I’m guessing that today is the first day “back in the office” for the vast majority of you and depending on how much you enjoy your job that means you are either a) fed up that the holiday season is over and considering a career change or b) looking forward to the opportunities and challenges your chosen vocation will bring in 2012.
I’ve never talked about my “day job” (if ever) on RMW as I don’t think it’s particularly relevant to weddings and frankly, when there’s a whole lot of pretty to share and the main aim of these pages is to provide you with some much needed escapism, the last thing you want to be faced with is the monotonous witterings of a part-time bloggers nine to five.
However, if your answer to the above question was A and definitely not B I thought I’d share a few words of wisdom* and for those of you that have ever had a cringe-worthy experience in front of your boss, my own embarassing tale will make you feel that little bit better. Or at the very least give you a laugh…
Adam and I know each other because we work for the same business, a successful software and web design company in the West Midlands that specialise in E-commerce. At the grand old age of twenty five and having been made redundant, I was determined to bag myself a cosmetics buyers position at Boots. I was down to final interview stage when an old family friend passed my CV on to aforementioned software and web design company and trying to be sensible and not swayed by the potential of being able to spend thousands of pounds of someone else’s money on lipstick (I know – what was I thinking?!) I decided to go and meet with the Head of Marketing reference an Account Manager position they had available.
As soon as I walked through the door I knew I was supposed to work there. It was a bit like walking into the W-day venue you eventually pick or the house you buy – there are, when you think about it, lots of reasons that swayed your decision but ultimately it was just because you knew.
This came as a surprise to both my friends and family.
“So let me get this straight – you want to give up your dream job of surrounding yourself with make-up on a daily basis to working in a barn full of blokes and computers?!”
And yes I did. Because here was a company that had been started by a bunch of risk-taking entreprenuers that had an idea, threw their heart and soul into it and were making huge waves in their Industry after just five years of trading. I figured if I was going to learn and progress I may as well join a company that had big plans to evolve – I wanted to join them for the ride.
And Jeez what a ride. I was thrown in at the deep end without so much as a pair of inflatable armbands. I was managing the accounts of some major bank owned organisations and for a while I was way out of my depth, I knew plenty about eyeshadow but practically zero about the internet so I had to learn as much as I could and as fast as I ruddy could, there was a substantial amount of flying by the seat of my floral panties as it were.
I liked my job. Sometimes the travelling was tough (and I’m not talking glamorous first class type travelling here I mean a bumpy BMI flight to Belfast at 6am in the morning). I worked hard. I did well. I had a decent salary and a fancy company car. I worked with some great people. I loved the relaxed wear-what-you-want vibe and the feeling of being appreciated.
Then I planned a wedding. And wrote about it on-line.
And I realised that I really missed being creative and as much as you can be good at something and like it, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be your whole future.
So I founded Rock My Wedding. Didn’t have a scooby how it was going to pan out although I could obviously envisage the potential. Fast forward twelve months and I was basically doing two full time jobs, and what with my ‘regular” role not being regular hours I was teetering on the edge of burn out and not doing either as well as I should.
So I approached my Managing Director with a role within the company that didn’t exist but that I could see they desperately needed. And the best woman for the job? yours truly of course. A kind of PA to the MD, HR administrator/assistant/recruiter hybrid… which at first was met with much bemusement but eventually after some negotiation was accepted. I took a significant pay cut. But did manage to keep the fancy car (if you don’t ask you don’t get right? – that’s my motto anyway.)
It meant I could plan my week better. It meant (at least at first) I could have some kind of social life and spend time with Mr O’Shea. What I didn’t expect was that I would like this job as much as I did – pay cut and all. I was able to be involved in board meetings, find out how a successful technology company was run, what made it a success, the inevitable mistakes that were made and how they were put right. I was able to work along side a team of directors that had made a company go from being worth minus 50p to hundreds of millions of pounds in just under a decade.
I loved the adrenalin rush from having so many things to juggle at once, I loved the pressure and the deadlines and the fact the Marketing department I was located in was like a marginally smaller version of Heathrow – i.e. often a wee bit insane.
And at the beginning this insanity was great, until it um….wasn’t.
There is after all only so many things a person can do at once.
