My dream job by Craig Chappell

Getting a foot in the door

Let me tell you, being so nervous even your eyeballs are sweating is not a good look. More so, when you’re in a confined room, staring at esteemed professionals, who won’t think twice about tearing you and your work to shreds.

Interview day had arrived for the Campfire role. For the most part I knew what to expect, which was only mildly comforting. The interview was a presentation. And I’d be presenting to separate groups of employees from each sector of the business – creative and client.

CEOs Nick Thomas and Paul Handley had already seen the presentation I was about to perform for their colleagues. The dynamic duo had watched, judged, interrogated, and graded the presentation as part of my final university module. It had taken just 15 minutes.

Having studied Advertising at the University of Gloucestershire, the presentation had to consist of three different advertising campaigns and needed to showcase comprehensive, lateral thinking and a diverse channel mix.

I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that Nick and Paul were impressed with what they saw of me. And the fact the presentation I gave, became the very reason they’d invited me to interview. I was flattered and flabbergasted. However, I wasn’t about to question their motives. I wanted exactly what they were offering.

Securing an interview allowed me to think that maybe I will make something of myself and be able to fulfil my aspirations. But getting this far was only half of the battle. The hardest part was yet to come, to impress the people I’d actually be working with.

 

Pinch me – am I dreaming?

I’ve woken every morning this week knowing it wasn’t a dream. I’d done it. But it soon could turn into a nightmare if I can’t keep up, cannot impress, or fail at even the basics.

This is how I’ve been feeling since landing my perfect job. Elated but with a looming sense of insecurity, as if the rug is going to pulled from underneath me at any given moment.

Nonetheless, I am writing this as I sit at my desk, in a role I’ve worked tirelessly for the past 4 years to secure within an award-winning marketing agency. And to boot, it’s in my hometown of Cheltenham. Frankly, it couldn’t get much better than this.

Over the years, there have been countless times I didn’t think it was at all achievable.

I failed my first year of A-Levels, aged 17. This meant I didn’t go to university when I’d planned to, or when my peers did. I felt utterly useless. And stupid – definitely stupid. For a long time, I was convinced I’d amount to nothing at all. That I didn’t have it in me to fulfil my aspirations.

Irrespective of the doubt – I am here. I am a Copywriter at Campfire. And for that, I have achieved already, far beyond what I could have imagined. And as I begin my copywriting career, I wonder what lies ahead. Am I good enough? Am I heading for a nightmare after all?

 

Welcome criticism with open arms

University provides you with an unescapable false sense of security. In fact, it couldn’t be further from the ‘real-world.’ I’m not naïve enough to think lectures could replicate the rigours of agency life. Although, I was hoping there might be a slight resemblance.

Critiques especially are on a different level. You’ve not experienced the true meaning of a critical appraisal of your work, until you’ve had one at the hands of a person you’re trying to impress most. Of course, the team here only want the very best for me I know. Their words of criticism are always welcome – they really are. But I was not ready for the sheer volume.

Week 2 was like the death of a thousand cuts. Nothing I was doing was getting favour. How could this be, I was a Grade A student? There had even been jokes about me not returning the following week. I wondered what I’d got myself in to. Was this really the dream I had been chasing?

And of course, I returned the following week. I’m not an idiot. Why on earth would I throw away a fantastic opportunity. And it was only the second week into my graduate job. In an industry, that for the most part, was completely alien to me. I wasn’t going to get it right first time. And frankly, I wouldn’t have wanted to.

I’ve been at Campfire 10 weeks now. Ups and downs are the norm and I’m not expecting that to change anytime soon. But if there is one thing I know, it’s that I’m eager to, and honoured, to have the opportunity to perfect my craft alongside the incredible talent I’m rubbing shoulders with here at Campfire. And I mean rubbing literally. My desk has well and truly been shoehorned in.

But I’m not complaining. Thanks for making a space for me around the Campfire – I really do appreciate it.

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