Sunday 8 February 2015

They return with their tail between their legs...

Ok...not quite...but almost.

I've been invited back to my secondary school/ sixthform for their careers day to talk about careers in Marketing/PR/Journalism... at least that's the category they've given me. The fact that I didn't go to university and now have a job at one of the biggest media companies in the world less than two years after finishing my A Levels seems to have been skimmed over... I'll make sure that I make that loud and clear to the students during my presentation.

I really hope they give me another session to talk to the pupils about alternatives to uni.  In an ideal world, I'd be able to address everyone, including those who already had their hearts set on university. Not just because I endured 24+ months of speeches, presentations, preparation days etc about university when I had no intention of going and I have a desire for revenge...but because all young people should know their options, they shouldn't just expect a degree through university. And if nothing else, so that they're made aware that their friends don't go to university, won't end up at the job centre every week for the rest of their lives. Those people then won't have to fight of nasty comments or defend their decision endlessly.

Not only am I looking forward to sharing this wonderful idea that you can and most certainly will get places without university with my younger fellow Bexley Grammar pupils, I can also PROVE that very statement to my teachers and senior staff who pushed me to university and shut down any other ideas that I had.

Well, whilst they're still being teachers, I am a qualified marketer, I have the most wonderful job at the Guardian and I enjoy my career every single day. So there!

Thursday 27 November 2014

27th November 2014: My final day as an apprentice.

One year and one month, two employers, one apprentice provider, 26 units, 6 study weeks, 3 apprentice advisors, a bit of aggro, a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.
I've done it.

As of tomorrow, I'll no longer be an apprentice; I will be a Digital Marketing Assistant at the Guardian News and Media.

Up until writing this post, right now, I didn't realise how proud I am of myself for finishing it. I feel an immense sense of accomplishment. It was hard work for lots of reasons.

When I think about myself just over a year ago, the difference to now is astounding. I stood at the beginning of a long road, a road made longer and very dark by depression and anxiety (I know this isn't the forum to discuss that but it's important to mention at this stage.) The days before I started my apprenticeship, there was no reason to get out of bed, I had massive void in my life and I was desperate to fill it but because of the way I felt, it was almost impossible to make a start. But I did one day.

I'm so proud that I've done it after having been told like many other 18 year-olds "you won't get anywhere without a degree." Well I am getting places, so there!

I'm under no illusion, this is still the beginning, its baby steps- I'm only an assiatant for goodness sake, but I'm 19 and in the same position lots of people will be in when they're in their early 20s.

No apprenticeship is something to be put down, not matter what industry, what level or what employer.

It's a lot of practical work as well as written. It takes time, a good effort, determination and a positive attitude.

Ri x

Thursday 14 August 2014

Results day 2014

Well done to everyone on their results!
Its finally over and done with so celebrate that you've survived two of the toughest academic years of your life- you've finished!
I hope you got what you expected of your results or you were pleasantly suprised, its probably time to get drunk/ go to a party/go to a family meal/ see your friends/ get drunk.
Maybe you didn't get what you were hoping for and now its probably time to get drunk/ go to a party/go to a family meal/see your friends/get drunk.
Either way, you're future hasn't really changed that much, your distant future anyway. Maybe you'll go back and do some resits, maybe you'll go in to clearing, maybe you get your second or third choice of uni, maybe you go on your gap year, maybe you go in to clearing, maybe you get a job, maybe an apprenticeship, maybe you go to college. What ever it is this day will in no way harm your future. Trust me.
Every year there are more and more options to help you do what you want to do.

A year on from my results day and I am not the same person. I was quite disappointed with my results but I knew they weren't the be-all and end-all (I promise they're not) and look at me now. One results day and a bit of hard work later and I work at

Don't compare yourself to your friends or siblings or cousins or look at how other people in the country did-it won't change your results. Of course, if you decide to do some resits you can think about where you went wrong but don't do it today, don't even do it this weekend. If you're going to have to drastically change your plans for September, do it. Just not today.

Now is the time to celebrate before you take the next step! (That third bottle of wine probably isn't a good idea)

Thursday 19 June 2014

Stun your way to the top

USo we have a thing at the Guardian (where I work, yes you should be Jel its amazing) called "Good to great" which, from what I gather aims to promote the fantastic work people have done.
How I see it is everyone who works at the Guardian does well (i.e is "good") but some of those people push it so far so that they go above and beyond an average employee (i.e the "great") so what I'm wondering is how do you get there? As always your suggestions are encouraged.
It works very well for me as an apprentice (someone who's contract is fixed to an end period) who wants to stay in my role *-*-*-*-*....4 3va....*-*-*-*-*
But it doesn't just go for apprenticeships, but internships and degrees and school and employment, even if you know you won't be kept on in your internship for example, how do you prove to a different employer that you've made the most of the experience? How can you demonstrate you've gone above and beyond? How do you do it?

