Born and bred, deep in the welsh valleys; your typical ‘small town girl’. I’m Taylor. I’m twenty-three and I’m so excited to be embarking on an exciting career in marketing. I’ve spread myself all over the UK in recent years and in a variety of different careers and can usually find common ground with someone very easily because of this.
I grew up in a small town called Brynmawr with a population of just 6,000. As you can imagine, everyone knew everyone. I had a very ‘normal’ childhood with wonderful parents and family. We went on one family holiday abroad every year. We spent every other weekend over summer, camping in Crickhowell. 30 of us consisting of my parents, school friends and their families would go to the same campsite and set up our tents in a huge circle. There would be a gazebo, BBQ and a ring of camping chairs in the middle and whilst the adults sat and chatted in the sunshine, us kids would play down by the stream on the rope swing. We’d do multiple walks into Crickhowell town’s old fashioned sweet shop, spend the day playing in Crickhowell river: this is a hotspot for us welshies in the summer and all this would be followed by multiple hilarious games of rounders, sometimes males vs. female and sometimes adults vs. kids. We’d have a BBQ and spend the evening sat around a campfire. The years consisted of school, netball, musical theatre classes most evenings, Rugby Saturdays (Cymru Am Byth!) and Nan’s cooked dinner (the best you will ever have – I promise you) on Sundays. Although cosy in my little hometown, as I got older I felt more of a need to be independent and the only way I felt I could do this was by moving away for University.
I moved to the UK’s answer to Amsterdam (yes, I said it), Birmingham in 2012 to study at University. I’m often asked why on earth I chose to live in Birmingham with its bulging population and high rates of street crime and I always feel a warmth inside me as I think of the stunning campus, grand buildings, strings of joining canals and diverse architecture that surrounds the bubble of education. For the years that I lived there, I loved city life. The campus spans over three miles of buildings and greenery and whilst I admittedly hate exercising, the long walks to and from campus whilst a student, made up for the embarrassing amount of pizza I consumed over those three years.
I trained as an adult nurse and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I left my halls of residence at 5am every morning during placement for a 13 hour shift. I would pass my flatmates as they were falling out of taxis and stumbling back to our flat after a late one at Gatecrasher on a Monday (a word of advice: avoid that place at all costs). I’d finish shifts at 8pm and often wouldn’t get out until 8:45pm depending on whether I’d still be with a patient. This meant no time for extra-curricular activities like theatre, which I used to enjoy so much. Whilst my friends were meeting for lunches and meeting to spent their student loans in ‘town’, I would be two hours into assisting with a Ketamine shower on the burns unit that I worked on. I guess my point here, is that I didn’t have the ‘normal’ University experience that your older relatives tell you about. I had to grow up fast, I saw and had to do things that I would never wish upon anyone and some of those things I’ll never forget; but I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world because the life skills that I learnt throughout those three years, are irreplaceable.
The Big Change
I loved nursing and I was good at it; when people ask why I ‘gave up’ after such a hard few years, the answer is simple; it was not what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, I did not ‘give up’. I always had a creative mind whilst growing up and often found myself envious of school friends that were now working for companies that valued their creative thoughts and ideas. It was either stick with something I’d worked hard for, be unhappy and regret it when I was older or take a risk. After 6 months of working as a qualified nurse, I made the biggest decision I’ve had to make in life so far, I left the nursing and midwifery register and it was the best thing I ever did.
With a massive weight off my shoulders and a fire in my belly, I decided to dedicate the next few years to finding a way in to something that I loved doing. I tried various positions from being the Studio Manager and Photographer of a portrait photography company to working as a practitioner in a nursery.
The Big Search
Throughout my job searching, it became apparent to me that although going into a career where I had little to no experience in that field, due to my dedicating the past three years to healthcare; I needed to focus on the skills I did have.
I learnt quickly whilst interviewing for Nursing School that I had to be able to sell myself, as the criteria to get onto the course was extensive. I attended four of these interviews before selecting my place at Birmingham and later went on to interview for various healthcare banks for part-time work to help fund myself (student life and the necessity to have four takeaways a week is no joke). I needed to be apparent that the skills learnt whilst working in healthcare were completely transferable to my new position.
