If you follow my blog you will know I am now working in Glossybox Berlin, the leading digital beauty subscription provider in the market. During my lunch break this week I picked up a book that was lying around, I believe it was titled something along the lines of How to get a job in Fashion, and it was published by Teen Vogue. In it were the views of key editors, stylists, designers and the creative like.
I focused on the creatives who had landed impressive editorial (both creative and commercial) positions in Vogue and found a pattern- they interned either during Uni or straight after, started at the bottom of Vogue and climbed the ladder (often changing departments) to get to their current prestigious titles. And most of them had done this by the age of 26.
Lucky them. This was not the case for me. But as Aunt Alicia (one of my favourite film characters of all times) said in the iconic film, Gigi: ‘…instead of getting married at once, it sometimes happens we get married at last.’
Yes she was talking about marriage, but it’s a theory I apply to a lot of other matters, as being a late starter in almost every aspect of my life- I strongly relate to this line.
So back to the topic at hand, my below views are made from my personal experiences. I cannot claim to be an expert on landing a job but I believe I am an expert in fighting for the creative career (where you get paid!!) and lifestyle you want that will make you happy.
I have also labelled this article Part 1 as here, I am going to focus more on the Mental and Spiritual side of things.
Looking back, I realise that I got my job by doing a 360 on my mental as well as physical activities:
1) There is more than one way to skin a cat– In my early 20s when I was looking for my ‘Dream Fashion Editor’ job in a magazine, I had tunnel vision and only applied to fashion mags. Fast forward the years and from reading several Fashion Editor CVs on LinkedIn; I now know one can can get to this position through other means like through a PR job for a globally successful brand. For e.g. if you get a PR job in Topshop, H&M and the like, as you impress them and go up the ladder, you are bound to rub shoulders more and more with various editors from high readership mags allowing you to find out if there any vacancies etc. This has to be done with common sense for obvious reasons, so it does not get to your PR boss that you are planning to jump ship!
2) Open yourself to other possibilities and by this I don’t mean lose sight of your dream. I mean until you get your dream job, you have to live and still thrive so that when your dream job comes you have the chops (mentally and experience-wise) to nail the job. For example, before I got my job in Glossybox, I did a CAM Diploma in Marketing Communications, I worked part-time for a school coordinating Communications. I believe this helped me get the job I have now. Also weeks into the position, my duties swing rapidly from brainstorming, pitching and writing editorial ideas for our monthly magazine (creative) to writing corporate newsletters and sales pitch content for the site (commercial). I am able to flourish with these changes as they emulate the life I had as a freelancer.
3) Say No. A lot– I once watched a TV show where a successful actor (I forget the name) said he got to where he was by mainly rejecting a lot of film roles. Since my move to Berlin two years ago, I learnt the power of saying No. A lot. No to jobs that did not bring me visibly closer to my career goals.
And this involved the choices I made in my social life. So No to friendships introducing varied staged Drama Acts in Part I, II and so on, that were draining, No to going to Berghein club on a Sunday because even though I was a freelancer and could. I wanted to act as if I had already got the job, so no Sunday Mash Up Action, which would destroy me on Monday. Fake it till you Make it.
4) Wake up before 8am– In my first two years in Berlin, even though I was a freelancer and could technically wake up any time I pleased. I was always up between 6 and 7 and I didn’t need an alarm clock for this, my body clock woke me up. Personally speaking, waking up at this time and getting cracking on things gave me the power to focus, plan and carry ideas out.
5) Reassess what your ‘Dream’ is– this is really for women/men in their 30s. In my opinion, as a creative your 20s are the years where you feel you can do anything. In your 30s, you may still believe you can do anything but so much would have changed- your market (in my case the shift from print to digital), your lifestyle, friendships, social life- all this or some of this, is bound to have an impact on how you see your ‘dream job’.
Also in my opinion, one should stay true to oneself but by 35, 45 etc- one is rarely thinking Me, Myself and I- responsibilities pile up where a balancing act between dreams and reality need to play themselves out.
6) Why a Dream Job when you can have Dream JobS?– this is my closing point and one I believe in most of all. I came to the conclusion that since I was at adept in writing, styling, production logistics and so on, I was damn well going to spread out my dreams. My full-time job fulfills a certain dream. It’s hard to pick out which one exactly as it changes everyday but for now I will say, a boss I actually respect and want to emulate. I have not had this throughout my whole life. I don’t care if you are Editor in Chief of Cool&Edgy Mag, the pioneer of the African Global Fashion Industry- if your actions condone and support not paying creative professionals, using them to make you get bigger and then spitting them out without so much as throwing a perk in their direction: I don’t respect you. You pollute and corrupt the industry. And more on point- A pox on you.
So my Glossybox job ticks XYZ dream, when I want to write what I want when I want- I have my blog, if I want to take part in the African Fashion Movement I find a way to do this that does not conflict with my full-time job (More on this later) and so on.
There it is, hope you could take something from this.
How did you land your job- creative or commerical? Did you get it immediately after graduation or did it take years? Did Social Media or Networking play a key part? I love hearing about people’s career paths, tips and so on, so do tell!