You know what I realised today? We spend our whole lives pond-jumping. Now, I don’t mean this in a literal sense, although I did just find out that it’s an actual threat to the koi fish population according to Google. But no, I’m talking about pond-jumping in a metaphorical sense.
I’m sure that you’ve all heard the expression about ‘being a small fish in a big pond’ before, and this is the type of pond that I’m referring to. It’s the one that everyone finds themselves within no matter what occupation they have. Whether you’re a student scaling the education system or an adult growing your career within a business, we’re all really just fish swimming around in different ponds.
For most people, that ‘little fish in a big pond’ saying first comes into play when we start primary school as an eager little prep student. We’re seen as these small, naive and vulnerable creatures who will ultimately grow into big strong fish by the time we’re in Year 6. But then we enter high school, and it’s back to being that small fish amongst the sea of older students once again. Sure, we know much more than we did when we were in prep, but the idea still stands. That transition from primary school to high school is one of the first big ‘pond jumps’ we make in life.
From then on, and as we enter the workplace and start changing jobs, things can become a little bit more difficult. By the time we’ve climbed the ranks of high school and started to excel in our part-time jobs, we soon discover that we’re no longer small fish. In fact, we realise that we’ve morphed into the medium and big fish that we once admired in the very same pond we landed in all those years ago. As Year 12’s we are given the authority to decide where we want our lives to go and are tested on our knowledge of certain subjects to affirm our status and rank as the pond’s ‘top dogs’.
But then it happens again, we jump into another pond – university. Well, some of us do. Others decide to stay in our part-time jobs and keep growing within that pond into more senior positions. For those passionate individuals, pond-loyalty is obviously quite a strong trait which allows them to grow within the safety of an environment which they’re familiar with. Whereas in my experience, it can be very easy to get lost as a little fish in the big sea of university.
Sometimes I feel like I’m not actually learning as much in uni as I did in high school. I often find myself struggling to find the motivation to head in for a full day of classes and equally complain about having to trek a whole hour into the city for a mere 1hr lecture #priorities. But anyway, I digress. As I was saying, life is about jumping from pond to pond, and I think that although it can be daunting to leap into a new one, it can also be highly beneficial too.
For example, when I got my first internship at a social media agency, I was partially scared about actually helping out in a proper agency; but also very excited. Although it was a relatively small agency, I was still the least experienced there and found myself in a whole new type of pond. As I learnt more and more about the wonderful world of social media and grew my skills I found myself working there over the summer as a proper account manager. So in fish-terms, I had grown into a medium fish in this relatively small pond.
Whilst I loved working there and could have happily stayed on full-time, I knew that I had to swim on back to uni to continue my studies and get my degree. However, as fate would have it, I was soon given the opportunity to intern under the social media strategist at one of my favourite global ad agencies in Melbourne, ‘Ogilvy and Mather’. Talk about a big pond.
I decided to tackle both uni and my internship at the same time, with a cafe job on the side to make a bit of moolah. Whilst balancing everything was a bit of a struggle at times, I really loved the challenge and knew that it was the best way for me to keep growing within the industry. Transitioning from a small agency to a big one was an interesting experience for me. Although I had 4 months of social media account management under my belt, it seemed to dissolve as I moved back to an intern position at a much larger agency; and with it went my medium fish status. I didn’t mind being the small fish again though, as it let me learn the ins and outs of a multi-department workplace which I’ll definitely have to face again in the future.
And now that brings me to my current work/uni pond position. It turns out that both of my internships and social media work have actually helped my prove myself within Ogilvy as I was just offered a part-time ‘Social Media Community Manager’ position #fancytitlecomeatme. It’s a bit of a weird situation because I’ll be doing all of the tasks that a normal social media account manager would (ie. creating content, posting on accounts, replying to comments and generating reports) but I’m a bit too young and inexperienced to be awarded that title in such a big agency. Actually no, maybe my situation should be labelled as ‘ironic’ since I’ve been an account manager before? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Whatever the label, I’m just really happy that I’ve got the job and I’m finally going to be a small part of this big agency #suchexcite.
Although I didn’t have a specific intention for writing this post, I hope it gets you thinking about the pond that you’re in and whether you’re going to grow in it or immerse yourself in a completely new one. Because hey, who knows? Maybe you’ll jump into this pond with me and end up being my boss one day 😉
Adios Amigos *insert fish emoji*
P.S. Today’s shoutout goes to a certain motivational fish who managed to traverse across ponds and seas without ever giving up or complaining:
P.P.S. After sharing this with my close friend Steph for her opinion, I feel like her reply deserves a mention in this post too: