Many years ago, too many to count, I graduated from what was then Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University) with an Honours ‘Desmond’ in Hotel and Catering Management. When I left school I had no real desire to follow any particular subject but had always enjoyed cooking and thought that there would at least always be a job in the hospitality industry. I wasn’t wrong! The industry cries out for people at all levels. However, I eventually realised that although getting to be Head Chef, I wasn’t going to be the next Gordon Ramsey. If I stayed doing the same job then I would work all the hours under the sun for not much return. So I jacked it in. What to do?
I ended up applying for a job in telesales selling advertising. Much to my disbelief, I got the job. Not only did I enjoy it, I had more free time and doubled my income in only a few months. I spent the next 5 years rising through the ranks until redundancies came along…they offered me other roles, some good, some not, but all I wanted was my nice pay off! What now?
An opportunity came up to join a local recruitment company working in…the hospitality industry! I now found myself speaking to the likes of Gordon Ramsey and Heston Blumenthal trying to place chefs – the irony of it! After two years I decided that I wanted to work for myself and so set up b3 with two former colleagues from my advertising days. That was in May 2000 and I haven’t looked back since!
For someone who had no real idea what to do, I have drawn on all my experiences to create one of the leading food manufacturing recruitment agencies in the UK. I am now in a position to help others in their careers through finding fresh graduates, as well as more experienced people, their ideal jobs - and now I’m even sponsoring the new Food Manufacturing award for ‘Young Talent of the Year’ aimed at promoting graduates and their vital role within the food manufacturing industry.
So there you go, that’s my career in a nutshell. I don’t intend changing direction again anytime soon, but will let you know if I do. So whilst you may be teetering on the brink of your career with no real idea of what to do, I would recommend that you do anything, but always make the very most of it – and see where that gets you! I do fancy owning my own gastro pub…