Finding yourself, Finding your feet and Figuring it all out.
She’s driven, ambitious, hard working and determined.
She’s courageous, strong-willed, integral and resilient.
She is you and she is me.
When I was a young girl, I believed success meant having a nice car and working a good job. However, I never truly knew what my career journey would look like. I knew that I was a talented writer and dreamt of writing a book one day but that for me felt more like a calling rather than a career.
When I got to secondary school, I remember telling a friend that I wanted to be a receptionist/secretary. She turned around and told me ‘Ebony, you need to have bigger aspirations in life, you can do way more than that!’ When it came to the time of being placed on a work experience placement, I was placed in a nursery. Being an older sister, I’ve always had a nurturing nature so looking after children is something that comes very naturally to me, however working in a nursery was not something that I could see myself doing in the future.
Growing up, I watched my mother train to become a midwife and I contemplated going down the same road but my heart never settled with that. My dad has always been serial entrepreneur, he was a full-time bus driver, a journalist, a dj, a radio broadcaster, a photographer and a video editor. I have always had a strong interest in music and media but did not think I’d like to go down those routes either. However, I did study journalism at University.
Whilst in college, the desire was to either be a lawyer or a teacher. The law idea was something that my mum put into my head and teaching was something I believed I would be good at and was becoming increasingly passionate about. Again when I mentioned this to someone, they told me ‘You want to be a teacher, Is that it?’ At the time, I assumed they were just being a hater but perhaps they saw something else in me. My first part-time job whilst I was studying at college was a sales assistant at New Look at the time I was still very shy so wasn’t the most confident in this role. After this, I went onto be a travel tour guide at university which was fun because I didn’t have to do much and I got to travel to tourist attractions in the UK. I also did a lot of waitressing work part-time, which enabled to to travel to different cities and meet different people which I enjoyed.
Once I had graduated from university, I volunteered overseas in Central America for a charity that focused on sustainable development in for 3 months. Upon returning to the UK I undertook a 6-week placement as a fundraising intern at my university and 3 months later landed my first part-time job as a tutor at Explore Learning. I excelled as a tutor, so I began looking into teaching assistant roles but couldn’t get any but managed to get another part time job as a language movement and dance tutor at a nursery and took on an administrative and fundraising position within that same company.
It is important to mention that during this time, I was really able to focus on myself and think about what else I could do with my free time and it was during this time that I entered and won a Beauty Pageant, started this blog and began writing my first book. Despite all of my achievements, I was really determined to become one of the managers at the tuition centre and applied 2 times, without any success. I knew that eventually, I wanted to get into social work but had applied for a graduate scheme twice, again without any success.
However, I was determined to land a full time job, which I eventually did in 2017 (2 years after I graduated) as an intern at a 6 star Luxury Cruise line, this was the first time I was making a 5 figure salary. However, it did not take me long to master the role and once I did, I became dissatisfied and wanted to do something different. So I applied for a marketing position within the company, which I did not get. So after 10 months, I left the job and went back to tutoring and waitressing.
To some people that could seem like a set back or some sort of regression but sometimes life can take you to unexpected places and in those times you just need to practice gratitude, go with the flow, whilst maintaining your focus and keeping your goal in mind.
So I then applied for the managerial position for the 3rd time, again without success.
Of course I was disappointed but I always told myself that ‘this is not rejection, it is simply redirection.’
It wasn’t long till I worked a temporary summer job for the National Community Service, where I worked as a Community Logistics Manager and was reminded of my passion to work with young people. I needed a in the meantime, so I picked up a Customer Service role at a Mechanics company, however I had to leave after 4 months for personal reasons. 3 months later, I began working as a Energy Advisor at an energy switching company and I can honestly say it came just at the right time as I was able to work that job throughout the pandemic. I left that role in November 2020 to focus on my Masters in Social Work which I had began in September that year. I had tried to work part time but it was difficult to manage whilst doing my degree.
As you can see, there have been highs and lows in this journey but I have gained so much invaluable experience and have been able to write two books, become a speaker, workshop facilitator, mentor and book coach as part of my own personal brand. I still tutor but now as a Freelancer. I hope that my career journey encourages and inspires someone to not be so hard on themselves. It’s great if you do but it’s okay not to have it all figured out, that’s what your 20’s are for; figuring out who you are and what you want to do.
I currently work part-time as the Head of the Literature Academy for a Youth Organisation and I am about to go into my 2nd year of my Masters Degree.
The journey continues.