My name is Tim Hoang and I am 23 years old. I was born and raised in Bradford. I have a degree in Public Relations from Leeds Metropolitan University and I am currently working as a Marketing Executive for a technology PR agency based in London.
It was in early January 2006 when I received an e-mail regarding a junior position in London which I had applied for some time ago. I ignored it – after all I was already a PR exec in a small company in the Midlands and could see myself working my way up pretty quickly. Work was easy – everything I wanted. I got to write and got paid for it, I went for free lunches on the company, I loved my colleagues, I went travelling to exhibitions around England and Europe. I was even about to purchase my own house. Why would I want to move to a lower position with less enjoyable work, getting proportionately less money and lose everything I ever wanted? My own house at 23!
Why I made the decision to go to the interview
I knew in my head that it was all too easy. Work shouldn’t be this easy at my age. There was nothing wrong with the work the PR agency did, it was right for the market they were going for but I did feel that there was only so much I could learn from working there.
When I eventually looked for other jobs in the north of England my experience and skills would be limited. All I would be good at would be writing – not speaking to journalists, organising events, devising campaigns, pitching stories.
I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy any of these, never mind be any good at them. But I knew if I wanted to be at the top of my game I would at least have to give it a go.
What my family and friends thought
My girlfriend supported me despite knowing it would probably be all over for us. My mum and dad questioned why I would want to move to London but offered to help me find accommodation through family once they knew I had my mind set on it.
My friends thought I was stupid. They all did ‘regular’ jobs, worked long hours and weren’t paid very much. To them a job is something to loathe – it’s what you do to finance the weekend. I thought the same. I had struggled for just over a year doing some really crappy jobs (getting abused daily by jobseekers in the dole office springs to mind – I’ll never forget how many asked me if I knew who they were and what they could do to me or those claiming the dole while driving flashing BMWs) and finally, I had a job I enjoyed!
The London PR agency, which had invited me for an interview, is based on Argyll Street, opposite the posh Liberty Store and two minutes walk from Oxford Circus tube station. It was probably only my third time down to the capital. When I went for the interview I waited in the reception area on the top floor of Palladium House, next door to a theatre I’d never heard of but assumed to be famous. The staff were young, and the open, cool environment was like you see in the movies – a far cry from the grey boxed humdrum I was used to. The interview went well and I was offered the job. I didn’t give it much thought – I knew this was what I wanted to do and moved to London on February 20th starting work the next day.
My new life
I’ve now been working here just over six months. In the meantime I have split up with my girlfriend of three-and-a-half years, moved into my own place and still find it a struggle to both settle and fit in.
But I’m in London and I still get that buzz every time I walk along Oxford Street on my way to work, go past the Houses of Parliament and the Millennium Wheel on the bus home or sit with colleagues on Carnaby Street with a pint talking about football while pretending not to be on the look out for z-list celebrities.
Still miss home loads though.
This article was originally posted here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bradford/content/articles/2006/09/21/tim_hoang_blog_01_feature.shtml