Today marks the end of my 10 months at The Leith Agency.
I’ve had an absolute ball during my time here and I am very sad that come Monday morning I won’t be back in the office with this wonderful bunch.
Can’t say the same about my 7am alarms, right enough. Or the mental requests I’ve dealt with as a community manager. The comedy value was worth it though.
The knowledge I’m walking away with is invaluable; the experience has been equally first-rate. I’ve worked on accounts for top Scottish brands and can throw out some great random facts from the masses of research I’ve done.
Fun fact: A video equates to over 1 million words in communication terms.
It has been great to use my Linguistics degree and get my knowledge nerd on every week.
To be able to say that I began interning with one of Scotland’s biggest, best and boldest advertising agencies before I’d even been donked on the head with the manky hat and given my certificate of graduation is an achievement I’ll always be proud of.
In 10 months, I have worked on more than 85 powerpoint presentations, 126 word docs and have been on the Barge a grand total of 7 times.
I’ve made some wonderful friends, annoyed the hell out of my best gal and work wife Philippa and “left a lasting impression” on the people on my floor (which I’m fairly certain is code for “noisy and hard to forget”).
I’ve grown up a lot too. Much more certain in my capabilities and the caliber of work I produce, I no longer feel the need to check everything off before completing it.
Not to mention my rapidly improving GIF game. I’m sure I’m the only one who will miss my GIF inputs in response to all-staffers.
At the moment, I don’t know where I’m going to end up, but I do know that wherever the next step lands, the people I work with have very very large shoes to fill and the highest expectations to top.
I haven’t cried yet, but it’s not quite half 5 – there is still time. I do know that I’ll be sad to pass through Leith’s doors as an employee for the last time tonight and not know when I’ll next see the brilliant, talented people inside – but I won’t stop pestering them just because I’m out of sight.
And I must admit, my colleagues do know me well. My leaving cards were full of glitter, pugs and pizza. What more could a girl want to be remembered for?
Since accepting that I am less than happy with my body and general well being, it has been something of a conscious decision on my part to start exercising.
Healthy eating has gone right out the window since I found out I needed to start job hunting again. I’m a comfort eater, so sticking to vegetables and cutting back on carbs hasn’t quite gone to plan. All too often I’m binging on pasta and garlic bread and ice cream and chocolate and maybe a packet of crisps later on in the evening. It’s not healthy, it’s not helping and it’s got to stop.
In terms of exercise, then, yoga seemed like a good place to start. I’ve done it before and enjoyed the deep stretches. It is one of the few forms of exercise that doesn’t trigger my asthma. There’s a class round the road from work that’s 2 hours of Ashtanga practice which offers a good workout as well as meditation. The meditation seemed like a good thing to try and get into the habit of too, for maintaining good mental health.
But yoga isn’t helping. If anything, so far it has only succeeded in making me feel even more self-conscious and defeated by my body’s inabilities and limitations. Despite my teacher maintaining the mantra that “yoga is a practice that can always be improved upon”, I can’t get past the shame and the upset of the situation here and now.
Now I am overweight, I have a belly I can’t stand the sight of and thighs bursting out my jeans. My double chin is back and I don’t look or feel like me. What I see in the mirror isn’t what I see in my mind. I expect something different, something more.
Changing, becoming a better version of myself, is such a big aspiration for me. To see myself and think Yes, I am happy and comfortable in my own skin. Getting to that point seems to be impossible though.
It all feels so hopeless sometimes. I have no motivation to get myself to a place where I’m happy, but I’m desperate to already be there. I suppose it doesn’t help that my hormones are running haywire just now and I’m exhausted from a week of less than stellar sleep (read: next to none).
This leaves me in a place of real confusion. I am a firm believer in body positivity, but feel like a fraud because I struggle with my own body image. I champion people everywhere to love themselves the way they are and accept themselves, but am a hypocrite when I cannot do the same.
Yes, body positivity is a journey. It is a mindset that can only be achieved through hard work and tenacity and love. Keeping up with that can be exhausting and it can feel unattainable. For someone who can be a bit of a perfectionist and hates hypocracy, this can make my dealings with and understand of my own body image all the more difficult and confusing. But body positivity is an empowering force in my life and I do desperately want to arrive at a point where I can happily stand up and appreciate my body for all its flaws and deviations from societal perfection and constructed beauty ideals.
