Chief of Staff Yvette Pearson, shares her incredible career journey with PA Life.
Yvette Pearson, said: “Sitting in my boss’s office while being lectured about how I must not ask visitors their name because it was “offensive”, it was hard to imagine that some 15 years later, I would be celebrating my promotion to Chief of Staff.
I left that job after just three months, wondering if I’d made the worst mistake of my life. For some people, a bad job was simply a bad job. For me, I was proving to myself that I could better myself and I was failing at the first hurdle.
Before I got this job, I had been told that going to work in London was “too ambitious” by my own mother. Where I grew up, London was somewhere we went on school trips, or for once-a-year visits to the theatre. The train connections were terrible (one train an hour), and I didn’t know a single person who worked in London. My parents had regular, modest jobs, and people in my town tended to stay there; finding local jobs when they had finished school.
My second job was much better than the first and I had an absolute blast. As a Junior Administrator for a Stockbroking firm, I was having to learn lots of new things. Occasionally struggling with the new acronyms and terminology of my colleagues while I was minute-taking, I also had my first experiences with corporate events – both organising and attending. I was always interested in what was going on, and I was always keen to get involved with what other people were doing.
So much was my eagerness to improve and better myself, I ended up moving on after just a year. The bright lights of Canary Wharf were too much for me to resist, and a couple of months before I turned 20, I found myself working for an investment bank. I remember on my first day, taking a photo of my new office because I was so excited and proud.
After spending nearly 6 years there, I finally decided to move on after I was told that I didn’t qualify for a promotion because “admins don’t get promoted”. That might have been something I could have accepted, had I not spent the previous 12 months taking on a Business Manager role and having all of my administrative duties handed over to someone else.
Having put so much time and effort into trying to prove that I was “worthy”, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I remember the trains all being delayed on my way home that evening and I stood on the platform at Stratford station and cried my eyes out. The only offer of comfort I had received from my boss was that I was apparently in a good position to try out for a promotion the following year. The thought of having to run this marathon again was too much for me and I decided I needed to move on. I was devastated.
It reminded me of some of the best advice I have ever had. I was told that no-one was going to look out for me, and that I had to take care of my own future. That is exactly what I decided to do.
My next job was working for a COO who would later become the CEO of his own company – a company that I was to be called to join, and then be made redundant from 4 years later after a change in leadership.
At that point I was very much in a crossroads of my life. I’d had two job offers from ex-colleagues within the finance industry with which I was so familiar. I had also had an offer from a scale-up company in a totally different industry – aerospace. This offered me the rare opportunity to be able to work close to home, and honestly, the draw of not having to commute again was too appealing to turn down.
Starting at this company reminded me a lot of my days at the stockbroking firm – having to learn new words and acronyms, and I took a lot of comfort from knowing that I managed to figure it out back then so I would do so again. Taking all that I had learned over the years, I applied it all to my new challenge as Sales Operations Manager. Just 8 months later, I was rewarded with the title I had coveted ever since I had heard of it: Chief of Staff.”