special guest?

Robbie:
No, no, no, no. You’re you’re my off-sider, mate. But we’re joined here by the woman, the myth, the legend herself, Ms. Renee Macartney. Hello. Hello. Hello.

Renee Macartney:
Hello. It’s me. I’m here.

Robbie:
Yes, you are.

Dan:
He’s a very well known and certainly not quite part of the furniture at Axon, but certainly one of the more vibrant and out there personalities that we do have in the office, I certainly have to say.

Robbie:
And you can see here, those watching on YouTube, that Renee’s got her Axon shirt on. So full disclosure everybody, Renee is not a external visiting lecturer guest. She works here at Axon. She’s one of the awesome team members. And of course you’ve come and gone out of Axon, so I guess you’ve got a really, really interesting story. And what I want to pass on with our listeners is all about why you joined the military? What was it like at basic training? How did you find your three, four, five years in the military? Why you got out? What happened then?
You’re in the property market now, you’ve got an investment property and your own home. So you and your amazing other half, Captain Chaos aka Ruben, and your wonderful dog, you guys are living an awesome life right now. So you’ve got a really, really great story to tell and I can’t wait to get into it. So yeah. I mean, you said that you’ve listened to season one and season two of the podcast so far?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Tell us about that because you obviously know me very well. You know Dan, you know Dane, you know Tammy, but did you also discover some things about Axon that you didn’t know. And if so, what were some of those more highlight memorable stuff?

Renee Macartney:
Surprisingly actually, I think one of my favorite episodes was probably one of the first episodes. I learned about Tam basically getting kicked out.

Robbie:
She got sacked.

Renee Macartney:
Got sacked. And I didn’t know that even though when I first worked with Axon it was quite fresh, you guys hadn’t been around maybe like a year.

Robbie:
We’ll get to that. Yep. Yep.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. And so I didn’t even know that. And so hearing that and poor Tam, I’m like, “Oh, well.”

Robbie:
Should have seen us in the car on the way to the podcast studio. Dan was in the car and then yeah, Tamara and I were trying to work out the accurate version, the three sides of the story, your version, my version, and what actually happened. And yeah, it was rather tense in the car on the way down there. So I’m actually glad we got that one out the way.

Dan:
Right. When we got out of the car that day, the rest of the crew were waiting for us there to go and record it. And as soon as everyone got out of the car, they were like, “Oh, shit. What’s just happened?”

Robbie:
It’s going to be one of them.

Dan:
What just happened? Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
Oh, no.

Dan:
When you do go back, I think that was episode three, I think, of season one or something like that. But when you go back and listen to it, there was certainly still some emotion in the room as we were recording it. And I think it sort of bleeds through, especially into the video as well. It might have been a little bit frosty. There was no slaps on the arm or anything like that going on in that room. It was just very down the line from a business perspective.

Robbie:
What about no doubt when we started to interview some of the other people like Jace Cosgrove and Shea from Ramsden Law and Debbie, you would’ve found that really helpful, but knowing, excuse me, knowing full well that you have used them in your own journey as well.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. No, it was awesome. Obviously, Jace and Deb, I already knew pretty well from working with them, but Shea I knew from having her as my solicitor for my second build.

Robbie:
Yep.

Renee Macartney:
But I didn’t really know her story. I’ve never really spoken to her that much. So listening to hers really stood out for me. I really loved hearing about the transition that Axon made from the last solicitor to working with Shea. And I just loved her story, how she was like, “All right. I’ll look after them? Stuff everyone else. They’re going to be mine.”

Robbie:
Absolutely.

Dan:
And how’s it made you feel, mate? Now you’re going to be one of those stories. We’re about to tell your story as well. So here you’d be forever immortalized on the Axon podcast.

Renee Macartney:
I’m going to be famous.

Robbie:
You’re already famous just inside your own lunchbox anyway, inside the Axon lunchbox.

Dan:
So just ask me, I’m famous.

Renee Macartney:
Oh, fuck, yeah. Good one.

Robbie:
So you haven’t heard this yet, but a few of the episodes for here in season three was effectively me telling my story. I had so much feedback from people like, “Oh, I didn’t know you did this and I didn’t know you did this and this is what happened with you and Dan?” I guess I got a bit of a jolt of inspiration that people loved hearing about behind the scenes, never before heard stories, et cetera. I went, “Fuck it. I’ll just tell everyone why I joined the military, went to Kapooka, got my head shaved, crying my eyes out, fucking eventually got my shit together and-“

Dan:
Got his face caved in. All that sort of stuff.

Robbie:
Yeah. Or he got fucking punched out one day. So, let’s take us back to your… Where did you grow up? You were in the country as well, right? Country Victoria?

Renee Macartney:
Country Victoria.

Robbie:
Love it.

Renee Macartney:
I was back and forth between a little town called Yarrawonga and Albury–Wodonga, if anyone knows where that is.

Robbie:
Of course they do, mate.

Renee Macartney:
Oh, bloody Latchie, Latchford.

Dan:
The old border community, mate.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So I grew up, my parents were divorced when I was quite young, so I would spend weekends with dad in Albury–Wodonga and then go back to Yara where I went to primary school and went to high school in Wangaratta.

Robbie:
Yeah.

Dan:
The Wang.

Renee Macartney:
The Wang.

Robbie:
The Wang.

Dan:
That’s it.

Robbie:
I love doing those taps to you in the office, walk past and give someone a little Wang tap.

Dan:
That’s nothing to do with the school that Renee went to, by the way.

Renee Macartney:
No, nothing, absolutely nothing. So, I mean, I moved around a lot as a kid, so I was never really in one place for long, one school for long, which is why I think I’m quite good at making friends now. I don’t know if that’s pretty obvious, I’m pretty easy to chat to, because I just grew up having to meet new people all the time and stuff, so…

Robbie:
Why’d you join the military? Tell us that background.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So my dad was a reservist and he loved it. He tells me Kapooka was one of the best times of his life. And I’m like, “Why?”

Robbie:
When did he…

Dan:
In hindsight? Or…

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
He’s a fucking reservist, Kapooka is like a bloody knife, fork and spoon course for them, mate.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah, true.

Robbie:
Seriously. What year did he go through?

Renee Macartney:
I have no idea, but I was really young. I was like 10 or 12. So it was few years ago.

Robbie:
Okay.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. But he wanted to go full-time. His dream was to go full-time, but he was just a bit too broken from his old footy days. So they wouldn’t… And his eyes just… Yeah, he had a lot of stuff that they were like, “You can’t be full-time because you’re old and broken.” Don’t tell him that.

Robbie:
We all get there. We all get…

Dan:
Dad, love you for listening.

Robbie:
Yeah. Love you.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. And obviously he had us kids too, so that probably didn’t help because he knew he’d get posted somewhere and he didn’t want to leave us behind. Yeah.

Robbie:
What’s your memories of Kapooka?

Renee Macartney:
Good and bad.

Robbie:
What year was this?

Renee Macartney:
2016. 2016.

Robbie:
Right. Yeah.

Dan:
But let’s start with the good ones.

Renee Macartney:
Good ones.

Robbie:
Mm.

Dan:
Ones. There’s obviously more than one.

Renee Macartney:
Well, the people I met. I met some amazing people who… You don’t realize how great of connection you can build within a month, a couple of weeks with somebody. I became really good friends with some people that I still talk to to this day. I’d be there in a heartbeat for them. Obviously I loved all the high wire and all the outdoors stuff. I grew up camping, so all that outdoorsy stuff was always fun.

Robbie:
By near the Assault Course?

Renee Macartney:
Oh, that was-

Robbie:
In, out, on guard, all that stuff. Left parry, right parry.

Renee Macartney:
That was fun.

Robbie:
Bunch right, smash, slash.

Renee Macartney:
I scared myself.

Robbie:
I still remember.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. I’m impressed, because I don’t even remember.

Robbie:
People who’ve heard me, it’s always before mine, I had fucking green pumping through my veins. Some would say it still hasn’t left.

