Age is just a number

Age is just a number. You’re not a number you’re a great candidate!

How to approach a career change at 40 plus.

nothing is impossible

 

What would make you really happy? If you could switch jobs now, what would inspire and interest you enough to make you want to rise early and go to work with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose every day?

 

Perhaps you think it’s too late? It might be true that given the years of study it requires, the career in law you wish you had pursued is now out of reach, but with a bit of thought you might find a related role in which you can use the wealth of skills and abilities you have built up over the years as you took a different direction.

 

Self belief is where this re-evaluation process has to start. To tell yourself that you can’t achieve your goal is to admit defeat before trying. The fear of failure can induce failure, and before you know it you’re on a downward spiral without giving yourself a fighting chance. Don’t waste time on regrets and start your positive thinking journey now. Sometimes we just have to dare to dream.

 

Take stock and think laterally

 

So, you know what you should have done twenty years ago. At forty plus it might be too late to start your career as an athlete or psychologist, but maybe you could still become an athletics mentor or train to become a counsellor; both roles in which experience is valued over youth. It’s time to look at the offshoot careers. Consider the length of the academic courses you might need to do, along with any further training, internships or voluntary work that are expected to achieve your goal. Also consider if at the end of the process you will have the competitive edge against other twenty-something applicants. Does the profession you are considering value experience, or is it associated primarily with younger graduates? If the role fits into this stereotype, would you really be happy working in that environment anyway? This is the time to take a step back and look objectively at career paths, and in turn to look inwards at where you are right now, and where you would feel comfortable in being in the future.

 

Seek advice

 

In the UK, despite anti-discrimination laws, age can be viewed in a negative way. In comparison with for example Japan, where life expectancy is longer and culturally age is associated with wisdom, the UK workplace can seem like an unnecessarily biased environment. To build your confidence and gain that psychological edge, don’t be above asking for help to bring about the change you desire. Attend career development seminars, approach CV writing services, job coaches and employment counsellors. Other opinions are invaluable, and professional job search personnel might be able to help you take a step back and see the opportunities you are missing by being too close to the problem.

 

Ask yourself if this is the right time to make a radical career change. It’s a big step and other aspects of your life need to be stable in order for you to focus all your energies on your career. While you make the transition, maybe you will need to take on a low stress part time job to keep afloat financially. Temporary work as a means to an end could help you pay for a professional development course, and if the work is in any way related to your new career, then that’s even better! Your transferable skills are building all the time.

 

 

Keep a sense of perspective

 

To bring clarity and insight, write a list of all your skills and achievements relevant to your dream job. Start a blog or a website related to where you aspire to be. This will also help with job applications and will build your credibility in the profession. Talk to people already working in your chosen career both in person and online. If possible attend relevant networking events. Start to say ‘yes’ to opportunities coming your way, you never know where they might lead. Often your career path unfolds naturally, but if the direction feels wrong, accept that it’s a mistake and take a sideways step. Don’t dwell on mistakes or obsess for too long about making a decision. Constantly worrying about what might go wrong will not help. Life is full of uncertainties and while you spend time worrying you could be missing an opportunity. Lead an interesting life, socialise and seek out different experiences and people. It will help you to decide where and what you want to be, and if nothing else it will make life much more entertaining.

 

While you go through this transition keep things in perspective. Look at this new experience in a positive way, it’s an exciting time and this could be your best year yet! Learn to bounce back when things get tough, and be prepared to make sacrifices because you know that your future happiness and success are worth the struggle. Be resilient and strong. Find your niche and sell your unique self to the best of your abilities.

 

Sell yourself, be yourself

 

Finally, create your own success by offering your skills speculatively to employers. Make doors open by suggesting how your skills might benefit their organisation. Be polite, professional and warm, and try not to take it personally if your ideas are not accepted. Putting so much emphasis on every attempt creates too much pressure. Yes it’s important, but at the end of the day it’s just a job. Show enthusiasm and charisma and enjoy the process of meeting the people you might be working with soon. If they like you but can’t employ you for whatever reason, they might be able to suggest other departments or workplaces you might try. Look at it as a networking exercise rather than as employers assessing you. If you can do the job and come across as being good to be around you are more than half way there. Why would they not want to work with you? As in all things there are no guarantees, but a calculated risk taken now could mean a look back with no regrets in the future. Surely it’s worth taking your best shot at achieving this today?

