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Where Next: Lessons learned in my first five jobs – Starring Sarah Dennis


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By Kelly Chan 6 months ago
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A common cliché we all heard growing up was to “remember where you came from”. Take That sang a song about it back in the 90s. Mufasa’s ghost wisely told Simba this at the end of the Lion King (spoiler alert).

It is for this reason that we are introducing the ‘Where Next: First Five Jobs’ series. Over the next 40 weeks, we will discover where all of our friends came from and what shenanigans they got up to pre-Mr B. Most importantly, each of our friends will also highlight some valuable lessons that they learnt from these experiences.

This week, our very own Sarah Dennis from Planning and Marketing will take the spotlight and take us through the important lessons she learnt in her first five jobs. Cue the wobbly screen and sepia-toned flashback…

1. Children’s Party Supervisor

This was my first job whilst I was at Sixth Form. It involved shepherding around 8 to 10 sugar-fuelled children round a series of sporting activities. It was hell. Particularly the bouncy castle party that I had to run while suffering from my first ever hangover.

LESSON: I definitely did not want a job that involved looking after children.

2. Waitress

I then worked at an aspiring gastro pub (think granny-style vintage curtains, wooden crates and even a fake windmill) during my school and university holidays.

LESSON: Being friendly and professional in the world of customer service can get you far. Also, there is a limit to how many free chocolate brownies you can consume within a 6-hour shift.

3. Market Research Coordinator

I later ran product-testing campaigns for a range of FMCG goods.

LESSON: Trust your instincts – the man who was hired to run a vodka sampling in July turned up dressed as Father Christmas and was later arrested after walking off with half the booze aisle stuffed under his coat.

4. Journalist

My first ‘real’ job after my undergraduate and postgraduate courses was as a graduate trainee then reporter across a portfolio of magazines in the Big Smoke.

LESSON: That being unashamedly nosy is a positive attribute in the communications industry. Asking lots of questions will help to get to the heart of the issue.

5. Communications Officer

This was my first foray into the marketing world when I relocated from London to the South West. I worked within a marketing team on internal communications, PR and the company website while studying for a CIM qualification in my spare time.

LESSON: Whatever your role in a marketing function, you need to be prepared to contribute ideas and opinions – it’s collaboration and teamwork that leads to the killer campaign.

That wraps up our first five jobs series for this week. Where next for our brownie stealing Sarah?