By Philippa Baines
SCA is my 5th career turn in 5 years (and I’m in my mid-20s)
I was meant to be a scientist.
That was what my degree at least.
But other opportunities presented and life took me in a different direction.
I didn’t necessarily want 5 careers in 5 years, but work came and went on a temporary basis and it seems to me that this is how the world works now, (for the beginning of some careers at least!)
I’m now about to discover a new industry and I’m faced with a mixture of emotions: excitement and fear mainly. All I know is, as long as I keep transferring skills, I’ll be fine for the rest of my life.
I was set to become a biologist. I learnt interesting things about life but most importantly I learnt about the biggest misquote of all time:
“Survival of the fittest”
Charles Darwin never said this. He said: it’s the “survival of the most adaptable.”
This was the most important take home message I got from my studies. The best way to survive is to adapt, especially when you’re facing London rent!
Year 1: Science Documentaries
My first job was working on a science documentary about a guy having his sight restored by putting a tooth in his eye. It’s a real surgery with an unpronounceable name that happens once a year in Brighton. The job was great but lasted as long as the project and I was young with a hankering to change the world.
Year 2: Conflict journalism
I managed to get some experience in conflict journalism for a year or so and this is when I changed from a girl to a haggard woman (on the inside mainly, I’ve developed a few grey hairs though but I think that’s just ageing.)
I learnt about lots of terrible things humans do to each other across the globe in competitive UK-based working environments that occasionally brought out the worst in people.
BUT, I learnt some of my most important life lessons. One, that going into a war zone doesn’t make you a more legitimate person than anyone else and two, that you save the world one person at a time – oratory by influencers and politicians as sweet as it is, does little. So I was better off doing something else on my own terms.
Year 3: Administration
I needed stability so I could finally move permanently to London without contemplating selling my soul to the devil. I chose admin.
The work was robotic, preparing tickets for holidaymakers, but I didn’t care; I had colleagues who thought I was fun, interesting and worth paying the living wage for. I belonged.
Admin wasn’t going to see me through to the grave, as my brain likes to push itself creatively. I started writing blogs for the company and making content films on the side. After a year, I was offered a new position, in marketing.
Year 4: Marketing
I landed a role as a content editor for a travel company. I was tasked with communicating inspiring personal stories in a sea of stock-photos, generic descriptive jargon with huge geographical distances between destinations, customers and the UK offices. With a clear strategy, processes and bi-monthly reviews, the company saw great steps forward not just in financial terms but for the clients too. After a few years though, I wanted to expand my horizons, find more like-minded individuals and grow myself with them.
Year 5 (strictly speaking 6): Advertising
It’s one month until I start at the SCA. A brief break before ‘the off’ has given me a moment to reflect on my journey so far.
My career hasn’t been perfect but it has been formative.
I’m not entering the school expecting myself to sail through and become the next biggest advertising mogul bringing peace and justice to the universe.
What I am expecting is to walk through a fire and come out the other side for the better. As long as I keep adapting, solving problems and surrounding myself with like-minded people, I’m sure I’ll survive and have a very fulfilling career/life ahead.