 

Career Evolution

In celebration of International Women’s Day this week, we wanted to present a piece highlighting what creative choices a woman from Generation X had when aspiring to be and finally becoming a creative in Yorkshire.

Career Evolution

By Ruth Parker

 

I was always a creative kid. Sitting up a tree wearing my signature cowboy hat, I took endless photos with the camera my parents bought me, blowing my spending money on 35mm film and ice pops. At Christmas I asked for art and craft supplies and was told to ‘smile and be nice’ if anyone bought me a doll.

My dad was always interested in art and I remember him going out to paint beautiful landscapes in summer at 6am before he started his shift at the Gas Board, his creative career unfulfilled to be the providing father and husband he chose to be. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Previous generations had to accept a role.

My mum in turn became a housewife even after passing a difficult grammar school scholarship exam, as she was not awarded funding. She led an uncomplaining life but was unable to become the academic she wanted to be. It’s reassuring to know that this is not the way it has to be these days.

Although my parents aspirations were never fulfilled they passed on their dreams. Dad would take me out sketching on long walks around Haworth where I grew up, and tell me tales about his travels around the world with the army, thereby laying the foundation for my future plans. It was a wonderful Swallows and Amazons type childhood.

Art and English have always been my thing. I love playing with language and I like books as aesthetic objects that open up a world of knowledge on every subject imaginable.

Books took me to far away places and the visual was always significant to me. Even the design and copy on food packaging fascinated me. Pineapple chunks all the way from Africa and space age Vesta curry in packets.

Vest Curry Packaging

1970’s Vesta Curry 

 

Life for a kid in the 1970’s seemed to be on the cutting edge of technology. David Bowie and I would soon be going to the moon. How amazing would that be! I became fascinated with travel and where all the brightly coloured packaging came from. I read and wrote incessantly, scribbling poems, stories and disjointed prose, just writing for the sake of writing. I didn’t realise it at the time but all this was shaping a future in art, design and copy.

I left school with no real direction in mind. Careers advice was non-existent back then and as I didn’t want to be a secretary or a nurse I was regarded as a bit of an oddity. I wanted to be an artist, writer, philosopher … I was a dreamer, but I was handed leaflets on secretarial training.

These days creative aspirations would be nurtured. How times have changed. The attitude seemed to be that I would be married with kids soon, so why bother.  At this stage I was questioning everything. I was interested in world religions and the Humanities. I told the careers officer this and was asked if I wanted to become a nun. I remember feeling very misunderstood and didn’t raise the question again. Looking back it really was the dark ages. The women who marched and protested for a more equal society in the 1960’s were still making their voices heard, and the Dagenham women went on strike for equal pay, but attitudes were slow to change.

When I left school I went to my local library and found a course in art and design running at a local technical college. I worked hard and passed the course, but it didn’t bring the career I expected when I left.

In the 1980’s all the guys were in trades and all the girls took office jobs with the Civil Service. I joined them and went to work for the Inland Revenue as an Administrator.

1980s Secretary

1980’s office job

 

The turning point at work came when a colleague had a breakdown and threw a computer out of a fourth floor office window. It’s a miracle he didn’t kill anyone in the car park below, because as anyone who’s seen the ‘80’s series ‘Ashes to Ashes’ will know, computer hardware back in those days was big and heavy. Barry was coming up for retirement and obviously felt very unfulfilled. He was taken away for counselling before being quietly dismissed. How his flipping out and subsequent dismissal affected his pension I don’t know, but I do know that his conformity to the point of insanity was a working life wasted. Another colleague at the same time left to become a prostitute. It really was that boring.

Workers seemed to either accept the job as a temporary measure or it became a lifetime of security. I decided to move on before the urge to trash my workspace took control of me or it became too late to leave.

In 1986 I enrolled on a Foundation Studies course at Bradford College of Art & Design. Back in the day, students were funded with generous grants which, looking back, was an enormous privilege. The downside of funding was that places were fiercely competitive. In the days before students became ‘customers’, arguably the quality of work was much higher and the industry benefited.

We worked incredibly hard and Bradford College then produced exceptional candidates who went on to study at schools such as Goldsmiths, Central St Martins and the Slade. I decided to go down the sensible industry route and train to be a graphic designer. I was accepted at Cleveland College of Art & Design and set off for a career in this exciting new world. It would provide a sure fire job at the end of the course and the money (the course tutors assured me) would be very good too. Looking back…I’d advise anyone to question everything!

By the time I graduated with my HND, many other people had done so too. The market was saturated and jobs were scarce. The technology we were using at the time was basic but it was developing quickly, and six months out of the game meant you were no longer up to speed. The qualification counted for little and you were virtually unemployable.

I supplemented part time teaching with part time freelance art and design jobs, and started eventually to do more fine art work which I touted around the commercial galleries. From teaching business studies I moved on to teach graphics and worked with course leaders to write BTEC programmes.

In addition to work in education, which is invariably part time and on a short term contract basis, (but it has to be said, with an excellent hourly rate), I worked as a freelance artist and designer. Offshoot skills gained from this included marketing and project management. Work in the visual arts continually calls for a high level of lateral thinking. You have to be resourceful, tenacious and adaptable to maintain work in this industry, and sitting around waiting for inspiration is not an option.

Art has opened doors that would otherwise have remained closed, and the people I’ve met along the way have been fascinating. It has however been hard work and at times I’ve juggled with self funded studies and employment to achieve both my academic and professional qualifications.

I’ve survived by being good at networking and only a few of the jobs I’ve had have been found through formal application and interview. What was my initial career path has changed and evolved into something quite different over the years.

I always despair when art students say they’ve chosen this path ‘cuz it’s easy’. My immediate reaction is to think ‘well you’d better learn to ask the customer if they want fries with their order if you honestly believe that, because you’ll never be an artist’. Of course as a tutor I wasn’t allowed to say it, but I did try and change a few peoples way of thinking and redirect them to a less challenging career path.

A creative life takes nerves of steel. It’s uncertain, the pay can be low and sometimes there’s no pay at all. I’ve encountered many sharks in this business who regard artists as the lowest form of life to be exploited, and I’ve had to develop a thick skin not to take rejection as a personal insult. I still struggle with that one as to do anything well you have to invest both your time and passion. It’s more than a job. Artists tend to be sensitive souls and it can be difficult to maintain a hard, business like exterior and to see things objectively.

So how do we make it pay? Well that’s the million dollar question isn’t it! While I was at Bradford College David Hockney was always, and rightly so, held aloft as an icon in the art world. He made the grade, lived in LA and enjoyed world fame. Kudos to you Mr Hockney. It might also be worth mentioning that his work is typical of the house style at Bradford College of Art & Design. Take a look at his early work at Salts Mill in Saltaire. He’s talented but not by any means remarkable.

The difference between success and failure is that Hockney has been a great self publicist. He went to London and put himself in a situation where fame found him. He networked and networked well. With hindsight I’d do the same. I’ve done OK but not as well as David Hockney, so perhaps there’s a lesson to be learnt. It’s worth altering your mind set to get where you want to be. Raw talent is not always rewarded but strategic thinking is.

David Hockney

David Hockney

 

Moving from the visual arts into copywriting at this stage in life seems like a natural progression. Writing in its many forms has been ongoing throughout my life, it’s just one of the things I do, so to do it professionally seems logical. It’s not so much a career change in my fifties as a sideways step into another related field of work. On the plus side copywriting is a career that if we choose we don’t have to retire from.

It’s heartening that new technology has opened up a world of opportunity where we can all work online from anywhere, and for as long as our health permits if we choose to. Creativity is certainly more of a lifestyle than a job, and being a practitioner in any art-form is never purely about the money (although money undeniably helps, anyone who tells you not to stress about money is either a fool or has never been poor). Being a creative is about doing what we do because it’s who we are, and conversely, the job and the strength of character it demands shape our personality.

The ‘job for life’ of the last generation it seems is confined to the past, but the luxury of living in a free society, of being a generation who has not had to suffer the trauma of war, and who have been granted the opportunity to be who and what we want to be is remarkable.

New technology is to be embraced as it offers freedom and opportunities to people of all ages and in all situations. The core skills of good writing and good design are a constant, it’s just the tools that we use are evolving. Chameleon-like we have to adapt or be left behind. As ever it’s a challenge but to be challenged can be a good thing. To greet each working day with interest and enthusiasm is wonderful, and in addition to keeping afloat financially, surely that’s all that matters. The future looks promising. Bring it on!

