Has your career gone in the direction you expected?
I graduated from university 11 years ago this year and if you had asked me back then what I thought I would be doing now you probably would have heard me say that I would be working as an Account Director at a Marketing Agency. Reality is, I now work alongside my dad as a VA and bookkeeper. I’m sure you’ll agree this is a slightly different path?!
During the first few months of starting Vine I questioned whether this was the right thing – I was completely changing what I knew and what I thought I had wanted and at times I felt like I was taking a step backwards in my career, comparing what I was doing to my peers I felt like I wasn’t achieving what I should be. When I stopped and took a step back, I thought about all the things I used to want to be – a marine biologist, a lawyer, a physiotherapist, a dragon in the circus (best not to ask too many questions about that one!). What I ended up with was a degree in Marketing and Management – I’m quite a creative person, I liked business studies at A Level and my family and family friends were nearly all involved in the corporate world so it seemed logical that I would follow that path.
What I realized over time, and especially after life took an unexpected turn in losing our mom, was that I wasn’t a corporate person – I don’t really like office politics, I’ve never liked the stress of managing people and I don’t really like wearing a suit! Why was I trying to keep up with what I thought I should be doing? Yes, it paid well, I felt like an equal with my peers and it looked good on my CV, but I wasn’t happy.
Doing what I do now might not set the world on fire and in the early days I almost felt embarrassed to say what I was now doing compared to what I had done but now I see that this is the right path for me and here is why:
I never get bored – every day is different. Being a VA doesn’t mean that I’m picking up people’s dry cleaning, it means that I am working alongside business owners who need support. At times those tasks can be as simple as managing a diary appointment but then there are the times where I get to help with strategic business decisions, create marketing plans or provide guidance based on my own experience
I have the power to choose when and how I work – My hours aren’t Monday to Friday 9 to 5 – sometimes they are less, sometimes they are more, but what I have now is the flexibility to live the life I want to. To help my family, to pick up my nieces and nephews from nursery and school, to make a birthday cake – all the things that after suffering a loss become a lot more important than a job title to talk about at dinner with friends
It’s what I was always destined to do – as a child two of my favourite toys were my office and my post office. I would spend hours organizing paper work, filling in bank paying in slips, stamping and filing things and pretending I was important on my mom’s old type writer, so actually my love of being organized (and organizing other people) and doing administrative tasks goes all the way back to before school - I even found a photo of me opening my first office at Christmas!
So, it might not be glamorous to some, it might not be what I expected or what other’s expected of me but who cares?! I’m loving every minute of it and that’s what’s important.