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On Working In an Industry Not Related to My Degree

Monday, September 10, 2018
(Grab a cup of tea, this post's a long one!)

I've been a university graduate for just over two years now and, if you would've asked me back when I was studying what I would be doing in 2018, I'm positive I wouldn't have said that I'll be working in marketing.

The reason why is because, up until 2016, my plan was to study English Language and Literature, graduate with a good grade, and then do my PGCE and become a primary school teacher. That was my plan.

In reality, the expectations of a primary school teacher just aren't for me. And while I applaud all those that do teach, in my heart, being a primary school teacher is not who I am. It took me a long time to realise that teaching wasn't for me because I thought if I don't teach then isn't my degree wasted?

I considered other levels of education, teaching secondary school, college or even university, but I was intimidated by the thought of it. When I graduated in 2016 with first class honours and top of my class, it was evidently the best feeling ever; I'd set myself goals, I'd worked my butt off and I achieved them. However, as many graduates will probably know, having a degree doesn't guarantee you a job and, even more depressingly, having a degree and experience doesn't guarantee you a job, either.

The job market is a tough nut to crack. The memes shared by student Facebook pages are endless of the battle between having experience to do a job, but having a job to gain experience, and it's certainly true that students don't have it easy when they graduate. For as long as we can remember we've had our hand held, by teachers, careers advisors, and tutors to make decisions that, ultimately, were in their best interests, not our own. Choosing where to go or what to do after graduation is difficult, and at a time that everyone seems to have something lined up, it feels discouraging when you can't say the same.

Marketing was something that I had never, ever considered as a career. To me, it was all numbers, having a product and selling it. I didn't like the idea of being a salesperson or having to hit targets, and that's what I initially thought marketing was. I therefore got into marketing by somewhat of an accident. After my dissertation was published on the English department's website, my university's Communications Officer reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in having an article written about me and my dissertation. Of course I said yes, thinking that the experience would, at the very least, be good to include on my CV.

One interview and photoshoot later, my article was published online on not only the university's website but also in the local press too. I remember being in Florida at the time and how excited I was to finally see it published. When I returned from Florida, I started studying for an MSc in Human Resources, a subject that I had no passion for, but what I thought would land me a good graduate job. Not long into the masters, I realised that this wasn't what I wanted to do; I missed the creativity offered to me throughout my English degree, but, at the same time, I needed to pursue an avenue that would lead somewhere (i.e. lead me to a job). I kept thinking about the article when my mam encouraged me to contact the university's Communication Officer and ask if I could shadow her for a short period of time. She replied instantly saying that I could, and we arranged a date for me to start.

Fast forward a couple of months to the end of spring 2017 (as this blog post may never end!), and I completed a short, unpaid internship in the university's press office, and I was in the middle of another short-term internship at a PR agency based in Sunderland when I was offered a job as a 'Content Assistant' at an organisation in Gateshead. The job would have me doing everything that I did while at my unpaid internships: write blogs and articles for websites and draft press releases. Pretty simple, but I was absolutely over the moon to have landed a full-time job where I got to use some of the things I learned during my degree.

I've been at the same organisation for almost a year and a half now and my role has developed dramatically. Within a few months at the organisation, my job title changed to reflect my role more accurately. From a 'Content Assistant' I became a 'Communications Assistant' which I held for a couple of more months until, once again, my role changed (the beauty of working for a small company!). Earlier this year, I was promoted to the 'Marketing Lead' which is an incredibly varied role but one I absolutely love. The job incorporates everything that I love to do, and I'm fortunate that the organisation I work for is so incredibly interesting that no day is ever dull. While I'm still writing, editing and proofreading work, what I learned and what I got from my degree has no relation to what I'm producing every day as a Marketing Lead. I've had to learn a lot of new skills on the job, whether that's using social media for business, or analysing data in Google Analytics and Data Studio, or cracking the mystery that is SEO.

I loved my university experience because I was always learning, and I've found this, too, in marketing (I'm sure the same can be said in many other professions). The industry is always changing, trends come and go, and staying ahead of the game is a challenge, but an exciting one.

Though I may only be at the start of my career, I feel excited about where it is headed. I mentioned in my August reflection post that I had some good news to share which is that, later this month, I will be starting a new job as a Marketing Executive for an organisation which supports entrepreneurs across the North East of England and I can't wait.

Note: This post was hugely inspired by What Olivia Did's 'A Life In Work' post, available to read on her blog. Also, while this post is quite personal I'm thinking of writing a more generic, reflection piece on life after university in the upcoming future. We'll see...

About August...

Thursday, September 6, 2018

It's crazy to think that we're now in the ninth month of 2018. Where has this year gone?

August, much like most of 2018, flew by, though it was marked by an incredible holiday. At the beginning of the month, we (as in me and David), visited Rome for the first time. We spent a week in the eternal city except for one day we spent in Naples. We visited in peak tourist season and experienced 30+ degree heat every day while we were there (and yet I have no tan to show for it!). Needless to say, we drank a lot of water (Rome's free-to-access, safe-to-drink water fountains were amazing) and ate a lot of carbs. In Naples, we ate authentic Neapolitan pizza which was David's favourite, whereas my favourite food from the trip was a vegetarian lasagna from a tucked away pasta restaurant and takeaway near the Colosseum. We hit all the major landmarks while we were there, both of us amazed by the Trevi fountain and the Colosseum, but we also took a bus out of the city centre to visit the Catacombs of St Callixtus and what an experience that was.

I could go on about the beautiful paintings in the Sistine Chapel, or the impressive sprawl of ruins that is the Roman Forum, but to continue, August has been a unique month. Both David and I have had some great news come our way which I will share later in September. We're still working on the house, but in August we finally got around to buying and fitting the hallway lighting, ordering the carpets for upstairs, and progressing with the garden. We only moved in last December, and it'll take a while to get the house how we want it, but we're getting there slowly but surely.

In August, I also finished a book which I haven't been able to say in such a long time. I'd purchased Matt Haig's Notes on a Nervous Planet after spotting it in my local Sainsbury's. The concept instantly appealed to me, especially when I flipped through and saw Matt's reflection on his experience with panic attacks. Throughout the book, Matt reflects on the unhelpful habits we've all developed including our reliance on social media. In September, I hope to 'switch off' a little bit, to be more present, and to spend my time wisely rather than wasting it by spending hours scrolling through feeds and dashboards, looking for nothing in particular.

The First Post

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hi, welcome to the Little Blog of Eve! Named after our cockapoo puppy Evie, this blog will cover everything from home decor to puppy updates (pupdates?), great reads and travel diaries, and everything in between.

So, the crucial part: the about me bit!

The pup of the hour, Evie
'About me', 'introductions', 'meet the writer' (and whatever else they're named!) are always the most difficult things to craft... In a nutshell, my name is Amy, at the time of writing, I'm 23, sitting on my sofa in my first home, and Evie is snoozing around my feet. I'm an English graduate currently working in marketing with a passion for travelling and reading, and I love fluffy dogs with floppy ears. Little Blog of Eve will hopefully incorporate all of my passions in one place.

If you got to this point, then thanks for reading! If you want to keep up to date with me while the blog officially launches, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter...