A journey that started nine years ago reached its conclusion this week. It wasn’t a journey I embarked on with any particular destination in mind. The truth is I didn’t even know I was setting off on a journey at all. But I was. And now here I am.
What started out as a hobby – blogging and working with social media – has taken on a life of its own over those nine years. In two weeks’ time, social media will become my full-time job.
There’s an old Chinese proverb that states a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. In my case, that step was the first of over 3,000 blog posts, written in February 2007. Since then I have started up seven different blogs, three podcasts, tweeted over 60,000 times and jumped on to every new social media platform with the child-like (and sometimes childish) excitement of a six-year-old on Christmas morning.
Heck, I’ve even started writing a book about life as a 21st century dad. (I really must get on with that.)
It has become more than a hobby, slightly less than an obsession. Long, lonely nights of crafting blog posts hardly anyone would read but which meant something personal to me. Getting to grips with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest (I still haven’t got the hang of that), YouTube (I have a face for radio), podcasts (and a voice for silent movies), Google+ and many others.
I’ve been in the top 100 of the Tots100 parent blogger rankings (not bad for a part-time blogger), launched a cycling site with an editorial team based across three time zones, written for the website of the Metro newspaper and I’m currently also an editor for the BritMums website.
In the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered if it would be possible to turn this passion for blogging and social media into my full-time job.
But here’s the thing.
We have three children. I earn considerably more than my wife, who works three days a week and put her career on hold to have the kids. I work for a large global company in a role I enjoy at a fairly senior level and with as much job security as anyone can realistically expect these days.
So while the thought of going freelance as an author/writer/blogger/barista has always appealed to me, it simply isn’t realistic for a responsible father in my position. And so I’ve kept plugging away in my spare time, loving the act of writing and keeping as up to date with new developments in the social media revolution as any 45-year-old who was brought up with a ZX Spectrum and an Atari 2600 games console can.
Until the chance of a lifetime came up. An opportunity to apply for a senior social media role in a newly created European team.
Now my background is in general marketing, strategy and business planning. There is nothing about any of my previous roles that made me a credible candidate for this job.
Except, of course, nine years in the blogging trenches.
To cut a long (and boring) story short: I applied, I interviewed, I got the job. So as of the beginning of May I will be our company’s Social Media Leader for West Europe. Short of ‘billionaire playboy’, it’s essentially my answer to the age-old question, “What’s your dream job?”
Sounds grand, doesn’t it? Of course, in reality it’s going to be an enormous amount of hard work. But I couldn’t be more excited (as well as a little bit terrified). I have the opportunity to marry my business experience to the skills I have developed in my own time to make a difference to a multi-billion dollar company.
And it all stems back to my decision to start a blog on a rainy weekend nine years ago. If I hadn’t become a blogger, I wouldn’t have developed such an interest in social media. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have this job. Funny how life works out sometimes.
Dreams really can come true.
One journey ends, another begins. I wonder where this one will take me?