1. Scare yourself. Launch yourself from your comfort zone. Present to 100 people. Yes you may turn red and trip over your words but you'll get through it.
2. Be proactive. Do something that you know needs to get done without waiting to be told.
3. Experiment. Try to do it. Have a go at building an email, creating a report or sending an invoice on your own. It's the best way to understand processes.
4. Make mistakes. No one on this Earth is perfect. Things go pear shaped, they don't work out, you make an incorrect move. Do it. That's life, if it always went to plan then there would be no point to anything. No one learned from a success. Now is the time to get away with it.
5. Try your best. Give it 100% everyday. Show you love it. Be involved. Prove your company needs you.

Ri x

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Appreciating what you've achieved.

It is so easy to take things in life for granted: you're family, your friends, your health, your home, your job.
It's easy because things become routine. We get up everyday, say good morning to those (if anyone) in our homes, we get dressed in those nice clothes we can afford to buy, have breakfast with the food we are fortunate enough to eat, and go the work or school place which we are able to have.
It isn't until we see someone who lacks one or more of these things we have that we take a moment to sympathise with them, then reflect inward and appreciate that we have it.
Everything is so invaluable in that moment because we realise everything is so fragile and that we're lucky.
Not lucky in the sense that we've not worked for these things and earned them, but in the sense that we are able to have them when other people simply can't have them.

I was walking around work (THE GUARDIAN) yesterday, helping a college measure poster sizes for an upcoming event when I was suddenly overwhelmed by the fact that I work at the Guardian-how amazing is that?!
Of course I beam when I tell people and when friends and family ask me how its going I tell them "it's the best thing that's ever happened to me" but to stop and think that I have this beautiful opportunity is incredible.

It also occured to me to write this post having had a conversation with the other Guardian apprentices about our future if any at the company. It goes without saying that none of us want to leave-ever. But we felt a sense of pannic, how can we guarantee our places here? How? Someone please tell me! (Seriously if you have any fool-proof methods please let me know, a potion, a dance, a magic goat anything)

I also felt the need to write it as a few days ago, it was the anniversary of something. The details I won't go into, it's almost futile. But what happened caused me to be practically thrust into clinical depression. All I can say is I was headed a lot further down then how I was this time last year. Feeling (around September/October time) that I was in the absolute depths I never thought that I'd be able to survive another interview, let alone get up every single day and go to work.

So I suppose this post isn't just about appreciating what you have. It's about celebrating what you've achieved, even the little things (when ever I need to justify buying something I still use the excuse that I need to treat myself for getting into sixth form!)
I find that British people have the amazing ability to downplay, put down and find fault in nearly all of their achievements.

Take some time everyday to celebrate what it is you've done.
Ok so you don't know your exam results yet, but you got through them!
Ok so you don't have the best job yet, but you've got one.
Maybe you don't have a job but you're putting in a bloody good effort to get one.

Try hard and achieve. Appreciate your achievements and then celebrate them!


Tuesday 3 June 2014

Apprenticeships: The Vital Statistics!(2012/2013)

Hi all,

I'm on a study week for my course at the moment and as part of that, I've compiled a (pretty shocking attempt at an) infographic on apprenticeships.
All this info is based on data from apprenticeship starts from 2012/2013.

All my sources are accredited to the following sites where you can also find out other stats if you're really bored.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Social Media and Employment

Social networking becomes ever more important as the years go on when it comes to employment and careers.

Dependent upon how you use them, social networking sites can help you a great deal in your professional life.
Of course, they can also work against you if you aren't careful.

Firstly, they can help you get a job. LinkedIn in particular is a great platform for making professional connections. It acts as an online CV so if it looks polished and is kept up-to-date, you could see job offers coming in!

Potential employees' social networking sites are often looked at by companies in the recruitment process. Even though that tweet about what a twonk your old boss was got you five retweets, and you Facebook profile photo which shows you smoking a joint got 30 likes, it won't look good to a company. Clean up your profiles!

Once you've got a job of course, social media is great for it's primary purpose (who knew?!) i.e socialising. Use it to build a better relationship with collegues. But keep it professional and make sure you've said more than just "hello" to them before requesting their friendship on Facebook.

If you've got an interview, check out the company's social media pages, see what's been going on in the last six months. Since they're easy to edit, networking sites (if managed properly) are kept up-to-date. If the company doesn't have any kind of social media presence (or uses just one or two sites) it's worth considering why that might be.

Make connections for the future with LinkedIn. Connect with people in places of authority and who can potentially employ you.

LinkedIn also allows it's members to endorse, reccomend and commend each other. Good relationship with your A Level IT Teacher? Connect with them! They're likely to write on your profile just how great you were at sixthform/college which will go a long way with employers.

Twitter is dangerous- be mindful. If you use Twitter a lot, as I do, you're liable to tweet things you'll regret in the future when you're angry, upset or excited. You needn't use Twitter for your professional life if you'd prefer it for personal use, but keep it PG, PC or just P (protected so that no one can see your tweets or follow you without your permission)

If you've got any others, tweet @DoItUrWayBlog, comment below or email