Big Fish vs Small Fish – Who Would You Rather Be?

big fish vs small fish

I was absentmindedly scrolling through my Twitter feed last week and read a comment that at the time didn’t strike a chord with me. But over the next few days I couldn’t get the comment out of my head.

The comment was in relation to the PR industry and I can’t remember who said it or tweeted it but it went a little something like this; “I’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a tiny fish in the ocean that is London.”

This struck deep with me as in less than 100 days (AGGH!!) I will be making the big move to London to work in PR for 14 months.

It got me thinking about life in general and this well-known saying about different sized fish in different sized ponds.

Related: My Placement Year in London


It’s all well and good making a name for yourself in a small town and being successful but what if you could be a big name in a city like London? London may be an ocean, but someone has to be the whale among the fish – why couldn’t it be you?

To me, the comment made seemed to say that they wouldn’t attempt PR in London, that there’s too much competition. But in my head, I strive for competition. I want to compete. I want to be up there competing with the best of the best so that I can perform at my best.

The PR industry in London may be cut-throat, ruthless and hard work but life is hard work. Wouldn’t you rather go to the capital and say ‘I tried’ rather than ‘I wonder if I would have made it?’

As the great Chris Martin once sang, ‘If you never try, you’ll never know.’ And he’s right. We could spend our whole lives being comfortable in our little town, in a little office, making the local newspaper but there’s so much more out there. You need to put yourself out there.

The size of the pond shouldn’t matter as you should strive to be the big fish wherever you are. Although, it’s good to experience being both. Being a small fish you are constantly learning, taking risks and gaining new skills and experiences. Being the big fish you are leading, passing on your skills and experiences to others and bettering yourself in the process.

Related: Five Ways to Overcome the ‘Embarrassment’ of Putting Yourself Out There

big fish vs small fish


Everyone has to start somewhere, and when I first move to London, I’ll be that tiny fish in the ocean of London. But with time, experience, hard work and most importantly, making contacts, by the time I leave I want to be a name that a lot of people know.

I may be 19 but I want to be the best at what I do, and I can’t approach London with the mindset that ‘There’s too much competition, I’ll never make it, I’ll never be good enough’. With that attitude you may as well give up before you even start.

I know there are people that just don’t like city life, or love the small town that they live in and never want to leave but to me it’s baffling. There’s a whole world out there with so many people to meet and learn from.

I’ve always seen myself as a city girl, first Liverpool, then London, then hopefully Dubai/New York/Anywhere.

Related: How and Why I Moved to New York

There’s the saying ‘think globally, act locally’ – make the most of where you are now and make as many contacts as you can. Work your way up in your local area and you’ll soon be moving on to the big leagues.

London is swimming in PR agencies, practitioners and interns. To stand out you will need a good attitude, to work hard and put in the graft. If you want it bad enough, work until you get it.


No matter how big a fish you become, you should always keep a small fish mindset. When you stop challenging yourself and stop being curious, you will become complacent, bored and be set to fail.

Never worry about being a small fish in a big pond. Being a big fish in a small pond sucks—you will hit the ceiling on what you can achieve quickly, and nobody will care. Optimize at all times for being in the most dynamic and exciting pond you can find. That is where the great opportunities can be found.” – Marc Andersson

Life begins outside of your comfort zone and you need to throw yourself in at the deep end to see if you float or sink.

Here’s hoping I float.


A recent graduate of Business with Public Relations from LJMU, Orlagh works in the influencer marketing industry and has just returned to the UK after spending one year working in New York City.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram


  1. March 16, 2017 / 11:41 am

    For the record, the quotation was from Michaela Biscomb’s blog post highlighted by me last week.

    • orlaghclaire
      March 16, 2017 / 11:51 am

      Thank you Richard, was hoping I would find the source.

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