Back in 2014, I graduated from my Gameplay Design and Production course with a 2:1 and moved back home. I was lost and didnt know what to do with myself. I ended up working in a variety of factory jobs on the agency, but hated every minute of it. I was bored out of my mind and wanted to do something that felt more meaningful and fulfilling, rather than just sticking labels on amazon parcels, or packing cherries into plastic tubs for 8 hours a day… Then a graduate role appeared on one of the job sites. It was for an IT job at a local company, where every 4 months I would move around to another IT department. It sounded like a good opportunity, although not really in line with anything my degree was about. I took the chance and applied, and after a grueling full day interview with a selection of other hopeful graduates, I finally got the job!
When I started though, it wasn’t smooth sailing. I joined in the first graduate scheme they ever did, and that came with a lot of teething issues. For one, the first area I was in, the manager didn’t know why I was there. After a few weeks he was surprise to see that I was still coming in, and when I asked for more work, he remarked that he thought I was just there on work experience!
It continued going downhill from there. I was in that role for four months, and didn’t get anything to do the entire time. The developers were too busy to show me what they were doing. So I spent most of the day trying to make things I thought would be useful, only to be told to change evertything whenever I showed it to anyone. I did make friends with someone on the team, who then got in trouble for allowing me to sit with him and shadow his work… So I went back to my desk and sat there waiting patiently for the next rotation. I did consider quitting after three months as I was really getting depressed at having nothing to do, and not feeling like I belonged there at all!
I spent more time daydreaming, trying to learn japanese for my upcoming trip, and researching cameras. The RX100 III has just came out and I was obsessively reading about it in all my downtime. I was planning in my head all the amazing videos I could take with it, and all the photo walks I wanted to go on too! I’d found a blog that wasn’t banned at work, it was by Danny Choo, the founder of culture japan (http://Dannychoo.com)and I think I must have read every single one of his career advice, and photo walk posts at least twice each! I still have all the old websites favourites that I used to visit back
I couldn’t afford the RX100 III camera, so I settled on the mark 2 instead, which as great, but was missing the flip-out screen which made recording from it a bit difficult! A few years later I did manage to get the III and it lived up to the hype!
Back to work related talk, after the rocky start I began to find my way in the company. I did a stint on the SharePoint development team, which was a remote team, with other people working in London and elsewhere in the UK. I really enjoyed learning about how to use the software, and enjoyed taking trips to the different offices to meet the rest of the team and gain knowledge there!
That lasted 4 months then I was back into random IT repeated roles, but I always kept doing the sharepoint development on the side. Maybe to the detriment of my other jobs…
After the graduate scheme ended, once again I wasn’t sure what to do, but I got a role in one of the teams I’d been in as part of the program as a “continuous improvements analyst” which basically meant doing a lot of nothing that important to anyone, making random posters and doing a lot of SharePoint work on the “side”, which actually took up 90% of the job, everyone was really pleased with my Sharepoint work throughout the company, but that year I got a bad end of year grade because my manager wasn’t happy that i’d been helping other teams out…
Here’s one of the very important posters I had to make…
It wasn’t all bad in that team though! I did get to make some corporate videos for the company! These were shown on big screens in-front of the whole department at events we have a few times a year! Of course I can’t share any outside of work, but here’s a sneaky photo I took in the boardroom of my trusty RX100 being put to use!
Shortly after that, the team disbanded, and once again I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, I was put into the software testing team, and honestly hated it. I didn’t understand what they were expecting from me, and everyone was very quiet there. I felt lost again, and I decided to quit that team and try to find somewhere else to work in the company. I got offered a role in desktop admin, which again, I really didn’t enjoy. Again, they didn’t really know what to do with me. I felt so left out and unwanted, This year was probably the hardest year i’d ever faced. I was quite depressed at work, I shut myself away and spent more time dreaming about being a full time YouTuber, or becoming a game developer and actually putting my university degree to use! Alas, none of that panned out and I was stuck in the basement being told to watch videos on how to use PowerShell, even though I wasn’t actually allowed to use it.
I spent more time pretending I was needed in meetings, then going to hide in the toilets or walk around looking busy, and trying not to break down… Again, I was very close to quitting. But at that time i’d just bought my own flat, so I didn’t have a choice but to stick with it and hope things would improve. I actually started getting panic attacks, they would wake me up in the night and i’d feel like I couldn’t breathe. It was horrible and I knew I needed to get out!
I kept working with other teams on their Sharepoint work and video projects on the side, until someone in the Project Management space requested me to work with them officially three days a week. Eventually I managed to convince one of the managers there to let me move into the team full time.
I was quite happy there for the next few years, feeling like i’d finally got somewhere that I could be happy and produce good work! My mood was lifted, the people were easier to get along with, and the pay was better too! I could work on improving my SharePoint skills again! I also learned a lot of presenting skills around this time too, and finally stopped having those horrible panic attacks! I got myself organised, started researching personal development, got myself a mentor, who was very helpful to my growth over these few years, and worked really hard to improve my work and my self too.
I’d been working on moving into a team that specialised in SharePoint and Microsoft 365 for the past year, and it was about to all go through, I was excited to start finally working on what I always wanted to, all was going well. Then Covid happened…
Just after that, the company got bought out, and once again, I was moved to another team without any notice. I ended up working remotely for a team based up in Edinburgh. I had to travel up there every few months, and while Edinburgh is a really nice city, and it was cool to be able to travel there first class and get to stay in some nice hotels, the work it’s self was, once again, not really clear.
Some photos from my visits to Edinburgh:
I was dropped in the deep end and joined long meetings with no context, expected to take all sorts of data and produce useful systems for the team to use. Although the team and the people were great, I felt like I was just being pushed around and getting further and further away from what I actually wanted to do. I was a bit overwhelmed, and once again, it felt a bit like they didn’t really know what to do with me.
In the short time i’ve been in this team, I have had four different managers, and was expected to be having my fifth one in just a few weeks time! Every time I got started on a project, something would come up and i’d be taken away to work on something else. I didn’t know who I was reporting into, and any sense of structure from my old team had all but vanished! I couldn’t take it any more.
After going with the flow for the past eight years, and hoping something would come my way, I finally decided to take control and look for a job on my own terms. I found a few different ones that sounded really good, and much more in line with where I wanted to go career wise. I have accepted an offer at a company as a Solution Architect for Microsoft 365! I’ll be starting there on Monday and hopefully this is the beginning of a bright future for my career, on my own terms!
Wish me luck!