THE JOB CENTRE 2017

Yep, believe it or not, it’s that time of year again where I sit and ask a bunch of bad ass, fearless females about their careers, because if September isn’t a time for new beginnings and thoughts of a career change, then when is?

Am I right?

This year, I am beyond excited to announce that I have a stellar line up of amazing women who have agreed to share both their journey and some very practical career advice with you. You know, just in case your boss is being a fool or you’ve just graduated and don’t know where to start looking for work.

From freelance girl bosses and full time social media moguls to women in high fashion and those shaping young minds, there will be plenty of interviews to tuck into this month, so watch this space over the next four weeks for pearls of wisdom, droplets of inspiration and nuggets of utter realness.

So let’s get to the point and talk business, shall we?

how to become an account executive | imogen judd

AN INTERVIEW WITH CALEB FEMI

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I was lucky enough to do my teacher training at King’s with Caleb. He was a great teacher, able to mesmerise even a group of sleepless grown-ups with grammar; I believed every last thing he said about double negatives and pronouns. Last year, after months of not being in touch with him, I read that he had been named Young Person’s Poet Laureate of London and I was so excited. Not just at the fact that something good had finally happened in the year of all things shit, but because he would now go on to inspire young people beyond the four walls of his classroom in London and spread a love of poetry – something pupils notoriously loathe – across the country. I immediately text him and demanded he let me interview him for my blog. Here’s what I asked him and here’s what he told me.

Do you write poetry for a living?

I write poetry for a living, for necessity, for survival and sanity.

How did the whole ‘Young People’s Laureate’ thing come about?

It’s pretty mental. Mental indeed, I was watching Orange is the New Black one day in July, I had just quit teaching full time as a secondary English teacher when I received an email stating that I was part of a shortlist of poets considered for the role. From this, I was invited to interview, so I went.

They only bloody gave it to me. 

Are you currently working on any exciting projects you can talk about? 

I’m currently working on a poetry pamphlet, which will be out sometime next year. Also, I have a theatre show called Goldfish Bowl I’m creating, which will be showing in the summer.

Where do you source inspiration from?

Life, everyday life. All the good and bad stuff that happens and, yes, that includes my time as a teacher, which was both good and bad.

Did you find teaching poetry easier than teaching, say, a novel?

I think it was more of a matter of the quality and accessibility of the work, be it a novel or a poem. I don’t think there’s much difference between a novel and a poem at the heart of it. They are both trying to convey a human experience, so it’s quite hard to say…

Who am I kidding? 

POETRY.

You’ve said in interviews that young people need to create a new voice for themselves. In the fallout of 2016 (AKA the year of shade), what do you think that voice might sound like? 

A fog horn on the morning of a hangover, if you’re doing it right.

Favourite poet? Dead or alive.

Impossible, can’t answer that one.

What piece of advice would you give to a young person with a passion for the Arts but without a way in?

Keep knocking until someone opens. OR, you could forge your own route, find like-minded people and dig your way through with them.

I know you’ve spoken about finally being able to embrace all aspects of yourself – do you think London breeds this sort of mentality and allows people to do just that? Or do you think it’s down to the individual? 

Definitely down to the individual. London isn’t some utopia where everyone embraces you, it only becomes something closer to that when you can make peace with who you are and understand that you don’t need to justify your humanity to anyone, only then does the city seem more like a beaut. 

Want to know more or watch him perform? Go for it.

THE CRAFT

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I used to have a little piece of paper that sat on my desk where I used to work (often hidden behind files and piles of useless pieces of paper) which read: ‘Make Time For Your Art. It’s Important.’

I think it came from an old calendar a couple of colleagues and I pulled off the wall when we moved into that office but I couldn’t be sure. Anyway, for the year that I sat at that desk, that quote was a constant, welcome reminder for me to go home and do what I love. I enjoyed my job, most days, but it gave me a much-needed nudge to leave work each day and write, read, strike up a conversation with other creatives online or sign up to a talk or a course that would teach me more about my craft. But when it came to leaving that job and emptying out my desk, I’m not entirely sure where that piece of paper went. It must’ve got misplaced during the move and I miss it.

