My Career Journey So Far - Soph.

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I always knew that university wasn't for me. When I got to college and my tutor was asking me to apply for university, I straight up told her that I didn't want to go. I told her that I already had a plan to go into employment and was searching for traineeships instead. My college was having none of it, and due to my 'predicted grades', I was told that I would have no support searching for an alternative, as it was college policy for me to apply to university. And so, begrudgingly, I did.

I applied to study accountancy at 5 universities - choosing which ones to apply for depending on which ones looked the prettiest on the internet. I didn't step foot into a single university campus and instead, I focused my time on doing my own research into apprenticeships and traineeships.

I sat and searched through which accountancy firms in the UK provided the relevant training programs and would put me through my professional exams whilst working, in order for me to become fully qualified. I spent hours researching the companies and filling out application forms, and in the time that I'd received my UCAS offers back, I'd applied, interviewed, and received a job offer from a huge corporate accountancy firm to start in the September of that year.

Needless to say, I took great pleasure in sitting with my college tutor and declining each of my university offers in a total 'I told you so' way. And actually, I was pretty proud of myself. I knew what I wanted and I'd worked hard, and completely by myself, to get it.

September rolled around, and while all of my friends headed off to uni, I headed off to the office and was thrown into a world of meetings, clients and business dresses. You're not treated as a 'trainee' in these kind of programs, you're a full-time member of staff and it was intense and hard. 14 hour days trying to pick up all of the office and client etiquette, de-code the corporate and technical jargon to understand even slightly what the hell was going on, as well as just trying to get through each day doing my job.

And it didn't stop there. I'd get home and have to use my evenings and weekends studying and revising for the professional accountancy and tax exams - if you didn't pass, there was a chance you would lose your job, so no pressure there either.

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Fast forward 3 years, and I'd had my blog for a year or so and was loving it. I was 21 by this time and was quite the different person to the timid 18 year old that had nervously rocked up at the office on my first day. I had learned so much, not only the technical stuff relating to my job, but life stuff, too. I'd moved into my own flat after a year, was more independent than ever and was really starting to realise what I wanted.

I was spending more time working on my blog than I was studying for my exams, which was obviously becoming a problem. I'd get to work every day completely demotivated, as I'd realised that I didn't want to be a part of the corporate world anymore. I didn't 'fit' into this industry either. I was learning that I had different values and priorities to those of my managers and the partners, and I really didn't belong there.

And, as I got more creative with my blog, I dreamed of having a more creative role. All of my friends had grad jobs in media or similar, and I wanted to do that too. By the Christmas of 2015, everything had become unbearable. I cried at work at least 3 times a week, and was utterly miserable. I knew that I had to change something and do something about it.

So, the first week back after the new year, I handed in my notice. I didn't have anything else to go to but I'd saved up for a little while to enable me to effectively have no job for a few months and still be able to cover my rent and living expenses. From the second my manager accepted my notice, I broke into the biggest smile. It was the biggest relief and weight lifted off my shoulders, and while the future was quite obviously uncertain, I felt happier and better than ever.

I spent every evening after that searching through websites and applying for jobs and, on my very last day in the office - quite literally as I was walking out of the door, I got a call inviting me to interview for the job application that I'd wanted the most. It was in radio, which I already knew a little about as I'd made a friend in the industry a few months befor. The role just perfectly matched my skill-set and I just had a good feeling about it.

Two weeks and two interviews later, I was offered the job and it was the best feeling ever. The risk had paid off and for the first time in a while, I was excited again about my career and the future and I couldn't wait to get started.

After just over a year in this role, I received a message on LinkedIn inviting me to meet with another radio company based in London. They wanted to meet with me and talk about the potential of me taking up a job with them - I was unsure at first, as it was London and it would mean moving my life 200 miles down south by myself, but I was curious and agreed to head down for a day.

By the end of that week, I was offered the job. It was a huge promotion and step up in my career and I would've regretted not taking it. While this was clearly a good thing, I was devastated to have to leave my job as I absolutely loved it, I worked in the loveliest office with the two best bosses ever. I cried for about a month, but I knew I had to try this new adventure.

And now, we're here. Since moving to London, things have been hard. Trying to get used to the culture in the city has been hard, but the job has also brought more challenges than I expected too, but everything is a learning game, right? I may only be 23 but I'm now the Enterprise Digital Services Manager for a pretty big company, and despite all of the ups and downs, I'm pretty damn proud of myself.