When I grow up, I want to be…
When I was a small girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old, I wanted to be an author. To be honest I didn’t feel I had any other choice; that was what I was going to be, so why fight it?
And I didn’t fight it. I spent most evenings tapping away on my computer, writing stories, poems, and even had my first crack at a novel! I learned to touch type to help me get the words out faster, using a pretty awesome piece of software I picked up in a GAME bargain bin for around £3. (Retrospectively, I’m impressed with my young resolve, as learning to touch type isn’t much fun).
I even remember what my novel was about. The protagonist was a young, beautiful detective called Jen (!) who, based from the local police station, solved a multitude of complicated and riveting crimes. My lexicon wasn’t all that advanced, with most of my literary prowess being used up on character development. As a result, all the rooms in the police station were named after colours; the red room for relaxing, the green room for looking up records…and so on. The geography of the local town was also eerily similar to my own home town of Rainham in Kent.
As I got older and more cynical, I soon had to face the reality that really, I wasn’t good enough to be an author. The more I read, the more I became convinced that I could never write like my heroes. Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl represented a level of talent that I could never hope to achieve, and because I couldn’t be the best, I decided to stop trying! How defeatist of me. (In my defence, I was still young!)
But then, 2 years ago, I had an epiphany. I’d been lucky enough to land a role at a company that looked after me, with a boss that actually wanted to help me reach my potential. In the first 5 months of being employed, I noticed the web content team, and felt an immediate draw to the work they were doing. When I was promoted and asked where I wanted to move to, I told them that the content team could be the place for me.
So that’s where I went. All of a sudden, I was doing what I dreamt I’d grow up to do…write for a living. But on top of this, I’d managed to find my niche. I’ve been using the internet since I was 12 years old and it had grown up with me. I saw it change the world, and felt its gravitas all throughout my formative years. The web was definitely where I wanted to be professionally, and now I’d found a way to channel my experience and insight into something useful. And it paid the bills. And it meant working in a fast-pace, exciting environment that was never going to get boring.
If it all sounds a bit too good to be true, there are obvious downsides. I had to work some terrible, terrible jobs for 6 years before I managed to get here. And anyone who works in the copywriting industry will know the frustrations of the job, of which there are plenty. But for now, as long as the web is alive and kicking, I think I’ve found my calling.
P.S I’d like to credit my friend Pete who created the image used in this blog post. This is his artist’s impression of me as an 8 year old. I love it!
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Tags: careers, growing up