I suppose I felt the urge to share my experience because I know I’m not the only person in this position. I’m not alone in feeling unhappy with my body and frustrated with its limitations. Shameful of the lack of breath climbing stairs, embarrassed when I squat down to the bottom shelf in a shop and struggle to get back up. Mortified when a pair of jeans a size bigger than I’d normally buy won’t button over my belly.
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and the rest of them are filled with motivational messages, success stories and aspirational healthy lifestyles. Like what was highlighted with the See Me “My Unfiltered Life” campaign, what people rarely show is the true struggle it can be to get to that place and just how difficult it can be to maintain long-term.
Where are the selfies of red-faced, tear-stained men and women who have left a gym session early because their bodies couldn’t cope with the “beginner’s class”? Where are the Insta photos of the unhealthy meals – sans #cheatday – instead captioned with the truth, that sometimes you just can’t ignore the cravings or the need to hide behind junk food or not having the energy to prepare a healthy, filling meal after the day/week/month you’ve had.
Yes, these are all excuses for unhealthy behaviour. But we’re all human. Even the healthy stumble along the road. They just dress it up as a cheat day or a treat or over-emphasise the slip up to the point where it just feels fake.
Finding motivation doesn’t really seem to be enough. I’m not too sure yet what is enough, but when I find it I will be holding onto that thing for dear life because serious changes need to be made. I will, however, remain real about my situation and realistic about my expectations. No more searching how to lose 3 stone in as many weeks, no more lemon and salt water fads and definitely no more obsessing over social media accounts.
I’ve cried at every yoga class I’ve been to so far. If I cry at every yoga class I ever go to in the future I can at least be proud that I’m still going.
It can be difficult to get people’s attention. There is so much noise out there, making being heard or seen a challenge if you’re lacking a megaphone and platform boots.
My time at The Leith Agency is coming to an end and I am ready for my next big adventure. I have been contacting other agencies, hoping to chat with digital strategists and social media execs and planners and copywriters to gain a better understanding of how different agencies — and indeed, different people — approach advertising and marketing in innovative, loud, noticeable ways.
The problem was that I wasn’t being noticed myself. Countless emails and requests and LinkedIn stalking sessions later, I was scunnered. It was time for a new, bolder approach.
The following is a modified version of the very real clickbait efforts I sent out to people and agencies I wanted to get to learn from and get to know better. What better way to convince them that I’m a fun, motivated, interesting person they’d like to have a chat with than to capture them with intrigue and the human inability to ignore the big neon sign (or in this case clickbaity title)?
Amy King. Linguistics graduate, Digital intern, lover of pretty stationery. She’s ready for her next adventure in the working world of social media management and digital strategy. Want to know why not employing her would be a HUGE mistake? Read on to find out…
1. I’m a millennial (setting aside the controversy of the term for now). I’ve downloaded Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, BuzzFeed, Pinterest, Tumblr, Giphy, LinkedIn, WeHeartIt, YouTube and Reddit. Not to mention supporting apps like Boomerang, VSCO, Layout… I use Hootsuite for my personal accounts as well as clients’ social media profiles. I’m committed to the cause.
2. I’m the keenest of keen beans when it comes to learning. I often find myself on a QI binge. Fun fact: Not every language can deal with metaphors. One of these is Navajo. The Navajo word for The Elephant’s Feet (mountain pillars on Navajo land) translates into English as “two rocks standing vertically parallel in a reciprocal relationship to each other”. This makes me a pretty great pub quiz teammate. Or researcher. Whichever you think is more important.
3. My Linguistics degree set me up for big research projects, quantitative data analysis and understanding communication. Advertising is all about understanding communication. We’re a good fit, really.
4. I prefer a GIF to an emoji. Emojis have their place, but GIFs really tell a story. Some people have Snapchat streaks, my boyfriend and I have baby animal GIF-offs. You tell me which is better.
5. Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Twitter insights— I’ve dealt with them all. Community management and content marketing make up the bulk of my working week, but other projects I’ve completed include researching internal social media engagement strategies, writing Best Practice guides for social media platforms, learning about the psychology of clickbait and keeping up to date with the latest technologies and advancements in the digital sphere. #Trendy
6. My life revolves around lists: To Do lists, shopping lists, Do Not Forget These Important Things lists, ‘please talk to me about your industry’ lists – the list goes on. They help my productivity, are cathartic to write and work through and are a productive form of procrastination. What’s not to like?
7. My Digital Strategist internship with The Leith Agency was originally 10 weeks. When my contract ends in February, I will have been with Leith for 41 weeks (that’s just over 10 months). I must be doing something right, right?
So, there you have it: 7 reasons why you should want me on your team (albeit not an exhaustive list, but I have to keep some things up my sleeve for the interview!)
Amazingly, this method has proved successful. People tend to notice a headline screaming at them in their inbox when the rest rarely make use of an exclamation mark, never mind block capitals.
It’s funny how keen people are to share their pearls of wisdom with you, yet how difficult it can be to get their attention. Advertising, especially, requires a certain outside-the-box approach to show you’re suited to the industry (not to mention a wee showcasing of my copywriting abilities — added bonus).
Clickbait (aka ‘fake news’ aka ‘alternative facts’) often comes under fire for misadvertising the contents of an article — a prime example being this less than gracious article Piers Morgan published after being stood up by Ewan McGregor (I’m staying away from the politics this time).
However, I’d like to think this article stands up somewhat for the little guy in this particular scenario. Sometimes a catchy title for an article or an introductory email, despite its same-old-clickbait appearance, really is as great as it seems.
I have a morning routine. I check for my purse, phone, keys and bus fare every day before I leave my flat. It’s a slightly obsessive routine, but it gets me outside without continuously worrying whether I will be able to function in the world.
I have successfully done this every morning without fail – except Friday.
My flatmate was going away on holiday on Friday so I’d asked my boyfriend if he wanted to stay at mine so I wasn’t all alone in the flat (I scare easily in this old, creaky building). We were looking forward to a weekend of home cooking, some baking and visiting friends.
5:30pm arrived and I went to meet Tam. It had been a fairly busy day and we’d decided to make curry for dinner. I was really looking forward to coming home, filling the flat with delicious spicy aromas, munching on poppadoms and skyping my dog-I mean my parents.
We shopped in the big Tesco in Leith, failed to pick up an aubergine and decided to nip into the Sainsbury’s round the corner from me after we jumped off the bus before getting settled in the flat. Easy peasy.
We were standing at the traffic lights, laden with shopping bags, laptop bags and handbags when I reached into my left pocket for my keys. Keys which weren’t there.
What followed can only be described as a tantrum.
Yes, I – 21 year old bill payer and working woman – stamped my foot and wailed. In public. I was tired, okay!
You know when you’re ill and you contemplate all the times you weren’t feeling rotten? That’s how I felt without the keys to my flat.
We got a taxi back to Tam’s and ordered Chinese food to soothe my soul. My boyfriend knows me well – food solves all problems.
The next problem was clothes. I had the clothes on my back and that was it. So a Primark trip was in order. I picked up underwear, tights and a cosy grey jumper for work on Monday (see pic) and stole one of Tam’s tees on Sunday. While this was supposed to be a frugal month, even slipper socks became a necessity. Shopping is good for me in the same way chicken nuggets help King Curtis through life.
I did also introduce Tam to the Men’s section of Zara and helped him buy a new pair of jeans and the cosiest coat I’ve ever seen (but unfortunately couldn’t steal because it’s so long it would probably end at my ankles – sad times).
Retail therapy and a soggy Sunday wander around Edinburgh certainly cheered me up and prepared me for work today.
To improve my mood even more, my flatmate and most favouritest person ever managed to find my keys as she dropped off one suitcase and picked up another to continue her holiday, so I was reunited with my silver and gold beauties this evening and can happily report that this is being written from my own bed!
🎵 Reunited and it feels so good! 🎵
Moral of the story: ALWAYS check your pockets for your keys. And look into getting a spare set cut. Because it’s Sod’s Law that you’ll only forget them when there’s no one in to help you out.