I am one of the lucky people who get to say that they are working in an industry they love, training to do the role they actually want to do. It’s not often that in your early twenties you get to say this. Most of us are still figuring out what we even want to do and I know how tough that can be. Stuck in a job you don’t like, wondering where you’re going to be in the next five years because you can’t even settle on where you want to be right now. I’m going to go into detail about how I got myself out of a job I hated and into a job I am now absolutely loving. This is a little bit of a longer one, so you might want to get yourself a cup of tea (Twinings English breakfast of course!) and settle in for a detailed, tell-all read!
Earlier this year, I just had what I like to call a lightbulb moment. I was in bed applying for the usual editing, writing and copywriting jobs because that’s what I thought
I wanted to do. I’ve always been really good at writing and sometimes I think that when we’re good at something, we lead ourselves to believe that that something is what we should be doing. How many people do you know, who studied their university degree simply “because I was good at it
“? I’m always going to love writing, that’s not even a question. That’s why I have this blog. That’s why I write stories in my free time and it’s why I read so much too. But I slowly realised that the thought of writing for someone else as a job, made me feel really uninspired. Writing for me is a hobby – it’s not a career.
That’s not to say that some hobbies can’t be careers. My lightbulb moment happened when I started thinking about what I like to do in my free time. In my free time, I unashamedly play a hell of a lot of The Sims. I don’t even really play it for the sims themselves. I spend hours and hours constructing and decorating the most elaborate houses for my sims to live in. Once I’m done, I play with the sims for a bit and then I make a new family with different needs so that I can design yet another house. Everyone is always asking me why I don’t kill my sims, or make them cheat on each other or turn them all into vampires. Like yeah, that’s cool for about fifteen minutes and then I just want to design another house again! I also watch a ton of home programmes, follow lots of home inspo pages on Instagram and whenever I see a space, I’m immediately thinking of what to do with it. I’ve tried on countless occasions to re-design my own house but unfortunately, my mum won’t let me do it properly. And I won’t start a job if I’m only allowed to do it partially, I’ll do it properly or I won’t do it at all. With all of this in mind, it just suddenly made sense to me. What if I designed people’s homes in real life, as a career?
I can tell you now that it wasn’t easy landing myself in the job I’m in currently. I’ve worked for them in total for just under two weeks now so I’m still very new. But already in this time, the job just feels right. I’m excited to go to work. I get to do different things each day and respond to different situations throughout the day. I can write blog posts for our website, run our Instagram page, go on site visits, look at fabrics, wallpapers and materials all day long. Once I’m trained to produce proper industry level CAD, I’ll be designing things myself too. I honestly can’t wait. Not every interior design role is like this. The company I’m working for allows me the freedom to work on pretty much whatever I like and that’s why I was so keen to work with them. There are so many opportunities to learn and develop with them in multiple areas of the business. I started working for an estate agent two years ago and that pretty much affirmed for me that I wanted to work with properties. It just took me a while to figure out how I would genuinely enjoy working with them.
So how did I do it? Foremost is the fact that research is key. I spent day after day looking into the requirements of getting a job in this industry. As I’m sure you can imagine, the majority of roles on offer specified that I would require some sort of art/design qualification. With my English Literature degree, this was impossible without going back to university. But I was too eager to spend time and money studying all over again. I really just wanted to get going. After fully researching all courses available, I found that I was dissatisfied with either the price or the level of qualification offered by pretty much all of them. I couldn’t bring myself to go for any of them. It just didn’t feel like I would be taking the right route for me.
I did sort of hit a brick wall at this point. A part of me felt that I was spiting myself in refusing to take any of these courses. But I had done the research. I went to open days. I was emailing back and forth with course advisors. I was going through my savings and working out how I was going to pay for the courses if I decided to take one. I can honestly tell you that it just didn’t feel like the right step for me at this time. That’s not to say that I will never take one. But if there was a way to go around taking a course now and spending thousands of pounds, then I was determined to find it.
So I went back to the drawing board and decided to start emailing designers directly. I emailed something like ten designers a day asking if I could come and shadow their teams for a week or two. Most of them didn’t reply at all. A lot of them said they didn’t have the space or that they didn’t offer work experience. One of them actually called me and even though she didn’t have a position for me, she did take the time to speak to me about what I wanted from the industry and offer me some advice.
I finally got the job I’m in now, because after my extensive research, I knew that I would really have to sell myself. At the open day I went to, which was for a masters course, I was surrounded by candidates who had all studied art/design related degrees. I can’t lie, I did feel intimidated. I had nothing on my educational record or my CV to show that I was interested in interior design at all. But I didn’t let that stop me. I still kept emailing designers and applying for jobs regardless.
When it came to my interview, I was completely honest with them. I told them that I’m passionate about this, that I’d be willing to put the work in if they would also be willing to help me. I’m very strict with myself when it comes to things like this. I didn’t have time to waste lying to an interviewer and ending up in a role that was completely different from what I wanted. I wanted to work for a company that would be willing to train me/put me through a course – if absolutely necessary. But most importantly, I wanted the practical experience. I wanted to see first hand what I would be doing. I wanted to get involved asap. And I was lucky enough to be successful and end up in this role, training to be a full-time interior designer.
When you’re trying to figure out what you want to do, my advice is to sit down and think about what you enjoy doing. It’s not worth going into a career because you see your friend is doing it and having fun. Or because it’s what you’re good at, so why not? I just think that your working life is far too long to spend doing a job you’re only half enjoying, or not enjoying at all.
I went into this industry confident in my ability to draw. As you can see, I’ve been drawing in my free time for years and although I stopped for a while, drawing is a huge part of my role and I was very confident that I could still do it. I spent time trying to build up a portfolio to show at interviews, which was challenging because I went from drawing people, to drawing interiors. But I knew that I could get good at it if I worked hard enough. I was confident in the fact that I have an eye for detail and can put things together and make them look good. Confident that I can network with people, which is another massive part of the industry. Confident that I can build good relationships with clients. I went into this, with no qualifications, fully backing myself and knowing that this is what I want to do.
Is this the end goal? No. At some point, I will have my own interior design business. But at the moment, I need to learn as much as I possibly can. That way, when it comes to setting up something for myself, I know that I’ll be an expert at what I do. But, everything in its place. There will be a time for that in the future, not right now.
So if there is something you want to do, then make sure you’re passionate about it and make sure you chase it with everything that you’ve got. There was honestly a time when the thought of pursuing this seemed incredibly daunting. But I spent months persevering and exploring my options. If you’re willing to put in the time and the effort then I truly believe that you will get the results out of life that you want.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and that you feel inspired to chase your own dreams! It’s never too late, but I do believe that you should start early.