It was the wizarding world that first sparked my interest in writing, and was really the very beginning of my career story.
At school, we were reading the first Harry Potter book as a class but I always sped ahead by reading it at home every night.
I loved reading, but there was something special about the world that JK Rowling built that really piqued my interest in being an author.
Going through both primary and secondary school, I was always good at English. Never ~the best~, but good enough to get an A in English Language and a B in Literature. Grades aren’t the be all and end all, but doing well in English meant a lot to me as I started to make my decisions about college.
Heading off to college wasn’t the happiest time for me. My parents uprooted our family so I moved away from all my high school friends. I remember the tantrums I threw and the rebellious acts that took place as a “fuck you” to my parents for doing this terrible thing to me. But really, ultimately, it was the best thing for me.
I came out of college with an A Level in Literature and Language (and a couple of other A Levels, including General Studies, lols). I think I got a B in Eng Lit & Lang overall. Hardly top of the class, but by this point, I had decided I wanted to be a magazine journalist. So, off I headed to the University of Portsmouth to study an accredited course in Journalism and Media Studies.
Watch out [insert popular female journalist]! Here I come!
Yep, I really didn’t, and still don’t, know any prolific journalists with footsteps to follow in.
But that’s OK, because I decided I hated the idea of being a journalist about 2 weeks into my degree. While I was studying to pass a law and ethics exam, I was seeing the world of journalism ignoring those very laws and ethics all the time.
Yes, it’s mostly the tabloids that are to blame, but in the age of the Internet, it was clear that newspapers and magazines were desperate to cling onto their audiences.
So there I was 2 weeks into a three-year degree realising that being a magazine journalist just wasn’t for me. My career story was about to start a new chapter.
I can’t remember exactly when I jumped on board the idea of working in digital marketing, but being an avid social media obsessive became my new calling.
In my second year, I got a job working for a small startup doing their social media. We would all cram into the dining room of a townhouse in Southsea and dream of big ideas around a seed subscription box.
The business owner has since gone on to do much bigger and better things, but for me, it was a great stepping stone towards realising that my love of words didn’t need to mean I had to be a journalist at all. That my career story was far from over.
The rest of my time at Uni was balanced between my dissertation, lectures, going out and working graveyard shifts at the local cinema. Sometimes, I’d get home at 3am and have to be up and at my first lecture for 9am. No shame that I would often get into bed still in uniform, stinking to high heaven of popcorn, nacho cheese and despair.
When I graduated, I took on a Christmas temp role at Waterstones. Man, I loved that job. Chatting with people about books was a dream. But then a digital marketing job caught my eye working for a local theatre managing their website and social media. I couldn’t resist that.
I remember going to the interview straight after my shift – I changed in the staff room and speed-walked to the theatre. Knowing me, I was probably incredibly early and had to awkwardly kill time before going in.
That job both made me and broke me. I had one of my first panic attacks because of that job (or rather, the boss). I also learned an insane amount about marketing – both online and offline. I don’t regret the stress I went through there, even working until 10pm one night to submit an application for arts funding. Definitely not in the job description, but certainly character building.
I stayed at the theatre for 18 months. I decided to leave after the stress was too much, and the job was too generic. As a charity, I knew I had to muck in and do more than on the piece of paper that sold the job to me. But all the “extras” were starting to stunt my potential to grow.
Ooh, time for a cliff-hanger!
When I started writing this, I didn’t realise how bloody long my career story so far would be. Hopefully, you’re finding it interesting and haven’t fallen asleep though?
So this is the part when the Eastenders “doof doofs” come in (genuinely tried to Google how to describe that). Tune in next time to find out about the job that killed my creativity, and how I scored a job working for a global brand…