the sky's the limit

The sky’s the limit!

I grew up and went to school in Woking, Surrey. I worked hard to get good grades, but it didn’t come naturally to me. The school I went to was ranked the best in the county and 23rd in the country which meant a high reputation to uphold and a natural progression to university. I remember in sixth form everyone was choosing their university courses, but I was still unsure about what I wanted to do with my life. Thinking about this now, I do think that 17 is too young to decide your future career! I ended up choosing to study Hospitality Management at Bournemouth University. I thought that this would be a sensible choice as the course covered a broad range of sectors including business management and marketing. If I am honest, I think I wanted the ‘university experience’ more than the degree and, looking back now, I probably would have chosen a different direction. My plan was to take a gap year before university to travel the world, which was my ultimate dream. However, student loan interest fees put paid to that and I therefore decided to take my gap year after I had graduated – until I graduated and was penniless from all the partying! I graduated university with a 2:1 which I was happy with but then it dawned on me that this was it – it was time to start climbing the career ladder but I wasn’t any clearer about my first step. My main aim was to save money so that I could follow my dream of travelling. I worked at the local Specsavers as a dispensing assistant which was an easy job but not one in which I wanted to make a career. It was just a stepping stone to save enough money to see the world.

In January 2018, my best friend from university and I finally packed our backpacks and left for Australia. We travelled for 6 months to the east coast of Australia, Bali, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. After 6 months, 154 days, 7 countries, 14 islands, 52 destinations, 14 flights, 44 buses, 15 boats and an incalculable amount of memories later, I returned to the UK. Upon my return, I moved to Cheltenham. My experience at Specsavers showed me that I enjoyed the customer service aspect and I accepted a role at luxury partyware company, Meri Meri, as a Customer Service Executive at their design studio in central Cheltenham. I was later promoted to Account Manager and enjoyed building and managing their customer relationships. My next job was at a UK Top 30 accountants: Hazlewoods. I was a Business Administrator for the Corporate Finance team, working on mergers and acquisitions in the Healthcare sector. I felt very out of my depth in the corporate world of accounting, but I soon settled into the team. I increasingly enjoyed the PA side of my work and found I was very task orientated and enjoyed being organised and organising others. My manager agreed and I began to take on more PA work. After 2 years at the company, I moved to SW London to live with my boyfriend and continued my career as a PA. I was thrilled to get a job at the largest architect in the UK, Foster and Partners, as a Cover PA. Going from working at a medium sized business to a well-established large business was a big change but I loved it! Living in the capital was probably the best 2 years of my life but, after 2 years, I was ready for a slower paced living environment. This led me back to Cheltenham and then to Infrastar where I am continuing my career at a smaller business, but a rapidly growing one!

I have now been at Infrastar as a Business and Sales Support Administrator for 4 months. I am really enjoying being part of a close-knit team and getting involved in more aspects of the business and new areas of work. My love for travel is kept alive by exotic holidays and it turns out my marketing and business studies did come in handy after all, as I now manage the company’s social media accounts, creating and scheduling marketing materials. I finally feel like I now have a clear career trajectory and will be transitioning into a new role within the next year or so which I am really excited about!

Author: Emilie Saunders- Business & Sales Administrator