- I didn’t listen to that recruiter
- I didn’t worry about it not working out
- I didn’t sit at home hoping a job would land in my lap.
When I was 24, I chased the endless summer and ended up in Australia looking for a job in the Advertising industry. I knew it would be a challenge.
I had only worked in the industry for a year or so, and to get sponsorship you needed about 2 or 3 years of experience and a working holiday visa so the employer can “try you out” before they sponsor you.
I had neither.
Yet, I was so determined it would work out, that I bought a one-way ticket.
Someone once told me:
“If you want something bad enough you can make it happen.”
And this is what I would repeat to myself mentally when I began the long journey of door knocking on the Ad Agencies of Sydney.
I started out by going to see every single recruiter I could find. I’ll never forget this – but one of the recruiters said this to me:
“You may as-well book your plane ticket home because there’s no way you’ll get sponsorship with your level of experience.”
But this didn’t put me off.
I was willing to do ANYTHING to make this happen.
And in a strange way, hearing that sentence only made me want to prove that snooty recruiter wrong!
So – what did I do?
Well I’ll tell you what I didn’t do:
I took action.
I pulled together a database of over 65 advertising agencies, and I contacted every single one of them.
I knew I needed to be different to stand out from the crowd, so I spent hours crafting a super confident and unique email that I hoped would get some attention.
There was another naysayer.
His reply was something like this:
“Don’t give up your day job.”
Another one to ignore.
And so, in the face of criticism… I persisted. I didn’t take things personally. Besides, the positive replies outweighed the negative ones and the truth is:
“you can’t please all the people all the time.”
I remember thinking to myself: “it’s a numbers game.” Surely out of 65 agencies, SOMEONE will take me on! It wasn’t an option for me to go back to the UK. I believed in myself enough to make it happen.
After three months of hard work, I finally scored myself an interview with a company called Lavender. They didn’t have a role at the time, but the founder liked my innovative approach with my email. I had two interviews, but before long there was another hurdle.
To sponsor me they had to pay me a lot more than the going rate for the junior role I was looking for. What happened next was a huge shock.
They didn’t retract their offer.
Instead, they offered me a promotion! I was offered a higher position so they could sponsor me. I jumped up to “Account Manager” level with an increase in salary!
Everything turned out so much better than I could have ever imagined and in the end, the sponsorship actually led me to a promotion and a salary increase instead of holding me back!
If you had only heard the end of my story you might have initially thought: “What a lucky break!”
But was it really luck? Or did I commit to what I wanted and persist, persist, persist until I got it?
I often look back with nostalgia to that first ever quote that became my ticket to Australia (I’m now a proud Australia Citizen!):
“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”
I believe we really do create our own luck. And persistence ALWAYS pays off.
7 Tips for Persisting When the Going Gets Tough
1. Get really clear about what you want – this provides you with a strong focus and direction.
2. Take Action! Do whatever it takes to make things happen.
3. Persist, persist, persist!
4. Ignore any criticism along the way – stay focussed on your goal knowing that it’s impossible to “please all the people all the time.”
6. Be prepared for opportunities – you never know when they might turn into luck!
7. Decide that failure is not an option - As Will Smith said, “I don’t have a plan B, I find it interferes with my plan A.”
image via picsy