It’s been a while since I wrote something personal. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything of value at all.
Aside from the books I’ve been reading and the concerts I’ve been going to, I haven’t really sat down and written something that I’ve been pondering about or feeling for quite some time.
I’ve been toying with the idea of writing this blog post for a while, but given that my recent job change has surprised a few people, I thought I would jot down my thought process behind the move and talk about my career ideas for the future while I’m at it.
Let’s go back to the start
Let’s start at the beginning, since it isn’t really that long ago.
I started my Business with Public Relations degree at Liverpool John Moores University back in 2015. I didn’t really have a clue what public relations was, but the course description sounded interesting and I had spent three days at a fashion PR agency in Belfast a few years previous and enjoyed it, so here we were.
I’ve written a good few blog posts about my course, so I’ll add them below.
- How I Found Public Relations
- What It’s Really Like to Study PR
- Three Things My PR Degree Didn’t Teach Me
During my university course, I decided to take a placement year and secured the best placement year I could have ever imagined, in London. Again, I blogged about my entire year in monthly instalments which you can read here.
This was my real introduction to public relations and influencer marketing and what solidified the career route that I wanted to take. I was obsessed with my job and even on the weekends, I missed it. Yes, what a sad little life Jane, but I really did love that job.
I had great managers and mentors and let’s just say the perks weren’t too bad either.
After my placement year, it was back to complete my final year of studies in Liverpool. During my second and final years, I was also working part-time in internal communications, which I enjoyed, but didn’t love as much as media relations and influencer marketing.
Related post: Saying Goodbye to Internal Communications and Birkenhead
By the time my graduation rolled around, I was having many mental breakdowns about what I was going to do with my life and what my next career step would be.
Related post: A First Class Degree and Now What?
Around June/July, I was down to two options: go back to my placement company, or move to New York for a year.
As you can expect, I couldn’t say no to living and working in New York for a year, and this is where I ended up after graduating.
Related post: How and Why I Moved to New York
The Big Apple
Without a doubt the best year of my short-lived life, I spent 12 months in New York working for a financial company, where my job title was Influencer Marketing Associate.
However, as you might be able to imagine, it was nothing to do with the kind of influencer marketing I was used to.
The ‘living in New York’ was the best part of my year in the US, but not so much the job side of things. The company, my team and my working hours/workload were great and there was definitely nothing to complain about there, it just wasn’t stimulating enough for me.
So when I arrived back in the UK after my year was up, the company wanted to keep me on and working remotely from the UK. And since we were bang in the middle of a pandemic, I definitely wasn’t going to say no.
However, another six months went by and I was close to pulling my hair out as I wanted to get back into the real world of influencer marketing as soon as possible and back to feeling excited and interested in the work I was doing.
The idea of quitting
When I say I was pulling my hair out, I was constantly having an internal battle with myself about my career, where it was going and what on earth I was doing with my life.
I was walking around the Liverpool docks during lockdown listening to endless Gary Vee podcast episodes, going back and forth about just packing it in and quitting my job because I couldn’t wake up another morning and dread opening my laptop to do the work.
But someone (boyfriend) kindly reminded me that I had rent to pay and that while I was still earning money, to look for another job during my free time. So I logged on to LinkedIn and saw that a top influencer marketing agency were hiring and I applied.
It seemed like exactly the type of job I was looking for, back working with influencers, working with big-name brands and for the first time, I would be working for an agency, which would be good experience to have.
The same day I applied, I scheduled my first interview for the next day. After my first interview, I scheduled my second interview for the following day. After my second interview, I was offered the job five minutes later.
The next day, I handed in my notice and prepared to start my new job back in influencer marketing and back on the career ladder I had hoped to be on when I graduated. The internal battle had ended.
When it’s the perfect fit, but also isn’t
What I loved most about my job in the influencer marketing agency was that I was bloody good at it.
I was great with agents, with influencers, at getting good fees for content, at meeting deadlines, at getting influencers locked in at the last minute, for meeting targets and for getting content turned around in rapid time.
Every time I was able to do the impossible, every time I met my targets, every time I received great content or a lovely email from an agent, I felt so good. I felt good about my job, my ability, and I felt like I was made for influencer marketing.
So why did I leave after seven months?
Agency life isn’t easy, let me tell you. It’s very fast paced, and honestly after three months of working there I felt like I’d been there for three years. You get thrown in at the deep end and it’s hard work, but it’s also very rewarding.
However, the good feeling I would get when I managed to secure a last minute influencer at 5.30pm on a Friday after having someone drop out last minute for content going live on the Monday would come after feeling extremely stressed beforehand.
And due to rapid turnaround times, stress was a common theme throughout my time in agency. It did often feel like the entire campaign rested on your shoulders and after spending a lot of time working on my mindset, what I want in life and how I want to live my life, stress was not something that I wanted to experience every day.
Being busy with different campaigns for different brands all at the same time took away a part that I loved doing, and that was finding and discovering new influencers to work with.
I think another factor that helped in my decision was working from home alongside my boyfriend. The mr. earns about triple my salary, but starts and finishes his work on time, doesn’t complain about his work, is very rarely stressed and enjoys it.
