Welcome back to our How We Got Our Jobs series. This month our project manager, Laura Tyler, talks about performing arts, volunteering, and why it was time for something new.
“I wanted to be an actress or in musical theatre. My favourite subjects were dance, drama, and performing arts – I did performing arts for A Level and I was in a dance company at my school, which you had to audition for. We went to Sadlers Wells for a competition, which we won, and we got to perform at Disneyland Paris, which was really cool. I was also Cosette in our production of Les Miserables.
“I did start university; I went to Roehampton and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I auditioned for a few drama schools, but then figured out that wasn’t really for me. Everyone was telling me ‘You need to go to uni! You need to go to uni!’ so I went and did drama and film studies, but the course wasn’t for me.
“I always say to people, if you need to go to uni, or you really want to get a degree, then do it, but for me the course wasn’t right, so I called it a day and started working.
“I did my work experience mostly in theatres, behind the scenes, doing lighting, costumes, all sorts, and I volunteered within our dance company for Scotts Project, a charity in Tonbridge. I used to do dance workshops with them and they were the loveliest kids. We’d put on a show at the end of the year and they’d wave at their parents in the audience, it was so sweet.
“I also went and spent some time in South America and volunteered with street kids. I went to Peru and Ecuador with a friend, we went travelling, and we spent time in the street markets. This company had set up a volunteer program where you could go in for a couple of weeks or a month. All the kids from the market – they don’t go to school, they don’t have anything – they would come to this shack in the market and we used to teach them English and help them with anything they wanted. It was incredible. They were the sweetest kids ever, they had nothing but they were so happy. It was eye-opening, makes you realise how lucky we are.
“When I was back I did some temping. I worked for the Courier [newspaper] for a bit, I worked for Mercedes Benz, I just did loads of odd jobs to get lots more experience and figure out what I wanted to do.
“My first proper job was working for Westfield – I was a shopping centre manager in Tunbridge Wells. I did a bit of customer service, I did a bit of receptionist work and I was also marketing support, so a little bit of everything. I used to deal with the public a lot. I think I learnt that I do like dealing with people and I’m quite good at face-to-face or over-the-phone communication with customers. I really enjoyed the marketing support part of that job, looking after our Facebook page and all of that, back in the day.
“When I was at the shopping centre I had my daughter. I left that job and I was at home with her for a couple of years, which was lovely because I got to be there for all the firsts: the walking, the talking, all of that. But then I started working at a pub for a few hours a week, which I then upped to full-time.
“I was going on the path from assistant to supervisor to potentially assistant manager, maybe, one day. They wanted me to. Then I realised I didn’t want to work in a pub for the rest of my life, so I started looking round and I got approached by a web design agency. They needed an account manager and I thought, yep, I just went for it. I was there for two-and-a-half years, as an account manager and then a project manager as well.
“I felt like I’d got everything I could out of that, so I applied for the job at Reddico. Did not in a million years think I was going to get this job, it was one of those ‘Well, let’s just apply and see what happens’ things. But it went really well, and now I’m here! And I’m loving it.
“The people are the best thing. It’s just so nice being part of a real team, where everybody genuinely looks out for each other and cares about each other. I feel like it’s more than just having colleagues. The flexibility and the understanding that comes when you’re a working parent, that’s been so good. And I love my job, I’m really loving it evolving – I can do it how I want to do it. I’m trusted to do what I think is right.”
Catch up on previous instalments here: