During my earlier years, some of my friends would comment that I made an unusual career choice entering into the world of marketing and communications.
Why? Due to that they’re very few people who look like me in the industry. “Why go into something that people don’t know about, why don’t you study Law or Accountancy?” They would say.
According to the PR and Communications Census 2018, in the UK, 1% of PR/communications professionals are Black British, with 9 per cent of coming from a BAME (black and minority ethnic) background. In 2018, a report published by NHS Providers showed that 94% of senior NHS comms professionals are white, with 66% being female.
With these stats against me as a man of colour, I didn’t enter marketing communications to become a trendsetter. My interest began back when I was 12 years old and saw the movie Boomerang, starring Eddie Murphy whose one of my favourite actors.
In the movie, Murphy plays a marketing executive who seems to have it all! Great social circle, working life, you name it he had it. That was my first look into the ‘glamorous’ world of marketing, and I was instantly captivated.
For this reason, on very rare occasions such as this, ignorance is bliss – I had no idea how competitive the sector is but what I didn’t know couldn’t hurt me. I had no idea that, statistically speaking, there were very few people like me who work in the sector.
As I grew older I began to realise this, but it didn’t matter. I had the dedication and passion to achieve my career through study, work placement, internships and eventually landing my first job.
One of the lessons I’ve learnt looking back is that nothing is certain despite the information out there. It’s possible to become a trailblazer. This is why I encourage clients to test and try something new.
Yes, collating, interpretation and acting on the evidence is preferred. However, taking risks or just going for it in the absence of evidence can also bring success.
The writer, Mark Twain once said:
“All in you need in life is ignorance and confidence, and success is sure.”
He was definitely on to something there.
However, this does not get education providers, employers and parents/guardians off the hook. Providing independent information, advice and guidance to young people on future careers is very important. That why I make a point of visiting my old comprehensive school to share my experiences with year 10s about their future.
Today, I have successfully worked in the marketing and PR field for over a decade.
Although it hasn’t been plain sailing, I love what I do and have the will to do more in my career and to inspire others that “If I can do it, then you can do it too.”