Dan:
Goes to show you remember what you remember, right? But the joint experiences you must have had with those people, Renee, to be able to form such a power of friendship over the first month there, must have been just incredible as well.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So I was in bit of a weird situation when I joined Kapooka. I was actually quite fit. I was personal trainer when I joined, but because they were having such-

Robbie:
For those of you watching YouTube right now, Renee’s actually got a power pose going on [inaudible 00:08:27].

Renee Macartney:
No.

Dan:
Go back to it, mate. Tell us about how fit you were. Go on.

Renee Macartney:
You’ve made me nervous now. Yeah. So I joined and I was fit, the fitness test wasn’t that hard or anything. But at the time they were having so many people come through and DFR were just filling up the platoons with too many people. So I actually got back squadded because I got told that I left the beep before the-

Robbie:
The line.

Renee Macartney:
… lead test. Yeah. Left the line before the beep. And so I got back squadded because of that. And they happened to a couple of different people. So we got put into this thing called the Ashley Platoon. And we got there and the corporals were like, “Why are you guys here? You’re fit. There’s nothing wrong with you.” And we’re like, “Yeah. We know.” We had to stay there for four weeks because it was over Easter and there were no platoons coming in. So I was in Kapooka for an extra month than what I needed to be because of that. But Ashley’s was great because we did PT twice a day. So then I got super fit and then went into the platoon that came through finally, joined that one.

Robbie:
Follow me mothos.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. And it was great because then we smashed the training because we’d already been there for four weeks. We’re making those beds fucking so fast.

Robbie:
Oh yeah. Damn, dang, bang.

Renee Macartney:
But it was frustrating because you’re watching these people who have been two days, I’m like, “Fucking hurry up, mate. You’re so slow. I cannot deal with you right now.”

Robbie:
You’re like, “You’re a fucking ninja. How do you know to make this bed so soon?” “It’s called practice.”

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. And they also chopped my hair off while I was in Kapooka because-

Robbie:
Same here.

Dan:
The full clip of service for you?

Renee Macartney:
Full clip. No.

Robbie:
No.

Renee Macartney:
They didn’t shave it. I went in, didn’t read the rules. I was a bit of a princess and had a bit of blonde balayage going on.

Dan:
Woop, woop.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Didn’t read the rules, went in there like, “You can’t have that.” So they took me to the barber and she chopped it all the way up to where the dark hair was. And I looked like a lesbian, 100% looked like a lesbian. One of my best friends I made in Kapooka was a lesbian. And she used to ask for fun, she would ask people around us, “Oh, who do you think is the lesbian out of us?” Everyone picked me.

Robbie:
Right.

Renee Macartney:
Always.

Robbie:
You’re like, “No, man. I like chicks if they’re good friends of mine, but I bat right-handed not left-handed.”

Renee Macartney:
So that was my experience at Kapooka. I was very happy to leave, but I was very happy with the connections that I’d built. And yeah.

Dan:
So that was your worst part, was your hair got cut off?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah. It was.

Dan:
Ah, that’s not too bad actually.

Robbie:
And would you want to-

Dan:
You don’t need hair as I’ve learnt later on in life, but hers might start to thin out a bit more.

Robbie:
Evidently.

Dan:
It’s just overrated.

Renee Macartney:
I remember calling my dad the day that they did it and I was balling my eyes out, I could barely breathe ,and he’s like, “Oh, what’s wrong? What’s wrong?” And my dad’s not very emotional. So he’s trying to work out how to handle me.

Robbie:
What have they done to my little girl?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. And I’m like, “They cut all me hair off.” And he goes, “Oh, righto, whatever?”

Robbie:
You’ll be all right.

Renee Macartney:
He comes to church to see me in a couple of weeks. And he looks at me and goes, “Fuck, they cut your hair off.” Yep.

Dan:
Yes they do.

Robbie:
Do you remember that phone call where I was crying? That’s what fucking happened.

Renee Macartney:
Exactly.

Dan:
He was like two or three schooeys deep down at the pub, just being like, “Yeah. Yeah. Sure, mate. Sure.”

Renee Macartney:
Yeah, exactly.

Robbie:
Which corps did you go to?

Renee Macartney:
Ordnance.

Robbie:
Mm. Ordnance as admin clerk?

Renee Macartney:
Admin clerk.

Robbie:
Nice. Was that up your alley? Is that what he wanted to do? I get a sense probably not.

Renee Macartney:
Well, initially I actually, I’m going to cop a lot of shit for this too, I wanted to be military police.

Robbie:
You’re right. You will cop a lot of shit for that, mate.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So when I did all my testing and stuff, that was what I was aiming for. But DFR were like, “If you go in as admin, you’ll get in faster and then you can [crosstalk 00:12:27].”

Robbie:
Oh, that old chestnut.

Dan:
You can change at Kapooka.

Renee Macartney:
And you can change it later.

Robbie:
It’s really easy.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
It’s really easy.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. It wasn’t easy. And it didn’t happen.

Dan:
The old recruiting. Oh, we’ve got spots for Ordnance. We’ll just slip you in one of those ones, please. And away you go.

Renee Macartney:
And that’s what happened. Yeah.

Robbie:
Oh. Everyone is listening to this or had that happen to them, they’re like, “Yeah, that happened to my mate as well.”

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. I think I know multiple people that this has happened to. Don’t believe any DFR say, ever.

Dan:
Yeah. I think Simo tried to join as a dog handler and ended up in bloody artillery down as an air defender as well, so…

Robbie:
Yeah. He got a promotion

Dan:
To an artilleryman?

Robbie:
Yeah. Hey, I was in the Royal Regiment so I can say that. Where did you get posted, Ren? You had to go to ITs first.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. ITs at Latchford.

Robbie:
Did you pass?

Dan:
Pretty much back home then. That would’ve been very handy for you obviously.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Dan:
Kapooka, then broadly back home. To be honest-

Robbie:
Everyone were like, “Where do we go out in Albury?” Like, “Follow me, bitches.”

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Let’s go.

Dan:
Let’s be honest. It’s Paddy’s.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Well, it was. Apparently Paddy’s is no good anymore, but back in the day it was the place to go. Yeah.

Robbie:
Absolutely right, mate.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Good old Paddy’s. And I used to take everyone down to Wang to the Wang pubs, the GC and the Albion.

Robbie:
Anyone listening from the Wang pub and the Albion, good day from…

Dan:
And then Renee didn’t have any friends anymore.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah. And then they worked out where I grew up and they’re like, “Fuck.”

Robbie:
No wonder you are the way you are. So where’d you get your first posting?

Renee Macartney:
Brisbane.

Robbie:
Beautiful.

Renee Macartney:
So got to-

Robbie:
So when are we talking, end of ’16 now, start of ’17?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So I-

Robbie:
Mid ’17.

Renee Macartney:
… moved down… No, it was… I moved down at the end of December ’16.

Robbie:
Okay.

Renee Macartney:
But started in Jan ’17-

Robbie:
Up in Brisbane?

Renee Macartney:
… in Brisbane at 2 CER.

Robbie:
You’d be like, “Oh, they’re saying fucking Wangaratta.”

Renee Macartney:
Oh, it was bloody great.

Robbie:
This is Enoggera.

Renee Macartney:
And we got told, when we were putting our locations that we wanted to go to, “Don’t even bother putting Brisbane down. No one’s going there.” So I didn’t put Brisbane.

Dan:
Oh, it’s standard.

Renee Macartney:
I think I put Brisbane third. Next minute-

Robbie:
That old chestnut again.

Renee Macartney:
… I got Brisbane.

Robbie:
Nicked minute.

Dan:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
Thanks, army.

Robbie:
Here’s my first, second and third preference.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Anyway, disregard all that. You’re going to go where we fucking want you to go. Thank you for your preferences anyway.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Dan:
So you must have been about the luckiest person on your course though, to be able to pick up a Brisbane posting, or is there a few people went to Brisbane or did everyone go to Darwin and Townsville?

Renee Macartney:
So I was the only one who went to Brisbane, someone went to like Toowoomba and someone else went out to Amberley, but I was… There might have been two of us who got Brisbane and we were the two people who put Brisbane as our third preference thinking we wouldn’t get it. And everyone else who you put it as they first got sent to Darwin.

