Keep going, don’t look back and continue your journey. That’s the message I got from Ben Cajee when he came to talk in Manchester last year. Ben Cajee is most known for his presenting on CBeebies but he’s also been on Match of The Day which has quite a different audience. Back in Manchester, Ben presented us with 10 takeaways that he thought would be useful for tackling our careers and making it to our end goals. Here’s a breakdown on each of them below.
Your Job Doesn’t Define You
You may think that working in retail as a sales assistant is equal to the value other people will see in you, but that’s not necessarily the case. Many other qualities make you stand out from the crowd which we’ll get onto later. Still, once you land a job and a career you love, you may not feel as amazing as you thought you would. This is because the individual is more meaningful than the job so the job can’t suddenly shape the person you are trying to be. Ben used to work at Marks & Spencer’s, but now he’s a TV presenter. Still, his individuality hasn’t changed, just his title and experience. If Ben were to lose his job, he wouldn’t become a different person, and that’s why your job doesn’t define you.
Do – Say Yes to Stuff
Saying yes can be daunting when you have your phone, Love Island, friends, Love Island, family, Tik Tok and Love Island fighting for your time. But it’s essential to be open to opportunities that come your way. Take Ben Cajee’s experience as a testimony. Ben went on a 4-day event “Step into Sports Camp” organised by the Youth Sport Trust. Though he said at the time, he was unsure about it as he felt sick about it.
Nevertheless, this led him to be picked to go and coach sport in America all at the age of 17. Later he got himself a job with the International Cricket Council at Lord’s. His new boss there happened to be responsible for him going to America back when he was 17 (would you look at that). Further down the line, Ben got a job with Cbeebies as a leading presenter, which likely wouldn’t have happened without jumping into the other opportunities thrown his way.
We are in a competitive workspace here in the UK. Everyone is looking to land their dream job and people may tell you, you can’t do it, but you can. If you really want that job, then you need to put yourself in a position where it feels like you have done everything you can to get the job. Be in a place where you’re adding extra reasons for the employer to want to hire you.
As Demi Lovato once said in Camp Rock 2 “We can’t back down!” that’s the spirit of tenacity, being tenacious means you don’t stop. Even if you’re working hard, you can still be rejected and people will tell you to give up but, you should keep going. “don’t take no for an answer.” – Ben Cajee
“FEARLESS is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again….even though every time you’ve tried before you’ve lost.” – Taylor Swift
Failure isn’t something you should be afraid of because it’s all a part of your journey. The importance of this can be summed up in the words of Thomas Edison “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Applying to be on a Cbeebies show called “The Let’s Go Club” was one of Ben’s examples of failure as he didn’t get the role. However, it wasn’t the end of the road. Rather it led him down a slightly different path. The call following his interview said that they wanted him on CBeebies as a lead presenter! Ben having a deep sport’s background is what they loved about him rather than the traditional musical background that most CBeebies presenters tend to have.
Treat People Properly
Treating people with respect should be a basic quality anyone should own, but people can take others for granted. Having a job with high status doesn’t make you better than others. You never know how the person you pass on the street can affect your life for the future. So say hello, be polite and helpful if possible. In the workspace, this basic respect can reduce stress between colleagues and leave you with better job satisfaction. So never forget the importance of something so simple.
Social Media is one of the most influential aspects of our lives today and when you enter into that world you’ll see hundreds of posts about how amazing people’s lives are. People will have thousands of likes, with lots of praise over a post they crafted in a way that would make it go viral, and you may begin to compare yourself and try things that will get you the results they have. Even if you want that, that may not be you and you shouldn’t sacrifice your own self for extra validation from friends and strangers.
When you’re applying for jobs, going to interviews and even meeting people regularly you should be you. People want you as you present yourself if you apply for a job with certain characteristics shown on your CV & application, changing your personality to match the company more can hinder you. What makes you special and stand out is what will get you the job alongside your experience and qualifications. If you change yourself so much that you blend in with the other applicants, what will your interviewer have to remember you by?
If You’re Not Enough Without It, You Won’t Be Enough With It
This analogy is one that Ben refers to from the film ‘Cool Runnings’ where the coach says “a gold medal is a wonderful thing, if you’re not enough without it you’ll never be enough with it”. You should take this attitude towards your career. There are going to be numerous goals that you want to reach between finishing school, going to university, taking an apprenticeship, getting a job and making a living for yourself. As mentioned above sometimes you will fail and sometimes you will succeed, and that success may not feel so much better than the failure. So always remember that you are still capable of accomplishing greatness, with or without a title or company next to your name.
We know people can mess up, so it’s best to keep it real, be your true self and let people understand you as a person rather than giving the world a facade. You can have a look at all the benefits of having integrity in business here, but one key thing to note is that all great leaders don’t compromise on their integrity and who’s to say you shouldn’t be a leader.
I’m sure you’ll find Ben Cajee’s tips and story helpful, outside of Apprentice Nation, this month Ben went skydiving to raise money for World Cancer Day (which took place yesterday 4 Feb). Read all about it here where you can also donate towards the cause. You can catch Ben Cajee on Cbeebies and over on Twitter; whilst you can get more tips and resources in our other blogs and on our Go Far page.
As it is National Apprenticeship Week check-in across our social channels where we are celebrating how Britain is going forward and looking beyond with apprenticeships.