I’d just come back from filming John Bishop’s Christmas show (yep, I’ll be one of those faces in the audience come Christmas on the BBC). Just as I was home and about to go to bed, I logged onto Facebook.
A friend had linked to this article, which out of curiosity I read.
Afterwards, I reeled. I felt numb.
I realised that, although I think I’ve done well to get this far in my career, there’s so much more to do. I realised that, although my salary is good, it’s nowhere near enough to make the life I want. It just looks when compared to the £0 per annum I began with.
I suddenly felt terrified.
A vision descended. Years into the future I saw myself. Sitting around the table with friends, I saw high-end and successful professionals. Taking about all the perks of life they were planning: holidays, expensive purchases, luxurious lifestyles. Then, I saw me.
I saw a little social media editor. Still on a modest 5 figure salary. Playing with words by day. A little hobby of a job.
A plummeting feeling in my stomach descended and refused to go away.
I knew in an instant I had to make sure that situation never happened. Whatever it took, however hard. Having endured the ignominy of little money in London before, I couldn’t and wouldn’t let it happen. Moreover, I can’t let myself be the low earner in my social circle. The charity case. The pitiable one. The shame would be too much.
I’m usually attracted to maturer gentlemen, so a partner who earns more than I do is hardly unusual. But when I meet my future husband, I want us to both be successful in our fields, or well on the road to being so.
My mind went into overdrive. I began frantically listing the skills I need to advance my career, and looking up the courses or resources I could use to get them.
I began mapping out opportunities of where I could take my position within the company I’m working for, and what my long-term goals should be. Most importantly, I began looking at how I could make myself, not just an asset, but invaluable.
Improved Photoshop skills.
Deeper knowledge of the social media industry.
Video editing skills.
Knowledge of how to brand a business online and offline.
Improved knowledge of the PR industry.
More networking to build industry contacts and opportunities.
Building my personal brand.
It’s been 2 days and the fear hasn’t gone away. It gnaws at me inside. I’ve always had a huge drive to be successful. But it hit me hard that I’m not doing nearly enough to make it happen. It was the last in a long line of wake up calls.
It also brought back to me something a recruitment agent told me last year.
“Travel, fashion, lifestyle. If those industries are your passion, go for it. But you’ll be competing with every brand copywriter and PR girl in London because they’re “trendy” areas. If you genuinely love gaming, your skills will be much more in demand there. And they’re we willing to pay you far more.”
I spoke with Marina about my fears. She said it was a good thing; they would drive me forward. And that the fear my job wouldn’t exist in 5 years was legit. Truthfully it probably won’t.
But if my job and other “creative” roles like it are going to be lost in the onslaught of big data analytics, what will I do?
It feels like the working world is moving forward into a place where I’m not needed, and it frightens me more than I can say.
I don’t want to be left behind.