The truth is, there are lots of us who aren’t getting paid to do what we love. In fact, scrap that, most of us aren’t doing what we love. We are all pretty much working 9-5 or lengthy shifts each week and then heading home to sit on a sofa because we’re too worn out from the day to do anything other than eat pizza or drink wine. Doing what we love becomes less of a priority than paying bills on time and getting the dinner in. Hobbies become more of a hassle than anything.

But, the point is, they shouldn’t.

Over the last few weeks, as things have grown a little hectic, writing for pleasure has taken a bit of a backseat. I, like many of us, have fallen guilty of neglecting to do what I love. I have felt so exhausted after work or at the weekend that I have ignored that this space even exists and it has made me more miserable than I ever could have imagined. It has left me feeling deflated, uninspired and a little lazy.

But all this is about to change.

I’m not promising that I’ll be burning through keyboards faster than you can say J K Rowling but I am making a conscious decision to write more and post more and I think even pulling this together when I can barely keep my eyes open is a good start.

I’ve learnt that when that piece of paper that I kept on my desk used to whisper at the end of a long day that making time for art is important, it meant so much more than I ever could have realised at the time.

Perhaps this is a little nudge that you might have needed tonight?

Here’s to all of us being creative after hours.

THE UNDERGRADUATE

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Living in Bristol means that, since the start of September, the city is now awash with students and I have found myself queuing for longer at the supermarket, dodging bleary-eyed teens on my walk into work and being forced to reflect on rugby initiation ceremonies, which I still can’t quite believe are a ‘thing’.

Aside from being an old grump about Bristol being busier and the fact that students here are better dressed than most adults with actual wages, I can’t help but feel for the first years who have been arriving with their brand new pots and pans over the last few weeks. I regularly overhear awkward conversations between barely-friends and often hear second and third years talking like they have life sussed. Seeing all these fresh faces makes me think back to when I was at university and how desperate I was for someone to guide me through it all because, no matter how it may have seemed to my fellow students, I actually really struggled with the whole thing.

With this in mind, I have decided to write a list of (hopefully) helpful and (at least semi) relevant advice that I would give to any fresher, should they ask. Baring in mind I do not have my shit together in the slightest, I’m not holding out for a young person to come up to me and ask my opinion on how they should spend their time at university, but should one lonely fresher read this and find some comfort on a lonely day in a new city, for that it will have all been worth it.

So, here goes.

Let your parents help you pack

Although you’re probably all moved in already, don’t huff at the hundred sachets of lemsip hiding at the bottom of your suitcase or the childhood comfort blanket they forced you to bring. Trust me, when the weather grows colder, you’re feeling a little lonely and you fall ill? You’ll be grateful for their interfering.

Be kind

Looking back, me and my friends were so wrapped up in our own world to even notice that there were people sitting alone at dinner times or in lectures. I was so worried about not making friends that I ignored those who really could’ve used one. Those people who refuse to come out of their rooms? Listen, they’re not being weird, they’re probably just struggling, so knock on their door and offer to share a cup of tea and a packet of Hob Knobs with them. You could be the difference between them quitting or seeing it through. And that hour spent in their room? I promise that it will make no difference to forging new relationships for yourself. Open your eyes to everyone around you – uni can be tough when facing it alone.

Go to lectures

I hate to sound like your grandma, but just fucking go. Yes, even to those 9 o’clock ones that the fit guy from your course doesn’t even go to. Let’s be honest, you probably have no more than ten contact hours a week – not going is not only a really bad habit to get into but it doesn’t leave a positive impression on your tutors (who you will really need down the line). Spend the rest of the day in bed if you must, just make sure you get up and go.

