Back in March 2017, I wrote a little blog post about different sized fish in different sized ponds. I was counting down the days until my move to London and wondering whether I had made the right choice.
Someone had tweeted that they would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a tiny fish in the ocean that is London. I had to disagree as the only way to become a bigger fish in the ocean that is London is by putting yourself out there, making connections and making yourself known. It’s not impossible to become a shark in a small space of time; you just have to be willing to stop swimming with the fish.
The reason I’m back talking about it again is because I’ve been bed-bound since Saturday evening with the mumps. My right cheek is twice the size of my left and so, not being able to leave my flat, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to watch Netflix. I finally got to the end of Gilmore Girls and it was quite weird how Rory’s situation was so relevant to me right now.
At the end of the final series, Rory is graduating from Yale (aka me in less than two months from LJMU) and waiting to hear about jobs that she had applied to. Meanwhile, her best friend Paris has so many options and acceptances and her life mapped out (aka most of my friends). Rory actually mentioned the fish in pond metaphor and it got me thinking again about my future.
If you’re wondering, Rory got rejected from the New York Times but ended up getting a reporter role on the Obama campaign trail so everything worked out in the end – which I’m hoping will happen to me. Sorry for any spoilers.
The small pond that is Liverpool
If I was to stay in Liverpool, which is a very small city, it wouldn’t take long to know everyone in the PR and Marketing worlds and also all of the influencers/bloggers as there aren’t that many that reside in the city. The only PR I could see myself doing in Liverpool is either for the city itself and trying to get as many people to come to Liverpool as possible and experiencing what a great city it is or for Liverpool Football Club (which would be a dream).
I don’t know what it is, but Liverpool is full of independents that are for Liverpool people and those that come to visit. They sell themselves in a way and Bold Street is a testament to itself in that it mainly only holds independent restaurants and boutiques.
A dream of mine would be in years to come, I could open my own agency in Liverpool with brands based around the UK or further that don’t necessarily need to be in Liverpool. All that would matter is that I am based in Liverpool. I really do think of Liverpool as my home and I think in time, I’ll come back and live here again. Or maybe I’ll venture out to Cheshire and become one of the Housewives of Cheshire but work in Liverpool. Sounds like a plan, no?
The lake that is London
After living in London for a year, I realised that London isn’t as big and scary as it may seem. I realised that most circles are actually very small and London is in no way an ocean, as someone had once described. Yes there are so many people in London, things to do and businesses but the industry that I worked in was relatively small.
The same journalists moved from magazine to magazine or paper to paper, the same PRs moved from brand to agency and with publications closing every other week, the circle started to get even smaller.
Any place you go is what you make of it. You could sit in the corner, do your work 9-5 and go home every day and do nothing more than is required of you. But what if you went to events, you reached out to people, you connected with more professionals and built as many relationships as possible? What happens then? You expand your circle, you become part of a group and you become more known.
Everybody starts out at the bottom, as a small sardine, on the bottom rung of the career ladder, but after time, experience and through making connections do we become salmon-sized and eventually the end goal being the blue whale.
The ocean that is the rest of the world
The world is my oyster, as they say. God, how many sea references can I fit into this blog post? If I really threw myself into the deep end – ok I’ll stop now – then I could move somewhere totally random and new and be the smallest fish in an ocean. But that’s ok, because life only happens outside of your comfort zone.
When I’m this age (22), there’s nothing wrong with being a no one and starting out in different cities and learning as much as I can. My current dream for life after graduation is that I’m able to move somewhere completely new (outside of the UK and Ireland) where I don’t know anyone or have any connections and build my way up. It will be terrifying of course, but that’s when we learn most about ourselves and what we’re capable of.
I don’t know how things are going to turn out in August, but I’m hoping that I’ll be where I plan on being. But if not, I have my back-up options that may still allow me to get out of the UK. But who knows, I may be destined to stay in the UK, move to London and go back to living my best life eating brunch in Megan’s on the King’s Road and getting the boat to Greenwich most weekends.
One thing you may not know about me is that I really dislike the open water. None of us know what lies beneath it and I’m petrified of falling in. But I don’t mind speaking about it metaphorically, so I hope I end up in an ocean rather than a lake at the beginning of my career and eventually turn that ocean into a pond. I don’t intend on becoming a shark, but a dolphin would do.
Don’t be afraid to be a small fish in a large pond – we’ve all got to start somewhere and it doesn’t mean that you’ll stay being the small fish forever. If you never try, you’ll never know.