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Where Next: Lessons learned in my first five jobs – Starring Amy Osborne


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By Kelly Chan 8 months ago

In this week’s series of ‘Where Next: First Five Jobs’ Amy takes us through some of her exciting (and mainly coffee-filled) experiences before she joined the Planning and Marketing team here at Mr B & Friends. Amy, take it away…

1. Seedbeater

Would a 16 year old be allowed to work 12-hour days a day in the elements of the British Summer today? The job entailed ridding a lot of hectares of Suffolk countryside of Sugar beat (a giant turnip with beastly seed-ridden foliage) – with hands, feet or various frightening implements.

LESSON: Be prepared for any eventuality, and a good laugh can get you through a grim job.

2. Printmaker’s Assistant

Coffee-fuelled days, months and years were spent editioning etchings for a leading printmaker (of his time). The job was varied – from hand printing etching plates of all sizes and multiple colours, creating prototypes with the artist, scouting countryside for inspiration to running the studio one summer when he was ill which involved stock-taking and selling to galleries (getting the commission down was a feat!) and drop-ins.

LESSON: Most of my lessons came from this job. A good day starts with good coffee. Perfection comes from discipline and repetition. If you have a great product, then play hard and don’t undersell. If you think you can’t do something, find another approach and you sure as hell can do it. True creativity comes from collaboration and an open ear. Age isn’t a barrier – someone who is 50 years older than you can go on to be one of your best friends.

3. Art Gallery Manager (Summer Job)

Running the day-to-day gallery, organising and curating a show.

LESSON: Look at what your customers are buying, and stock based on that, rather than personal taste (and quite often keeping personal taste quiet when someone spends a few thousands on a paper maché animal). As a green 19 year old, I learnt about mark-up, negotiation, accounting and VAT.

4. English Language Teacher

After university, my (now) husband and I flew to Japan – as non-Japanese speakers – to teach English for a year. The first half of the year involved teaching business English in a tiny Japanese town and the second half of the year was spent teaching at a Kindergarten in Tokyo.

LESSON: If you want people to engage, then you have to make the content appealing – this is the same whether you are teaching a class of 30 children or one ‘salary-man’. And don’t drink 4 Genki drinks in a day, if you don’t want a heart attack.

5. Digital Account Executive

Working for a lead-gen company, this started as a sales role and by the time I left involved actively working on SEO and PPC. It was a varied role from writing copy for SEO and PPC ads to structuring paid search ad campaigns. It was a great first grounding in digital advertising.

LESSON: The old adage – people buy from people – get under the skin of the prospects that you want to convert and demonstrate how keen you are to win their business. As an art student and poetry student, I also learnt how to use Excel to analyse data and that this data too could be used creatively to get the best results for customers. I also learnt how to get through a day at work with glaring spreadsheets and a cracking hangover!

Where next for our good friend and ex-seedbeater, Amy?