Participate

I’m not just talking in seminars, I’m talking your whole course: presentations, actually reading the books, pair work – own it. Never forget that you have paid thousands of pounds for the privilege of being there. You won’t be the mug for geeking out, those pissing away their degree will, which brings me onto my next point…

Don’t waste too much time drinking

I’m not going to lie, some of my greatest memories from my time at uni were from when I was blind drunk on WKD (see photo evidence above) but my friends and I went out a lot. Like, four times a week, a lot. It’s fun, but it’s not conducive to much else. University is supposed to be a time of discovery and exploration – if you’re hungover, you’re less likely to go to lectures, get involved in the cool stuff or find something you feel really strongly about. Missing one night out isn’t going to make a difference to your life, no matter how hard that is to believe at the time.

Don’t get sucked into the ‘hierarchy’

Exeter was pretty bad for this. Those people who are part of the ‘it’ crowd who always walk around in large groups and talk five decibels louder than everyone else? They will probably refer to university as the best days of their lives, even after travelling the world, having kids and getting married… you do not want to be one of them.

Find something to do

Basically, get involved in something other than shots at the bar. Think sport, charity work or writing for the student newspaper. This is one of my biggest regrets looking back, especially because I knew I wanted to get involved with so much at the time but just… didn’t. Branch out of your comfort zones and make the most it because you will spend the rest of your adult life wishing for so much spare time.

Ramp up that CV

If you can intern during your holidays, then for god’s sake, do it. Ask your friend’s mum or that distant relative if you can get some work experience at their company, gain as much relevant experience as you can, start a blog (I started this in my third year) or spend time researching what you might want to do when you graduate.

Have that relationship if it feels right

People always say that you should remain single while you’re at uni. Although I think it’s good to have a bit of both (I was one of those lucky ones), if you meet someone and fall in love, then go for it. That shit doesn’t happen often, so embrace it, people.

If you need to work, then work

I was pretty much the poorest person at Exeter, which made it difficult to find the motivation to go to work when hardly anybody else did. The peace of mind I got when I received my pay packet, however, was well worth it.

Finally and most importantly…

Be yourself. It might sound like such a cliche, but honestly, this was what ruined university for me. I have spent many a conversation blaming the city itself or the abundance of obnoxious rich kids as to why I hated Exeter so much, but really, I was just pretending to be someone I wasn’t and that shit is HARD after a week or so. Be yourself and you will find true friends and enjoy great experiences without driving yourself insane pretending to be someone you’re not.

So, undergraduates of the UK, even though you will probably ignore all of the above, get ready for an emotional time – on so, so, so many levels.

Take care of each other and good luck.

THE JOB CENTRE 2016

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This time last year I decided to start something.

That ‘something’ was a month-long campaign whereby women of all ages would share their stories of job success in order to help other women realise their fullest potential and strive to accomplish their personal career goals.

I was so tired of seeing women posting wishy-washy quotes on Instagram about fate and ‘following dreams’ instead of spending their time chasing what could be a reality, whilst men were allowed to be openly competitive, ambitious and were being praised for working hard. I was hearing so little about the practical ways in which women could achieve their goals that I realised it was no wonder we sometimes felt a bit lost when it came to finding our feet in the workplace and so I decided to do something about it.

In truth, I had high hopes of becoming a fashion designer when I was younger but without any real direction or advice being readily available to me, it quickly became a dream that disintegrated into nothingness. I didn’t know one single person who worked in fashion – so how was I to step onto such an alien career ladder without someone offering me the right rung? Little did I know, at fourteen, that had I applied to Central St Martins or LCF and interned at a shit ton of fashion houses instead of sketching in a notebook whilst listing all of the reasons why I wouldn’t make it, this dream could have become a reality. Looking back, I think I just liked pretty clothes and probably wouldn’t have enjoyed working in fashion anyway – but still – you never know what could have happened had I been offered the right sort of advice or stumbled across something like, dare I say it… this.

Although there are plenty of women out there – some of whom you will hear from over the next four weeks – who know exactly what they are doing, where they are going and how they’re going to get there, there are some women, across the UK and the rest of the world, who haven’t been offered advice – or even the option – of pursuing a successful career and really making something of themselves, be it a midwife, journalist or athlete.

