In 2006 I started a part time job with a large health and beauty retailer to earn some extra money whilst studying media and communications at university. It was a till job, which I quickly grew bored of and actively sought a more productive role within the store. Before I knew it I was quickly working my way up the ranks to beauty consultant and then, upon graduation, I was offered a management position. A comfortable management position. With a steady wage. Obviously I jumped at it and I vowed that I would hunt for a graduate position in my dream job.
The thing is, I didn’t know what my dream job was. I suffer from general anxiety disorder and the level of uncertainty I felt about risking it all on a career in media outweighed any drive I had to take that leap. Two and a half years passed, I took on a new role as an account manager for a beauty counter in that same store and I was beginning to let myself settle into a mundane, routine, SAFE life.
Then I fell pregnant in 2013. I had a rough pregnancy and my health deteriorated quite quickly. My anxiety was through the roof with sales targets and frequent hospital stays and I eventually took early maternity leave. In the August of 2014 my son, Corey, was born and I think that from the minute I laid eyes on him I knew that I would never leave him in childcare to do something I hated. I returned to work just after his first birthday and two months later I quit. With no job to go to! The pressure, the aggression and nastiness from a toxic manager and the erratic work pattern were not worth leaving my son at home for and so I shoved my anxiety to one side and took the leap I should have taken 6 years earlier.
I applied for loads of entry level social media and marketing roles, one of which was a role as a social media paid intern for Yelp. The application asked for us to tell the story of why we’re applying and I wrote the most honest cover letter I’ve ever written in my life. I shared the story I’ve just shared with you and it got me an interview… And then the job!
That little ten hour internship changed my life and opened my eyes up to exactly what I wanted to do with it. I would spend my days championing small businesses from Glasgow, mostly in the food and drink industry. I got to use my creativity, find a passion for my career that had been buried by retail and I met some amazing people along the way. A community, really. That community are still a part of life even though Yelp isn’t. It was in this role I truly realised the power of social media if it’s done well. I learned how to connect with people via social media, rather than just try to sell them products. How to tell a brand’s story and really engage with the people we wanted to visit the businesses. With the guidance of an amazing friend and boss lady, my skills, confidence and thirst to develop grew rapidly.
In the October of that year I was made redundant, as Yelp pulled all marketing efforts from Europe. I was absolutely devestated. I questioned leaving that cushy job and even thought about crawling back. Redundancy had never crossed my mind in my comfy retail job, and here I was, jobless again – and this time it was out of my control. It was in those moments I realised the strength and self assuredness I had developed whilst working with Yelp. I started out on my own, working with some amazing businesses in Glasgow to help them connect with their audience on social media. I learned quickly whilst working for myself and my professional development continued at a rapid pace.
The thing is, when I realised that I was no longer anxious about my abilities, I also realised that social media was where my career lay. Working freelance is exciting and hectic and exhausting and wonderful and I’d recommend it to anyone contemplating doing it. However, with a little boy I sought a bit of stability and in February of this year I took on the role of social media manager at Blk29.
Yet again I’m in my niche, championing some of Glasgow’s most incredible food and drink businesses through their social platforms. I’m passionate about how amazing each of my clients are and want people to feel the way I do about them. Every day I work towards achieving that. I look forward to going to work every day and am filled with joy and pride that I’ve left behind a very large factor in my anxiety.
Social media has changed my life for the better in every single way. I have an incredible work-life balance, I am confident in my abilities and knowledge, I’ve met some amazing like-minded people in a thriving industry and today I’m sharing my story with you which is something the old me would never have even considered. Life is very short. Ditch the cushy job. Take whatever leap you’ve been considering because life only begins at the edge of our comfort zone.