Picture the scene, Bat Out Of Hell is belting out full pelt from the design area speakers which is situated in the room above, the reason I can hear it so clearly is because there is a spiral staircase that goes directly into Marketing – i.e a great big bloody hole almost directly above my head. The graphic designers are going back and forth between both rooms on a fairly regular basis, not using the stairs like most people but the handrail – choosing to do so by sliding down on their backsides. And no, thank the lord I wasn’t responsible for health and safety…. There is also what seems to be a continual stream of people hovering over my desk and I am already late preparing an employment contract for a new Head Of Sales.
Our Finance Director is waiting for said contract, he has already called me twice and is sounding increasingly irate (at least I think he is – who can be sure when you’ve got old school rock music ringing in your ear), I tell him I will just be a few minutes and to head on over to collect.
Our FD (I feel the need to give him a name for the purpose of this tale telling – let’s call him Jeff*) ok so Jeff is standing by the printer awaiting both the employment offer letter and contract to come through, I subsequently pull up the PDF, press print and for what must have only been a nano second, bask in the relief of being able to move on to the next task.
Then I went very hot and very red very quickly.
Me (possibly with high pitched squeaky shriek):Uh Oh Jeff Um…. you don’t need that copy that is just to come off the printer! it has a um…a mistake! just hold fire a minute and I’ll correct it and print a new one right away!
Jeff: Charlotte how many times have I reminded you to proof read? honestly (actually now does look irate) you have had hours to do this already (To be fair I did but as well as the environmental distractions I was also writing a post about the importance of peach…)
Me: Um yes erm very sorry! anyway it’s fine, will be done in just two ticks no need to have a look at that copy! I’ll print this revised version off in a jiffy ….
Too late. Jeff is having a good old read whilst I sink lower and lower behind my screen in the vain hope no-one can see my horrified face.
Jeff: Charlotte O’Shea, have you offered our Head of Sales role to….. Meatloaf?
Me: Um, well yes I may have done, you see they were playing Bat Out Of Hell upstairs whilst I was typing and I may have gotten a little bit confused…
Jeff: (by now looking both irate and somewhat incredulous) You actually wrote “Dear Meatloaf we are pleased to offer you the position of Head of Sales” ….without realising?!
Me: Um… well you never know he might take it, I happen to think it’s a great place to work… (in the face of adversity tell a joke, or um…maybe not)
Jeff: (he is now definitely irate): I think you perhaps need to re-asses your priorites and in future make sure you ALWAYS PROOF READ, OK?
Jeff did eventually see the funny side, as did everyone else in the company. But he did have a point – what were my priorities? and how could I carry on working at such a pace when the result was potentially making tremendously embarrassing balls ups?
This is not the end of this story but as you are already either asleep or not reading anymore through sheer boredom I’ll get to the point for those of you that have stuck around:
January can often to be a crappy month. It’s usually grey and cold, all the festive cheer has been packed up in the loft and you have to get up early in the morning and go to work.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Your job is a huge part of your life, huge. Don’t believe you aren’t capable of doing something else because I bet you can – even if you lack of self belief/can’t see the way forward/your colleagues tell you otherwise (they are probably just jealous anyways.)
Every job has it’s plus points – even if they are difficult to see sometimes, try and focus on those if it’s going to take a bit of time for you to move in a different direction. I’ve had my fair share of mind numbingly dull/motivation crushing roles but when I look back I can see how every single one in some way or another has shaped my goals for the future, even if it’s just to highlight what I shouldn’t be wasting my time on.
Expect the unexpected. Learn as much as you can from every experience and every mistake (yes even accidentally sending a job offer letter to an ageing 80’s rock star….Proof read until your eyes hurt O’Shea!). And whatever you do, don’t treat the appearance of January as a licence for thirty one days of the blues, treat it as an opportunity for a shiny new fresh start full of hope and happiness.
And that’s all I wanted to say.
Would love to hear your tales of career changing, red-face making events in the work place or any ideas you have up your bridal sleeves to do something you love in 2012.
Big Here’s To A REALLY Happy New Year Love
*wisdom – I do not see myself as in any way wise, but I do see myself as just like any of you lovelies and sometimes it’s interesting to share experiences…especially if you can have a good old laugh at yourself 😉