And this is where The Job Centre steps in.

Over the next four weeks, as will happen every September from now on, you will read about the successes of various women in a whole host of different roles and industries, ranging from copywriters and hoteliers to bloggers and barristers. Some of them might be doing the exact same thing you do and others might be working a job that you’ve never even heard of. Many of them might have had contacts that helped them get to the top and others might have grafted from the very bottom. Either way, they all have something valuable, interesting and insightful to say about how to get into a particular profession, so listen up, ladies.

If you have recently graduated and are looking to be steered in the right direction or if you are a bit older and are looking to switch jobs before the year is out, then read, comment, ask, engage and even disagree with these women if you really want to. After all, this is a conversation, not a lecture and I want everyone to get as much out of it as I do.

It isn’t difficult to do what you love, you just need to know what it takes to get there.

So, without further ado, welcome to The Job Centre 2016.

Tap the faces below to hear stories of hard work, dedication and success.

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#WHENIGROWUPIWANNABE

THE JOB CENTRE – JESS MARK

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Age: 26

Occupation: Nutritionist

Which means: I’m currently working on a study at King’s College University, helping patients to reduce their risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease within the next 10 years. We are testing whether a psychological technique known as ‘Motivational Interviewing’ can help patients with lifestyle changes such as eating healthily and increasing exercise to reduce heart disease risk. I also write health and nutrition articles for TotallyTween – an online magazine for 8-12 year olds.

Did you go to uni? I studied Nutrition at the University of Nottingham and graduated in 2010.

What was your first job after graduating? I decided to go travelling, so my first job was working at Wimbledon. I had a few different jobs to save money to fund my 8 month long trip. When I got back from travelling, I decided to really pursue the nutrition route but it was so difficult to find a paid job! I did lots of volunteering at various charities, an internship at a Nutrition PR company and then decided to go freelance. My first proper nutritionist role was for Hillingdon council, working as a Nutrition Coach for teens, helping them to manage their weight and become more active. I was also running nutrition workshops for parents and children in primary schools across south London.

Do you have to have a degree to do your job, or is work experience more important? Having a nutrition degree and work experience were both really important in landing the job. For this project in particular, other health-related and psychology qualifications were also accepted as the role incorporates nutrition, exercise and psychology. However, other nutrition roles I have had ask for a degree as a requirement.

What’s the difference between a Nutritionist and a Dietician? Currently, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist as the title isn’t protected in the same way as a Dietitian. There is however, The Association for Nutrition (AfN), a charity that holds a register of Nutritionists who work at senior levels across the NHS, academia, industry and food service. This is to enable public safety and ensure those who release information are adequately trained and knowledgeable enough to provide evidence-based information and follow strict code of conduct. In order to join the register, you have to demonstrate core competencies in nutrition and science. The AfN currently accredits a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses – my course at Nottingham was one of them. Students completing an accredited degree programme have the right to apply to join the register. Joining the register post-graduation gives you the title Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) and after 3 year’s worth of experience you can become a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr). This is useful because employers are increasingly looking for registered status in posts they advertise.

What’s does a typical day at the office look like for you? No day is ever the same, which I love! I spend most of my time at GP surgeries or community venues working with my patients. If I’m in the office, I attend meetings, catch up on emails, book my patients in for the week and organise rooms at GP surgeries and venues. I also have to plan my sessions and write up patient outcomes from sessions. Working on a study means that there is quite a lot of data to be collected and recorded. When I’m out of the office, I’m either working one to one with patients or delivering group sessions.

What’s the dress code? Smart/casual. As I spend a lot of time travelling to different locations, my main priority is comfort but I try to look as professional as possible. I do have to carry lots of resources to sessions, so it’s not unusual to see me running around in my trainers with a change of shoes in my backpack!