Ruth Parker

 

‘Ruth Parker is an artist, designer and further education professional in the visual arts. With experience of writing content targeting a wide range of clients, she has worked both as an in-house and remote working contractor’. Ruth’s LinkedIn profile 

 

How to Be a Writer (Part Three): How to Get Rejected by the BBC (and other production companies)

Writing

By Ingrid Boyd

 

My, the BBC is having a bit of a time of it aren’t they? I would like to say I feel bad for them, but I don’t. I am secretly a tiny bit pleased because they have toyed with my emotions for kicks one time too many.

 

You have finished your TV drama. That’s marvellous, but now what? You need to sell it, of course.

 

There are various routes to the mythical nirvana of actually persuading someone to give you cash money to take your teleplay and bring it to life, using actors who have either played a corpse in Holby City, or a shoplifter in The Bill.

 

(That covers most British actors by the way, leaving only the cast of Downton Abbey, who are the crème de la Menthe of British drama)

 

When you have written your first TV script your first port of call may well be the BBC writersroom, which is the only point of entry to that venerable institution for the un-agented writer, and the place, so they say, where new talent is nurtured.

 

Once you have sent your script, you will feel it is only a matter of time before you get the call, inviting you down to London to that all important first meeting with a commissioning editor, where you will iron out the minor plot points, and discuss the necessity of casting Ray Winstone.

 

Four  months of total silence from the Beeb and finally you receive a letter. It’s from them! This totally puts into shade the time your cousin Donna wrote into Blue Peter and got a badge. This is an actually letter, addressed to you, from The Telly!

 

Unfortunately inside is what they call a script report detailing everything that is wrong with your script, and explaining why, this time, they will not be “taking things further” with your work.

 

Once you have adjusted yourself to the unexpected shock of rejection, read the report thoroughly to find out exactly how you have alienated Auntie to this extent.

 

Your first mistake may have been not setting your drama in either a hospital or a police station. This is a classic beginner’s mistake.

 

An important part of creating a series than can run and run, is to set it somewhere where you can keep bringing in new characters , and have multiple storylines running simultaneously. Hospitals and Police stations are great places to do this in a somewhat realistic fashion.

 

What about the characters in your opus? Have you made the error of having more than one working class character of the same gender in your drama? It’s worth remembering that the BBC is entirely run by young Oxbridge grads called Lucy, who can get very confused by the fact that your script has two characters who both speak in the idiom of the common man. Lucy may feel that these characters do not have enough to differentiate between them. Especially if they are both called Paul.

 

There may also be some comments about the structure of your masterpiece. Remember all those books you half read about how to write a successful screenplay?  The inciting incident, in other words the thing that happens to kick off the drama in the first place, MUST take place by page 3. Or is it page 5? Pretty quickly anyway.

 

The trouble is, that, what with “our busy lifestyles” and, what telly channels like to call “multi platform programming” there is a lot of broadcast media out there to choose from.

 

As a result, the people who make television are getting increasingly antsy about their audience’s attention span.

 

The rule used to be that a show would need to grab the audience’s attention within the first 3 minutes.

 

Now it is 12 seconds. After that, apparently, your fickle viewer may well switch off in favour of online bingo.

 

This fear of losing audiences has led to some very expedient plotting, to the extent that you seem to be in the thick of the action before you have even got the wrapper off your Toblerone.

 

The other thing that all the books and screen writing courses teach you, is that there must be no exposition ever, so we are now at a point where everything on TV drama is shown in a fleeting, almost minimalist series of scenes, very little is said, and then suddenly you realise you have literally no idea what is going on. This is exactly what they want.

 

So, your inciting incident was too late, there was far too much dialogue (or “not enough white on the page” as they say in The Biz), and your characters are interchangeable.

 

Oh well, better luck next time. And remember; only 1 in 10 submissions to BBC writersroom actually get feedback at all, so hold your head high, and take your place among the honourably rejected.

 

Lastly, despite the fact that, however much TV production companies say they want new ideas, but actually want more of the same, the rules sometimes do need to be broken.

 

The famous quote (first coined by the Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman) about what sells in Hollywood is “nobody knows anything”, and while it would seem more comforting if somebody, somewhere knew something, it is probably true.

 

 

Ingrid Boyd

Ingrid is a native of Leeds and a graduate of the University of Westminster Film School, where she learned much about filmmaking; the most important lesson being never to admit a film crew into your house.

