Money matters and finding support close to home
I thought I’d be paid more as an academically trained worker. But in fact, I’m on similar, or lesser, pay than someone of my age who has not studied at university. While I’d much rather be content with my work life than have a few extra pounds in my monthly balance, I had – quite rightfully – expected that thousands of pounds of debt would amount to better paycheques.
My financial set-up has been relatively privileged. During university I didn’t need to work another job to support myself, and stuck to a strict weekly budget, but I have been helped by my loved ones when it was needed. As much as I may want to complain, I am being paid enough to cover my rent and operate independently, and living and working in the North means that things are much more affordable. I now live a moderately comfortable lifestyle, and the generosity of my family has allowed me to succeed without being weighed down by the stress that money can bring.
Let your mistakes make, not break you
My mistakes were the most poignant parts of my education. Looking back, a pat on the back for a successful project taught me little more than my tutors’ preferences. One of my biggest mistakes at university was single-handedly trying to plan our graduate show. With just over 40 students, our course was quite small, but it was a real testament to how mental health suffers if you fail to delegate work correctly.
The experience, despite all my failures, gave me great confidence. I doubt I’ll come close to doing a project that big for quite a while. That said, there’s been a couple of times I’ve stuck my foot in it at my current job. Even if it’s taught me much better working practices, I’d have loved to avoid the embarrassment of making silly mistakes.
One of the biggest learnings since graduating is how to listen properly. As I began working within my current studio I found that if I didn’t listen correctly to my boss, then it would seem as if they hadn’t listened to the client. In the past, I had only myself to answer to, but now, within a larger structure, learning to listen – and listen correctly – has proven instrumental.