Where do you see yourself in two to three years time? What are your achievable goals? I would like to get back doing freelance work. I really enjoyed creating my own projects, especially for children. I think it’s so important for children and parents to be properly educated about food, so I want to continue health promotion in this area. I would also quite like to do some more studying and work abroad.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would it be? I really can’t see myself not working in this field. I love food, so it would probably be something food related – maybe own a restaurant or set up a food delivery service?

The world has gone mad for ‘Super Foods’ and ‘Clean Eating’ – is it all  just another moneymaking scheme? I definitely see it as a massive marketing ploy. There’s always a particular food that we ‘must be eating’ that will ‘solve all our health problems’. The term ‘Superfood’, however, has no official definition and the EU have banned health claims on packaging unless it can be supported by scientific evidence because it gives us a false expectation of the benefits. ‘Clean eating’ also has no definition or scientific support. The reality is, if you eat a ‘Superfood’ thinking that it will undo the damage of consuming other unhealthy, processed foods, it won’t! Superfoods cannot compensate for unhealthy eating; no food on its own can work miracles. The Superfood trend exploits the fact that healthy lifestyle choices can reduce our risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, strokes and cancer. There’s a massive wellness trend at the moment with a lot of influence from social media- Instagram in particular. You see lots of incorrect advice being handed out which can be very dangerous as it promotes confusion and misinformation. I know it’s boring and everyone has heard it before, but a healthy and balanced diet really is key. Limiting yourself to consuming only a certain superfood or ‘eating clean’ and restricting other important nutrients can be detrimental too. Balance and moderation are what’s important. We need to eat what’s right according to our individual needs.

And finally, what one piece of practical career advice would you give to your younger self?

STOP WORRYING!  I would tell myself that there’s no point worrying if the problem can be solved, and if it can’t be solved there is still no point in worrying! It’s not going to help the situation, so just let it be. If you’ve tried hard enough and really given something your best shot, you’ve got to trust that things will take care of themselves and work out in the end.

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My beautiful best friend, confidante and foodie. We like to eat. And party.

Questions for Jess? Just ask.

THE JOB CENTRE – LAURA WILLIAMS

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Age: 29

Occupation: Writer/Digital Nomad

Which means: That she writes. For a living. And travels. A lot. 

Did you go to university? I went at 22 as an independent mature student, after taking four gap years to travel the world, work, and do a part-time business degree that I quit after the first year because LOL, that is SO not me! I entered the University of Derby as a Creative Writing student, later switching to Creative Writing and Media Writing so I could diversify my skill set. That’s the advantage of going to university a little bit older – you know how to get the most out of it, and aren’t afraid to ask for it!

What was your first job after graduating? I spent the year after I graduated running a children’s language school in Rome, a job that allowed me to spend my mornings working on my web presence and writing a book. That gave way to moving to London where my self-compiled digital knowledge – that I understood the online world, how digital marketing worked, social media, and that I could demonstrate the ability to create high-level content that people actually wanted to read – got me an internship in SEO, that within the month had become a full-time job. I quickly side-stepped in PR, and then left to go freelance.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer? Yes – but then I forgot. Got talked out of it. They don’t encourage you to pursue many “creative” jobs at school, do they? Even at university, on my course, they discouraged us from thinking we’d make a full-time living from writing. We were expected to use creative writing as a string to our bow – one of many things we’d do as part of a “portfolio career”. Coming back to writing full time feels like coming home.

Do you have an agent? Yes, I signed to Ella Kahn of Diamond Kahn and Woods Literary Agency in April 2015, after a publishing house approached me and said they were interested in my work.

How important is it to have one? Ella has been a guiding light for me, navigating the complicated pitching and submission process in a way I can only marvel at. She does her job – liaising with editors – and I do mine: writing something worthy of their attention. Signing with her has been a huge step in my writing career, both for the tangible results she’s yielding, but also for the support. Writing is such a lonely pursuit that it’s nice to have a teammate, now.

How did you land one? I got her by writing a blog post about needing representation, that got shared on Twitter and she saw it. I talked to a bunch of agents, but Ella co-founded her own agency at 25, so I knew if she trusted herself enough to do that, I trusted her too.

