If I were to ask you, where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Personally 5 years ago, I thought I’d have been to university, left with a degree, driving a flashy car and living in my very own house. 5 years on I did actually go to university… and left within the first week. I failed my driving test 5 times and I still live at home with my parents. It’s nowhere near the life I expected to have, yet it’s the happiest I’ve ever been in 5 years, let me tell you why…
The theme of 5 keeps coming up, coincidently it was 5 years ago when a company called humanutopia arrived at my school and said they’re a company that looks to develop 5 outcomes, hope, confidence, happiness, relationships and employability. Also, coincidently the 5th outcome being the most relevant to my life at the time.
When I met humanutopia I was in year 12 and employability started to become something in my near future. So when I was in my sports lesson and I was made aware that the next day we would be out of lessons all day and working in the hall, I figured it was another university speaker telling us about how amazing the university life is. Then when our sports teacher told us, it’s like nothing he had ever seen before, and it’s not something he could explain but to give it a go and you will be surprised as to how emotional people may actually get.
I remember the next day, not having any idea of what was going on, yet willing to give it a go. So when I was met with a hilarious middle-aged scouser, and a young attractive southerner, that all the boys in my year seemed to be infatuated by, I was hooked. This was my first-time meeting Steve and Lauren, little did I know how big a part they would play in my life, not just that day but in 5 years’ time.
My first experience with humanutopia’s school workshops
I remember on my first ‘Who are you?’ day a lot of our year group were sceptical, they had heard about the rest of the school getting emotional, but that won’t be us, we’re sixth form, we don’t show emotion. I remember roughly 2 hours later standing up in front of the whole year group and telling Steve how my bin had been filled. I remember speaking on the microphone, a lump in my throat, tear in my eye and telling everybody how it made me feel.
I remember Steve saying “I can see his eyes here as well, you can’t” he gazed directly into my eyes, and I couldn’t hold the tear back as it began to trickle down my cheek. Somehow, someway this stranger had gained my trust that much in just 2 hours. What struck me from Steve was his own story and upbringing, he talked about how he grew his hair to cover his ears and it was something that resonated deep inside, it made me think about my life and brought up a lot of feelings buried in the past.
I remember going to break and just wanting to come back for the next session right away. In the sessions that followed in the afternoon it was no longer about the past, it was about the future, my future. Another big tipping point for me was my place in the year group, in year 12 I wasn’t massively popular or unpopular, I was typically just a nice guy that got on with everybody and although I may have seemed confident, I actually had zero confidence, I had no confidence because I had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life or where I was going.
Following your passion is more important than going to university
Since I was young my dad told me that I was going to be an accountant, that I had to go to university, personally, this wasn’t what I wanted to be, although I was talented in mathematics from a young age, it wasn’t something I enjoyed or wanted to have a career in. I thought I would compromise and aim to get into university, I figured it would keep everybody happy and it would give me a few more years of time I could stall until I figured out what I did actually want to do.
Once I got to university I thought it would all be good from there, unfortunately, it simply wasn’t for me and I left within the first week. In going to university I had simply put too much pressure on myself for the benefits of other people’s happiness, it was at this point in my life where the seeds humanutopia had planted started to bloom. I remember being 18 years old, not knowing what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go in life and now having to go into the real world and find the answers.
Finding the answers didn’t happen overnight, after a long time searching It actually took me going out and experiencing life, the things I liked and disliked to find the answers within myself. I eventually got myself a job, I started working at a cinema and things were on the up, I was loving the job, I had met new people who shared my passion for wrestling, all in all this helped me to become more sociable.
Moving forward and sending my application to humanutopia
After close to 3 years working there, I had realised that I no longer enjoyed the job and it started to have a negative effect, I loved the people I had met yet I wanted to pursue something I was more passionate about and positive in my life. It was on this day I had returned from a stressful day at work and me starting to think of possible avenues I could go down, almost like a light bulb moment, I had scrolled through my Facebook feed to see that humanutopia had a job position open, it just felt right for a career.
