I was a few years into my career before I realised that I needed to change my outlook if I wanted to achieve my goals. I signed my first permanent contract when I was 22 years old, nearly four months after completing my last exam in my final year of university. Like many recent graduates, I was just happy to have a job. A job meant a salary and a salary meant security. It also meant I could finally quit my job in retail and do something which felt more fitting for the corporate career I aspired to build. I hadn’t really put any thought into it beyond that. After months of applications that had led nowhere, I was relieved that my search had finally come to an end. I was a conference producer for a financial publishing company in the city. All I had to do now was work hard and the rest would follow. Or so I thought.
I’d always been someone who would throw themselves into any task with intense energy and enthusiasm. It was this attitude that helped me succeed at school, but I knew it also ruffled some feathers. I never made efforts to hide my abilities and ambition. It was the only tactic I knew and I used it in my new job. I was eager, I was keen and I was clearly an annoying personality to one particular manager in the office. I suppose she considered herself quite accomplished - she was the only Oxbridge grad on the team. Now here I was, an LSE economics grad who had landed in their otherwise average team as a result of the recession and job shortages. The office, like many city offices, was predominately white and privileged in many ways. Fellow colleagues were mostly male, mostly middle class and mostly privately educated. I felt like I stood out like the latest exhibit at the museum.