Behind-the-Scenes: A Journey down My Career Path so Far
My career series is something I love to run on this blog and after reading the results of my reader survey, I'm glad to be able to continue it. So when I saw this post from Anna, one of my guest posters, about her career journey, it instantly inspired me to write about my own.
I love hearing about a journey that someone goes on, especially when it comes to their career. It’s such an important part of my life and I understand the feeling of wanting to grow and develop yourself as you progress through different jobs.
When I left university four years ago, I went sideways with my career. It was a very confusing and difficult time for me – it wasn't until last August that I finally started moving upwards. Now that I'm turning 25 this year, I finally feel like I'm on track and I'm excited for what’s to come. But I will also never forget the journey that I’ve been on over the past few years. And I felt like this would be the perfect thing to share with you today.
As a child, my mind was set on two careers - a teacher and a singer. My mum worked in a school so I grew up around that environment, and every Friday night, I’d sing along to Top of the Pops with my karaoke machine.
When I was at school, I liked most subjects. I especially loved English and it turns out that writing become my true passion. But funnily enough, what I do for my job today, I didn’t get taught in school. I never thought of myself as the creative type and I believed that for a long time.
When I wanted to study Drama, English and Media at Sixth Form College, my parents thought they were the perfect subjects for me. But the outside world believed that they weren’t “proper” subjects, and an A Level in Media Studies wouldn’t get you anywhere.
But I did them anyway and in 2009 I went to Lancaster University to study Linguistics and English Language. I learnt a lot, but it was actually my time on the Student Union as a Magazine Editor that made me realise what I really wanted to do – create magazines.
After a difficult time during my third year, I graduated with no plan. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I moved back home and found some freelance work to tidy me over. My confidence was shattered. But somehow, my family convinced me to follow what I loved and I enrolled on a Masters course at the University of Central Lancashire in Magazine Journalism. I started in September 2013 – and on my first day I met Tom. We’ll be celebrating our three year anniversary this September.
Today, I am a 24 year old Marketing Coordinator and part-time blogger. Here’s a deeper look into the jobs that helped me get there.
The Fashion Shop Girl
At 15/16 when I’d finished my GCSE’s, I got my first job at New Look as a Sales Assistant. It was my first job (in a clothing store!) and I loved it. For three years, I used and abused my 50% discount card and became the Head Assistant on the floor I was working on, where I also trained two new members of staff who ended up becoming really good friends. I still chat to them on Facebook from time to time.
As my first job, it was fantastic. But my university work and extra-curricular activities meant I couldn't do all my shifts and had to go down to 4 hours a week. Soon enough, I realised I could do without it and handed in my notice in the December of my first year at university. Handing that discount card back over was very tough!
After my shop girl days were behind me, I realised during my degree that I needed some extra experience. I contacted a friend of my mum and ended up getting some writing work at a website called Blog Preston. I had a Skype call with the editor about my experience and he believed in me enough to give me responsibility over an entire section of the website. It was brilliant to add to my CV and gave me so much valuable experience.
After I’d graduated from university and come out of the dark place I was in, I contacted as many publications as I could in the North West. Thankfully, a magazine called Live Ribble Valley got back to me and I started freelancing for them earning about £50 an article. I had to follow a creative brief, learn how to interview and write it up. I also had to do a lot of driving and some of the lovely clients gave me a few freebies too!
Funnily enough, the editor of the magazine told me about how her daughter did a Journalism course at UCLan – that was the push I needed to enrol on it myself.
During my Masters, part of the course involved doing a placement that we had to organise ourselves.
This was like a dream. I’d been reading glossy magazines since I was 16 and now at 22, I was getting the chance to go and work for one!
I contacted loads of magazines including Company, Woman & Home and Elle, because that was my favourite and still is. In the end, Look magazine said they’d be more than happy for me to do an internship with them. So I packed up my bags and moved down to London for just over a month to work for them.
It was unforgettable. The building itself was enough to make me feel like I was in The Devil Wears Prada! The team were lovely, I was able to get involved in everything and I even had my work published. That was definitely a proud moment!
The E-Commerce Assistant
I got my first full-time job as an E-Commerce Assistant at an online home retail company two months after I finished my Masters course. It was a great first job – but a terrible commute. I didn't want to carry it on, so when a recruitment agency said they’d found a job for me in a town closer to home, I took it.
The Stepping Stone
That turned into a job at a Digital Marketing Agency as an SEO Content Writer. The months I was in this job were some very hard times. Long story short, it just wasn't what I thought it was going to be. So I did the work, got the company some fantastic results and got out.
I was in that job for four months, then in March 2014 I moved to another Digital Marketing Agency. They sounded brilliant and I thought I’d really be able to make an impact. Unfortunately, the job was much more digitally technical than I thought and I knew it wasn't for me.
When I was at my lowest and about to give up altogether, my mum saw a Temporary job being advertised for a Marketing Assistant at the sixth form college where I did my A Levels. I went for the interview and left my job a week later.
The Marketing Coordinator
And now we come to my current job. As a temp, my line manager told me they would be advertising for a permanent member of staff and that I’d be able to apply if I wanted to. I did and I threw everything into it. I had to do a design task, presentation and an interview – then I got down to the final two. After my second interview I drove the fifteen minutes it takes me to get home. As soon as I pulled up my drive, my phone rang and I was told I’d got it.
Did I ever think this was the job that my education and career path would lead me to? No. When I was younger, did I think I’d be working on things that didn't even exist yet, like social media and SEO? No.
But I love it. It challenges me, it pushes me and I know I'm valued. I’ve got responsibility, I work in a brilliant team and every day is dynamic and different.
If you want to find out a bit more about my day job in marketing, I did a scope on it which you can watch here! I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Let's chat in the comments about your career experiences - how have they helped you to get to where you are today? What were your best and worst jobs?