A note from Team Esc: Em is the epitome of an escapee. We should really stuff her and keep her in the office as a constant reminder of the right attitude towards taking risks and making things happen for yourself. Thrilled you have got this job through Esc. Good luck!
Two years ago. I made the best decision of my life. I quit the world of suits, being chained to a desk, boredom and the world of making it through the hours of 8am – 7pm every day. I am a corny person and I wanted to make sure I enjoyed every single day. Now I’m not slagging off the world of finance. It just wasn’t quite for me… So as soon as I realised it, I quit. Just like that. No messing around and umming and ahhing… I quit. And boy am I glad I did that.
2. It’s All About The Research
As soon as I quit, I decided I wanted to be a television presenter. Now where do you even begin with that. I had no idea. I had no friends that had any idea. And so the process began of getting to know everything in the world there was to know about the world of television. Who to know. What to know. Where to know. I got to know every company. Every contact in every company. And also every friend who could possibly introduce me/ help me/ tell me any advice. Offer to meet anyone. Work for anyone. And go to everything where you might meet someone. Every if you are pooped at the end of the day. It will be worth it. You have no idea where one meeting one person for five minutes might take you.
3. Be A Dweeb
Once I knew what I needed to do. I bought myself a pretty pen. A pretty notebook. Booked a presenting course. Found some unpaid running work on the set of a showreel making company. And things went from there. I then asked a friend to help me set up my website with showreel, headshots (taken by a girl I met at an Esc meeting) and all. And dum dum duuum, I had a pretty website called www.embell.co.uk. From there I sent that out to every contact that I had dweebily arranged on a spreadsheet, that was growing as I spoke to more people.
4. Loose The Ego
Trying to do what you want isn’t easy. You have to make sacrifices. I moved out of my cute house. Said goodbye to my friends (Ok, I’m making that sound dramatic) but I packed up my bags and moved to a sofa at the end of my parents bed. Wow do they love me. I was 25 and at the end of their bed. Goodness me, they must be proud but they supported me in my search for the right job. Another point on the ego is that, while I was working on sets and learning tricks of the trade, I was working the other five days of the week as a nanny, pa, cleaner to my friends, bat mitzvah planner, photography assistant, game show stand in, tv contestant and waitress. I took all jobs I could find and ended up doing some spectacularly random things. Even those jobs led me to meet more people. Make more contacts. Find more jobs. It’s a never ending process. Those people now send me everything random. People know you are up for being involved in something totally odd. I love it.
5. Be Adaptable
I ventured out from the office in search of tv presenting jobs. Instead I’ve been on a blooming random journey around the media world and some other worlds too. My first major job was with an events company who asked me to present a 31 day music festival in South Africa. I said yes. Packed my bags. And off I went to Cape Town. I returned 9 months later after organising a 15 day festival with two other people. Did presenting, radio interviews, made sponsorship deals. Did marketing. Ran the event. Introduced bands to 100s of people. Hosted a fashion show. Looked after artists. Managed a team. Hung out in Cape Town. Dressed as a chicken and sold balloons to children. Ok it wasn’t quite what I was expecting and I came back penniless but I had the best time and I would go again. Coming back from that, I landed an unpaid internship at a music production company. They brought me on to work on a documentary on the band McFly. Brilliant. I didn’t even know they were still around and boy are they still around. They rock. As you can tell I’m now a super fan.
6. Get Your Stumpy Finger into More Than One Scrummy Pie
So while living in Cape Town or rocking out in the music production world, I wanted to find more things to get involved in. After long brainstorming sessions on a beach in Devon, I decided to expand my website. Instead of annoying my friends by sending them weird things to do around the world and in London, I thought I would channel it into something cooler. So I titled myself ‘A Professional Weirdo’. Adapted my website and on the first page, starting writing one post a day on something to do that day. Uber cool pictures. Kind of nutty writing style. And this opened my world to even more things. I sent it round to all newspapers and websites. Started reviewing for a few websites and am now on the hunt in the world of reviewing. The world of Time Out, Spoonfed, Le Cool, This is Your Kingdom. You get my gist. I now have a dream like bubble which has me managing to get a column in a newspaper magazine providing Londoners with the most fascinatingly cool thing to do that week. That dream like bubble looks pretty fabulous so I’m after it…
7. Be A Bit of a Job Whore
There are SO many job sites out there in the media world. I signed up to all them. Every day my inbox is filled with job opportunities. There are things out there. Even if you are scrubbing floors while reading them, there are things. Apply to all of the things that look relevant. Keep a big book filled with the websites. The contacts. Everything you need to know. New business ideas. Write them on your mirror or on your shower door. I know someone that does that. He thinks in the shower so he needs something to write on. I made it through to the top 40 in an international online competition to host a year long travel show. I never thought I would make it past the first stage. But I went for it and it worked and I now have a friend in Canada who is trying to help me out. The other contestants put me in touch with job companies around the world too. I even applied to run a post office in Antartica for 6 months this summer. Be open and apply. You never know where it might take you.
8. Make sure Escape the City Have Got your Back
The McFly project comes to an end today and I just accepted a job yesterday through the one and only, Escape the City. I was dragged to a drinks party two years ago. Just after I had quit my financial head hunting job. I was hungover. Soaked wet from the rain. Had blisters from my new shoes and couldn’t really be bothered. But I went. And goodness me, am I glad. From day one, they have helped me on my job search. They had me host the Esc launch party. They let me interview some dudes in the city. I helped with the first Esc Wednesday and they blooming rock. I have applied for so many jobs through them and I have just accepted a job as… a wedding planner. Random I know, but it’s a great opportunity. I get to use my events experience. I get to deal with psycho brides. I get to organise and I can keep blogging and writing with the peace of mind that I have some money for food. I am so glad I got my job through them. So so glad. They are freaking great and I kind of worship them…
9. Don’t Regret Doing Something that No one Else Would Do
So my final bit of chat, because I know I’ve been rambling for a while now… Ignore everyone else when they think you are doing something stupid. Even if it goes wrong, you will have tried something different. Or it will take you somewhere new. Or you will make a new friend. I quit my job on New Years Day during the lowest point of the recession. I made sacrifices that people thought were stupid. I did jobs that people thought were embarrassing. But I’ve had a sooper dooper time. I’ve met so many ridiculously cool people. I have loved every minute of it and will continue to search for the weird and the wonderful…