Career Journey – How I Jumped From Working In Retail To Copywriter

The best way to predict the future is to create it – Abraham Lincoln.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was small. I used to write stories to read to my mum and dad, complete with drawings, and I would staple together my own version of a magazine that I created and edited… in a fashion. Then came the lengthier stories (RIP Midnight – I still can’t believe I lost you after spending so long researching and handwriting each word) and the lengthier ones still; over one hundred thousand words of a story by the age of eighteen, and another longer one last year. Intermittently, my blogging life took over, on and off from the age of sixteen. I guess you could say that writing is in my blood; my fingers should bleed the number of hours I’ve spent writing since I was little. I have zero regrets; writing is my absolute passion and the fact that I have now the word “writer” in my job title makes me do a little dance inside.

LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING

My career stint has been a long twelve-ish years, pretty much the same as anyone who gets their first job at the age of 15 or 16. Mine was washing dishes in Tesco Café on a Sunday. I hated that job and eventually it fizzled out. I wasn’t very good at it, nor was I too amazing at dealing with hot dishes. I’m still not, over a decade later. Then came my first of a string of retail jobs, in Primark. Remember the days when you could go to school Monday to Friday, work Saturday and Sunday and still get all of your homework and revision done and have a social life? We were crazy little bees back in the day. I say that as though I’m old. I’m still in my twenties but feel as though my party days are well and truly behind me.

A DECADE OF VARIOUS RETAIL JOBS

Of course, this has been very on and off over the past ten years. I haven’t solely worked in retail the entire time, but I did work in Primark for roughly a year before I went to university. That job died a death because, let’s face it, I was a fresher wanting to experience everything which included hangovers. Plus, the people in Primark Hammersmith weren’t a patch on the friends I made at home. The next time I worked in retail was nearly five years later (I worked at the student bar during uni; I didn’t solely rely on my loans) which began my love of The Perfume Shop. I worked as Maternity Cover at my local store alongside my local pub of an evening in the run up to my travels around Australia. Little did I know when I took the job that it would change my life by giving me some of the greatest people I’ve ever met… and that it would save my arse when I was looking for a job after my travel stint in Australia and a six-month career change as a marketing assistant which didn’t work out. I worked as a (very stressy) supervisor in The Perfume Shop (another mat. cover) which taught me a lot about companies, roles, retail and how stressful a Christmas on the high street can really be. That was my final role working on a shop floor before I became a copywriter.

MY TIME AS A WEBSITE EDITOR

After my momentous, incredible, best summer ever of working in Tenerife, going to Marbella, Ibiza and Disneyland Paris, not to mention graduating from university (Class of 2014!), it was time to knuckle down and get some experience… that ended up being unpaid. It was fine, for a little while. I certainly learned a lot. I learned about creating journalistic content, editing other people’s work in a sufficient manner (something I had done before, but honed my skill on during my time at Purple Revolver), writing to a tight deadline, prioritising my work, not to mention what it truly takes to run an entire editorial website. It was hard work with very little reward, but I did manage to bag free passes to amazing gigs and talk to the up-and-coming artists that would tour Liverpool. It didn’t come without many late nights that was extra work, zero pay and an exhausted twenty-two year old who was broke and wondering what to do with her life.

A BRIEF MARKETING STINT IN 2017

However I felt about this job, it certainly taught me a hell of a lot and pointed me in the right direction to the road where I am comfortably trotting along now. I wrote copy for an entire website; created adverts, social media posts and leaflets; reached out to individuals in the business as well as online influencers and advertised for new customers. The writing element of this job certainly had something to do with my getting an interview for my current job. It must have done because it was the most solid piece of copywriting I had ever penned, especially from a retail perspective.

BLOGGING, FREELANCE AND PERSONAL WRITING

My freelance writing began in second year of university which led to editing my own section of a website and later, writing for various online publications that allowed me to review gigs and films, interview everyone from musicians, filmmakers and jewellery makers as well as create compelling copy in an editorial form. If I was getting paid for all the work I did, I could have made a living from it, but I loved writing for these editors. I was in university for the majority of the time, so it was a hobby that kept me sane and my creativity flowing. Fast-forward to 2015, I started blogging again which overtook my freelance writing. I wish that I had kept my freelance work up, kept my finger on the pulse, but sometimes you’ve just got to let something go. For me, it was writing for other publications. Blogging became my passion as did my many personal writing projects. Ultimately, I think that is what got me my job as a copywriter. One of the things I was praised on in the interview was that I was so creative, and I think it was my dedication to writing – whatever the writing was – that made me come out on top. I’m only assuming here; it could have been my charming personality and the fact that I had (dedicated to the cause) driven nearly five hours for my interview for all I know!

WHAT I DO NOW

Things are definitely heating up in the office the closer we get to Christmas and I am a busy little bee with to do lists of to do lists as long as both my arms that are written on various yellow sticky notes scattered around my desk and on my computer screens. A typical day will see me doing SEO and keyword research, writing copy for various products, editing images, editing copy and creating longer copy for landing pages to optimize them for organic google searches. My creative brain needs to be on top form for the majority of the day and sometimes when it gets to 3pm, that just isn’t the case. Any tips for keeping those creative juices flowing during a mid-afternoon slump? I’m getting such a joy out of work right now and proper job satisfaction. It seems that the more compact the job on my to do list is, the more productive I am which is weird, because it can be the opposite when it comes to blogging.

This post has been jumping all over the show in terms of timelines, but I hope it gives you some insight into my career journey. It took me a lot longer to get to the career that I had hoped for since starting my A Levels ten years ago and this is just the beginning. P.S… do you know what the funny thing is? Technically, I still work in retail.

Have you hopped between careers? How did you do it?

Love, Faye xo

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