Throw convention to the wind: Get inspired by unconventional career paths members share their stories and learnings to inspire and encourage [Edited by Clare Everson]

The pandemic has affected not only University and College entry, but also the experience itself. Fees continue to increase and after recent chaos over UK exam grades and higher education entry, the question of how we define an ideal or successful career path comes under scrutiny.

Knowing that the route in to a music industry career is often not linear, we asked the community to share their stories of twists and turns in their career paths. The result is clear: linear is not the only way!

“My biggest piece of advice would be to be persistent and consistent while never assuming anything.” (Leanne)

“Know your industry and what tools you need — and equip yourself. Be humble, but persistent. Don’t have an attitude; no-one owes you anything. Make yourself indispensable; find a need and meet it. People will find it hard to let you go. And I stole this from Wretch 32 ‘don’t let the night before affect the morning after’. No-one wants a flakey team member!” (Helen)

“My piece of advice would be don’t be afraid of volunteering at the start, you can gain a lot of experience whilst still enjoying the event. The time spent volunteering brings you into contact with almost every other group of staff at events, giving you the perfect opportunity to observe and decide which area of the industry you’d most like to focus your efforts on. From there, the options are clearer and you are meeting the people who can guide and support you on your own career journey.” (Holly)

“Based on my experience my piece of advice would be to not give up, not get disheartened by rejections, always be willing to learn outside your comfort zone and use every opportunity you can to network!” (Saira)

“Persistence is key. Especially when switching jobs or industries there is a lot that you might not have (just yet). So if you don’t have a skill, make a course and learn it. If you don’t have a network, get yourself out there and build one. If your applications aren’t successful, find a different way in. You don’t get what you don’t ask for, so keep pushing and believe in yourself, and you’ll be happy with the result.” (Kathi)

“Direction over ‘goals’ & speed, always. Success is extremely relative, and failing is necessary for growth, so if you’re headed in the right direction, you’re doing it right.” (Jen)

“When one door closes, another one opens. Embrace the change and always be ready to adapt to new situations.” (Chantal)

“What I’ve learned during my long and unexpected career in the music business, is that all the planning you make is just a draft. Life will turn out different again and again. It’s difficult, especially for perfectionists like me. I’ve learned to loosen up a bit.” (Hilde)

“Nobody has ever had the slightest interest in qualifications, only experience and the sound of my music.” (Meena)

“Work ethic is everything. If you are currently stuck in a job you don’t want to be in and dream of doing something else — then apply yourself, work hard at it and you can achieve anything. Success comes down to passion, determination and WORK ETHIC. Not luck or money.” (Aubrey)

And it taught me a valuable lesson to always go with what I’m feeling, or what I want instead of what I think everyone else wants me to do.

“I’m really passionate about telling young people starting out their careers that there really doesn’t have to be a linear path and you are more than capable of finding the right career for you.”

🌎 A global independent community of women, gender minorities & allies in music. 🙏 Join us as a member or ally today: