(I wrote this blog in 2016, its another blog that was due to appear on my previously shut down site. The blog focuses on where my mind was when considering career options post-graduation. I feel that the biggest part of this was that I didn’t just settle for the first thing that popped up. There were so many different opportunities that presented themselves to me. Funnily enough, there’s one that stuck very clearly in my head. I had an interview with some measly graduate recruitment rep working in a company called Celsius Recruitment. The funny part about this is that he was desperate to make some money and as such called a number of sales roles up, to get me an interview. He found me a fantastic cold-calling job in paper solutions… Brilliant. I was definitely not going to take that up, and it was clear that he didn’t listen to me at all because I wanted to use my personality and skills in a face to face role. Anyway, when I rejected the job from him, he responded with: “Joshua, you have a degree from Oxford Brookes, you’re lucky this company is willing to interview you. You wouldn’t find a better job anywhere else, and you’re rejecting this opportunity”. What a twat. Since then, it’s all moved very rapidly towards a career that will fully suit me. This blog will give you two perspectives, 2016 and 2018. Enjoy.)
Future career aspirations
I always held this deep inner fear of the world after university I would find myself dragged into some sales role that I wouldn’t enjoy. I always hated the idea of being some sort of robotic worker. Whenever I walk through town and everyone is walking in the same direction, wearing their very similar business orientated clothes – I choose to purposely make myself different and not follow the queue of people marching through the busy city to their 9am jobs. My philosophy is that I should never be a sheep, I should instead learn from others and then adapt who I am and my personality to what I have learnt from these people. Further to this, I always emphasise to myself that being unique and individual is the only true thing anyone can do. I completely understand that it is part of life to use that exact route to get to work, but I like to change things up a little. When I’m wearing a suit and I’m going to interviews in various places around London, I love to just be a bit more skippy and a little more energetic than most of those who look miserable in their everyday life. That’s where my life has come to almost a full halt. I am lost as to what exactly I want to do. I have no conventional background focus that specifies a sector in industry that I would fit in to. If I had to write down my skills, I would have so many different skills and experiences I could write down – because I really have had a full life of great experiences and from them I have learnt a lot of skills. I guess my most beneficial skill is being able to get information from text, or even people, very quickly. If anything, I understand the human mind so well that I know that I can (most of the time) get what I want. The good thing about me having this ability, is that I don’t use it to do bad things or to manipulate people, I’m more of a negotiator.
Already the skill of being a negotiator points me towards the idea of being a solicitor and heck, I always wanted to be a solicitor when I was at college. I loved the idea of wearing a suit, the idea of being around a massive table and giving valuable input to the rest of those in the meeting. The only issue with law, is that with the current climate within the UK, there’s a real limit to what I would be able to do. That’s why my mind has moved to the idea of Politics, another job which requires fantastic communication, intellect and negotiation skills… However, the issue is that due to my unconventional background, I’m not a favoured candidate to partake in political debates representing a party of my interest. We really don’t have as diverse and fair a country as we are told we do. There’s definitely a level of stigma held against those who didn’t go to private school, those who are of an ethnic minority and those who are disabled. It’s a bloody tough world to live in when you’re not perfect, but I think that if you work hard enough you can actually get to where you want to be. This is where the struggle lies, where do you want to be? I have no idea where I want to be. I love the idea of going back to university and doing a masters in something that throughly interests me and that’s what I’m going to do. I am fascinated by political thought, and history is my passion – so if I can do a masters at a prestigious university in history and politics, I’d definitely take up that opportunity. But it is truly difficult to understand myself, exactly what I would like to do in the future. I had always been so very passionate about computers and the idea of being a software programmer – but I didn’t pursue it because I felt that I didn’t know enough to establish a reasonable statement as to why a university should allow me to study it at degree level. History, was something which had always intrigued me, I had always argued in my head different perspectives of any one event – and I had always questioned to myself the possible reasons for such an event occurring, whether it was due to political reasons, or potentially economic reasons. The idea of pursuing history further than a Masters however, drains me a little – because the only real jobs that are recommended are teaching positions or academia. It is to my belief, that whatever I do – I will do well at it, because I am passionate and positive about everything I do.
