When my old man typed up a resume and cover letter, asked if I was happy with it and handed it in to the Stawell Times-News back in 2004, I never could have imagined the path my working life would take.
Somehow I got the job as a cadet journalist and after more than four years learning the ropes, this boy from Pomonal headed to the "big smoke" of Ballarat to continue the journey.
And what a ride it's been.
Thrown straight into the hustle and bustle of a daily newspaper was a shock at first, but it quickly became something I loved.
It wasn't long before the Central Highlands Football League was thrown my way and this much-loved competition became the backbone of my working week.
Previews on a Thursday, off to a game on a Saturday for a few Cokes and a hot dog (no beers, damn it!), hours upon hours in the office on a Sunday recapping what had just happened and then it was quickly time to front up again the next week to do it all again.
It was hard work, but a bloody lot of fun.
Cricket was, and always will be, my true love from a personal sporting perspective.
As a young lad in the Grampians, I grew up playing the game almost every single day until I moved to Ballarat.
And while I'd rather be out in the middle with the whites on, I dearly loved writing about the feats of those in this region.
After the weekend, I'll be moving into a new media role with Harness Racing Victoria and it'll be no surprise to many that this industry is where I'm heading.
As the son of a punter, you're probably always going to end up passionate about the racing game. And that's the way it has panned out.
My time with this company - through the Stawell Times-News and The Courier - has just fueled my love for the racing industry and offered me so many opportunities to be involved.
I was paid to be there when Terry O'Sullivan's Dolphin Jo ran for the Wimmera in the Melbourne Cup, when Darren Weir's Puissance De Lune had his crack at the Cox Plate, when the Inter Dominion heats landed at Bray Raceway and when top greyhound Aston Dee Bee scorched to victory in the Ballarat Cup.
I've also been lucky enough to cover so much else - AFL and AFLW at Mars Stadium, cricket and footy at the MCG, an Australian Open appearance for Zoe Hives, the Australian Road National Championships, high-level soccer and golf and major basketball events - and it's such a great experience to be there with somebody in their moment of glory.
It doesn't matter if it's a local competition or one watched by millions on the international stage, the story is just as important to those involved and I've always taken that attitude when putting the words on the page.
But for all the fun along the way, there's been some parts of the job that weren't so easy.
But if you sign up to write about the news, you've got to do the good and the bad.
Truly, the most rewarding part of the role has been the people I've met and the friendships that I've made along the way.
Thankyou to everybody in this great city for sharing your story with me along the way.
- As of next week, Tim O'Connor will be working for Harness Racing Victoria.