How do you come up with book ideas? Everything I do is personal memoir, so it’s direct experience that informs what I write about – from my digital journalism stuff, to the blog, to the ebook I just launched about being braver in our everyday lives. My full-length manuscript is something I am currently trying to get traditionally published, but that is about my life, too.

How long does it take to write a book? My eBooks take about three weeks to compile, and my full-length book years and years. Writing 90,000 words for that one has been the journey of a lifetime, but now I know how to do it I hope the next one will be quicker!

How many times have publishing houses rejected you? My agent doesn’t tell me that! She only tells me the good news, and it’s a process we’re still going through.

What does a typical day at the office look like for you? Well, every six weeks or so I live somewhere new: this year alone I’ve worked from Bali, Malaysia, Bangkok, India, Derbyshire, London, Rome and I’m answering these questions from Istanbul! So my routine changes constantly but mostly I try to be up and out at a local café by 9 or 10 in the morning, where I do my most creative work (book writing) first. I’ll eat lunch, wander around whichever city I’m in, maybe take a yoga class and meet friends for dinner or carry on working. I do about 8 to ten hours work a day, four or five days a week, broken up into a way that serves my life – rather than altering my life to fit my work.

Let’s talk blogging. Why did you start your blog and how much of a part did it have to play in getting you to where you are now? My blog has been everything in getting me to where I am now. It’s been going since 2008, and in the first instance has been a place to simply practice writing. I found my voice through keeping to regular updates, and once I had my voice I started getting to grips with different ways to promote my work: newsletters, social media, different styles of posts. I’ve grown a small but committed readership and that is why my agent signed me: I demonstrated that people, my readers, were already invested in me. Like I said, I got my first job in London because of my blog, too.

What are your achievable goals? To get my first book published, write a second one, and keep living all over the world as I do it. I think I’ll always blog – it’s such an intimate medium, and I find real joy in connecting to my community that way. I’ve considered running ads on site too, so maybe it will grow to accommodate that – but only if it “fits”. I’ll never do sponsored posts, I don’t think. I just want to keep telling stories. I don’t want to *become* the advert.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would it be? I’d be a hairdresser, I think. But honestly: I cannot conceive of a world where I don’t write.

You talk about your “tribe”. How do you recommend someone find theirs? Do you actively scout it out or leave it to fate? The only way I have ever found “my people” is through doing me. Whenever I’ve tried to manufacture aspects of my personality to attract the attention of people I thought I wanted to be friends with, it’s never worked. Folks recognise inauthentic personalities a mile off. I find that whenever I stop seeking approval from others and commit to writing good stories and living my best life, I fall in line with others vibing at the same level. The universe knows what she’s doing that way.

That said, I always reach out to people – online and IRL – to tell them when I like what they do. That’s’ been the beginning of many a friendship! Everyone likes to hear when they’ve positively affected you (but no brown-nosing!)

And finally, what one piece of practical career advice would you give to your younger self?

Create a portfolio of work. No matter what you do: nursing, teaching, writing, topless dancing – you need a go-to place online where – at a glance – a potential employer can see your experience, your passion, and how you’re contributing to the industry you want to be part of. Be a thought leader, investigate why your field works as it does and show that you’re willing to work to make it better. Even Tweeting about your industry is a good start, or keeping short blogs. Be proactive, and be prepared for a career path that is a wiggle of stops and starts – nobody gets their dream job at 22.

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I really love what Laura does. She’s real. And I like that.

THE JOB CENTRE – LEANNE BRADLEY

10687141_10152695285784231_1011364200546227153_nAge: 27

Job Title: Beach Bum. Currently in Sri Lanka on ‘gardening leave’ from my old job, but when I touch down at Heathrow, my new job title will be: Chartered Surveyor & Associate Director in the Central London Restaurant Leasing team at CBRE.

Which means: I find restauranteurs to fill vacant spaces within Central London on behalf of private land owners or institutional landlords- basically, I’m a glorified broker!