For now, I am going to enter the abyss and just work my ass off to achieve something that will make me an even stronger candidate for future positions in whatever job I might decide I want to do. Am I scared? Of course I’m scared, I don’t really know where life is taking me, I have too many opportunities in front of me and I’m struggling to focus on one particular one. Am I worried? You know what, I’m actually not worried, I’m happy! I feel that whatever I do, I will be successful in and I will definitely not allow anything to hold me back. As long as I have the people who mean the most around me, I will be strong and I will discover my future job. For now, it’s time to work hard in my current basic job, it’s about building a future and securing assets within my life, assets that will be at my side throughout my long path to success. I am Joshua Bryant, there’s no one quite like me and there’s no one quite like you!
Reflection on this post – 2018.
Let’s reflect on this blog post that I wrote in 2016. The abyss I spoke of wasn’t a great place to be and I found myself constantly changing my mind about what I truly wanted to do with my life. I spent about three months contemplating a lot of the sectors I could pursue a career in. In fact, Law happened to be the favourable sector for me. I discovered through working at O2, that I enjoyed customer contact and I thoroughly enjoyed finding a resolve to customer’s issues and needs in general. This really helped me to understand my abilities, in particular how well I can deal with problems and find resolve in almost everything I did. I challenged myself in the job, and tried to use my intelligence to have a real impact in the store. It was due to the other factors of the job, that I knew I really didn’t want to work in retail and I certainly didn’t want to be management in retail. I witnessed a lot of interesting aspects of human behaviour in the store. I was always fascinated about the different people that came in, and their individual approaches. For example, I gained a strong perspective about class-divides in the role. I learnt that in fact people from a background where they had a larger wealth of knowledge – knew exactly what they needed, they didn’t want flashy phones and they didn’t need excessive minutes or data on their contract. They wanted exactly what they needed. The crazy thing about this is that the definition of this type of person is in the eyes of the industry – lower end users. Whereby, those who you could tell didn’t have that wealthy and knowledge – were less willing to hold back on their needs. They want the flashiest phones, with the highest contract and didn’t care about the cost. This takes me back to a comment someone once made in passing: “The working-class and low-middle-class person focuses on luxuries first, whereas the upper-middle class and generally wealthy focus on necessities first”. (This is such an interesting statement because it’s the sad reality that people wish to put themselves into financial difficulty just so that they can have the latest tech.)
This whole experience really helped me to pursue my focus more towards going to university and taking a masters in a subject that would lead me to obtaining a much-desired training contract with a corporate law firm. I initially applied to Bristol University with little self-belief. I almost didn’t think it would be possible to get a place at a top 10 university having been to Oxford Brookes, regardless of my mitigating circumstances and unique background experiences. I gained some confidence when I attended a visit to the university, in fact I knew straight away I definitely wanted to study there! Truth-be-told, I had always wanted to go to Bristol University. Being from Bath, I had visited Bristol regularly and knew about the prestige of Bristol University. I loved the idea of going there and I’m so so so proud of my uni! I gained a place and successfully finished my first year there, obtaining an average of a 2.1 grade. During my first year, I applied to an international law firm, and after two difficult tests, a video interview, an assessment centre comprised of two further interviews and a group exercise – I was invited to take a vacation scheme with them. Let me just emphasise the significance of getting this far: on average they receive 3000 applications for only 45 spots on the vacation schemes. From those vacation schemes – they choose 30 further applicants to offer training contracts to. These training contracts are two years long initially, and lead to becoming a qualified solicitor. I successfully completed my vacation scheme and was offered one of these training contracts, which was the most significant point in my life. I am so overwhelmingly happy about the fact that I worked hard and was offered this opportunity. I feel like my dreams had finally come true, and as I said in 2016, when I focus on something that I really want – I get it. The firm was my ‘firm’ choice, and I am so very proud of the firm. They have paid for my tuition fees and helped me with a maintenance grant to help me through the remainder of the degree.
I just can’t wait to start there!
Thank you for reading this blog. I didn’t want to make it too long and wanted to be more concise with my context – so that you don’t end up reading on and on.