She has lived in Glasgow, London, Oxford and New York, and has worked (among other places)at Merchant Ivory Films, (doing the filing), in a diner, as a costume assistant on musicals, and in a department store, where she once sold a pair of socks to Bruce Springstein.

In 2007 Ingrid returned to Leeds to study writing at the University of Leeds, where she successfully wrote and directed a play, and began to compile an impressive portfolio of writing, from screenplays to short stories.

After graduating with merit in 2009, Ingrid began copywriting and blogging for a range of small businesses.

How to Be a Writer (Part 2): What to Write About

Writing

By Ingrid Boyd

This may sound really obvious, and please, stop me if you have heard this before, but when deciding what you want to write, do take a moment to think about what you actually enjoying reading, or watching.

So you are planning to write the definitive historical romance, but with a contemporary twist? You haven’t sorted out what the contemporary twist will be, but there will definitely be one.

But, do you read historical romances? If not are you sure you want to write one?

So what do you like? TV drama? Excellent. Do that then.

If you decide to write for film or television you must be aware of the vast array of books written on the subject.

There are many, many books out there from the venerable Sid Field to the fantastic Linda Aronson. There are also courses, run by, apparently powerful Hollywood TV writers, who are so successful they are running 3 day workshops from a conference centre in Newquay to teach YOU how to write a script that SELLS.

Once you have read through a great big pile of books telling you “How To” (we are back at procrastination, aren’t we? That always happens. Trust me it’s normal. Go with it), you can come up with some ideas.

This brings me back to the other question writers get asked all the time: How do you get your ideas?

You will undoubtedly have heard the phrase “write about what you know”. Good. Now forget it. Sure, it helps to have an interest in the subject you are writing about, but to stick rigidly only within the, let’s face it, tiny parameters of your own young life seems a little narrow.

Yes, you do have to know what you are writing about, but you can always GET to know about something. It’s called research. I hate it too, but look, in this day and age it’s so easy! In the dark ages before the internet (you won’t remember, you were just a tot but it was AWFUL) we had to go to libraries and learn the Dewey Decimal system just to find stuff out.

Now we all we have to do is click a mouse and VOILA! Can’t find what you are looking for? Remember Google has more than one page.

Actually, though, even when you research online, you kind of do need to be able to substantiate that research. Wikipedia is great, and often correct, but not always, and facts do need to be checked to.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to call people. For example, when researching a scene I was writing that took place in a police cell, I called the Metropolitan police to make sure I was getting the procedure right. You can do this. All large organisations have people who are paid to deal with press and media related queries, and they are usually very helpful

So, OK, so maybe you can’t get everything from the internet, but it’s a good place to start.

You now know what format you want to write in, and you have a good idea who your characters are going to be and what they are going be like. Now you just need to formulate a story, come up with the Big Idea.

Whatever you do, don’t turn off the computer, or put down your notebook in order to wait for the right ideas to present themselves, or for the writing mood to take you.

The writing mood is elusive, and often doesn’t take you until you are drunk at 1 am and you fill a notebook with amazingly profound ideas for a story, which, when read back in the morning turns out to be an overlong synopsis of Atonement, covered in chilli sauce.

Someone once asked me, following a performance of a play I wrote, which quite brought down the Scout shed, “How do you start writing?”.

I replied, “You just start writing”. She was confused. “But how do you know what you are going to write? Where do you get your ideas”?

And I said, again, Yoda-like, “You just, you know, pick up a pen or whatever, and start writing”

And IT’S TRUE. It took me years to get that, but, once you kind of know what and who you want to write about, and you have a basic story arc in mind (thanks Sid Field) there is no merit in sitting and waiting for inspiration.

The more you actually write, the more ideas you will generate, and the more you work, the easier it will get to wrench open that door in your mind that lets the creative stuff in. And the more that rusty ol’ door gets used, the easier it will become to just leave it a little ajar most of the time.

They say creative enterprise is 1 percent Inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.

This is completely wrong, of course as we have seen.

It is more like 100 percent desperation followed by a 50/49 split between perspiration and procrastination. The remaining 1 percent is tea and biscuits.

Ingrid Boyd

Ingrid is a native of Leeds and a graduate of the University of Westminster Film School, where she learned much about filmmaking; the most important lesson being never to admit a film crew into your house.

She has lived in Glasgow, London, Oxford and New York, and has worked (among other places)at Merchant Ivory Films, (doing the filing), in a diner, as a costume assistant on musicals, and in a department store, where she once sold a pair of socks to Bruce Springstein.