Robbie:
The boulevard of broken dreams, commonly known as schemer and docam.

Dan:
No, that’s the people in your course going, “Oh, you didn’t listen to me. Darwin. Oh, Townsville.”

Robbie:
Yeah. Do you remember that time you raised your eyebrows to me? You’re going to fucking Canberra. See you later.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah, but I was absolutely stoked. I’d never been to Brisbane before. My dad had worked here because he’s a contractor for Linfox and so he moved me up here and he was showing me all the cool places, took me to South Bank.

Robbie:
Brilliant. So you’d live on barracks when you first got here?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I actually really enjoyed living on barracks.

Robbie:
Me too.

Dan:
Because you’d had the brand new accommodation all built there a couple years earlier, so pretty much your own self-contained apartment on barracks.

Robbie:
So 2 CER, Engineer Regiment in Enoggera, just for the Raffies and Navy people listening.

Renee Macartney:
Yep.

Robbie:
How many people were there, 350, 400?

Renee Macartney:
300, yeah. 350.

Robbie:
Okay.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Pretty small unit.

Robbie:
Yeah. Okay. But part of 7 Brigade, two or 3,000 other troops inside Enoggera barracks.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
All right. Cool. There you go, mate. So you’re in Brisbane and you’re chilling out. Did you get a chance to live out? Did you get RA eventually?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So I ended up needing surgery for my hip and basically I was told if I lived on base, I would have to stay in the hospital. I wouldn’t be able to look after myself, basically in my own room. I’d have to stay in hospital for a few weeks recovering. But if I lived off base, I could stay at home. So I was like, “All right, I’m moving off.”

Robbie:
One of them silly bloody rules.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Dan:
So that was like the catalyst. Can we back pedal a little bit? Because obviously that’s a key part of the story. Tell us how you got to this bit where you were moving off base so you can look after yourself because of a surgery. Obviously we skipped over a large chunk of time there. Tell us how that came to be the injury there?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So I got a bit of the typical things you get from the pogue, like the shin splints and stress fractures and stuff in your feet. So I had just come good from that. And I was getting back into my fitness and I was running pretty consistently, doing all your like pack marching stuff and that, and one day I just felt this like burning sensation in my left hip. And I was like, “Oh, that’s a bit odd.” Went up to the PTI. And I was like, “Oh mate, something doesn’t feel right. Is it all right if I go to the IP.” And he’s like, “Yeah, no worries.”
Got told it was just a tight hip flexor. Got given some stretches from a physio for a tight hip flexor, and that made it worse. Turned out I’d torn my labral in my hip. It was quite a large tear. And the stretches had made it worse, because I was stretching it out, pulling out the tear.

Dan:
You were stretching out the torn tear.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah. And basically got told I shouldn’t have the surgery because also, they found out I had hip dysplasia, but the only way to fix it would be to have the surgery, but then there could be complications. So-

Dan:
Real catch 22, you put yourself in here.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. But I was like, “Do you know what? I’m going to get surgery, because if I don’t, I’m probably never going to be able to run properly again. Anything like that.”

Robbie:
How old are you at this stage?

Renee Macartney:
21.

Robbie:
Right. So you’re making like life changing, life altering decisions from a medical perspective as a 21-year-old. How’d you handle that?

Renee Macartney:
Oh, I didn’t handle it very well.

Robbie:
Right.

Renee Macartney:
I had emotional-

Robbie:
Overwhelmed.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Yeah. Confused.

Renee Macartney:
Kind of fell into a bit of a, not a depression, but just a real sadness, like a really… I was doing so well and I was at the fittest I’d bloody ever been.

Robbie:
Enjoying being a soldier.

Renee Macartney:
Loving it.

Robbie:
Enjoying being around that. The engineers are a great bunch of guys and girls to be around. I remember that well.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah. And I loved being in Brisbane and I’d made a really great friends and just… Yeah, I was loving the path that I was on. And so when that happened, it was really bit of a kick in the balls because I also got told it could affect carrying children in the future.

Robbie:
Wow.

Renee Macartney:
Because of all the weight bearing on your hips. So yeah, it was pretty emotional time. And then I went through with the surgery in the end because I thought that would help. Had the surgery and it actually didn’t help. I actually still to this day have problems with my hip. Even though it’s healed, there’s a whole heap of inflammation from the surgery and stuff. And I tried to do what I could to get back to some form of fitness, but I could just never do the army things again. I couldn’t carry weight on my back, so I couldn’t do any pack marches.

Dan:
So it sounds like there was a lot of real stoicism that you had there that you were like, “Look, I’ve got to have this surgery. I need to do my thing.” You needed to look after your future self I suppose, fundamentally. And then you just came back and it sounds like you’re never back to 100% and I know RT you’ve had some pretty significant surgeries in your life. How have you found being able to return back to your former self after such significant injuries?

Robbie:
Yeah. You can’t. Yeah. Once it’s… If you’re talking about a major joint, hip, ankle, or knee, or shoulder, it’s just not the same.

Renee Macartney:
No.

Robbie:
You’ll never ever be the same.

Renee Macartney:
No, that’s right.

Robbie:
So yeah. It’s just one of those… Yeah. But I’m just… And I can see you visibly shaken right now. You’re not sitting here enjoying talking about this. So people watching on YouTube will see Renee shaking like a soldier at a spelling test at the moment. But you know what? That’s great, mate, because it’s raw, it’s real. It has affected your life and… Did you think you were going to be in the military for quite a while?

Renee Macartney:
I wanted to.

Robbie:
Great.

Renee Macartney:
My plan was… Look, I wanted to be promoted. I would’ve liked to reach corporal, which as a clerk is quite easy to be honest. I should have been promoted within the first three years of my career, but yeah, I just did my… And they couldn’t promote me because I couldn’t do the courses because of my injury.

Robbie:
Of course.

Dan:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
So-

Dan:
Even though you could, from a pure role perspective as a clerk, you could do a clerk job absolutely fine-

Renee Macartney:
100%. Yeah.

Dan:
… 100% of the time.

Robbie:
What about being a corporal, what about being a junior leader was attractive to you?

Renee Macartney:
Being a leader?

Robbie:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
I really… And also I just wanted to prove to myself because, I didn’t mention this at the start, but another reason why I joined the army was cause a lot of people thought I was a bit of a princess, bit of, not really going in-

Robbie:
With your haircut?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. With my haircut. No, no. Before they chopped it off, RT.

Robbie:
Sorry, mate.

Renee Macartney:
I think a lot of people didn’t think I would do anything with my life. So I really just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

Dan:
It’s a bit of a fuck you to it as well.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So the idea of being able to further my career within defense and become that leader. Yeah. It was super, super appealing to me.

Robbie:
So what year we’re talking about now? Because there’s some stuff happening in the background with Axon that I want to now start to weave into the story because you’re all going through this year and we had not come across each other so far.

Dan:
Yeah. Can we just back pedal a bit. Where was Captain Chaos at this point? Had you met Ruben at this point?

Renee Macartney:
Captain Chaos. He-

Dan:
And where does he fit in? Where did you guys meet and how was he going? Because he was in the military as well at this point in time. So it would’ve been a very interesting dynamic as well and very challenging for you to see your significant other in the military while you’re having to go through this stuff as well.

Renee Macartney:
We met in Kapooka.

Dan:
Dirty little fratties.

Renee Macartney:
No, no. The funny thing was-

Robbie:
Shock horror, that never happens.

Renee Macartney:
Never.

Robbie:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
The funny thing was though, he had a bit of an egghead, so I didn’t find him that appealing and I had a lesbian haircut, so I wasn’t peeling to him either. Actually, we were just really good mates until we got to Latchie and then we started hanging out, and you get drunk and-

Robbie:
Because he’s doing his VM course.

Renee Macartney:
VM course. Yep. Prequel. But he went VM.

Dan:
Down to the Latchford tavern.

Renee Macartney:
Yep. Yep. That’s right.

