My name is Marian K, I’m a Corporate Events Consultant and I work for Standard Life. Basically you’re project managing an event from the very beginning, right through to when you deliver the event, so you need to be very focused on detail and making sure that everything’s being actioned.
I was working as a civil servant and I decided for a career change, that was a very, very different environment to be in, I needed somewhere that I could actually progress my career. I’d heard about Standard Life in Edinburgh being very good with their employees, I enjoyed working with customers so it seemed, there was a vacancy that came up, and it seemed like a good opportunity to work for a good company.
I kind of fell into this job actually, I started three years ago working in customer services and from that I applied into the groups communications areas providing support, and I had skills from a previous role, where I was a PA, allowed me to go on and take on the support role within comms. It was from that, that I started providing support to the events team and started to pick-up skills from doing that and then a vacancy became available and I applied for it. I felt something very natural and very comfortable and I felt like I could do it.
I left school at sixteen so I only got as far as my GCSE’s, considered doing A Levels, but I decided to just go out and get a job and work. I was living on my own from quite an early age. My Mum’s job moved from where I grew up in Norwich, she moved up to Newcastle. I started off actually working for Job Centre Plus, signing people on, I did that for about a year and I had bar job as part-time as well. I got a transfer up to the Newcastle child support agency and worked in the project office. I moved around a few different roles, started doing PA work, found that quite interesting, then got involved with the IT area and enjoyed that and that was providing project support. I realised that actually I was developing skills within project work that I was really enjoying and I wanted to do something with that, but I was also missing working with customers, so I decided that I wanted to go and look at doing something that was back to being customer focused, that was in Newcastle and at the time I was up visiting Edinburgh quite a lot on holidays and I quite liked it, so I decided to make a jump for it and go to Edinburgh. So I got a transfer up to Edinburgh, through the civil service again and worked for the Job Centre Plus up in Edinburgh.
When you’re young, you’re very enthusiastic, very driven, very focused and I was quite opinionated, so I think going in with that passion, and those opinions, something I’ve mellowed out, but I don’t regret having that sort of fire in my belly to kind of kick start me. I was probably not the best behaved kid at school but I loved art, loved P.E., loved the social element of school, loved the parties, loved hanging out with friends. I think for me, watching my Mum going to work and being very focused was quite inspirational for me just get out and do that and to kind of follow in her footsteps.
When I first started out, I always felt nervous about not having a degree, a lot of people around me have degrees and very much learnt that actually experience and taking the time to get to know the job and learn about the job, you become an expert in your own rights. And for me that is something that I’ve kind of learnt to respect and understand a lot more, so I tell myself not to take myself so seriously when it comes to worrying about degrees.
I go through periods of being incredibly focused at work and not having much of a social life and being very career driven, but now I do have a really good social life, I’ve got friends that I meet out of work, I’ve got friends in work that I meet. I enjoy my job and I think that’s really important, so for me it’s enjoyment, it’s status, I quite like, I want to be somebody, I want to kind of do something with my life and make an impact on the world and I think that will come with time but definitely not money driven. I don’t know if I’m the right one to be giving advice, I still don’t really know what I’m doing or where I’m going, I think just enjoy it, don’t get too worried about what you want to do, just go and find something that you enjoy for now, use the skills and strengths that you’ve got and you’ll work it out.