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My most important tip I’d give my 16 year old self

A personal journey on how failure was, and always will be an option.

By Fiona Teddy-JimohPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
My most important tip I’d give my 16 year old self
Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

“It’s okay to fail, because through failure you will learn what you really want to achieve in life.”

I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was growing up in London. I'd hear stories of people saying they knew what they wanted to be in this world from the age of four. “I wanted to be a journalist” or “I wanted to be a fire-fighter” was often the answer. My own mother periodically told me that “you'll only be successful if you are a doctor or a lawyer”.

I didn’t want to be any of these things; but I didn’t know what I wanted to be.

I had always loved writing stories and had excelled in both creative writing and in english literature during Secondary School. So when it came to university it almost seemed like a no-brainer to pick English Literature with Creative Writing as my degree – but what would I do with that degree?

In 2010 I went to university – I was 18 years old.

I packed my bags and moved to Nottingham for university. Throughout my time I had tutors tell me that I could “become an author” or “become a teacher”. I didn’t want to be any of those things. I had no desire to make writing into a full-time career, or teach young kids or adults alike.

As time went on I started to feel extremely lost, angry, and self-destructive towards my own studying. I prioritised partying and socialising over education as I convinced myself that by not knowing what I wanted my career path to be, I was already a failure, and that failing was bad. As a result, my university work began to suffer and I had to repeat my second year at university.

I finally graduated in 2014. I received a poor overall grade, not even enough for an honours at the age of 22. My mum was not happy.

From the age of 22 to 25 I worked as a charity fundraiser, a call-centre operator, and a saleswoman.

I decided to stay and work in Nottingham. I made a lot of "local" friends, found work, and learned a lot of things about a lot of different industries – industries that at times exceeded my cynical imagination. I also learned a lot of soft skills during that time. I learned what it meant to be emotionally intelligent, how to sell, when to not sell, how to inspire, and how to think quickly and act smartly. However, it wasn’t until I was 25 years old that I started to understand what I wanted to do.

By chance I had landed a role as a technical sales executive and first line support advisor at a leading domain registrar company, all training was provided. They were in the business of all things technical: coding websites, fixing email servers, automating cloud tools and working with businesses to improve their own successes through the power of Information Technology. To them it was just business as usual, to me it was magic.

I was blown away by the way you could build new applications, websites, and communication tools through a series of codes – nothing into something. I needed to learn more, to understand how all of this worked and to immerse myself in this industry. For the first time in my life I knew what I wanted to do…kinda.

Then I met a boy.

At the age of 26 I found love.

I moved back to London in the name of love in 2018 and bagged a role as an IT Recruiter for backend contractors. At that point I had some knowledge about the IT industry but not enough. I convinced myself that being an IT recruiter would satisfy my urge to be part of this magical realm.

It did not.

I soon found myself back at the point of self-destruction, lacking any real passion, motivation and determination. I started taking sick days and hid in bed, upset. This was not what I want to do for the rest of my life. This was not what I wanted to be.

On one particularly ordinary day I was at my desk pushing paper and trying to look busy when I heard my colleague on the phone to a candidate. My colleague was trying to convince a Business Analyst to accept an offer for a new role. What is a Business Analyst? I had never heard of this title before in my life, so I did some digging. This is what I found:

A Business Analyst is an advisory role who bridges the business world with the Information Technology world. A Business Analyst is the individual who provides analytical and valuable technical support towards the design, build, and implementation of technical products and services.

My heart flipped in a way I had not felt before. I knew this was what I wanted to do. I felt so curious and so drawn to the role. I knew that this was my career path, my calling. That very evening I gathered all my money together and bought an online course: Introduction into Business Analysis and sat my first exam during December that year. I passed and it was the first real educational pride I felt since leaving Secondary School. After a short stint at a BA graduation-driven classroom training course and work experience I decided to take on an apprenticeship in 2019 specifically designed to nurture my knowledge and skills as a Business Analyst.

It is now 2021 and I have recently completed my apprenticeship with a distinction. I work with fascinating technologies, people, and processes. I wake up each day with content and excitement in my heart, knowing that this is the career path for me. Outside of work I still find time to write stories, poems, and blogs.

My tip to my 16 year old self.

Not everyone is going to know what they want to do or who they want to be at the age of 16 – and that’s okay.

Not everyone is going to know what they want to do or who they want to be at 20, 23, 25 – and that’s okay too.

I'm now 29. You may be older than me and not know what to do or who to be. All of this is okay.

It is important to try different things and for it to fail. Through failure you will be able to try other things, evaluate and compare your experiences so that you can discover what you are interested in. It’s also okay to have a passion or hobby. Maybe it’s singing, or writing, or painting - anything really that you want to nurture but not follow as a career path.

Experience as much as you can and talk to as many people as you can from all different walks of life. Fail loads and fail often as it is all part of the journey. It’s only through this journey that you will discover what you want to do with your life.

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About the Creator

Fiona Teddy-Jimoh

Finding innovative ways to connect creative writing with technology in order to deliver an immersive digital experience.

My name is Fiona Teddy-Jimoh and welcome to my world.

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