I didn't get where I am today... by sticking with a job I wasn't enjoying

Shakila Ahmed, comms director for Travelodge, believes life is too short to settle for a career you hate.

My first job was as a marketing executive at Barclays and I fell into PR by accident. I was doing a number of initiatives as the brand manager for Student Barclaycard and they were quite PR-able ideas.

That was my first taste of PR and then a new role was introduced around consumer PR. From a marketing team of 120, about half applied and I got the job.

I didn’t have any PR experience, so I was learning on the job. I signed up to as many courses as possible to help me get the skills I needed. I always thought I wanted a career in marketing, but once I started in PR, I felt I had found my niche in life.

I stayed with Barclaycard for five years before moving to an American credit card company. I came back to London to work for Moneyextra, an online financial website. After two years I was desperate to get out of financial services, so I moved to Travelodge, where I’ve been for the past ten years.

When you’re passionate about your job, you’re excited and you want to make a difference, so you work longer hours and end up accomplishing a lot more. Life is too short to settle for a career you hate.

You need to be a lifelong learner. Expand your skill set, think outside of the box and invest in skills that will help you progress quickly up the career ladder. Make networking a part of your everyday life and be news savvy.

Think of the job you would like to do in the future and start dressing and acting if you were doing that job now.

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