The Career Plan
I would complete my quantity surveying four-year qualification in record time, then go into the work world and work for 2 years then go on to study further, start my property investment business and start a family. That was the plan. I have mentioned a few times on my platforms how I was financially excluded in Varsity and never got to finish the my initial career of my dreams – Quantity Surveying. I had literally hedged everything on that career. I had it planned out. But it didn’t work out that way.
In order to finish school I had to work full time. Between working at Urban Degree and Mugg & Bean, I was a promo girl and event organiser/promoter in the Hatfield party scene. They would’ve called me a City Girl back then, LOL.
I found myself in a sticky position… I still couldn’t afford the BSc, so I switched to a BCom.
The Career Reality
I still felt as though something was missing. After my first son was born, I felt the need to feed the property lover in me. So I went on to do the Property Investment & Practise Programme at Wits University and went on to secure a job at a family owned property company. I absolutely loved the property world and the thrill. The idea that someone could acquire a piece of land, have a vision and build something from the ground up, and then sell the end result of that vision – after all the sweat, tears and frustrations – at a profit that made it all worth it. The property thrill gets you! But then it started to feel boring… and just as that happened, a recruitment company was looking for a young person for marketing position at a below the line marketing company – and it paid better than what I was earning.
The Unconventional Pivot
Ah! I remembered below-the-line (BTL) from my BCom studies. I managed the interview with ease and was hired. I was ready for the challenge, but boy what a challenge!
This opportunity came at the time digital was just about hitting the boardrooms of most creative agencies and it was so intriguing to hear the conversations around where each agency felt digital strategy sat and where it would form part of the marketing mix or simply be a nice to have and fancy add on… well you know where we are now, so you know how that ended. LOL
I sat and took notes because at that time a black girl working for a below the line agency was not really heard in meetings but rather seen, did the work at the office and worked their butt off at activations. I was absorbing, learning then going home and studying further. My husband would say “If you are not serious about what you are doing, change it. But if you are, you need to eat, sleep and breath the industry.”
I ate slept and breathed the BTL and digital industry and that further opened doors for me to work alongside and in some of the country’s best agencies and with some awesome brands.
But that would not be the end of it, I went on to create a digital and content agency, CreativeSHOPPË and some digital properties, one of which is this very platform, Art of Superwoman.
On my journey I have learnt a few lessons though and I’d love to share them:
1. Career Planning and Career Reality
Though it is necessary to have a plan, be flexible. Most careers have completely changed and shifted. It is not personal. Be prepared to feel as though you could be redundant, but don’t lose heart. Process the feelings and allow yourself to work through them without being attached to your career validating who you are as a person. Be flexible to the career reality. Give yourself options on a few paths you may want to go into, don’t hedge your bets on just one.
2. Types of Career Transitions
A. Same industry, but different job
B. Different industry, same/similar job
C. Different industry, different job
D. Same industry, same job, up-skilled
In my case I obviously went with C – different industry, different job, but I had the benefit of the studies that I had stashed away, previous experience of being a promoter and event planner as well as being in the service industry (waitressing is a lot of work). It was also fascinating to me how similar advertising is to the property business. In both these industries, people buy because you’ve raised the value of of the product and you have the upper hand when it’s in the right place, is functional to the individual need and you have a willing buyer.
3. Don’t Give Up
Don’t give up. Pivot. I know we probably hate that work right now after 2020 was the year of pivot, how much more pivoting must we do in 2021 without getting dizzy?!!
But honestly, there are so many careers looking for you. Trust your gut, up-skill yourself, do some internal self-care, talk kindly to yourself and take the leap.
And wherever you go, when the intention is to add value, your heart is in the right place and you are willing to learn, you will grow.
Another thing I also found along the way is that we don’t acknowledge the phases of our career journeys.
Mourning phase – you had a though through plan and it doesn’t seem to be going as you had wanted it to. Mourn, feel, let go.
Search phase – don’t stop searching or pitching your qualifications to companies that you have identified may need your skill. Keep going. Whilst you are looking, try find spaces where you can add value ie, blogging, volunteering
Culture Shock Phase – When you choose the options of career shifts or changes, brace yourself for the ups and downs of it. You will romanticise the new move at first perhaps. You may be sad. You may be anxious. All these feelings are valid. But keep your wits about you and remember that your career is not your value, how much you earn does not amount to your value. Allow the changes and evolution to happen whilst not allowing it to be a dictator of your feelings. Be realistic about your expectations.
And lastly, practise self-care at all times! Always prioritise your well-being no matter the industry you are in.
Though it is necessary to have a plan, be flexible. Most careers have completely changed and shifted. It is not personal.