So, in 2018 I write a blog on this website and then, within a couple of weeks, I find myself working as an Account Director at a very fancy and successful agency.
To be honest, I was incredibly flattered to be thought of for the role, and having gone through interviews and passing Account Director aptitude tests (gaining a 92% test score, which gave me a boost, especially considering in the middle of one of the tests, I had to rearrange childcare for my 1 year old as the day overran) I felt very proud to be made part of such a great agency.
The following 10 months proved a great reminder of why I love creative work so much. I met some amazing people and worked on some huge high-street brands. But – yes you knew there would be one – but, juggling the long hours, with a deployed military husband and a one year old proved too much of a compromise for me.
As you know, I spent a lot of time, energy and a smattering of heart-ache to get my little boy and the work / life balance seemed more than a little off. My side of the see saw rarely touched the ground and so I hardly ever got to play on the swings or slide. Instead I had to sit up there, legs dangling as I watched others play with my son, and that hurt. So it was time to say goodbye to the agency. I had no regrets; I’d worked with some amazingly talented people, on some superb projects and the leaders there were so supportive of me. They just weren’t in a position to flex in the way my family and I needed.
Over to life in an equine charity. Wow, what a ride! Pun intended. As I type I’ve two months left of my notice to serve and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. Again, so many incredible things have been experienced and learned. I’ve regained my confidence in writing and designing, and reignited my love for leadership. I dare write that I’ve found myself to be a pretty darn good leader as it happens. My team are brilliant. Like me, they meet challenges with gusto and determination. They don’t shy away from something new, and are not afraid of failure; I’m mindful to instil that in them. Being in the arena is essential for great creativity and successful relationships.
And why are you leaving I hear you think? Well, all this regaining and reigniting has left me wanting more. When I started in 2018 I thought the role enough, but it’s not. I want more, and I’m not afraid to pursue this ‘more’. What this ‘more’ looks like, I’m not so sure, but I know I want it. And I want it in a way which enables me to deliver the high standards I believe in, whilst still being a great mother and partner to my military husband.
Now, should I be writing this? Is this career suicide? I flippin’ well hope not. Nope; I know not. If anything this pandemic, we’re currently rattling around in, has taught us, is that the lines between work and life are become more twisted and blurred by the day. Speaking up about being a woman who wants a flexible life to be the best she can be in all spheres is essential right now. We’ve moved forward so much with home working and understanding the juggling women and men do with their home lives and we mustn’t go back. I am embracing this, and so in 2021 I’ll be doing ‘my thing’ again.
What this thing looks like, I’m not so sure, but whether I go on another brick laying course, start glass blowing, begin freelance brand strategy work or join a forward thinking agency or brand’s workforce, I’m not only ready, I’m excited. An amazing coach I’ve recently worked with, named Sarah Barker has reminded me about what makes me, me … me. She said on our last call, having helped me come back and break down the restrictions that military life and parenthood can often hold over us: “Alex, you do you. Keep colouring outside of the lines, in your own palette.”
And so I will. 2021, make a place at the table for me; I’m coming …
This is written in memory of a very special four-legged friend, the majestic Ellie, who passed away on 1st April, and to two-leggeds Gerry and Evelyn who I have also lost this 2020 lockdown. I miss and love you.
Anyone with an eye, let alone an eagle one, will have noticed that my blogs have been somewhat remiss as of late. And by ‘of late’ I mean ‘for the last two years’. Tut tut … Just not good enough you think – especially as the last blog I wrote said that I shouldn’t be doing such a thing. But this time I won’t apologise. No sir, because boy have I got something to tell you?!
These past two years have been the most challenging, character building and rewarding of my life. I’ve had incredible lows and magnificent highs. I feel like I’ve travelled the world three times over and have the tremendous scars to prove it.
In 2017 and 2018 I’ve been through an emotional journey of personal discovery that has left me more sure of my loves and dreams than ever. Some events helped me to improve my skills as a writer, some as a thinker. Other occasions have encouraged me to think creatively outside of the box, others well and truly within it.
Life at times gave joy to me with one hand whilst with the other threw at me despair. But when faced with such diametrically different emotions I know I’ve excelled. If I do say so myself – and yes, I do. My skills of patience, tenacity, empathy, sympathy, creativity, bravery and good old fashioned slog have been tried and proved themselves more than worthy.
So what on earth have I’ve been up to? Well in a nutshell: suspected infertility, IVF, pregnancy, birth and then my blessed new born’s syndrome management and major surgery. Now, am I meant to reveal this on my business website, and God forbid during a meeting or job interview? The jury’s out on that. But for me, I’m a huge believer in being open and honest in life and business. Yes, somethings need to be kept on the QT for confidentiality reasons, but in these circumstances I believe it right to be myself. I’ve weighed up the options of being open about the last two years of my life, and as I feel immensely proud and know that such experiences have truly enhanced my personal and business confidence and ability, here we are.
The person I once was has been enhanced by the amazing experiences I’ve encountered.
Let’s see if being so honest puts clients or potential employers off – I hope not, but if it does, it’s by no means a catastrophe. I’ve always prided myself in working with like-minded individuals because I believe that way always results in the best outcome; in working and in final product.
And that’s not all; amongst all this I’ve been fortunate enough to have been given wonderful and fulfilling pro bono opportunities for brand development, marketing and design. Some of these are now profiled on this website.
And on the subject of this site, one last thing the eagle eyed may have noted is that Kinnear Creative is no longer a limited company. This is something I decided upon very recently. I’m not sure if the universe intends for me to become self-employed or to be employed by a company I believe in, so as to share my skills and further contribute to said business’ success. And for once, the undecided doesn’t concern me. The adventure of life, whether personal or business, is more exciting than ever and I’m beyond thrilled as to what is going to be handed, or thrown, at me.
So how naughty have I been?! It’s been over a year since I’ve written a blog. Bad Alex, very bad.
But, oh and here comes the excuse, we all do it! We need to prioritise and in this case, my precious blog took a back seat. Clients came first, which I think is fair enough.
However, and here comes the ‘head hanging in shame’ bit, another typical business trait occurred too – I got out of the ‘good practice habit’. The safety net we put around or under us only works if we keep checking it for damage, and repairing where necessary. And what is a technique that helps us keep it in tip top condition? Yes, good practice habits. We’ll always been thrown challenges but as well as being adaptable to these challenges, upholding good practice habits helps too – they are after all our USPs; the things that make us stand out from the crowd. And keeping my blog up-to-date was something I was proud of. So, chastising over, time to get back on it. Repair, move on and up!
“Well, what have you been up to this past year Alex?” I hear you think. Yes, mind reading is another USP (insert winking face here!).
“Charity work”. I respond with a wee halo hanging above lifted head.
This last year I’ve been working for an incredible charity; Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance. Like all 30+ Air Ambulances in the UK, the entire service is funded by the general public, with the NHS seconding amazing paramedics to the service. These men and women are literally life-savers on a day to day basis. Lincs & Notts is a particularly busy region; the team fly on average 3 life-saving missions a day, but that can increase to anywhere up to 11! Mind blowing stuff.
I helped the charity get up to speed with their marketing and PR. It was a truly inspiring year. What I’ve learned has been invaluable; the challenges and opportunities for charities such as this are immense. It was an honour to work with them. The testimonial from the Deputy CEO, Sally Crawford, which I’ll soon put on this site, means so much to me.
Right, enough halo polishing, time to talk 2016. New clients are on their way and a project I’ve been working on for over 2 years may finally be hitting the shelves soon. And here it comes – the obligatory ‘watch this space!’.
Speak soon …