This day four years ago, I was still wobbly from finally quitting my job as a reservoir engineering, after months of deliberation. A few weeks prior, I told my manager that I wouldn’t be renewing my contract. At that time, I’d made a decision to take a leap of faith and leave the world of oil and gas for good. Four years on, and I can honestly say that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
My career path is not what you call straightforward. I started working as a reservoir engineer, dabbled in photography for a while, before making a swerve to the world of digital marketing. Career-wise, I feel that I finally get to where I belong, and I’m really content with my choice.
It wasn’t always like this, though. I floundered for a while, and I remember feeling a mix of awe, envy, and panic as I watched my peers climb up the corporate ladder, getting good positions with lots of benefits and great salaries. Meanwhile, I was stumbling around, not knowing how I should build a new career. The only thing I was certain was I didn’t enjoy petroleum engineering, and I didn’t want to have a career in this industry. Better get out while I was still young, I thought.
My career isn’t a linear path, so I thought I’d reflect on the journey; from a reservoir engineer to a digital marketer. Have a cup of tea (or coffee), this will be quite a long read.
Reservoir engineer at an oil company
When I finished my masters’ degree, I applied to any vacancy I found. This was the first offer I got, and since beggars can’t be choosers, I took it. I realized pretty much early on that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life working in petroleum engineering. While I liked dealing with the data and analysis, the subject really didn’t interest me at all (it never had, actually, and I’d felt that way since college). I didn’t have the drive and curiosity to learn more, and it just felt extremely tedious and draining. It wasn’t gratifying.
I said goodbye to the job and industry at the end of my contract, and I honestly never look back.
Photographer (for maternity and engagement shoots)
To be completely honest, I chose to do a photography business because that’s the only way out of my previous job (at least, the one that I could see). I’d been doing photography as a hobby and I loved capturing candid moments, so this seemed like a good idea. I began offering engagement, maternity, and event photo shoots.
What I didn’t realize was how much people in Indonesia loved staged photos, and they usually wished to be dolled up to the max. It was common for photographers to team up with makeup artists and businesses who rented props and costumes. Bigger names even had these in-house. Working alone, I covered shoots in far-flung corners of Jakarta (and beyond), the jobs which I mainly got from friends. I did this for less than a year, before moving on to the next gig.
Back in the early days of the photography business, when I asked ALL my friends who were getting engaged/married to shoot them for free to get photos for my portfolio.
I had a stint of freelance writing at the beginning of 2017. At that time, I was counting down the
days weeks until I moved to the UK, so there was no point in trying to find photography clients when I would be leaving soon. To earn some money, I started looking for freelance writing jobs through UpWork.
Although I’d only written mostly personal stuff on this blog, I found a few good pieces that I included in my portfolio. Soon, I got commissioned to write a few lifestyle articles, and after writing 3 articles for a company, they asked if I wanted to join them. I said yes, and that’s how I dove into digital marketing.
Content marketer at a small startup company
For the next 1.5 years, I worked remotely for this startup company. This job was an introduction to digital marketing (specifically content marketing), and I felt like I finally found my true love. A job that combined data and analytics with creative writing and photography? Yes please.
When I first joined, there wasn’t a content marketer position, so I pretty much built everything from scratch. I did all things related to content marketing, and I learned a lot here. From content production & distribution to SEO and inbound marketing, there’s just a lot to do as it’s a small startup company. I also did lots of campaigns, worked with app launch promotion, and built the brand community.
I genuinely loved the work, and to make things even sweeter, I earned more than I did as a reservoir engineer in Jakarta despite working only half the time. It was perfect as the first job in digital marketing, but eventually, things started to become repetitive and there wasn’t much chance for progression. That’s when I knew it was time to go.
Digital marketing consultant at a Swedish PR agency
When I resigned from the startup company, I was already in Sweden, with a full intention to start a career here. I got a job at a PR agency in Gothenburg as a digital marketing consultant. Like the previous job, I was the first person to fill the position. On top of that, I was the only person working directly with digital marketing at an agency full of PR consultants, so I had to wear a lot of hats. I worked with SEO, SEM, social media marketing, marketing automation, you name it.
It all became too much, and it was impossible to master anything when you tried to do all that many facets of digital marketing. Meanwhile, I was also was pressured to get fluent in Swedish in just less than 1 year. I became increasingly anxious and stressed, which led me to start a job search.
Content marketer at a B2B company
And that led me to my current job. Learning from my previous experience, I was a bit more picky this time with my job hunting. I was looking for a job with a company that was 1) medium- or large-sized, 2) global, or at least use English as the business language, 3) specific in inbound marketing, preferably dealing with B2B sales.
This job ticks all the boxes, and I was really stoked to get it. Now 7 months in, it’s been a big learning curve, but it also offers me the opportunity to learn almost everything that’s been on my list since 2 jobs ago. I work a lot with demand generation, coordinating with the product managers and sales teams to drive sales. I truly enjoy the job, and I get a kick every time I see good results. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really gratifying. There’s always something to look forward to, and I don’t take this for granted.
It’s been a long journey since I made the jump, but I’m happy I did it. Perhaps it took me longer to get here, but I’m on the right track. I’ve stopped comparing my trajectory to those of my peers’ since a long time ago. I think it happened the first time I felt truly fulfilled and content with my job, and where I was in my career path.
How about you? Do you work in the same area of your study, or have you made a career change?