Always Put Yourself First, Not Last

Four months? It feels as if it has been an eternity since I last put together a post on my blog about anything whether if it is Tableau, dataviz or journalism-related.

Things have moved so quickly these past few months that my life has been moving around at 1000mph. I must remind myself to slow down and go back to a more calmer, albeit leisurely pace.

That’s what happened since I moved back to Birmingham last week after spending three months working and living in London as a full-time journalist. Here are three important lessons I have learned about my venture into The Big Smoke.

See Failures as Learning Curves

When I graduated from Birmingham City University in July 2017, it took me several months before I managed to get my break in the media industry. On numerous occasions, every knockback made me feel as if I was a failure.

In actuality, I was not a failure, I was lost in the graduate job hunt process and had no direction or plan in place. Instead of lying around in bed doing nothing, I took action and made a complete overhaul in my mentality and outlook on life, which has continued to help me throughout my career.

The three months of living in London were not seen as a failure, and I saw no embarrassment in moving back home to Birmingham. If your gut is telling you something is not right, don’t be afraid to take a risk and focus on yourself first.

Not all Journalism Jobs are the Same

In my five years as a journalist, I had primarily worked for local, national and global digital, broadcast and print publications covering a wide range of subjects from sports, tech, data and much more.

Working in London for three months covering cloud computing, data centres and public sector technology gave me the realisation that not all journalism jobs have a “one size fits all” format and every job within that sector is different in its unique way.

Turning around stories into clean copy to tight deadlines will always be commonplace in journalism albeit never underestimate that the jobs undertaken will have different functions and responsibilities.

The advice I give to young journalists and established professionals is to see every job you obtain as something to add to your repertoire.

Slow Down, Fast Doesn’t Always Work

In London, it feels as if you are constantly moving at 1000mph with no time to breathe or gather yourself to stop and think. Ever since I moved back to Birmingham, it has been essential for me to slow down and work at a more leisurely pace.

While I can work at a fast pace, I have realised that having 5-10 minute short breaks every hour helps me to get away from my screen and recharge my batteries so I can continue to be productive.

A big part of my shift in perspective is refocusing my energy on the things that are important to me. Removing certain things to focus on the meaningful aspects of my work and personal hobbies has helped change my perspective on both sides of life.

As I am back in Birmingham, it’s given me a new lease of life towards the city I grew up in and a new motivation to become a better journalist and content creator. It’s time to use those experiences and move forward towards the next chapter in my life.

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