My radio me had played so negatively against myself that I almost didn’t apply, since getting the job I actually found out that I had submitted my application 5 minutes before the deadline! The reason I left it so close is because I just didn’t believe or have enough confidence in myself that it was something I could do, I had my application fully filled out and it was set on my computer ready to send, eventually something inside me said to give it a go, what’s the worst that could happen?
The trial week and how it changed my life forever
A few weeks later, I had come home to see an email saying that humanutopia would like me to travel from Liverpool to London and work with the team for a week, a trial week. I remember being scared and well and truly in my panic zone, I had only ever been to London once with my family, it was all alien to me and somehow I managed to come out on the other side, unscathed and with a massive grin on my face.
On my trial week, I got to work with Mohamed and Tamara. We worked with a primary school, I remember thinking ‘what do I say?’, ‘What do I do?’, ‘I can’t do that?’, but somehow again I gave it a shot and introduced myself and the kids seemed to listen. Within this trial week, I grew quite close to Mohamed. I remember we were sat in Camden Town market and telling him parts of my story over the past 5 years that I hadn’t shared with anybody else. On my final day I would be working with Lauren and Jordan so I had to say my goodbyes to Mohamed and Tamara and I remember being sat in the hotel, much like in that first bins session with a tear in my eye thinking I don’t want to lose contact with these people! They were the most positive thing I had experienced in 5 years and I wanted them to be a part of the next 5.
I remember having a tear run down my face and texting them goodbye and thanking them for everything. My final day working with Lauren and Jordan, my confidence had been boosted so much and I remember watching them both deliver and being in awe of them. Being back with Lauren it just felt right it felt almost like a sign, she had been such a positive role model in my life and helped me become who I was then as well as who I am now. I remember going home and just hoping somehow I had done enough to impress them as I didn’t want to lose the positive feeling I had leaving the week.
Time to shine, my final interview
A few weeks later, I remember getting another email saying that humanutopia would like to offer me an interview. This time, it was much closer to home, I met the team in Liverpool, I was suited and booted, ready to impress. As much as they appreciated the suit that isn’t quite how humanutopia do things and it turns out that I was a little too overdressed. The team had given us some tasks and questions and once we answered they had asked us to leave the room. I was sat outside with Sacha and Shannon and we were all called back in one by one. We waited for each other and we were all met with the great news that we had all been offered the job!
I was excited and ready to start and couldn’t wait for my first day! My first day was actually with the whole team, what surprised me was how welcoming they all made me feel right away. They didn’t come across as just work colleagues, the treated me as if I was family and made me feel comfortable. These were people of all ages and backgrounds, I was excited to learn more about all these new personalities and couldn’t wait for what was waiting ahead of me.
Meeting the humanutopia team
At the end of the day we had all agreed to meet at Graham’s house where Graham and Carlo would make us all dinner, it was some great quality time with the team and great food to match. I took a moment that evening to sit back and just think ‘Wow!’, I had never experienced anything like it, my boss sitting back with us all like a family and frying burgers for us all nonetheless! I had to pinch myself and appreciate how lucky I was.
So now we are 5 years down the line from that one day that random scouser and a strange southerner had met me at my school. Steve and Lauren are massive role models in my life, now more than ever, I learn from them all the time and 5 years ago, never did I think they would be so prominent in my life. humanutopia looks to employ more new young people every year and never did I believe that I could be one of them.
If you love it, do it.
The opportunity is open to everybody, no matter what you look like, how confident you are right now or where you come from, as long as you have been through the program, the opportunity is open to you. When a job position is available humanutopia uses all platforms of social media to advertise as well as the website so keep in touch and remember to check the humanutopia social media accounts as much as possible. You can always message through the humanutopia website as well.
If you are one of the people who would usually think this kind of opportunity is something you could never go for then trust me, you can. I felt the same and how wrong I was, just think to yourself, ‘what is the worst that can happen?’ Get in the panic zone and give it a shot!