At Mr B & Friends we’re all about looking forward and discovering Where Next, but we also thought it would be great to see where our team started out and the journey that set them on the way to their current role at Mr B & Friends. Our ‘Where Next: First Five Jobs’ will be a regular blog series for the next few weeks. This week our Account Director, Nicola Jarvie, is the star of the show…
This was my first job when I was 16. It was at a dusty old-school hotel in my village, extravagantly named The Gartwhinzean. It involved taking orders for vintage fare and at weddings/functions ferrying around vol-au-vents and mini sausage rolls. It was exactly like the Channel 4 mini-series The Hotel.
LESSON: It taught me that the customer is always right and that when boredom strikes (there were quite a lot of quiet days) there is always something useful and/or creative to do.
During university I worked in a series of pubs ranging from dingy to divey. As a student, this was the perfect job: flexible hours, free beer and fun times. I got to know many of the regulars along with their troubles and successes – I look back on the time fondly like a long episode of Cheers.
LESSON: A listening ear and a laugh are as important as efficiency and professionalism. Chatting with folk from all walks of life educated me and opened up my eyes to the world.
3. Finance Assistant
After graduating, I decided to get some non-pub experience. Fortunately and conveniently, this presented itself to me in the form of a junior position in the finance department within my dad’s firm.
LESSON: This role opened my eyes to the world of business and gave me a commercial awareness that has stayed with me throughout my career. But most importantly for me, working in my father’s firm allowed me to witness my old man in action: a firm but benevolent force, incredibly hard working and full of care and consideration for his staff and his business.
4. Accounts Payable Officer
My first proper professional job was in Sydney for the esteemed advertising and brand agency Singleton Ogilvy & Mather. This job was a revelation. The more I learned about what the agency did, the more I wanted to know. When my work was done and the creatives and account handlers were staying late in the office, I wandered the halls trying to lend a hand or make myself useful. It was genuinely awe-inspiring and exhilarating.
LESSON: I learned that the agency environment is my natural habitat. I also learned working in the finance department that creative thinking, process and output can be lucrative as well as emotionally inspiring and behaviour-changing.
5. Account Executive
My first role in Client Services was at Scotland’s leading independent agency – The Union. I cut my teeth on a varied workload ranging from experiential events for government anti-obesity campaigns, to beautifully shot glossy ads for luxury whisky brands. I loved the variety, the teamwork and the satisfaction of being able to point at press ads and say: “I helped to make that”.
LESSON: Listen and learn from your elders but always have your own opinion and don’t be afraid to express it. But one of most important things that I learned (that to this day remains my mantra) is that teamwork makes the dream work. Corny but true.
From Scotland to Sydney and then to Bath – where next for Nic?