The skills I decided were my best sellers were being highly organised, my ability to work to deadlines, being focused and hard working, being competent and confident, being efficient, my listening, written and verbal communication skills, problem solving skills and 'emotional skills' such as being, kind, caring, conscientious, approachable, genuine and honest. Realising my potential and how transferable my nursing skills were, was so important in helping me find a new career; and emphasises, to myself, the fact that the time spent acquiring my degree was not a waste. Let's move on before this turns into a How-To-Sell-Yourself-In-An-Interview-101.
My Interest in Marketing
I first showed an interest in the world of marketing in 2011 when I was gearing up for my AS Levels. A lot of time was spent in our Sixth Form Study Room, going over and over notes for our exams. We had regular meetings with ‘career advisors’ which involved mock interviews and questionnaires which determined what you career you should pursue. I remember mine telling me that I was practical, hard-working and destined for the building industry; something that my Dad, a builder, stone-mason and all-round bricklaying wizard, found hilarious. I however, did not.
Looking back, seventeen is such a young age to commit to twenty-seven-grand’s worth of what you want to do for the rest of your life. I had always seemed interested in drawing public interest to things. I enjoyed trialling different types of leaflet designs for the upcoming musical production, I enjoyed projects that focused on drawing new ‘customers’ to our Eisteddfod stalls and I enjoyed writing positive reviews in English, about why you should visit somewhere.
We had to register a career of interest with our career advisor so that UCAS (application organisation for universities) could filter me relevant information about universities. I can’t remember telling her that I wanted to work in marketing or whether she thought it was something I would be good at given my interests in school, but all my UCAS brochures and leaflets were based around Marketing Courses. The first letter I had from UCAS was ‘So Taylor, you’re thinking about marketing?’.
I ended up passing my AS Levels with ABB, something I worked ridiculously hard for and over the summer, I became interested in the programme, One Born Every Minute. Long story short but this was the beginning of an interest in a career in Nursing. Once my parents got hold of the fact that I could possibly be a Nurse, although marketing was still in the question for me, it wasn’t for them. No tuition fees and a guaranteed job at the end of the three years; as everyone kept telling me, ‘they always need nurses’. Unfortunately, over those next few months, nursing took over the race with marketing and although I was swayed by my family, the decision was mine. I had various nurse-friends of my parents come over to chat with me about becoming a Nurse, the wage, the NHS discounts and the job prospects for life; no one ever told me back then to never take a job for the money.
Fast Forward to the Present
I’ve been in sort of ‘stop-gap’ jobs over the last year. We relocated from Staffordshire back in February and I moved from a nursery in Lichfield to one in Cheltenham. I used the last year to relax, get settled in a new area and focus on myself before I moved on to something more permanent. I updated my CV and began my job search again, adamant to find something that was ‘me’. I spent the past 12 months or so wishing that I had stuck with my gut and gone into marketing at eighteen and wondering if I’d ever get the chance again. I considered going back to study at University but due to my partner and I currently saving for a mortgage, that was not doable.
That was when I came across an advert for a Junior Marketing Assistant for a company called MA Design. The position was for someone who wanted to get into marketing, an apprenticeship, for a newbie, for someone who wanted to learn on the job; someone like me. I immediately personalised my CV and covering letter and sent in the application. On top of this, I also emailed what is now my email address for MA Design, furthering my interest and attaching my CV and covering letter again. You could say I was eager.
Amazingly, within a few days, Emma emailed me asking me to come in for an interview the next day and as it happened, I was on annual leave for two weeks so it could not have been timed more perfectly. I attended the interview with Jason and Emma, where I fell in love with the idea of working in marketing even more. I wrote a blog piece for Emma on a subject that she gave me and I was offered the job the next day.
I felt so lucky to finally have a foot in with a successful company, doing something that I enjoy and learning more about it every day. Although early days, I have no doubt that with the weeks and months to come, the more I learn, the more I will love this position. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, even when you’re having a tough time and it feels completely unfair, but you must always have faith that with a lot of hard work; you will come out on top.