From Intern to Client Executive – and a load of odd jobs in-between!
So, here we are, two years on from my three-week internship at Talon. That time I was writing as an intern in the Marketing team, now I am writing as a Client Executive who works across a wide portfolio of clients such as Co-op, Unicef, Betsafe and Ferrero.
I am coming up to a year in the role and in that time I have experienced the highs of working for The Sunday Times Best Small Company to Work For, and the lows of controversially coming second place in the ‘Talon’s Best Dancer 2016’ competition. In this blog, I contemplate on my journey as a grad without any career goals or prospects to where I am today. I reflect on the jobs I have experienced along the way, my experience as an intern at Talon and how this has shaped my career path and outlook.
Where I was 2 years ago
I joined Talon as an intern after not really knowing what career path I wanted to follow. I had a number of internships whereby it seemed like a surprise to everyone that I was there! I wouldn’t even be trusted to do the filing. Two weeks would seem like an endless chore, and by the end, you would be gone without leaving a mark at all on anyone or anything there. So it was safe to say I was lost for careers that actually excited me and that I wanted to pursue. My introduction to working life had really failed to help me understand what sort of job would be a good fit for me.
Fortunately, I had some friends who had been in the industry for a long time, who managed to put me in touch with Talon, who offer a number of internships throughout the year. When I got in touch it was clear that they wanted to know what I wanted to achieve and what interested me. Despite not knowing specifically what I wanted to achieve, I did know that I loved doing social research and working with Talon’s Insight and Marketing team seemed like a good fit for me.
Interning at Talon
On the Talon Marketing and Insight team I was set out a selection of targets and jobs that were structured with progression, these jobs went from the ‘simple, quick and easy’ to the challenging that left you with a genuine feeling of accomplishment.
Talon instantly felt like it had a completely different atmosphere to offices I had been in before. Everyone was prepared for me to be there, all I needed to do was turn my laptop on, meet the team and away I went with actual productive work.
During my short time at Talon I was constantly reminded that I was working somewhere where the people actually enjoyed being there! There was a great team atmosphere full of colleagues who were happy to take time out of their day to help me, no question was a stupid question, and I loved that.
Due to people wanting to put time in to help me develop, it certainly encouraged me to work hard as it all seemed like people were appreciative of my work. It felt like I was making a difference, rather than being a nuisance. When it finally came to finishing my time at Talon I was given a great send off, and I felt like I had actually found a career that excited me! For the first time in my life I had an idea of the sort of atmosphere and work that I wanted to be involved with, which is exactly what a successful internship should do.
Days later I was on a plane to South America to begin my round the world tour. The original plan was to spend a year seeing everywhere…which was all well and good, however I forgot to budget for having a good time, so I arrived in Australia after continuing on from New Zealand and Las Vegas with just $80 to my name.
I was so desperate for money that I had taken up a job collecting balls in a driving range… which sounds easy… however when the driving range is hitting balls into a lake it makes things slightly more complicated. Half an hours work, most of which I was accidentally swallowing lake water while having people hit golf balls at you. This would earn me a lucrative $1.90NZ (the equivalent to £1.09) – not even enough to get myself a McDonalds breakfast!
My next job in a chain of weird jobs was being ‘that Mini bar guy’ in an Australian Novotel. I was the guy who charged you an extortionate amount of money for a bottle of water. This was actually a rather interesting job, despite being hated by all occupants of the rooms, and often involved walking in on some compromising situations in a hotel (which I will leave to your imagination). After all, I was able to work in a hotel on a beach, which was not a bad life to live.
However throughout being away and working in these jobs, I did get a sense of wanting to be back in London and actually using my brain. It was safe to say that I knew where I wanted to work and who I would be contacting as soon as I got back home to the Kentish countryside.
A year later
It was by sheer luck that on the very day that I returned to the UK from a year of travelling, a Client Executive role at Talon was advertised. It wasn’t what I had worked in before, but I knew that Talon was a company that I was very keen to be involved with.
I had complete confidence that this was the right place for me to work, and within a week I went from seeing the temples of Bangkok to sitting in an office in the West End of London.
As I approach a year in the Client Executive role at Talon, I have taken on more and more as the year has gone on. I can confidently say that I have learnt something every day I have been here. The role is challenging – but hard work is certainly rewarded here.
I am in a team that has a great dynamic and one that I really feel at home in. Despite being a junior member of the team I am continually tested with planning campaigns that make a real difference to the business.
You can clearly see why Talon is the number one Best Small Company to Work for according to The Sunday Times. They are dedicated to their staff. They offer an array of benefits and training opportunities all designed to get the very best out of every individual and to help them all to progress in their career.
Looking back I can see how I have progressed, and I can see how there are opportunities for me to progress in the future. I can see how I can take on more to establish myself more within the company and the industry. I feel increasingly more confident in my role as an Executive, which pushes me to look forward to taking on more and more responsibility at Talon.
By David Leach, Client Executive – Talon