One week before I handed in my dissertation in August 2012 at The University of Edinburgh I began to panic. This panic was not fuelled by the upcoming due date that had been looming for upwards of four months or the stress of working part time while trying to craft a behemoth of an essay on dystopian literature. I was panicking because I wanted to stay in Edinburgh and the only way to do so would be to get a full time job.
So I decided to take a morning away from writing to start my search. It seemed a futile effort, what the job market being quite poor and the ever present question of “what do you do with an MSc in English?” stirring at the back of my mind. I also possessed the secret hope every English graduate has, which is brilliantly depicted in the comic below. However I soon found a posting for the role of Games Coordinator at Fettes College and suddenly it clicked. I always had a feeling I wanted to work in education and my previous experience with school sport made this role an obvious choice. So I then spent the afternoon completing my application and submitted it later that day, only to return to writing my dissertation that evening. Two weeks later I had an interview and at the end of September I started my new role. The best part? I was able to stay in Edinburgh.
Working at Fettes College was an amazing experience. My role was a new creation, so I was able to shape the role into what it exists as now. I gained so much valuable experience in my two years and four months there, doing everything from administration to web and communications management. I even helped plan a rugby tour to South Africa, which I eventually accompanied as Tour and Social Media Manager. I was very lucky to work among amazing and inspiring people with incredible passion for sport and education and I am extremely pleased to have begun my career there. It will always be a time I look upon fondly. I mean, it’s an extremely rare opportunity to work somewhere that looks like this:
Let me rephrase that. It's a very rare opportunity for a Canadian to work somewhere that looks like that. Everything is more impressive in the UK. It's a fact.
Although my experience at Fettes was incredible, I knew I wanted more for my future career. I learned that although I do quite enjoy organizing people and programmes, I am more suited to something that allows a bit more creativity in my day to day because organization is just so natural to me – it’s mindless. While at Fettes, I especially enjoyed the opportunity I had to manage their web content and social media. Although this was a temporary role that I did alongside coordinating the Games department (I had ALL THE JOBS), I was keen to incorporate some of what I did into my role when I returned to Games Coordination full time. So I continued work on the Fettes Sport Twitter and developed all web content for Sports at Fettes College.
With my visa’s expiration date looming I often mulled over what my next step would be. Getting in to school administration again would be easy, but I had a feeling that whatever my next move would be would have a hand in defining my long term career. So I thought bigger and asked myself some questions.
What did I enjoy most about my previous role?
Social media and web communications, as well as working in the education sector.
What do I especially enjoy doing when I am not at work?
What do I want to learn in my next role?
Brand marketing and more about the finite aspects of social, ie SEO & analytics.
So I began to look for roles in digital marketing and social media. I knew this career shift could be risky but I was in the fortunate position to be living at home and not having to pay rent at 25. This meant that I could take the time I needed to find something I really wanted to do. The ironic thing is that I didn’t really need that time.
Since moving back to Toronto on January 2nd my life has been an absolute whirlwind. Although “tsunami” may be a more appropriate metaphor in this case.
When I moved home my biggest challenge was facing a life that was completely uncertain. I hardly knew what I would be doing the next day (other than searching for jobs), let alone in a month’s time, so it was hard to get motivated. Regardless, I woke up on Monday morning with the very modest goal of applying for one job that day: if this was going to be a long process I was going to take it easy at the start.
I quickly found a job that I was keen on applying for but the closing date for applications was that day. But it seemed perfect. The role was Social Media Community Manager at a small, start-up digital marketing agency with a focus on the education sector. It was exactly what I was hoping to do so I quickly crafted an email and sent my CV through, knowing that applying last minute was a long shot, but I couldn’t let this offer pass me by.
Tuesday morning began like any other day, but soon I was at the start of a very exciting journey. After a Skype interview that day and then two further rounds of interview questions throughout the week I was offered a job at Splash Effect on Friday and I was to start on Monday morning.
It took less than a week to land my dream job.
I feel like I must say here that I am not bragging in any way. I am extremely fortunate that somehow I found this posting when I did and that the folks at Splash, my colleagues, thought I would be the right fit. It’s crazy. Insane. Unheard of, even. But I also know that a lot of hard work went into preparing for this job search (crafting my CV, consolidating my online presence, & building a website – some of which I may talk in more depth about on this blog). Some things just work out and I am so happy they did.
My first two weeks at Splash Effect have been amazing. Firstly, the team is one of the most passionate and enthusiastic group of people I have ever met. They truly believe in what they have set out to do and they have clear goals in place and plans to get them where they need to be. It is going to be an exciting year for Splash and I am so inspired and excited to be a part of it. I am also thrilled to be a part of a small, curated team within the startup community at Project OWL. All ideas have a place and the linear structure of the team has made it very easy to integrate and learn more. Startup culture and the flexible style of work is certainly an adjustment from the standard 9-5, but I feel it works with my working style. I kind of feel like I am back in my uni days but getting paid for it. The dream, man, it’s the dream! I am also very excited to start working closely with our clients, ensuring we create and cultivate thriving online communities for some great educational institutions in the city. Splash Effect is more than just a digital marketing agency as well. We have a number of side projects on the go and I am looking forward to get involved with those as I begin to get settled into my role. I have already had a number of ideas for our amazing blog Year/One and I am eager to put pen to paper.
I am also currently enrolled in the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Foundations of Social Media Course. I found this course and its corresponding certificate last Autumn when I began thinking about what I would like to do when I came back to Toronto. I was enrolled before I got this job at Splash Effect, but it will surely assist in my education in the world of social media. I am so happy to be learning again – both in class and at my new place of work. There is just something about a classroom that motivates and inspires me to learn.
Overall, 2015 has proven to be an amazing year and I know it is only going to get better. I am so inspired to get this year truly started that now to think I was once dreading this year is incredible to me. Now, let’s do this thing. Let’s make a splash.