July 10, 2020

Reflecting on my first year on the job

by Aalastair Sibley in News

I cannot believe that it will be a year at the end of this month since I graduated from university. At that time, I felt – like most of my peers I assume – that the world was my oyster (not to sound cringey!) and nothing could hold me back from conquering “adulthood” and building a career from scratch.

Unfortunately, university doesn’t actually prepare you for asking the serious questions like, ‘What do I actually want to do for work? What is meaningful to me? And how can I achieve that?” Well according to all my teachers at school, it’s very simple. Go to college and get a job.

Fresh out of university, I had a feeling of uncertainty yes, but the unknowing of what thrills and excitement of being an adult lay ahead is what drove me. It drove me to get stuck into the interview process in order to land that dream job, which is a lot harder than it sounds.

Filling in the endless amounts of job applications and hearing no replies – now that’s never easy. Within the first six months of graduating from university I had applied for over 780 jobs and I had probably only heard back from about five in total! Completely disheartening and a confidence crusher for sure – but you have to keep going. Sitting back at your parents’ house waiting for your phone to buzz with an email reply with once again another rejection is sickening. Though, I wasn’t going to let it stop me. I put myself out there, visited people at their workplaces, went out for coffees with contacts I had made through previous internships and surely enough, after some hard work in the “networking” space, I was lucky that opportunities were starting to arise and momentum was building.

I continued to lean on my friends and ask them for advice. But when I asked them about their first job experiences, everyone, bar a few said they have been very underwhelming. Dream jobs have turned out to be disappointments, boring, stressful, or completely different than the way they had been described are all phrases they used.

I was determined to make 2020 my year, a fresh start and the year my career as a graphic designer was going to explode! I was going to find a job I absolutely loved.

I was lucky enough to be emailed an opportunity to interview for Red Havas in the February and what a rollercoaster of a ride it was. After having my first interview I was offered the job within the same week. My first thought was obviously “thank goodness” but also, this is a company that knows what they want. I was so happy that they wanted me.

Although it was a rough start to the job with COVID-19 hitting us like a storm within my first month of being there, I feel more relaxed and happier than I ever thought I would be being in the scary working world. I am so grateful to Red Havas to give a young ambitious graphic designer the opportunity to work for such an amazing company as my first job. It is a privilege.

I’m learning every day and I know that the involvement I am getting now will shape my career forever.

To all other creative agencies listen up and follow suit. It’s important to invest and nurture young talent. Who knows, maybe they’ll be your company’s next future leader.