I have always had a heightened sense of empathy. Looking back, this showed itself from an early age. I remember when I was seven, and my best friend at the time, Lindsey Moody, had one of her pig tails snipped off by a boy in our class. I felt her distress so much I cried myself to sleep for two nights on the run. In actual fact, Lindsey got over the incident in about an hour, quickly seeing it as her opportunity to get a fashionable ‘page boy’ cut, which she had been pestering her mum about for months. But the raw emotion she felt just after the event happened stayed with me, and if I think back now I can still feel it.
Little did I realise then that this empathy characteristic – which has seen me (embarrassingly) burst into tears on the train when reading a sad story in the paper; and weep tears of joy every week when I watch One Born Every Minute – would be such an asset to me in my career, and probably the reason I love my job so much.
I work with all different types of businesses, from bras to bread, from law companies to umbrella companies, and as such I continually have to test my ability to empathise and put myself in other people’s shoes.
After all, strip back all the superficial challenges and apparent complexities of marketing a product or service, and you are left with its primary function – to understand the consumer and develop a strategy from that understanding.
So don’t worry if you get upset the next time you see a cat stuck up a tree or an old lady fall into a chest freezer in Tesco <True story. That’s a whole other blog of its own>. Embrace it, and maybe apply for a job in marketing.