When I was 15 years old, I ‘moved’ to London for two weeks to do my work experience at Sugar Magazine. I had a glamorous fortnight fetching coffees from Pret, transcribing teen idol interviews and filing embarrassing confessions. I remember one girl had sent in the same confession 15 separate times – she had gotten her period at an inopportune moment and a boy humiliated her in front of her friends. It was more sad than hilarious, but this was 1998, and cyber bullying hadn’t been invented yet. Simpler times. I loved the magazine environment, but, to be honest, they didn’t know what to do with me. They appreciated having someone to sort the photo sheets and pick up dresses from Zara, but I didn’t really learn anything about being a writer or an editor.
“I wasted my glory days chasing that dream rather than getting press experience.”
Sadly, I forgot that I wanted to be a writer. I wasted this opportunity – being young I could have worked for buttons doing internships, placements and work experience and by now I could be writing for The Pool (my version of living the dream). It completely slipped my mind that I wanted to create on the page, and I convinced myself I wanted to be an actor. But here’s the thing – I’m not a very good actor. I’m impatient and easily bored. I hate repetition, which makes doing long runs of shows almost impossible. I’m an introvert and find the company of others exhausting. I am incredibly self-conscious about how I look, and auditions (particularly commercial auditions where the waiting area is filled with thinner and prettier versions of you, a la La La Land) would send me into a dysmorphic funk for days. I was literally the worst person in the world to consider an acting career, but I thought it was what I wanted, so I wasted my glory days chasing that dream rather than getting press experience. I genuinely regret this.
“I asked if they would have me for a few days to learn from them”
I’m not bringing this up as a self-pity party, please don’t misunderstand. I’m actually, in a roundabout way, building up to something really positive. This week I am taking holiday from my real life job and going back to work experience. I am so excited. I interviewed for a PR position with this company but sadly didn’t have enough experience. Now, there’s no way I’m going to get the required experience in my current job, so I asked if they would have me for a few days to learn from them. The best thing is, unlike my trip to London as a teenager, they have a plan for me and I’ll be doing real work and learning transferable skills to help me develop my career. Well worth spending two days’ holiday on! Fingers crossed this will be a creative gateway and a fantastic chance to network as well as honing my skills.
I’m going to write a blog about my work experience experience for Mouthy Money, so out for that in the future. I also plan to do more placements and development opportunities throughout the year to help reach my goal of being a professional writer. If you can help, please get in touch!