In 2007 Ingrid returned to Leeds to study writing at the University of Leeds, where she successfully wrote and directed a play, and began to compile an impressive portfolio of writing, from screenplays to short stories.

After graduating with merit in 2009, Ingrid began copywriting and blogging for a range of small businesses.

How to Be a Writer (part one): The Art of Procrastination.

Writing

 

By Ingrid Boyd

So you think you want to be a writer? You are tired of the daily grind of the rush hour; you are done with customer service and PowerPoint presentations and yearn for a better, more creative job.

Initially this charmed lifestyle will mainly involve not having to change out of your pyjamas, but in the future you can easily imagine the interview with the Sunday Times in your gracious study full of books, your glasses hanging around your neck as you explain just why so many millions have connected with the characters in your novels.

You are not alone.

“Being a writer” is the most sought after profession of them all, coming top in some survey I read once, which I will look up later. In fact, you could probably Google it for yourself, and then maybe let me know? Thanks.

Everything about being a writer seems appealing, doesn’t it? From the comfy leisure wear, to the fact that people will actually be interested in what goes on in your brain, right down to the shed in the garden which you will have converted into a fully heated writing room complete with chaise longue for resting on while you allow your muse to do her thing.

Great. Now you know what you want. Only thing to do now is get started. Hold on, not so fast there Skippy.

If you really want to be a writer you can’t just get on with it. God no. It’s not that simple.

First of all, you can’t possible start in this house. It’s a complete mess. The bathroom hasn’t been cleaned since your Nan last visited. Was that really two months ago? She’ll be back again at Christmas. Actually, Christmas is coming up quite soon isn’t it, so before you get started on the bathroom perhaps you better check the fairy lights still work.

Remember last year, banging on the glass and flailing your arms at Wilkos at 5 pm on Christmas Eve, mouthing “a hundred coloured lights!” at the burly shop staff who wouldn’t let you in.

The lady police officer who gave you the cup of tea was lovely though.

OK, the bathroom is clean. Time to get on. Is it really that time already? No wonder you are so hungry. You will have to make a sandwich. Your brain just won’t function at all without fuel.

Might as well turn on Loose Women while you have your lunch. Ten minutes, tops, then you will switch it off. Why on earth is Denise wearing that PVC shell top? She looks like a bulldog chewing its way out of a bin bag.

Oops, watched the whole thing. Ok, focus. Focus.

Hang on.

What are you going to write on? It is a truth universally acknowledged that the questions all writers get asked by their public over and over are “where do you write” and “What do you write with” coming second only to where do you get your ideas?” (But I’ll get to that. At some point.)

Why does it matter? Well, probably because most of us have been writing in some form since around age 5, and so we feel that there must be some different, magic sort of writing that proper writers do, some ritual or tool we are not party to.

Better Google some of your favourite writers, just to get some tips about their way of working. Wow. They all say they get up at six am, walk the dog on the beach and then write longhand until lunch, before continuing until 4 pm.

Yes, yes, that sounds like the way to do it. Disciplined. Wait though, this best selling Chick Lit author says she writes in bed. Hmmm. Yes, that seems much more you, doesn’t it? Freer, more relaxed.

OK, got your laptop. Just prop some pillows…aahh. That’s nice. Close your eyes and let your mind open.

Wha..? Is it dark outside?? I know, you were only resting your eyes. It happens.

Well that was a waste of a day. You will have to start again tomorrow. Really early, just get up, no coffee, nothing, switch on the laptop and go.

Well, maybe coffee. No breakfast telly though. Except the news, obviously…

 

Ingrid Boyd

Ingrid is a native of Leeds and a graduate of the University of Westminster Film School, where she learned much about filmmaking; the most important lesson being never to admit a film crew into your house.

She has lived in Glasgow, London, Oxford and New York, and has worked (among other places)at Merchant Ivory Films, (doing the filing), in a diner, as a costume assistant on musicals, and in a department store, where she once sold a pair of socks to Bruce Springstein.

In 2007 Ingrid returned to Leeds to study writing at the University of Leeds, where she successfully wrote and directed a play, and began to compile an impressive portfolio of writing, from screenplays to short stories.

After graduating with merit in 2009, Ingrid began copywriting and blogging for a range of small businesses.