With the changing age profile of teachers in Australian schools, considerable numbers of experienced teachers need to feature as educational leaders, before their workplace knowledge and expertise are lost to schools with retirement. Stereotypes of veteran teachers depict individuals, wearied by decades of work experiences, entering professional decline when educational systems need these experienced practitioners to remain connected and motivated in their work. This study explores the careers and contemporary professional lives of experienced practitioners - predominantly classroom teachers - currently working in a school with a long standing commitment to student-centred education. The factors that influenced career pathways and affected engagement with their work are identified from the rich work stories of the lived experiences of the teachers. Critical incidents in the teachers' careers and professional lives are discussed in relation to the theories of motivation and the nature of their workplace. A serendipitous outcome of the study was the benefit participants gained from reflecting on their careers which contributed to the teachers' enhanced professional identities.