My little sister also writes a blog. Her’s has a wittier name. But she’s definitely got the edge on crazy ;-)
Dear Blog, I have been away a while. Very naughty of me. Have been living the life of an unemployed loafer for 4 weeks now.
1. The Jobcentre is the most depressing place I’ve ever been
2. The people who work at the Jobcentre are rude.
3. Hampstead Bathing ponds are beautiful - though has resulted in an infected nose piercing
4. Having too much time on my hands to think and ponder has turned me into a Grade A Mentalist and the boyfriend may well be running for the hills as I type
Anyway, in the meantime I have been doing some work experience with the rather fabulous Sally Bedwood of Bedwood & Friends. No ordinary recruiter, Sal’s aim is to actually help the right people find the right job…..a bizarre concept these days! First off she will meet you for a coffee to get to know you, see where you are with your career and if she can be of help or advice. No hard sell.
Having spent 12 years working in an advertising agency as a producer and then in ops, Sal knows her stuff. She’s straight talking and doesn’t take any crap, honest and up front, and seems to know EVERYBODY. She concentrates mostly on delivery recruitment, though she has a friend who she works closely with on account management and creative recruitment.
Basically, if you want to find a job in advertising, as a producer, project manager, or in delivery then Sal is the person for you.
Friday 15th July = Mega Stress Day
In typical form I was offered the Online Marketing executive job. Had a very nice conversation with the MD, and was sent a formal letter. I said I needed to think about it…… this was a seriously difficult decision to make: on the one hand I had an offer of a job that was secure, well paid and would give me fantastic people management skills (always a good transferable skill) I also had a chance to take an entry level marketing position.
There’s no doubt I want to work in a creative job, but I wasn’t sure that this was the right job to do this, and if it was the wrong job then I would be in a financially unstable situation.
Was I better off taking the management job and continuing my research and quest from a position of strength or was that selling out? Angsty conversations with my soon to be ex-boss, my friends, my parents and boyfriend and I had to make a fast decision. I decided that I was making a decision under immense pressure (one day left until signing on the dole) and not in a considered timeframe and completely sure that this is what I wanted to do. I am not afraid of a challenge or taking a risk, but I also didn’t want to jump at the first seemingly creative job offer that came at me out of desperation. On analysing the position with a marketing friend we came to the conclusion that the role didn’t really suit my strengths and wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in, and further conversations with the wonderful Sally compounded this. I had to send a tricky email explaining my decision - and haven’t actually had a response to it……hmm.
So where now? I have a job in August hopefully (still no formal offer). Facing three weeks of unemployment.
ArtyFarty Friend #1: Social Media Whizz and Director of Teaspoon Events, a bespoke events company based in East London
What have you been doing since you graduated?
When I finished my MA at the Courtauld I got a part time job as a nanny so I could afford to intern in museums and keep myself afloat whilst I looked for a full time job in the artworld. I interned for a year at the V&A and did some other stints at the Maas Gallery and Leighton House Museum. I enjoyed interning and was lucky enough to find positions where I could get a lot of great experience. Eventually, I got some paid work at Leighton House Museum and was able to work on some amazing exhibitions. I was completely unable to find full-time work though - after years of slogging away and hundreds of interviews it started to get incredibly depressing…..the work just wasn’t out there.
How difficult did you find it as a postgrad looking for work in the creative artworld? What advice would you give someone?
It’s incredibly difficult and it’s only going to get harder as the cuts kick in. Unpaid internships (they generally don’t even pay expenses and there’s no guarantee it will lead to paid work) are easy to come by, but can be quite exploitative and you might spend years photocopying! Unfortunately they’re really the only way in. Networking is also essential - if you know the right people, it’s a lot easier. There really is no easy answer: if you’re passionate about it, you just have to keep trying.
Why did you decide to set up your own company?
I needed a break from job-hunting in the art world - I wasn’t getting anywhere and thought a chance would do me good. I’m looking for a part-time arty job so I can keep in the game though.
What do you love most about what you do now?
Oooh, lots of things. We hire out vintage china and traditional wooden garden games and use them for our events, so my job essentially involves collecting pretty vintage china and playing games! I also love how much working in events involves interacting with people: I was dong a lot of research work for Leighton House Museum and all the time I spent by myself in archives and libraries could get quite isolating. Now I spend all my time on the phone talking to suppliers and clients. The challenge of doing something completely new is also great - I’ve learnt so much in the past few months.
How do you employ social media in your business?
We use Twitter and Facebook and blog on our website. It’s a great way to announce new products and keep people informed about what we’re doing. I also use Twitter as a soundboard for ideas and to find new suppliers.
What effect has Social Media had and how has it influenced your business?
