Friday, 24 June 2016

COMPLETING MY DEGREE: A YEAR ON


I love a good throwback via Timehop or Facebook's 'On This Day' and couple of weeks ago, marked one year since I completed my BA Marketing degree and had my first day of freedom and so much has happened in that one year both positive and negative.

I completed my degree with a Graduate Digital Marketing Executive role waiting for me after graduation so I took the few weeks in between to have some 'me' time, relax and explore some more of the world. I'm a sucker for travelling, so I jetted off to Orlando, Miami, Vegas and Canada for three weeks. Whilst I was in Canada my University results were released and I was awarded a 2:1 (slightly gutted after getting a First in my dissertation but proud of myself at the same time). By this time I was excited to head back home for graduation which in itself was an incredible experience.

Unlike a lot of my friends I couldn't go out and get merry the night of graduation, I had to celebrate sensibly with my new career starting the next day.

Up bright and early for an 8am start, I arrived at the VictoriaPlum.com head office and instantly felt like it was a role I was going to love. After a few weeks of meeting and getting to know my peers I soon settled in. Along with myself there were three other graduates, each working in different areas of digital marketing. As much as we interacted with each other every lunchtime I felt like I wanted to delve into different areas of the business, get to know what they did on a day-to-day basis and try that area myself. I did eventually get that opportunity but it wasn't in the best of circumstances. The company began to struggle and it was all hands on deck in terms of my role. The atmosphere changed in the office and I went from working on two channels to helping out with SEO, PPC, Content, Social and anything else that needed a hand with. I enjoyed this aspect of the role because I was then able to try out different areas of all things digital to get a real taster of what the Digital Marketing world was all about.

Prior to the struggling times the whole job was going really well - to the point where I thought I'd treat myself to a brand new car. On the morning of the 30th September I had a phone call stating the my car was ready to collect - how excited was I?! I was soon to be knocked back down a peg or ten when I was called into the office of the Chief Marketing Officer after lunch to be told then and there that redundancies were being made and I was one of the 'unfortunate ones'. I was absolutely heartbroken. I was in a graduate role, I didn't think things like this could happen in a scheme for graduates. If you've ever suffered with panic attacks, you can imagine the state of me that afternoon. I was literally sent home and told to only come back in to collect my belongings.

So, that was the end of my dream of getting a fab job straight out of uni and all of the experience to be successful in the field. Not just the end of a dream, I physically felt like they had been crushed. It was horrible. You hear of redundancies but this isn't something a University tells you is a risk when you enter a graduate role.

For the following month I spent day and night searching for jobs, I was adamant that I wouldn't go back into a shop role and that I wanted to continue to find a marketing job, I love the subject area so why wouldn't I want to go to all of my efforts to find a new career and that's exactly what I did.

I unfortunately had to go on 'dole' for a few weeks. An experience that I would never, ever like to repeat. I've never been made to feel so low and rubbish about myself and made to feel like my qualifications were pointless. I hated every second of it and when I was told that I had to apply for every job there was available whether it was marketing or not, I stepped up my game.

During this time I was also involved in a car accident (yes, in my nice new car) and was left unable to drive at a time when I needed to be able to more than ever to attend interviews however, a little bit of luck was on the horizon.

After a month out of work, trekking to interviews all around Yorkshire on trains, buses and taxis with a messed up wrist and fractured ribs, I found myself sat in the head offices of Poundworld Retail on a Thursday afternoon being interviewed for a Marketing Executive role. By this time I was giving up on the will to stay in marketing, I was tempted just to go back to co-op or the hospital just so I was earning some money so that I could get off the dole and keep myself sane.

Despite feeling like I could give up, I threw all of my enthusiasm at this interview, selling myself as much as possible and it worked! I'd just gotten onto the motorway home 10 minutes after leaving when I received a phone call offering me the role and what was better? They wanted me to start the following Monday!

The rest is pretty much history, I have been given the responsibility, trust and credit that I thrive on and have been able to explore my ideas and put them into practice with the backing of my fantastic colleagues and manager. Having started the role back in November, I settled in pretty quickly, getting on with my work and meeting new friends. My year wasn't over though and I had another spark of bad luck in the middle of December when I suffered with a minor stroke whilst sat in the office. For me this was pure hell. I spent a week in Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, 50 miles away from my family and friends. I then wasn't allowed to drive for a month but I was eager to continue working so I begged to be allowed to work from home which luckily I was able to do.

I took the next few months pretty steadily and enjoyed a relaxing break in March. The start of 2016 had been a good one and I'd managed to fully recover as well as excel in my work tasks from home. Landing back in England, I was actually looking forward to going back to work and I came back into the office with good news waiting for me.

It was the beginning of April and I had been promoted to Marketing Manager, overseeing all of the marketing for Poundworld's B2B company, Discount Wholesale and I couldn't have been happier. I thoroughly love my job and I have spent the past 8 months commuting 500 miles per week. Yes, I'm committed.

I have further committed myself to the company by moving to West Yorkshire and with that I have met a personal goal of owning my own home. I've worked hard and I am extremely proud of what I have achieved after a really bad 2015. What's next you might add? I'm due to start my MSc Digital and Strategic Marketing Post-Graduate Degree at Leeds Beckett University in September...all I can say is I'm so bloody excited to learn more and throw my knowledge into a career which I have already fallen in love with. 

So, moral of the story, I was absolutely devastated at the time of losing my first job but thinking back now it was possibly the best thing to have happened to me. Everything happens for a reason and I certainly believe in silver linings - if things don't go right for you, don't EVER give up.


2 comments :

  1. I'm so proud of you, you're doing amazing things and will continue to do so! :) congrats on your new home too!

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