Whereas I was sat alongside him at another desk working overtime, stressed to the high heavens, and when I wasn’t working, I was definitely talking about work and thinking about work.
At 24 years of age, I didn’t want to be this stressed as surely it wasn’t going to get any easier from here on out.
It was time to look for something that would give me back some work/life balance.
The in between
Once I had settled a little bit in London and was coming towards the end of my campaigns, I started to have a nosy online at what was out there.
I came across a job for an influencer marketing executive at a company that was a direct competitor of the client that I had been working on since I started at the agency. It was like it was meant to be since I enjoyed working on their campaigns the most and with the influencers in that niche.
During the interview process, one thing that they really emphasised was their value for work/life balance. It couldn’t have sounded more perfect – that and the half-day Friday’s every week!
When it came to offering me the job, they actually wanted to offer me the more senior position, and so my title is now Senior Influencer Marketing Executive. Already, it was showing me that this company was going to be a great place to work.
It’s been six weeks here already and so far, so good.
Know your priorities, know your worth
I would say my priorities have changed over the last few years. I value my time outside of work and enjoying myself. Work shouldn’t take over my life, but I should also enjoy it enough as I’ll be spending a lot of time doing it.
My projects outside of work like this blog, my podcast and other things took a bit of a backseat this year as I simply didn’t have the time. One of the key things I liked about my new job when applying was the flexi-time (being able to finish earlier in the evening) and finishing at 12pm on a Friday, meaning I can work on my side projects or go and get my nails done if I like.
I feel like I have my life back with my new job, I don’t have to worry so much about getting stress lines and I have a full night’s sleep without waking up and thinking about what I have to do the next day or worrying if someone has replied to my email.
Sometimes as a young person you feel like you need to be working every hour that God sends, doing the most that you can, and then some. But not any more.
I don’t know if it was the pandemic or just my generation in general, but attitudes and mindset towards work has had a huge shift. More and more young people are working for themselves, and if they are working in the corporate world, they won’t be long in quitting and finding another job if they don’t like the one that they are in.
The great resignation
There have been a lot of articles surrounding the mass exodus of employees over the past few years and companies have had to change their thinking about the young people that they employee.
Since we’ve been working from home for the past two years almost, ping pong tables and bean bags in the office just aren’t going to cut it any more as a perk.
We have realised that there is no longer an actual need to work in a physical office. At times, it may be required and it is good for teamwork and morale, but no longer does someone have to waste two hours of their life commuting every day, spending £10 on trains and lunch, and waking up earlier than they would like.
Now that we can work from home, spend no time commuting, spend no money on travel and spend more time at home with family/kids, employees want to keep this perk and have had a rethink about what they value and prioritise in work and a job.
If they can’t have the things they’re looking for, they will leave. There are a lot of places hiring right now, plus they’ll keep looking until they find the right fit for themselves.
Staff turnover seems to be at an all-time high right now with people switching jobs and careers quite frequently. There no longer seems to be a ‘job for life’ as my parents both have, but instead it seems that I will probably have no less than 12 or more jobs in my lifetime.
No, it won’t look bad on your CV
Why? Because the CV is dead.
Just kidding, but I do also believe that the CV is on its way out. We’re soon going to be living inside that episode of Black Mirror where our value and worth is based on our social score. Like if Uber ratings were made for every day people and the guy in your corner shop could give you a rating, along with your barista, your hairdresser and anyone you come into contact with.
Oh, and an extra point for every follower you have on social media.
Personal branding is such a huge thing, but now more than ever. With all of these social media apps and the generations coming through that have been online since the day they were born, getting a job in media is going to be hard work if you don’t have your own social presence.
Related post: Why You Need to Think About Your Personal Brand
Employers will ask why you left a company after a short amount of time, yes, but they will be more interested in what you’re going to bring to their company. What skills do you have, what experience have you gained that will improve their company and what career path do you see for yourself at their company.
On the move
Employers know that you won’t be sticking around forever. It seems the average person stays at a job for two years in their twenties before moving on somewhere new.
Some fear that we become stagnant if we stay at a job too long and stop learning. Maybe we crave some excitement with starting something new every few years.
But also, I’ve heard a few times that the average person earns more by moving around jobs than by staying in one place since they expect a pay rise with every new job.
I’ll report back on that one in a few years’ time if I happen to move around again, but for the time being I’m very happy where I am.
What do I want to be when I’m older
I’ve written about this more times than I can count, and have had multiple breakdowns by thinking about it too much, but I cannot say for certain that I will be doing the same job and working in influencer marketing in ten years time.
Related post: What Do I Want to be When I’m Older?
We could all be living in the metaverse by then and working for Zuckerburg, who knows?
There are many things I want to do and be in this lifetime and I probably don’t have enough time to do them all.
What I do know is that I can’t predict the future and how the world will change, only that we all have to adapt and change with it.
More than likely I will be working in a job that doesn’t exist today, in 10 years’ time.
But for now, it’s sticking with influencers and social media.