Sometimes we think we have made a decision, but we really haven’t. Performing an action doesn’t mean you decided it. You could have fallen into it.
Looking back, I realise this is how I came to ‘decide’ to follow a career in Advertising.
All my life I have wanted to be many things. A ballerina, a news reporter and then a teacher. For a huge part of my life, I had this really intense dream of being an actress. Being a writer has always lingered in the background from day one, but this was never really my ‘money making’ dream. I always saw it as a hobby. There was a brief stint where I thought that I wanted to be a Psychologist and then a PR, even though I really didn’t have a clue what that meant.
By the time I got to university I was telling people I wanted to get into Advertising. When did I decide that? I have no idea. But that’s what I was telling people. Those were the summer internships I was applying for. I was building up my CV in a way that would appeal to Advertising agencies.
Looking back, I initially picked advertising because it seemed like my best option. It was in a creative and cool environment and the income was stable. At careers fairs, when different sectors were listed, Advertising and Marketing just seemed like the best out of the list. I didn’t really think about the role I would be carrying out in that setting.
I did an internship at WPP, one of the biggest advertising groups in the world, and I loved it. It cemented my opinion that I had made the right decision. Writing was my main creative outlet, and though being a Graduate Advertising Account Manager or Planner didn’t really involve much writing in that way, it seemed the next best option.
I was often asked why I didn’t pursue Copywriting, a different route into the advertising industry. In my head I knew it was what I probably should have pursued. I mean if words are my thing then it makes sense. But why did I decide against it? I didn’t know how to break into it. I didn’t have a portfolio, which is a requirement for any application. And apparently, if you want to be a copywriter, you need to have a creative partner who does the artwork. I didn’t have that. So instead of taking action to solve any of those problems, I chose not to pursue copywriting.
When graduation came around I applied for an uncountable amount of graduate schemes, internships and entry-level positions. Some in other fields but the majority in Account Management or Planning at an Ad agency.
After doing many applications, I started to get second thoughts. It wasn’t the endless rejection that made me feel that way. It was the nagging feeling that something was missing from the job. Why did I want to be an Account Planner anyway? It is a great job but something felt amiss.
But there was no looking back. I kept applying for those roles and then eventually roles in anything that looked doable.
Every so often, I thought back to my time at WPP where I learned about a type of Marketing called Branded Content/Entertainment. At the time, it caught my attention but I didn’t fully understand it. The idea did pop up again and again and I started to find out more and more about it and it seemed like a pretty good job. But again I didn’t take action.
Then one week, on the Star Track Fellowship, our task was to perform a skills audit for a chosen career. I was just about to start doing one for an Ad Account Planner but then I stopped myself. I felt like I’d done this informally many times before. I thought it would be fun to try something new.
So I did one for Content Marketing. I did some research and figured out what I needed to do to break into a career in this area of the industry. The more I read, the more I had these light bulb moments. I kept saying to myself, “This is you. This is perfect.” There is nothing missing. It’s all about writing, and being creative, rather than just planning and researching. In fact, it’s a bit of everything. Researching, planning, writing, social media, analysing, etc. Everything I’d want in a job was all there. And it wasn’t impossible to up-skill to achieve it. In that moment, in January 2015 I decided that this was what I was going to pursue.
I decided. And when I did, things started to fall into place. The next week, I got an email from a website that I follow called Fluency. There were opening applications for a Search Engine Optimisation and Content Marketing course. And it was free. I applied and was accepted onto the month-long course. The week after that, an old friend asked me to help him write content for a website he was working on. And then my job search became so much easier. I was finding so many roles that were easier to apply for because it was coming from such a genuine place. And within a few weeks I’ve already gotten 2 interviews.
Making firm, informed decisions make all the difference in the world. Not deciding anything is a decision in itself but it isn’t a good one. Falling into a decision isn’t either. Sometimes we have to think about the choices we make and figure out why we made them and if those choices were made with our heads or our hearts or just plain blindly.
At the end of the day I wasn’t entirely wrong. A job in the Marketing field in general is for me. But that’s like saying I want to move to Asia. Where? The Philippines or Afghanistan? I fell into the first path that seemed right. It wasn’t a bad path but it wasn’t the best one. Now that I have taken action I can see that Content is the best path for me and I am more excited and motivated to start my career than I have ever been.
Written by Fatmatta S
Photography courtesy of Bryce