As a brash 16 year old with a fierce independent streak, I decided enough was enough – and I quit college just a month into my A levels. I didn’t have a plan or a job.
This was the start of 4 or 5 years of trying random, mostly depressingly dull jobs in and around my hometown. But luckily, at 21, I managed to get a huge break, a friend of mine helped me apply for a job at a charity in London. Alongside being a new father, it started a huge change in my perspective on life. I was working in a small team doing awesome, innovative work in some of the most amazing, interesting places in the UK. I was fortunate to land in an organisation where I could “grow up” in a work-sense; learning tons of new skills and getting the chance to find out what I actually enjoy and find rewarding.
But it was only then that it really sunk in that I had probably made a mistake. I realised I loved learning. I absolutely craved it both at work and at home – so much so, that I started a degree on the Open University (which I’ve now almost finished). And I’ve just moved jobs to something totally different so I can start learning again.
Two things. Firstly, your success defines you – but your mistakes make you who you are. Has my mistake held me back – yes, probably, as there are unfortunately many doors closed still to non-graduates. But I’ve found, through my own experience as well as working in recruitment, that people tend to naturally focus on success and hard-work rather than failures or set-backs.
Secondly, to borrow a couple of lines from Macbeth – “what’s done, is done” and more importantly “what’s done, cannot be undone”. Looking back, my life sometimes seems like one long line of poor decisions and bad luck, but I just can’t dwell on the past for too long. I’m just thankful that things have worked out rather well, and I’m certain that having a positive, forward-thinking attitude has helped that.
Graham Hopgood, Data Manager, vInspired
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