Dan:
The booz-up. The booz-up-

Robbie:
I didn’t realize your relationship had gone back that far.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Robbie:
I remember when we first met him, we’ll certainly bring that in in a second, I thought the relationship was reasonably new that you linked up with someone in 7 Brigade sort of thing.

Renee Macartney:
We did 17 months of long distance. So the idea was that when I moved to Brisbane we would probably end it like-

Dan:
Cease.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. We were going to see how it went, but we both didn’t think it would work out because neither of us wanted long distance. We didn’t want that.

Dan:
You’re both very pragmatic people like that. You very much look at okay, are the odds stack in our favor? Yes, no. What’s going to be the best thing for us from a holistic perspective?

Renee Macartney:
I’d say Ruben’s a bit more pragmatic than me, but I was definitely aware that long distance doesn’t work. And yeah. But it just got to the point where we were like, “Oh, we both are very happy with each other. Let’s just keep pushing out and see if we can get you a post in here when you finish your training.”

Robbie:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
Which we did.

Robbie:
Let the universe take care of itself.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Brilliant. Brilliant. So it sort of got to a point, you’re doing all this stuff with your medical things. Are things starting to progress for you from a medical perspective down a discharge role or were you being managed in house at the unit at that time?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So for a long time… The doctor actually offered me a discharge right after my surgery, when I wasn’t recovering well. And I was like, “No, I’m fine. I’m going to be fine. I’m going to do it.” And then it got to like 2018 and I wasn’t fine. I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to be. And I just remember talking to Ruben, talking, balling my eyes out to Ruben one night just saying like, “I just can’t see myself furthering my career anymore because my hip’s in the way. I’m never going to be able to get to the fitness I need to be. I’m never going to be able to do the things I need in a physical way to progress.” And yeah. And then I think in that moment was when I realized I just need to leave. I need to… Because the longer I stay and if I keep on trying to get to where I want to be, I’m actually going to make myself worse. And the doctor brought up again, the thing about the kid thing, like the longer I try and stay and do the things-

Robbie:
The more aggravated it’s going to be.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah.

Robbie:
Yep.

Renee Macartney:
And so the harder it’ll be, like I’ll have probably have arthritis in my hips by the time I’m a 30, all that kind of stuff. So yeah. So I just made a decision. I was like, “Okay, it’s time to go,” put my discharge papers in. And yeah, it was about like a six month process.

Robbie:
I was going to say, so you started to put it out to the world and I’m not all woo, woo. Far from it. Right? But as I get older and older and as I reflect on the things that happened to me, shit just happens for a reason.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
You know what I mean? You put it out there and see where it’s going to take you and it just somehow, it takes its own path.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Some for the good, bad, indifferent, or otherwise. So when are we talking, mid 2018 by about now?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So I discharged the 24th of July, I think it was.

Robbie:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
So in the meantime, early 2018, we’d moved into the house at Coomera.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
We’d started to grow the team and Dan and I, him and I were doing a little bit of left seat, right seat, property coach and property specialist. And we too realized, we’re like, “All right, cool.” There’s this whole lot of admin that’s starting to occur on servicing clients on the back end and creating our own forms and sending our own emails and making your own bookings. We’re like, “I remember when I used to work for the other firm, we had someone else come in and we called it a client relations officer, a CRO.” That was the term. I’m like, “Why don’t we fucking try and find one of them?” And I was on the piece one night with Nick and Karina and a few other people down at Belinda there and then Patchy… Was it…

Dan:
Pesh dog.

Robbie:
Pesh dog.

Renee Macartney:
Peshy.

Robbie:
Peshy. Peshy.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Peshy was there. Peshy was there. Yeah. Maddy Pesh. Hope you’re doing well, brother. And then yeah, we just sort of got talking and he goes, “Oh, I hear you guys are looking for a veteran to come and help you guys do a heap of admin.” He goes, “One of my clerks at work, I think is getting out soon.”

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
I’m like, “Right. Fucking put me a in touch with her.”

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
I said, “What’s she like?” He goes, “Yeah, she’s a cool chick. She grew up in the country. Pretty easy going,” et cetera, et cetera. So I guess that was like the very spawning of our relationship. And then we sort of made contact.

Renee Macartney:
Yep.

Robbie:
You came down to the office, said good day, we went and had a bloody… We went and had a lunch together. Tell everyone about our little lunch we had a together down at The Boathouse there at Coomera marina.

Renee Macartney:
I don’t know if you know RT, but that was my birthday that day.

Robbie:
Oh, well. Yeah. So I-

Dan:
And nobody said happy birthday.

Renee Macartney:
No, but I didn’t say anything. Because it was my job interview. I didn’t want to be like, “Hey, it’s my birthday.”

Robbie:
Tell us about the job interview. It wasn’t an interview. We just fucking had lunch and we’re just jawing off.

Renee Macartney:
So I was shitting my pants a bit.

Robbie:
Of course.

Renee Macartney:
Well, it was the first job interview I’ve done in long, long, long time. So I was really nervous and I roll up and I see this restaurant like, “Oh, this place is nice. This looks cool.” And I see RT and Tam just sitting there and I’m like, “Oh.” Tam’s wearing her Axon dress. And I’m like, “Oh, fuck, I don’t know if I’m dressed enough for this.” But again, I think you were just in shorts and a shirt.

Robbie:
I’m always in shorts and a T-shirt, mate.

Dan:
Welcome to the Axon uniform.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah, exactly. But yeah, I was super nervous, but we just got along like a house on fire and we’re chatting away and then I was just carrying on and then all I could I could think of-

Robbie:
Being yourself.

Renee Macartney:
Being myself. Yeah. All I could think of is what Ruben told me not to say in the job interview.

Robbie:
Tell us about that.

Renee Macartney:
And I was like, “Oh.” Ruben was like, “Make sure when they ask you what your…” Oh, what is it?

Robbie:
What’s one of your weaknesses.

Renee Macartney:
What’s one of your weaknesses.

Robbie:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
“Don’t tell them when you start drinking, you can’t stop.”

Robbie:
Because we’re sitting there having a glass of wine. Tamara looked at me, she’s like, “You’re high.”

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. I was like… Yes. Went home that night and told Ruben, that’s how I got the job. And he’s like, “Oh, fuck, don’t listen to me.”

Robbie:
And then tell us about coming into the office and meeting Dan and just sort of, I guess that veteran culture and veteran fabric, because we’ll get to your journey with and without us in a second. But yeah, just give us the first impressions here about coming to work with us.

Renee Macartney:
It was so different to anything I’d done before. I was in such a bad place when I left the defense. So coming into this house that was our office and Dan’s out the back, hosing the lawn.

Dan:
Watering the lawn to maintain the-

Robbie:
I was going to say, he wasn’t out in the back hosing the lawn like a little three-year-old does, he was just watering the lawn.

Renee Macartney:
And he was like, “Oh, hey, mate.” I’m like, “Oh, hi.”

Dan:
I absolutely wouldn’t have been wearing shoes.

Renee Macartney:
No, you were not. I don’t think you ever wore shoes there, Dan.

Dan:
Back in the day.

Renee Macartney:
No, but it was awesome because I came into this environment with people who were ex-military. So I felt like I hadn’t got very far from the military, but I loved it because I knew I was on the same page as you guys, you were on the same page as me. You guys would speak in lingo and it wasn’t like you had to worry about some civilian who had no idea what was being talked about. And I felt really comfortable and I was just… And the banter we had, it was a really… I just really loved it. It was a good place to come to after a really terrible month that I’d been out of work for basically.

Robbie:
And the clients were there as well. So you were talking to other defense members, army, Navy, Air Force. It’s super easy to just pick up the phone and just, “Hey mate, how you going. It’s Renee from Axon here.” Boom, boom, boom. “Got your profile in hand,” et cetera, et cetera. So it’s-

Renee Macartney:
Exactly.

Robbie:
… really, really comfortable, isn’t it?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
One of the things I loved seeing you transition into was you got a real bug. You got back into the fitness game.

Renee Macartney:
Yes.

Robbie:
After a little bit of rest and then you went and did your comp.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Bikini-

Robbie:
Yeah. Bikini comp.

Renee Macartney:
ICM.

Robbie:
Yeah. Tell us about that.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So well, I kind of kicked myself in the butt, and I was like, “Come on, it’s time to do something. Your hip might be causing a bit of pain, but you can modify things. You’re not in the army anymore. Let’s do some different training.” So I got into the gym, I found a coach and I was just lifting weights and decided to push myself to compete in a body building competition. So yeah, it was probably one of the hardest mental challenges I’ve ever had, much harder than the old Kapooka.

Robbie:
Just different. Different.

Renee Macartney:
Different. Yeah. Yeah. And it was probably the best thing I ever did for myself, honestly. Yeah. It was awesome. And it was very difficult in the Axon office, especially over Easter with all those hot cross buns and…

Robbie:
Yes, there’s this little thing, ladies and gents, called the Axon spread and everyone that comes here has been guilty on and we’ve all waxed and waned in and out of it over the years.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
But yeah, it would’ve been good. I remember one lunch in particular that we were having family lunch out the back and doing a barbecue.

Renee Macartney:
Yes.

Robbie:
Well like, “Hey, we need some beers.” Dan, you can tell this story.

Dan:
Yeah, absolutely. So obviously we’re going to have a nice stay, I think you’d bought in like a whole rib or something like that.

Robbie:
Rib filet, flash ones.

Dan:
Yeah. It’s very, very… I was really looking forward to that lunch actually. It was going to be quite special. I don’t know what the occasion was for. But Renee had the delightful task of shooting off down the road to the local bottle shop.

Robbie:
And it was warmer out the back, cooking the barbecue, sun was coming down. I’m like, “This cold beer is going to be fucking be beautiful.”

Dan:
It was beautiful come summer. So she’s managed to pick up a couple of nice ice, cold bottles of wine for the girls and popped them straight in the fridge as she comes back. But she got a slab of warm beer.

Robbie:
XXXX Gold, warm.

Dan:
And left it sitting on the kitchen bench for an hour and a half when it could’ve been chilling in the freezer.

Renee Macartney:
Yep.

Dan:
And that was when Renee got her first written warning.

Renee Macartney:
Yep. Nearly lost my job.

Robbie:
I was like, “You fucking do that again. I’ll march you out of here.” So I’m like strike one, buddy. Don’t ever, ever buy me warm beer again.

Renee Macartney:
I just had no idea. Do you know what? I’ve walked into the bottle shop and I remember what you asked me to get. It was right there.

Robbie:
Staring at you.

Renee Macartney:
Yep. And I was like, “Oh. There it is. I’ll just grab that one.” Yeah. And then honestly, I was more thinking about the wine than I was the beer when it came to putting it in the fridge.

Robbie:
Fair enough too. Hey, so doing so well in your comment, I know that you… Oh, yeah. Tell us about that. What was it like being up on stage in your little, itsy, little teeny bikini? And certainly I’ll remember that, I’ll pull a piece out of you a little bit here, in the six weeks leading up for the comp especially, all I could hear about in the office was macro this and carbs this and water this and fucking… I was like, “Fuck, I feel like I’m on a bloody keto show,” because you were being very, very strict and I think you were including everyone.

Renee Macartney:
But people had to know, otherwise you would’ve fed me all this Axon spread food. And I wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Robbie:
It’s one of those things, how do you know if someone does CrossFit? They’re walking around telling everyone. How do you know someone’s on keto? They’re walking around telling everyone. How do you know someone’s a pilot? You know the rest. So I really saw that you’re up on stage there and I saw the amazing photos and again, Ruben was being really, really supportive wasn’t he?

Renee Macartney:
He was, yeah.

Robbie:
Which was so, so good.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
And one of the things you’re able to do when you were there was like build your first investment property.

Renee Macartney:
Yes. Yeah.

Robbie:
So I remember this really, really intently as well where you said, “I’m going to get Ruben to come down and he’s got a few questions for you, Robbie. He wants to go through a few things.” And sure enough, he comes down. He goes, “Yeah, here you go, mate.” And he is protective macho man. I think he’d just been away on a course and he’s come back and he’s pretty fit. He’s got the guns out and he’s kicking around and he’s a very well spoken. He’s got a really great presence about him, like you know when Ruben’s in the room. You don’t have to tell everyone, you’ll just hear him. Right? He’s really, really great.
And he would just giving it to us. He’s like, “Tell me about this and tell me how this works and tell me how this works?” And then all of us, the four of us were just sitting down, having a conversation, doing that first plan. Fast forward a couple of hours, he’s like stood up, shook my hand. He goes, “All right, let’s do it.”

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah.

Robbie:
And you guys went and bought your first investment property.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So that was awesome. Because I’m medically discharged, I did get bit of a payout and my past experience with money is just to spend it. And-

Dan:
You mean past or…

Robbie:
Yeah, I want to know this.

Renee Macartney:
Still now.

Dan:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
But at the time, Ruben had talked quite a bit about property and invest in property. I didn’t know a lot about it. And then all of a sudden I was working for a property investment group.

Robbie:
Surrounded by us every day.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. And I just remember saying to Ruben one day I was like, “Why don’t we use this money and get a property through Axon?” And he’s like, “Oh, I don’t know. Oh, I might need to talk to them first.”

Robbie:
I’m sorry, Ruben. You’re going to be listening to this. So all three of us are doing very poor renditions of how you sound.

Dan:
I thought you guys were both pretty close to right on the money actually.

Robbie:
Okay. All right. All right. Let’s do it.

Renee Macartney:
So yeah. So we sat down and I mean, I didn’t say a lot because Ruben was Ruben and Robbie, you two together. It’s insane. You just can’t keep up.

Dan:
It’s a bit of a bromance happens whenever those two are in the room, isn’t there?

Robbie:
Now we actually like each other.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah, exactly.

Robbie:
We just like sussing each other out when we first met.

Dan:
I remember us having a lovely dinner together at the completion of that property. And I think you and Ruben actually shared a meal together, like the same piece of meat.

Renee Macartney:
Probably.

Robbie:
Probably.

Dan:
You might have actually even been just feeding each other.

Robbie:
Probably.

Renee Macartney:
I would not be surprised.

Robbie:
We came a long way in a very short period. He’s a great bloke. I love him. So that was really good. And no doubt you would’ve told your friends and your family’s like, “Hey, I’m now buying my first investment,” just using that money that you were duly compensated for, for injuring yourself from a service reason, that then obviously DVA took care of you, et cetera, et cetera. I mean, you weren’t the first person that were able to help put a plan in place to make sure you did use that money to its highest and best use, but there’s probably been 20 or 30 since then, at least. And then that’s bloody wonderful that that money’s not just gone down the drain or buying a perishable fucking item that goes down in value. So that was good. And then yeah, I guess then you and I really saw a love for the gym and personal training and fitness and health and you were true, mate. You were looking fucking amazing.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
And I guess we… And it was actually one of my fault because I gave you the Roxy Jacenko book to read.

Renee Macartney:
Yes you did.

Robbie:
And I’m like, “Hey, Tammy just went down here.” And I was just reading like, “This is how I see female entrepreneurs. This is how I see leadership. This is civilian leadership, not the corporal leadership.” You said straight away. I said, “Why, do you want to be a corporal? I want to be the leader.” Yeah. You want to be the army leader, but now you’ve learned that being an army leader ain’t being a real leader.

Renee Macartney:
No.

Robbie:
That’s just wielding your rank around and fucking do as I say, otherwise you’re going to jail, motho.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
That ain’t leadership, right?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
I’ll tell you that right now. And then fast forward to six weeks later, you’re like, “Hey guys, I’m really sorry to do this.” Tell us what happened when you were reading that book.

Dan:
There was a few things that all came together, I think, that resulted in the outcome we’re talking about here. I think one of the things was you decided on taking yourself on a little journey internationally for a couple of weeks or a month or so or something like that. And you left us all behind, mate. To be perfectly honest, you left us in the lurch really-

Renee Macartney:
I did.

Dan:
… didn’t you?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah, but you had six months notice.

