If I were 22: I’d eat more cake!

10 Jun 2014

I am not too far over the peak which was 22, but I think in the few years since I have graduated it is amazing how much I have learnt. I went to university with the ‘old-school’ school of thought that, with a degree, anything is possible. Well not anything, but you would be much better off and likely to get a better job as a result.

I studied Animation and Design for my degree, managed to score a first class honors and felt like my knowledge of the design world was really quite something and I would be a ‘real asset to any company’ – as I kept writing on my many CVs I’d send to people! As a fellow Linkedin member states, I too was ‘hit with a cold dose of reality’ when I graduated.

I could blame it on the job market, the location I was living in, or many other factors/excuses, but the cold hard reality was I may well have been nicely qualified in that specific area of design, but really without any proper experience, how much had I really learnt and how much would an employer really be convinced of what I could bring to the table?

So, after 8 weeks on the dole applying relentlessly for a job (and to be fair watching a lot of CSI, Jeremy Kyle, and The Sopranos) and 2 nights working on the bar in a club between 8pm-6am, I landed a nice job at the lovely art gallery in Newcastle called The Biscuit Factory. Debatably this wasn’t the artiest job as I was a waitress in the café. But, I did slowly but surely over the 2 years with them, progress from Café Assistant, to Gallery and Events Assistant to Event Coordinator and Artist in one of the exhibitions there, so I think I did ok.

From my experience at the gallery I learnt a lot of practical skills like how to bake a delicious coffee and walnut cake, how to display artwork nicely, and how to organise a wedding from scratch. But I also learnt/improved on some real life skills, like how to interact with different people, how to keep my head up and be confident in my own abilities, and that, however much you think you know everything, you really don’t! That last lesson is really the most poignant. Life is an education.

After working at the gallery, I then had another short encounter with a café job, but then managed to get a job working for OpenCRM. I have worked in two roles whilst here and have found both extremely challenging and therefore brilliant for job satisfaction. Every day I learn about 5 new things, with the help of colleagues, Google, and our handy FAQs section in our CRM system. 

I think this is a very common thing that, as people get older, they realise, in life you never stop learning. That is, in my opinion, essentially what makes working life interesting and most days exciting.

As John F. Kennedy said in his 1962 speech about sending a manned mission to the moon “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

So to summarise what is now becoming a very long post: If I were 22, I’d probably tell myself to just crack on with what I’m was doing. “You can do it!” is what I would tell my 22-year-old self, and perhaps watch less Jeremy Kyle and definitely EAT MORE CAKE! Well why not!