Unconventional (and, let’s face it, oblivious) beginnings haven’t stopped Amy finding her way into the digital industry. Currently a content writer and team planner, we caught up with Amy to find out where her career began.

amy gerrish.jpg

Let’s be completely transparent from the beginning. There is no doubt that I well and truly fell into the digital industry.

I completed my undergrad degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2012, with lofty (read: naive) ambitions of strolling my way into the publishing industry. I’d sort-of interned with a print and digital agency during my third year, but with the benefit of hindsight, I can now see that I was too focussed on the publishing side of this business.

Then, that massive, pesky, financial crash happened. All of a sudden, there were no jobs in the publishing industry. All of a sudden, there were no jobs at all.

So, a month after graduating, I found myself working with six to 11-year-olds as a private tutor to make some money, while writing for many, many different websites on the side. It didn’t take long for me to realise this was not what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. It was chaos.

In the autumn, somewhat out of the blue, my partner Tristan got an amazing job offer — the only catch was that it meant relocating from Bristol to Leeds. Off we went, with our tiny navy Ford Fiesta weighed down with our worldly possessions, hopes, and dreams.

After a stint at a Leeds-based online magazine (“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”, as my Mother would say), I become the physical representation of this gal — (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ — and jacked it all in for a barista job in a super-cool coffee shop.

This was the most healing job I could have ever hoped to find. (Seriously, if you ever need a bit of a career break, go and work in a nice, slightly hipster independent coffee shop. Something about grinding coffee beans and steaming milk is very soul soothing.)

The manager of the coffee shop, Chris, was one of the kindest bosses I’ve ever had. He knew I wrote professionally (I’d still been writing for a few online projects alongside this job), and his wife Cat had a job in the SEO team in an agency called Epiphany. Through them, I found out there was a job opening for a Copywriter.

I spent what felt like forever Googling every term I didn’t understand on Epiphany’s website, and I went into the interview knowing that I could do this job. I had an accidental kind of confidence, the kind that comes from unknowingly spending a good few years preparing for this kind of work.

I got the job. I got the job, and I worked hard. I got promoted from Copywriter to Senior Content Writer. From Senior Content Writer to Writing Department Planner, after spending a few months on secondment in the Project Management team. I’m able to write full-time, and earn a living from it. Any ‘extra-curricular’ writing I chose to do was on my own terms — and I’ve been able to get published in some of my favourite independent magazines for it.

I’ve been able to work with some of the best digital designers and developers in the business, to create some really awesome work for our clients. I’ve been able to contribute to what we pitch to clients in the first place, and help see projects through every stage. I’ve been able to sit on a team with the best bunch of writers you could ever hope to find.

I’m currently on maternity leave after having my daughter back in January, and I’m at a bit of a crossroads once again as to ‘what’s next’. (Those cliches about having kids are scarily true — it does change everything.) But the one thing I am certain about is that I love working in digital. Regardless of the capacity in which I continue working, I know that I’m at home in the digital industry.

I say all this to hopefully show that non-traditional routes into the digital industry can work, too. I was so tunnel-visioned throughout my time at uni (and the year or so after) that I didn’t pay attention to this industry that was literally growing around me. If I had just opened my eyes that little bit wider, I’m almost certain that I’d have found my place in digital a lot sooner.

Have a story to tell that will inspire others to get into digital? Get in touch at [email protected]

she does digital

she does digital @shedoesdigital

We're a collective based in Leeds who want to highlight the opportunities and careers available to encourage women to join the digital industry.