Dan:
Yeah, exactly.

Robbie:
Not my problem.

Dan:
So you disappeared overseas. And basically I think Simo had joined us by this point as well. Robbie, Simo, and myself were sitting there and we’d become relatively reliant on Renee and all of those bits and bobs that she did. And then you disappeared.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Dan:
We had to do them ourselves, mate. And to be perfectly honest, we didn’t have the time and space in our life. So we sort of altered some stuff while you’re away, right?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So I went away for a month and put on all the weight that I’d lost eating croissants and pasta.

Robbie:
It’s called holiday, don’t worry about it.

Renee Macartney:
And I came back and I was excited to be back. I’m like, “Yeah. All right. I’ve had a month off. I feel fresh, ready to smash life.” And I got into the office and Dan’s giving me a brief of everything that’s kind of been readjusted because you guys had worked out ways to do my job in another way so shit was getting done while I was away. And you’re like, “Oh, and it’s worked really well. So you don’t have to do it anymore.” So I’m sitting there and I’ve lost three of my main jobs. And I’m like, “What am I fucking doing?” And then Robbie gave me this Roxy Jacenko book and I loved it. I read it like three times. I loved it. And at the time-

Robbie:
You still got it, do you reckon?

Renee Macartney:
Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Robbie:
Can you please bring it in?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Dan:
Can you return it.

Renee Macartney:
Oh yeah.

Robbie:
Fucking give it back.

Renee Macartney:
You said I could keep it.

Robbie:
I did at the time.

Renee Macartney:
It’s got bit of a stain on it.

Dan:
I don’t mind.

Renee Macartney:
But I can bring it back.

Robbie:
I don’t mind.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. All right.

Robbie:
Lots of my books have got stains on it too. I drop coffee on them all the time.

Renee Macartney:
Anyway. Yeah. And at the time I was pretty passionate about my fitness and stuff. I’d done pretty well in my competition at the start of the year. And I actually had… I’d been a personal trainer before, but just before I joined the army. So I was like, “I think it’s my time to go back to that. I feel like I can’t contribute to Axon the way I was before. I think it’s time for me to go out and learn to be a bit more of a civilian.” Because I was still surrounded by such military vibes.

Robbie:
The real soft, soft landing.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah. So I was like, “I think I want to go out and do my own thing.” And I… Yeah.

Robbie:
And we loved it. Dan and I used to tell the story all the time that we were so proud that you were the first person that effectively got out of the military and then a very few… You weren’t out of the military long, would you say two or three weeks? Let’s call it a month maximum.

Renee Macartney:
A month. Yeah.

Robbie:
And then, yeah. Boom. You’re into this sort of paramilitary organization really where everything’s pretty much still the same and you’re talking to military clients. So just for us to be able to provide that soft landing for you and now we’ve done it to Adam. Now we’ve done it to James. And we’re able to do it with Matt, et cetera, et cetera, Dane as well.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
So it is been a really, really great thing for us to do it. But you were the first one, you were the Highlander, you were the only one at that time.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah.

Robbie:
So then you had to come to us and tell us the news. You’re like, “Robbie and Tammy, you need to have a coffee with you.” As soon as anyone says that to us, we’re like, “Oh, what’s going on?”

Renee Macartney:
I was so nervous because I was like, “How am I supposed to tell them? Because I don’t want them to think I’m leaving and I don’t want anything to do…” Like I loved everyone in the office, and we did keep in contact and well we built another house with you guys even after I’d left the office. So I was just trying to work out how to say, “Bye, Felicia,” without being like-

Dan:
Fuck you, guys.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Robbie:
I get it. There’s always a balancing act.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So I-

Robbie:
But it went down fine.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. It was fine.

Robbie:
We were fully supportive and everywhere, We were like, “Okay babe, go do your thing. Go do your thing. And we’re going to stand in your way. Yes. You should go on, explore other things in life.”

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Yeah. How did that all go? How did you feel when you finally handed in your Axon key card and all your glasses.

Dan:
Gave your shirts back.

Robbie:
Gave your shirt back.

Dan:
That sort of stuff.

Renee Macartney:
I was shit scared. I was absolutely shit scared. Because I was going into a whole different world again. And so I was excited, but it was like I was no longer in this stable role with a stable environment and stable people around me. As a personal trainer, it’s just you, like I was a contractor to a gym.

Robbie:
Was Dan one of your clients?

Renee Macartney:
He was one of my clients.

Dan:
We actually used to get in trouble because was we were working out at the gym near my place and Renee wasn’t actually supposed to do that.

Renee Macartney:
So I didn’t train Dan in the gym that I worked in. I trained Dan in his gym, which is a gym I was not a member of.

Robbie:
Let’s keep that nameless please. Sorry. But all you gyms in east Brisbane there, I apologize.

Dan:
Thanks mate. There’s like one.

Robbie:
It’s got to be more than one.

Renee Macartney:
I think one of my excuses once was, “Oh, I’m actually in training for my PT thing. So Dan’s just letting me practice.”

Dan:
And we did. Every week we almost had this new excuse going forward as we were doing it. But we almost had this symbiotic relationship, because we’d go to the gym and you are also doing some study at the time.

Renee Macartney:
Yes.

Dan:
So Renee would then come back to my place and Anne would run through her last week’s worth of economics.

Renee Macartney:
Oh. And Anne was amazing. She got me through so much because economics sucked. I fucking hated it so much. If it wasn’t for Anne, there’s no way in hell I would’ve passed that subject.

Robbie:
But really, really love the power of numbers because it’s dry. And if it’s not not kicking your tires and lighting your fires, you’d be dragging your ass through.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah, exactly. So we’ve given a bit more context to that. I was doing my business degree.

Dan:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
I did not finish the business degree because I realized I hate studying.

Robbie:
Some of the inspo would’ve come from that book though, right?

Renee Macartney:
Yes. Yeah, it did.

Robbie:
Yeah, definitely.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Definitely.

Renee Macartney:
But oh and if she listens to this, you’re amazing.

Robbie:
She won’t listen to us.

Renee Macartney:
She won’t.

Robbie:
She’s known me longer than she’s know Dan. And she-

Renee Macartney:
Doves, can you cut this part out where I told Anne she’s amazing. We can just send it to her.

Robbie:
Okay, so you did that for a little while and then-

Dan:
COVID hit.

Robbie:
COVID hit. Jim’s got shot, et cetera, et cetera. So that would’ve curtailed your PT world a little bit more. And then you went into another job. Tell us about that.

Renee Macartney:
Yes.

Robbie:
Because I want to tell everyone how you came back here soon. So let’s get all this other stuff out of the way.

Renee Macartney:
I’ll get it out nice and fast.

Robbie:
Yeah, yeah.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. So gym shut. I had the option to go back to the gym, but I was like, “No, it’s not stable. I can’t have it.” I need stability in my life. I’m that kind of person. So I was like, “I’m not going to continue this.” And so I got a job in Queensland Health. So I went back to government.

Dan:
You wanted stability.

Renee Macartney:
I did.

Dan:
You want it, that’s where you get it.

Renee Macartney:
So, yeah. I started working at West Moreton in the mental health part there. And actually for the first few months. I really enjoyed it because I really enjoyed the impact I was having, even though I wasn’t directly working with mental health, I was a nurse rosterer. So I was helping all the nurses-

Robbie:
Make sure the shifts were on time.

Renee Macartney:
… making sure the patients weren’t going out without nurses and stuff. And that’s a pretty good feeling, but that got really tiring, real fast. Because it was quite a toxic atmosphere in the office and it was shift work. So, you know, I’d go from doing a 4:00 am till 1:30 and then a… So I’d do that maybe two or three days in a row, have one or two days off. And then I’d go back in and do a afternoon shift, which was one till 10 30. Mind you. I was casual. So I was also doing some day shift work. So there was weeks where I would do two or 3:00 am shifts. So 4:00 am till whatever time. Then I’d do a normal day shift the next day. And then I’d go straight into a night shift. And I burnt myself out real bad and my mental health got pretty bad and I got to the point where I was really struggling and Ruben just picked it up on it really easy. And he was like, “Baby, are you okay?” I’m like, “No, I’m not.”

Dan:
And then concurrent to this, you were also building your second property at that same time. So you had the additional like choosing the tile colors and what plants do you want and all that [crosstalk 00:47:25].

Robbie:
Is this the house you are living in now?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah.

Robbie:
So you did pour a little bit of emotional capital into it.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
So it does take a bit of time and effort to make all that happen.

Renee Macartney:
And because of the house I couldn’t just leave the job because I needed the money. I didn’t have the option of just maybe leaving for a month and finding another job because-

Robbie:
You would’ve felt trapped.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah. I 100% did. So yes, there was that. And then I got offered a different position. So I moved out of the shift work, which is really good and went in to be a doctor roster instead, which they’re not as full on as what the nurses are, because it’s a much bigger pool of nurses rather than like 10 doctors that you work with, 10 or 20 doctors. So I did that, but then there wasn’t enough work. So I was bored.

Robbie:
Which would’ve impacted your mental health as well.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Dan:
You really need the perfect balance of happy medium don’t you?

Renee Macartney:
I really do. And again, it was still that toxic environment that I was in, so yeah. And then one day.

Robbie:
No, no, no, [crosstalk 00:48:26] we were doing our Brisbane meetup.

Renee Macartney:
Yes.

Robbie:
We’re doing our Brisbane meet. We went to Fortitude Valley. One of the things there and… Well, there’s probably about 40 or 50 people, clients.

Renee Macartney:
It was huge.

Robbie:
Yeah. It was really, really great. It was the best one we’ve had by far. And thank you so much for everyone coming on. I think that was like, when was that? Earlier this year?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Dan:
It was-

Robbie:
Jan, Feb 2021.

Dan:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Very early on in the year, COVID had been relaxed. You-

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
All the distances were fine.

Renee Macartney:
We were doing pretty good. Queensland was.

Robbie:
Yeah. And then was it me or Jane that said something to you?

Renee Macartney:
So I was talking to Jane.

Robbie:
So you were just there as a punter.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Obviously still a close friend of ours.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Ex team member, built one house, currently building a second house. Absolutely entitle to… And some of your friends have now built houses with us as well, which is amazing. So all on you for that. I know they’re very thankful of you introducing us to them and then so you’re on the bees. You’re having a good time eating the bloody baries and then Jane and then I was there at that time. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but what’s your recollection of how it all went down.

Renee Macartney:
So Jano and I were catching up and I was just basically telling her how I was really struggling with my job and stuff and she goes out of nowhere, “Oh I could really use another build support girl.” And I was like, “Oh, yeah.” And she’s like, “Would you come back?” And I was like, “In build support?” And she’s like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “Oh, I don’t know.”

Robbie:
Because that wasn’t a role you did before.

Renee Macartney:
No, no completely. And I’d seen her, when Kylie was like pretty stressed and they had a lot going on and I was like, “Oh, I don’t know.” And then Jano mentioned something to you, RT and you’re like, “Oh, yeah.” And then Tam was there and Tam’s like, “Oh yeah, if you want to come back, that’d be awesome.” And then RT pipes in, “And the pays gone up.” And I’m like, “Oh.”

Dan:
All of a sudden Renee’s interested.

Renee Macartney:
But at the time, like it was just honestly, I was like, “Oh.” It was just a [crosstalk 00:50:25].

Robbie:
Yeah.

Renee Macartney:
It was not really… Like it was something, but it wasn’t. And then I guess I got a few weeks into, or a couple weeks into my job and I was like, “Actually I need to message Jane, because if she was serious, I want to take her up on the offer.” And then-

Robbie:
So it was a real sort of planting of the seed, semi-social environment, few people have said things, but it would’ve got the cogs back ticking again.

Renee Macartney:
Yes.

Robbie:
And how is that? Would’ve got the belly and the heart back on. Hmm. Would we want to like to go back to it? Because we’d grown.

Renee Macartney:
Yes.

Robbie:
We’d grown to… What were we when you were working with us? One of four or five? Four or five, six?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Yeah.

Robbie:
Now we’re you like 14, 15, 16. So we’d grown, we had 10 extra people in the office. So it was very different dynamic.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
And I know you’d been down to the office here where we are here in Southport just with you and Ruben as clients sort of thing, just to come and say hi and see the new digs. Oh, so you helped us move in.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
That’s right. That’s right. That was August 2019 when we first moved in and then you left soon after.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. Like a month later.

Robbie:
Thanks for putting together all the tables and chairs and cupboards and everything. At least you’re using them now. So yeah, it was good. I mean, and I guess the word got around a little bit that maybe Renee was going to come back and I know that you and Dan and everyone was sort of still catching up socially as well. So you guys would’ve had a bit more of those chats on the side.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Yeah. Which is really cool. And then yeah. When was the… And then you might have been just listening to one of our random live Q and A’s a few months later.

Dan:
Yeah. So there was a little bit of a… I think I had both yourself and Ruben around.

Renee Macartney:
Yes.

Dan:
For one afternoon.

Renee Macartney:
For a coffee.

Dan:
At our place. Just to double check.

Robbie:
It was East Brisbane just down the road from the gym.

Dan:
Absolutely. No, we’d moved by that point of time. It was our new shack.

Renee Macartney:
We were no longer at that.

Dan:
No gym at all for anyone who’ve seen me lately. But we had you guys around and obviously we’d been speaking about it on the back channel and been like, “Hey, what do you think? Is this a thing? What’s what?” And I came to work, must have been the Tuesday afterwards. And I’m like, “Hey, we’re going to do this. Tammy, Robbie, you need to put together all the paperwork and get it across to Renee, formally make her the offer, everything like that from an employment perspective.” And then we jumped on, on a Wednesday night, on a Facebook Live.

Robbie:
The day later.

Dan:
The day later. To be very honest, none of that paperwork had been done at that point in time.

Renee Macartney:
I hadn’t received anything.

Dan:
And then Robbie, what did you say?

Robbie:
Oh, we’re just talking about life and Axon and people and whatever. And so I’m, “By the way, Renee’s going to come and join us again.” And of course Jane was listening, the build support manager. She hadn’t been formally notified. Natalie who works in build support is like “Who the fuck’s Renee? I don’t know that she’s coming back.”

Dan:
And Tammy and I are on this Live going, “Nah. Nah. Stop.”

Robbie:
It’s live. It’s out there. Too bad.”

Renee Macartney:
Do you know what? I got a message from Nadie, [Kat Nadie 00:53:20] saying, “Oh, you going back to Axon?” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” She’s like, “The Facebook Live.” I’m like, “What are you talking about?”

Dan:
Way to get a job offer, hey?

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. And then Jane messages me, she’s-

Robbie:
Public.

Renee Macartney:
“Did you watch the Facebook Live?” I’m like, “No, I haven’t seen the Facebook Live.”

Robbie:
What is this freaking Facebook live?

Renee Macartney:
And she’s like, “Dolls, I think you need to see it.” I’ve gone on and there’s Robbie, “Renee’s coming back.” I’m like, “I haven’t even got paperwork.”

Dan:
How were you and Ruben feeling though, when you got that very early warning that you were coming back? You didn’t really have an option at that point.

Robbie:
Couldn’t back out then, could I?

Renee Macartney:
No, I was locked in.

Robbie:
You know what? Maybe that was me backing myself into a corner to make it happen.

Renee Macartney:
Hey.

Robbie:
Hey.

Renee Macartney:
Hey.

Robbie:
I just thought of that now for anyone else listening if they’re like, “Why the fuck did he do that? Maybe that’s a good reason why.”

Dan:
And so I suppose now that you’ve come back to Axon, obviously all the paperwork got squared away in the end, but-

Robbie:
Paperwork has been signed.

Dan:
… now that you’ve come back to Axon, I suppose you’ve come back and you’ve left a relatively very junior organization where we’re still sort of figuring out our intricacies and ways of doing business too, some thing that has been somewhat formalized now over the last 18 months that you’ve been away from the organization. What’s some of the biggest differences that you’ve seen and what have you been experiencing now?

