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  • Writer's pictureJani de Kock

Memo to a young insights professional: Take the first job that comes your way

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

Pictured here is my 8 year old selling reclaimed golf balls and fruit. It was her own idea and I love it. Through this tiny venture she has discovered the joy of earning your own money and working out profit. She has learned that the days when she puts up a sign are more successful than days when she doesn’t and that offering ice water (which no-one ever buys) helps her sell more golf balls.

I am writing this memo to encourage you to take the first job that comes your way.

Not that you should stay in that job if you find something better…but to spend your time well while you are looking. I know it can be difficult to find a job without any experience and how are you supposed to get experience if no-one will give you a job? It’s so unfair. My advice is to get busy as soon as you can doing any job, even if you volunteer.

Let’s say you have an Honours Degree in Strategic Brand Management from a fantastic design, brand and business school like this one. There is a position open as an after-hours receptionist at a vet’s office. Do you take the job? I say yes! You will learn so many useful things you can’t learn by reading about it. Like solving problems (broken printer, emergency walks in the door, not the right change, double bookings…sound silly but wait until they are yours to deal with while a patient is standing on the other side of the counter.) You will learn administrative skills and communication skills. If they have a small shop you will learn about retail and consumer brand choice drivers in a massive global industry. You will learn about customer service and family dynamics and the irrational, emotional connection people have to animals. You will learn to play a role in a team and to do so consistently. I once interviewed a very good salesman at Superdry. He told me how he knew what someone would buy when they walked in the door. This stuff. Is. Gold. Take the job.

The gold in my daughter’s little business? She doesn’t know it but I am most excited by the lesson she is learning when golfers drive past ignoring her. She’s playing but she is dealing with rejection long before she even needs it, while she is safe under my wing.

If you are in a job but sending out CVs and need help articulating what it is you know... get in touch and we’ll try to see it together.

Finding your identity and calling? That is a beautiful story for another day.

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