I quite enjoy my part time job, a Viewer for a City Centre letting agents. I meet a lot of people and, due to the nature of my job, I get to have extended conversations with them. A lot of the time we just talk about the weather, or finding apartments, or other things that I’m supposed to talk about in order to rent flats out, but sometimes they divulge more interesting information about themselves. Here are two examples of being given pretty useful information from clients at work.
I was once taking an email address from one applicant. It ended in “@mccann.com.” I used to want to do advertising (this dream has now died a death, in fact following this meeting), and wondered if the “mccann” in the email address referred to McCann Erickson, one of the biggest ad agencies in the world. I carried on taking his information, but then curiosity got the best of me, so I asked him “does the McCann in your email address refer to McCann Erickson?” Indeed it did. We spoke for about twenty minutes about McCann, advertising, and finding grad jobs. He was quite impressed that I knew about McCann and also knew about the different sectors of advertising e.g. that ‘accounts’ does not directly have anything to do with money. He then helped me arrange some work experience, which I ended up declining, a rather misinformed decision due to travel issues, and we continued to contact each other as I applied for a few ad training schemes. However, as I said before, I ended up changing my mind about advertising after doing some more extensive research about it. But the lesson I took from this story is: if you’re interested in something and an opportunity hits you in the face, take it. Had I not asked him about the ‘McCann’ in his email address I would forever live on in wonder, and if you do ask the worst they can say is “no” and you can just brush the embarrassment off your back.
My second example is with an investment banker. She had a ten minute rant at me about how much she disliked her job. “I don’t feel like I’m me anymore… During the week, I’m just another corporate drone… It’s so stressful and the people aren’t very nice…Unless money is all you care about, investment banking just isn’t worth it…If I could go back in time and change things, I definitely would not do investment banking.” Bizarrely enough, after this extensive tirade against her job, she said that she could set me up an interview if I wanted one. Unsurprisingly, I did not want to go into investment banking having been told what it’s like to be in investment banking. Nonetheless, it was very nice of her to offer me a job. But it was still very nice to talk to someone who was in a successful grad job and had spoken about all the fears that I have about finding jobs and choosing the right career path.
I realise as I am writing this that these stories don’t have a very clear message and seem relatively unrelated. But what I’ve taken away from these examples is: you meet a lot of people in life, don’t be afraid to talk to people. The more you talk to people, the clearer things become in your head. Also, if an opportunity arises, don’t be afraid to grab it…no matter how uncomfortable you may seem.
Sophia White – Student Blogger