It’s definitely helped us grow, we’ve got new clients through Twitter - people recommending us on Twitter has lead to a couple of bookings for hen parties, we’ve also got some press through Twitter!
Check out my fabulous friend’s entrepeneurial companies -
Two interviews today - drained like an empty mollusc….
Job Interview #7: London Bridge
Role: HR / Supervisor
Waffled my way through various competency questions (‘describe a time you solved a conflict etc’). Had the job offer within 2 hours of leaving the interview - that has to be a record. Incredibly flattering but being pressured by the company and recruiter (not Sal of course!) to give an answer first thing this afternoon.
Accept a well paid job that will pay the bills and ensure I don’t end up on the dole, not where my heart lies or what I want to do, but maybe I am just bloody lucky to have been offered a job at all and should stop fannying around? Or hold out for something better (but less well paid!)
Well….. I went straight on to
Job Interview #8: Farringdon
Role: Online Marketing Executive
Salary: not so amazing but to be expected when making a career change!
This was a second interview to meet the MD of the company. It lasted 1.5 hours and seemed to go well, lots of discussion about the company itself, what the role entails (extremely numerical and analytical as well as creative and strategical) and then I was questioned quite extensively on what I thought about certain online marketing channels, what I would do, any suggestions, my thoughts on the current East London artworld (…!) and more.
I also got a chocolate mini roll, to eat or not to eat? Stuff face with chocolate and risk spraying the interviewer with crumbs? Or politely leave it sitting there torturing myself, obviously I ate it, crumbs and all.
Don’t find out until Friday about this job. Pressure on to make decision on the offer. ARGHHHHHH
Talent isn’t much without passion…
Passion isn’t much without a lucky break!!!
This couldn’t have been more fitting for me recently…..
Choose your way…
Media Friend 4: Senior Account Executive for a PR Agency specialising in the voluntary and public sectors
What does an average day entail?
There is no typical day for me! If we’re working on a media campaign I’ll be phoning/emailing journalists selling in the story to get coverage. I have regular contact with our clients to get all the information and resources we need and to make sure they’re happy. Sometimes I’ll get in touch with people who benefit from the charity/organisation to see whether they’d be willing to be ‘case studies’ to help illustrate the need for a particular service by speaking to the media or appearing on the organisation’s website. I write press releases, case studies, put together feature packages, help with strategic planning. If we’re going for a new business project, I’ll help write the proposal and take part in the pitch.
What advice would you offer someone looking to start in your industry?
A degree in communications/PR would give you useful background knowledge, but for employers work experience is essential. Do an internship to see whether it’s the right industry for you and then make yourself indispensable!
How did you get into what you do?
Through speculative applications and internships.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Still working in the Charity Sector!
What’s the best bit about your job?
Getting to meet the people who benefit from the charities we work wit/ There are some fantastic small projects out there run by unsung heroes who give everything to help other people. I find them truly inspiring.
What’s the most embarrassing to have happened to you at work?
Without doubt, splitting my trousers whilst bending down to pick up samples getting ready for a press day whilst working in fashion PR! Luckily we had a whole showroom of clothes so I was able to borrow a pair!
Job Interview #6: Account Executive at a Digital Advertising Agency
Cost: £2.90 tube fare, 30 minute walk home
I was so nervous about this interview I managed to absent mindedly eat a whole pack of Haribo Strawbs and entered a sugarhigh for the 30 minutes preceding, during which there were no less than 5 outfit changes and frantic messages sent to friends asking for opinions.
Off to a less than desirable start. Arrived in a bit of a flap having got lost coming out of the station and consequently sweating and red in the face (this was mostly due to severe sunburn from weekend activities in Cornwall). The interview was informal and relaxed, my interviewer spent most of it reclined on a sofa talking in a laidback fashion. This almost made it harder! I had been expecting ludicrous questions such as ‘How many petrol stations are there in America?’ or ‘Tell me what I’m thinking’. Thankfully none of this, but the informality, whilst great almost made it harder for me to be as enthusiastic as I could be, I felt kind of insane or manic to start harping on about how much I want to work in the creative industry when my interviewer was lying on a sofa….
I left with an overall feeling that whilst it hadn’t gone badly, it also hadn’t gone as amazingly as I had hoped and intended, and I didn’t sell myself half as much as they would want. (Cher song springing to mind)
Is it keen or crazy to email afterwards excitedly shouting ‘please give me a chance!!! I promise I’ll be worth it’
Walking home to Hackney from Camden I had a difficult conversation with Job Interviewer #4 explaining I didn’t think the role was right for me at the moment. Had to follow this up with the embarrassing question about my jacket that I’d left there and when can I come and get it…..These things only happen to me