Photo shot in Canary Wharf by Marianne Olaleye – my home away from home
What was your dream job when you were younger?
I wanted to be an actress. I would spend hours every day learning scripts in my room, reading up on prospective agents online, and practicing my Oscar speech that I was obviously bound to have to give one day. It was written in the stars. Once a week I would take musical theatre classes, and at least twice a year I’d perform on stage with my parents watching in the audience. As you can probably already tell – things didn’t quite work out as expected. I sort of stepped away from that dream after two terrible years of GCSE Drama; instead, I turned my focus to things I knew I was better at – school and being creative. This led me to attending a world class university, opening my own webdesign shop, and eventually led me to where I am now. Right now – I work full time in investment banking, and part time I blog and create everything you see here. A little bit different to the dreams I initially had.
I didn’t necessarily know I was going to start my career in investment banking before I had almost started my career in investment banking. At the LSE where I studied people tend to either do banking, consulting, law or professional services. Looking at the list, I thought banking or consulting sounded pretty cool. There was a banking application that was closing in a few days, so I filled it out, and secured the internship. A couple years later, and a few internships on, here I am.
On September 12th, I would have been working for a whole year… which is crazy! This time last year – I was really scared to start working full time. It literally felt like it was the beginning of the end after spending 21 years chilling aside from a few months each year of stressing over exams. A year later – I can say a lot of things have changed. As well as just learning about the technicalities of my job – working has shaped me in more ways than I previously would’ve anticipated.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned after 1 year of working…
1. I pay more attention to detail
One of my weak points has always been my lack of attention to detail – and this is one factor that is extremely important when you’re a number crunching and hours churning junior in any team. Whilst I always have put in 100% on any piece of material I work on – be it a blog, an assignment at university, or a presentation at work; once I was done, I would suddenly become very lazy when it came to actually checking my work. Aside from in exams – I’d end up just scanning my eyes over things and only learn in hindsight that a piece was ridden with mistakes. This is something I really had to work on when I started my job; whilst I’m not perfect – I’m definitely a lot better at spotting mistakes and the little things than I previously was – as tedious as it can be to have to do this. It isn’t only at work that I’ve improved in this area. I now find myself scanning over blog posts more, to make sure they’re perfect, and even double checking e-mails to brands/PR companies rather than just sending them off as soon as I’ve written them, which was previously the case. Even when it comes to photos – I notice little things that I previously wouldn’t have. Be it a crinkly shirt or a product that hasn’t been presented well as it has already been used – I am able to pick out factors that make whatever I submit a lot more crisp.
2. I know more about world events that impact us all
I can’t say I was a biggest follower of world news before I started work. I’d definitely know about any big events – and turn my TV on for very major events – but more often than not, I was kind of in my own little bubble and not looking too deeply into many things. However, with my job now, I actually need to know about what’s going on in the world to do my job well. Why? Because it impacts our clients, it impacts their decisions, that means in impacts us. Not only that, but I can now evaluate how these things affect us and our everyday lives, and even share a cheeky opinion. It’s just the little things, but even when I wasn’t doing this, I knew it was something that would one day be important to do. Makes thing a lot easier when having to do this is in my job description!
3. My life has way more structure
In university my life was an unstructured mess. I’d wake up when I felt like it, attend university when I felt like it, and just sort of take things as they came. I could decide I was going on a night out at 10pm, I could decide I was travelling out of the city a few days before jumping on a train, I could decide I wanted to take the day off uni – I could do whatever, whenever really, because that’s the life university gives you. However since starting work my life has become a lot more structured. I wake up in the morning on the weekdays between 6-6.30am, then I roll out my yoga mat and decide which part of my body I want to work out that morning using Blogilates. After this, I shower get ready for work. Breakfast? Well – on Mondays I eat omelettes. Every other day of the weekday, I load my body with poached eggs. Lunch? Probably a salad or chicken and veg. Dinner? That sometimes depends, but I’m definitely h’enjoying. On Saturdays I chill or see friends and fam, on Sundays I Psycle. On both days, I probably blog. Whilst having a structure in life is good and in many ways makes it easier for you to reach your goals as you get your head in the right place, it can also sometimes leave you feeling just a bit “meh”. Especially when you start to get bored of the structure and feel as though life is just running along a wheel. However it’s times like that I step back, re-center myself, re-align my goals, and get back on it!
4. I’ve learned more about business
In my job, we work for our clients. That means that what’s on our mind is always our clients: what are there needs? What can we do for them? How can we stay above the competition? Whilst blogging is essentially working for yourself – you still need to consider (mainly) two different groups of people if you really want to excel in this industry. One of these groups are brands, and the other is your readers. The most important – your readers. For the first time this year I defined a direction and overall goal for my blog: what am I doing and why am I doing this? I have a wide spectrum of readers – whilst most come from the U.K., I also get a good amount of readers from the US. The majority for my readers are 18-25 and female, although over this year the 25-30 bucket and male percentage has actually increased. My motto is to inspire, support and empower, be it through fashion, beauty, advice or self-motivation; now I can take what I’ve learned at work back to this blog and think about how I’m going to do this, and how I’m going to do it well. How do I keep my readers are the forefront of my activity? Considerations like this have really helped me improve my blog and quality of writing over the year.
5. My attitude has improve
Whilst I didn’t start working with a terrible attitude – it probably still could have been a lot better. I started working with the firm notion of “I’m not an intern anymore!” I was working full time – so it was as if I felt this catapulted me to a certain level/status within the firm. However, the thing is – when you first start working – you essentially are an intern all over again, because at the end of the day you don’t really know anything, and you can’t really take ownership of many pieces of work if you don’t even know off the top of your head who your clients are. It took me a while to essentially ‘find my feet’ in the firm, learn what it really means to work in a team, learn about different working styles, and essentially slot into a comfortable place. Overtime it became less of “I’m not a intern blah blah blah…” to “how can I learn as much as possible here? How do I do a good job, and take from this the best skills?” Adjusting my mindset adjusted my potential and my overall satisfaction.
Although I work in a high pressure, long hour job which can sometimes get quite stressful, I recognise that I’m still very young and just in a phase where the aim is to soak up as much knowledge as I can and excel as much as I can in anything I choose to put my mind to. Working has developed me as a person and even fed right the way through to improving my blog and other business opportunities I am currently pursuing.