Robbie:
That’s a great question.

Renee Macartney:
Honestly, my first day back in the office, I was a bit overwhelmed because I just wasn’t used to so many people. I wasn’t used to the whole new process. There was three build support girls, there were four property specialists, there was a whole bloody marketing team. There’s a podcast. Do you know what I mean? Coming in, I was like, “I’ve missed out on a lot. And even though I do know, I mean, at least half the team pretty well, I’m a bit nervous that half the other half might not like me. I was really, really nervous because I was the new kid again, regardless of whether I knew RT or Dan or Tam or Stickers, like I was the new person again.

Robbie:
Dave Simpson for those who know.

Dan:
And it was funny because I know from my perspective, I’m like, “Yeah, Renee’s coming back. She’ll just slot into the framework. She’s always been here like mentally in my mind.” But then flipping it to the other side, all these new people that have come, they’ve never met Renee before. They don’t know what they’re in for, by the way.

Robbie:
They don’t. They do now.

Dan:
But Renee was turning up as basically the FNG, but also the old hand as well, that joined Axon originally, formally before Simo did.

Renee Macartney:
Yes. And I still hold that over his head.

Dan:
Yes.

Robbie:
Fucking jube.

Dan:
So that would’ve been a very interesting… How did you sort of treat that? Did you have that consciously in your mind that you were coming to meet new people, as well as having to nurture this other thing over there as well?

Renee Macartney:
100%. And I told myself that I need to make a conscious effort to not just banter too much with the people that I do know. Like I need to involve myself with the people that I don’t know yet, because they are my team as well. And as nerve-wracking as that was, because I didn’t want people… I was a bit worried people would be like, “Oh, she’s been here before. Oh God. She’s obviously come crawling back.” Or something ridiculous like that. So yeah, it was really nerve-wracking but Noah on my first day I’ve never met Noah and she comes running up to me like, “Renee!” in a beautiful Brazilian voice. And I’m like, “Oh, hi.” She gave me a big cuddle. And it was at that moment. I was like, “I’m going to be fine. These people are great.” I mean, Dubs is okay, but no love. I love everyone. And just seeing how much Axon has grown is unbelievable. And it makes me so proud as well, of Axon. It’s come such a long way.

Robbie:
That’s amazing. And of course you’ve built two houses under your belt now. So this is my first little chat that I was having to you like, “Oh, but haven’t really done the build support role before.” I’m like, “You have. You’ve done it as client. You know what it feels like to receive the slab claim. You know what it feels like at the fixing coaching call when we need to get your insurances and your property management and all that sort of stuff sorted out, come near end of the build. Even though you’ve built two houses and gone through that process two times over, how’s it now on the other side of the fence, and now you’re being that coach and guide and mentor during the build process for the clients?”

Renee Macartney:
I think I told you this in my first week, RT, but even though I’d been through the process a couple of times, I never realized how much work build support do. The amount of depth they go into, all the liaison between the builders, from the builders to the building inspector, to the property managers, we do so much work that the clients would never know about. And that’s like-

Dan:
Well, you never knew about it until-

Renee Macartney:
Exactly.

Robbie:
That’s the whole point.

Renee Macartney:
Exactly. I never knew about it and I love it. I absolutely love it. It’s been awesome. It’s been an awesome role, but yeah, I was very nervous about doing the role because Jano, just… You don’t want to disappoint Jano. You want to do your best for her because she’s amazing.

Robbie:
Well, that’s good. She probably built 150 houses whilst you were gone.

Renee Macartney:
Oh yeah.

Robbie:
Thereabouts or certainly a lot of them in process anyway. So her levels of experience would’ve gone through the roof you would’ve seen. Dan and I have certainly evolved over the time as well. And Simo is just Simo. What about what you’ve experienced with Tamara? Isn’t she a wonderful leader? Hasn’t she really-

Renee Macartney:
Tam? Oh, my God.

Robbie:
… because she was really, she wasn’t on the side back then, but it was still very much, it was Robbie’s business. His mate, Dan, was working with him. She was just helping out. But that ain’t the case anymore, is it?

Renee Macartney:
So yeah, before I left, she was really just running marketing stuff. She was still doing her thing, but I’ve come back and she’s just grown so much within her confidence as being a leader as well. And within her knowledge of the business and just listening to some of the things she comes out with, especially on the Facebook Lives now, you’re like, “Fire out, Tam, you’re a boss.”

Robbie:
She knows everything.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. And she’s grown so much. And I have loved coming back and comparing the Tam that I worked with before and the new Tam now. Yeah. She’s amazing. She’s done real well.

Robbie:
Yeah. I know. She’ll be really happy to hear that. What else? What advice would you give somebody that’s thinking about getting out of the military? They probably have not. Because there’s hundreds of people that get out of the military every month. That’s my guess.

Dan:
It’s a belter question to be talking about from a transition perspective. Yeah.

Robbie:
Yeah. What would you tell yourself now? So you had a month off, probably scared shitless, had your soft landing with us, went and did your PT stuff, had to pivot because of COVID, went into a government job. Didn’t like it, went into a bit of mental health spiral yourself, still dealing with your injuries no doubt. Now you’re back home.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
What are you going to tell yourself, Renee, who’s thinking about getting out of the military?

Renee Macartney:
Firstly, if you’re thinking about getting out of the military, then that’s a sign in itself. And I think if that’s what you’re thinking about, it’s time, you just should do it. And then what I would say to me is everything happens for a reason. This is the next step for you. Everything is going to be okay. You just got to follow it through. Everything’s going to be okay.

Robbie:
I love that. I just heard you sigh over there in the background, Dan. If you’re thinking about getting out, that’s probably a sign that the time is right for you now.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Yeah. That was really powerful.

Dan:
It’s just one of those things. If you’re thinking about doing something, it’s time start executing it.

Renee Macartney:
100%. Yeah.

Robbie:
And I’ll be… Would you agree looking back plan now on plan early, put steps in place.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Your separation happened quite swiftly. Not on a path of your choosing. And those few weeks where you didn’t have a plan and you didn’t have a job and you didn’t have a future and you were wondering what the fuck is next, waiting for all the DBA paperwork to bloody finally kick into gear. It’s a horrendous time for everybody. I had about a three or four week period as well until I was able to get my paperwork signed for the role that I took up straight afterwards. Even though the conversations were taking place, until you’ve sort of got that. Even if someone makes it an announcement on Facebook Live, you’re not working there yet.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. That’s right. You still haven’t signed the paperwork.

Robbie:
So I remember exactly what that’s like. So yeah, certainly little bit like a monkey swinging through the vines. Don’t let go of both vines at the same time. Have a plan in place. Get something under your belt and plan, and plan early.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah. 100%.

Robbie:
Yeah. That’s certainly something that I remember.

Renee Macartney:
And be okay with the unknown. So my biggest thing was I was so terrified of what I didn’t know what, what was going to happen with my life. I was bloody 22 or maybe 23 or something. I was so bloody young. I know a lot of people going through their discharge and stuff are a bit older, but don’t be afraid of the unknown because there’s a reason why you’re leaving and the next thing’s going to come up for you. So yeah.

Dan:
Bloody hell. What a phenomenal story. And for those of you who have just been listening to it through the podcast, wherever you get your podcast from, go back to when Renee was sharing the story about her injuries because Renee, it must have taken certainly some courage. And I know some time has passed, but for you to be able to come here and share that story, which is obviously still somewhat raw under the surface, even though you sort of were very stoic in the nature that you sort of put forward there. Thank you very much for coming and sharing that, mate. I know it’s going to certainly empower someone else that’s out there going through a similar circumstance to know that it’s going to be okay at the back end of it.

Renee Macartney:
Yeah.

Robbie:
That was a belter podcast. Fucking great. Thank you so much.

Renee Macartney:
No worries.

Robbie:
See you guys later.

Renee Macartney:
Thanks for having me.

Robbie:
See you next time.

Dan:
See you guys. Bye.

Renee Macartney:
Bye, Felicia.

 

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