My career is so not what I envisaged it would be! My vision board depicts a Carrie Bradshaw existence, all sexy outfits, self employed, sought after writer attending business meetings and glamorous parties. The reality is more…erm…it’s more of a ‘Don’t tell the Bride’ version of my vision. You imagine the bride-to-be making a scrap book for her fiance detailing the exact wedding she wants before being presented with his warped, WTF??? interpretation of it. That’s my career, a warped interpretation of my dream existence!
Sexy outfits? Glamorous parties? Try this one – Thursday I will be on top of a big fook off hill, surrounded by five year olds wearing a jumbo helicopter costume. My Manolo Blahniks will be heli-wellie boots and my sought after writing will be a tweet and a wall post. Not made my point yet? Ok then, Saturday I will be stood in the doorway of my local B&Q wearing a fluorescent yellow high visibility jacket, a beanie with a helicopter on and my handbag is replaced with a big green bucket.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I work for charity. The pay is poo, the clothes atrocious and do you know what? I bloody love it!
Ok, so Carrie Bradshaw may never have stood on a high street market stall for eight hours freezing her knockers off or chased the contents of her stall down the street after a gust of wind pickpockets her offerings. I doubt she has ever attended a rugby match, a choir performance, manned a promenade trailer, tractor fayre, school talk or an estate agents Christmas do. All I can say is that, if she was an actual real human, she would be missing out!
As a part-time community fundraising coordinator I meet lots of characters in lots of venues on a daily basis. I can hand on heart say that witnessing the generosity, kindness and friendly nature of so many people warms me ‘ol cockles far more than any club launch or FROW (this means front row according to Cosmo; I’m too poor for Vogue)show. I spend my days people watching and its fascinating; in a non-creepy, stalker way…ish!
As much as I wish I could say that I was blessed with this job because I am a moral, heal the world kind of chick, the truth is a little more shallow. Whilst studying in Uni, a colleague and I set up a PR & Marketing consultancy. Whilst my partner was keen on motorsport engineering clients, I was setting my sights on the cosmetics industry. I was a hair and make-up artist for years, so it was a natural progression. The clients which came our way however were all charities. The more we worked on ethical, CSR and fundraising campaigns, the more intrigued I became and as a result, I based my dissertation on charity advertising effectiveness.
Half way through the dissertation we were forced to put the consultancy on hold and so I found myself jobless, financially fecked and assigned a case worker from Shelter Cymru. Desperation saw me applying for every job possible, regardless of qualifications. My Masters degree seemed to work against me as I was either too overqualified or too inexperienced for the jobs I was adequately qualified for. It was tough to even get shortlisted for interviews despite a CV which some have described as impressive. Then one day, through sleepless, swollen from sobbing, eyeballs, I saw an advertisement for a charity coordinator in my local area. I tailored my CV & cover letter to show all my charity work, then a week or so later I met the CEO for an interview. A week after that I stalked them on social media and after a full on LinkedIn assault on the boss, she caved in. The job was mine!
These days my colleague and I still have our consultancy which we plan to officially launch next year but I have no plans to give up my charity job. I just couldn’t! I would love to say that I couldn’t for purely altruistic reasons but as my dissertation debated, is there such a thing as true altruism?
I could chase my Carrie Bradshaw dream of the feisty life of PR parties, launch events creating buzz and hype over a new shade of lipstick or non-smudge mascara. My PR business had people treating me like a VIP, so why not do that every day? I’d certainly be financially better off. But what then? When I am in my flash nursing home, bored out of all my minds, what will I have to show for my efforts? Things. Things for relatives to scrap over once I croak. So what!
Do you ever think about how many copies of the Big Issue could be bought with the money from one Ms Bradshaw handbag? No doubt every time I tottered past a sleeping bag’d dude in the street, my Manolos guilt would cripple me! No, I want to regale my fellow old folks at the home with stories of how a group of five year olds did a sponsored walk up a hill to raise money for a charity that saves lives, so I surprised them by heaving myself up a great big bloody hill, dressed as a giant helicopter for no reason other than to make them laugh as a thank you.
Don’t get me wrong, I love and covert those designer bags but I cherish those smiles more! Charity might be a harder sell than a gooey lipstick but the rewards, not only for those in need but for the soul, more than compensate for my freecycle lifestyle and buckets in B&Q.