Did you go to uni? I gained a BSc in Property Development at Sheffield Hallam in 2010.

Do you have to have a degree to do your job or is work experience more important? Yes, in order to be a Chartered Surveyor you have to have an accredited degree! Work experience is very important, but unfortunately surveying is one of those professions that you have to decide on before applying to university. However, there are 1 year masters courses that students can undertake whilst in practice and lots of the big surveying firms usually sponsor grads to do this.

Were the exams difficult to pass? Any tips for revising? My uni exams were easy but the real challenge was trying to pass my APC to become chartered. When I sat it the first time, I was the only person doing it within the firm, so studying, staying motivated and having a full time job was really hard and I ended up failing! However, the second time round I had lots of help from BGP (my last company) and managed to pass! So if at first you don’t succeed, etc…

What was your first job after graduating? Entering into the profession in the middle of the recession meant that jobs were hard to come by, so I opted to work in Property Management (the less sexier side of surveying), which meant that I was responsible for managing multi-use buildings in and around London. The duties that were required of me ranged from setting service charge budgets to making sure there was enough toilet roll in the communal toilets!

So how did you end up at CBRE? As soon as I started property management, I knew it wasn’t for me, so when an opportunity came up to move into the ‘sexier’ side, I took it! I went to work directly for a private landlord doing asset management/leasing. This was great as I got exposure to all sectors of the commercial market- from offices and warehouses to retail and restaurants. From there, I knew I had a passion for retail/restaurants and being the personable person that I am, I thought I’d make a great agent. I guess the rest is history.

What does a typical day at the office look like for you? At BGP, I would often get to the office for 8am and respond to emails and voicemails from the previous day. I reported to clients on a daily basis, updating them on the process of leasing. A lot of time was also spent with colleagues, discussing and planning leasing strategies for the developments I was working on. This involved collating schedules or drafting professional reports and presentations. As a restaurant leasing surveyor, it’s important that I know about all of the up and coming restaurants, so my lunch times are regularly spent trying them out with either clients or agents. Lots of my time is also spent showing prospective restaurateurs and retailers around properties and developments or advising my client’s architects on retail specification requirements during the design stage of a project.

What do you suggest wearing to an interview? Surveying is typically quite smart, so I would always recommend wearing a suit or smart dress and heels to an interview!

What’s the culture like? A huge part of my job is being social. I am out 2 to 3 nights a week, with clients or other agents, and the success of my job is heavily reliant on my ability to communicate with others.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve ever worked on? I worked on the redevelopment of Victoria, London – the Nova development – whilst I was at BGP. This is a mixed-use development of just under 1 million sq. ft, including residential properties, offices, retail spaces and restaurant units. I was part of the leasing team who are responsible for leasing 18 exciting new restaurants; examples of some of the names we have secured are The Riding House Café, Jason Atherton, Barbecoa, Bone Daddies and Franco Manca.

Do men dominate your industry? Surveying is – sadly – a very male-dominated industry. There are times when I notice my voice may not be heard, but the younger generation of surveyors are very accepting, which aids in my progression.

Where do you see yourself in two to three years time? I love my job and love being independent. I will always want to be looked up to and strive to maintain a good reputation in the industry. I have no set goals other than that I want to be happy, possibly work abroad and earn shit loads of money…

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would it be? I’d love to be a furniture designer… I’d like to think I’m quite creative.

And finally, what one piece of practical career advice would you give to your younger self?

Be confident and read your emails 5 times before sending them… you can never get them back!

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A powerful woman and good friend of mine. Any questions? You can ask them here.

THE JOB CENTRE – LOTTE RICE

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Age: 26

Occupation: Actor

Did you always know you wanted to perform? Not really. The seed was planted in my early teens and the dream grew over the years with each new experience. It really picked up in sixth form when I was acting a lot more.

Did you go to drama school? Yep, RADA, shortly after finishing my A Levels.

