Just do it!
Last month marked my one year anniversary at Virgin Media and it’s truly been an incredible journey so far. Since I moved to an in-house role, people I work with ask me about my background – why I chose to make the move, how it compares and the kind of things I worked on. And almost every agency person I speak to asks me if I’d recommend they do it too. So I figured I’d share my experience and hopefully it’s of use to people that are thinking of taking a leap to do something they’ve always wanted to do.
How it all started.
Early 2016, I had an itch to move to the ‘other side of the fence’ and join a big company. I’d spent 6 years working ‘agency side’, with startups, other agencies, at some of the world’s most innovative companies, and up until that point I always thought maybe I will/maybe I won’t, but the urge at this time was pretty strong.
I was spending my time on super exciting work that was changing not only our clients’ businesses but the way their customers experienced them. From value proposition development to launching new digital products and services through to launching new business models, I worked with a vast array of companies in a multitude of sectors with some of the most talented people ever.
I tried to shake off the itch, but months later, it came back again. Something wasn’t fulfilling me and I’m not the kind of person that can sail along. I need a challenge and I guess I figured that I wanted to own something and see things through. That’s the downside to agency: it’s super work, but in most cases you don’t get to continuously improve something and influence the direction and long range plan (you also don’t have much say in the budget!).
Make sure it’s right.
I don’t rush into things, I think them through – brash decisions aren’t good and the grass isn’t always greener. I’m the person that panic orders in a restaurant, and yet took a year to get the Apple Watch. So this was a massive decision for me.
Surround yourself with people you admire and trust.
I have a few people that I’ve met through my career that I’ve become great friends with, and I knew I could pick up the phone to any of them. So I did just that, and I began to talk things through – these people don’t give me answers, they help me explore my thinking and ask questions I’d never have thought about.
One of those people was Dominic, and I can’t thank him enough. He helped me take steps that I was unsure of and had my back me all the way. He didn’t make it easy, he really challenged my thinking and made me really think about what I was about to do. We got together over lunch and I explained how I felt and we put small to-dos in place to complete over the next 30, 60 and 90 days.
By day 2 I’d completed a big to-do, I wrote my CV from scratch, a blank canvas and it felt good. I knew that a recruiter couldn’t fulfil my needs, so I carried on with life and long story short, I ended up applying for two roles, and by day 30 I was offered the job I’m in today. I know I said I was indecisive with certain things, but if I know what I want I go get it.
My experiences so far have led me to where I am today and I wouldn’t change anything. Starting out ‘agency side’ was the making of me. And to my agency friends, for the record, ‘client side’ isn’t easy and it isn’t slow ;-).
I’d personally like to thank my bosses, team mates (new and old), friends and family (they’ll read this and they’ll know who they are), and how they helped me get to where I am today. I’m so grateful for the role they played for my journey.
Here’s some takeaways:
- If you’re passionate and you enjoy learning, you can achieve anything.
- If you have an itch, it’s highly likely it’ll come back. So don’t just brush it off, think about it and explore your options.
- Surround yourself with people you admire, that make you think/do things differently and be the best that you can be.
- Appreciate those around you, work hard and of course play harder. Doors don’t just open, you need to figure out how to do that.
- Feel the fear and do it anyway. This was the biggest decision of my career, and fortunately it turned out to be the best.
Finally, if you’re thinking about your next thing and you could do with someone to talk to, feel free to say Hello on Twitter.
I’m fascinated by big companies and how they operate, not only to deliver super experiences for customers, but internally – what makes an awesome team? How do you create super customer experiences? What makes the world go round? People. That’s the what.
I started out as a Project Manager in a Software company working on mobile apps (when everyone wanted one!), back office systems and websites, then moved into consultancy led roles working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies in the world, and now I’m in a Strategic Product Management role applying my personality, skills and experiences, as well as figuring out how big companies operate and how you get things done.