Back then I was doing my Bar finals, having spent several years training as a barrister - and many more before that dreaming of it too. I sailed through college and loved every minute of the law academically. However, my first real doubts about a lifetime in cloak and wig came when I was called to the Bar. The reality of spending no two days in the same court, less than 24 hours preparation time on any case, and little or no contact with clients, started to sow serious doubts in my mind. While reluctant to throw five years of training away, in the end I simply had to follow my instincts.
Even being part of the team that represented three of the Leeds football players in what was a very exciting and controversial case, could not motivate me to stay. My mind was already made up.
I'm now just ten months into an entirely new career at database specialists, SDM. The commercial world and direct marketing in particular offers a truly dynamic environment - with fast pace changes that simply wouldn't seem feasible in the legal profession.
Of course, few of my academic learnings bear much relevance on my career today, but many of the core skills that I developed, such as persuasion, negotiation and advocacy, are paramount in any commercial situation, particularly in marketing. Learning to handle "difficult customers" really does sharpen your communication skills from every perspective. And taking those skills into a client situation can be very rewarding.
Training to be a barrister also forces you to be extremely organised - you simply have to be with such huge quantities of paper to work through. Having lived it for so many years, being organised is very much part of me. No doubt it's a bonus in any job, but when you're managing in-depth customer analyses or complex campaign management structures, it really comes into its own.
The switch from law to DM was not an easy decision to make, but now I'm here, I've yet to find a loophole!
This article was first published on Marketing Direct