What was the application process like? I had initially, quite apathetically, applied to university during ‘UCAS Mania’ in our A level year. It seemed like the right thing to do. It’s what everyone else was doing. Problem was, I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. I was interested in many things and my A levels were varied, but the only thing that I knew I wanted to do was act. So, when I randomly met Alan Rickman (long story), he said that if what I wanted to do was act, then I had better get on with it. I then spilt a glass of champagne on his really nice velvet jacket – oops – but went on to apply to loads of drama schools, got shit loads of rejections, kept going and luckily got into RADA. I know lots of people who spent years applying, and honestly – the amount of rejections you get has ABSOLUTELY NO CORRELATION to talent or ultimate success – they are absolutely ballin’ now.

What was your first job out of drama school? ‘The Way Of The World’ by Congreve at Chichester Festival Theatre. I was working with a huge cast, filled with seasoned actors, who had spent large swathes of their careers with the RSC and The National, or on television- a lot of them took me under their wing and showed me the ropes.

How important is it to get an agent? Depends. You can have an agent who does absolutely nothing for you and sometimes it is better to be without so that you be your own full time boss, generate some hype around yourself, and find success alone. Eventually though, if you want to work with the big dogs, you’ll need one. But you can work for yourself in the meantime.

What’s the best way of going about landing one? I personally believe you are wasting your time cold-calling agents. You are one of maaaany people trying to find one, or find a new one. It’s better to spend your time and energy contacting casting directors and directors, getting yourself a job, and then having something to exhibit yourself with. It’s always better to put yourself in a position where they can come to see you in something.

How do you go about finding auditions if you don’t have an agent? There is a website called Casting Call Pro, which many people use. Also, writing directly to casting directors and directors helps.

What’s the most recent play you’ve been in? I was in a Fringe play called ‘Love to Love to Love You’ at the Vaults Festival and Edinburgh Festival- it was a new adaptation of ‘Le Ronde’ by Schnitzler.

Is working on the Fringe fun? It’s very exciting, but not for the feint-hearted as the hours are as dodgy as the pay and you will probably have to hustle your audiences. It’s worth doing if you believe in the work, though. Plus, like all tricky things, it’s ‘character building’.

Do you find that surrounding yourself with actor friends helps? Yes. Especially those who I went to drama school with. It’s not unusual to say that drama school can be quite a traumatic experience, so when I graduated, I did sometimes find it hard hanging out with old friends who had no idea what I had been through. Actors know your struggle! And it can be a struggle. They’re also a lot of fun!

What would be your dream role? There are so many. At the moment I am doing lots of singing and would love to be in a play that involves singing too, although not necessarily a musical. I also love snazzy costumes, so would love to do some classy period dramas on TV. 

Are you working on anything at the moment? Yes, I am currently doing some voice overs, shooting a music video and developing a piece of new writing with a theatre company called PaperCut. We are planning to take it to The Vaults festival, Latitude and Edinburgh. Then, depending on how that goes, onwards and upwards! 

Do you work between acting jobs? YES! There is no shame in this. Even when I’ve had lots of money in the bank from big acting jobs, I’ve had to work, because too much time alone with no structure can play havoc on your headspace. Acting is, fundamentally, the worst industry for any sort of stability or structure. I know that some people are ok with that, but most of us need things to hold onto and keep us going- not only financially, but also mentally.

How do you keep your head up after a rejection? Believe in yourself! And move on. Bounce right back and keep smiling. Beat any disappointment or resentment out of you. It’s poisonous.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would it be? I’d be a doctor!

And finally, what one piece of practical career advice would you give to your younger self? 

Definitely to always believe and have hope. I used to freak out after I finished a job or if I hadn’t had an audition in a while. Keep cool, believe, have hope, keep smiling, be clear about what you want and then take steps towards getting it.

It’s not easy, but it’s simple.

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Oozing with talent and charisma. A very good friend of mine and an unbelievable party companion.

So. Much. Sass.

Any questions for her? Let me know and I’ll pass them on.