Gary Peters, Founder and CEO of LoveLocalJobs.com, shares some words of support and encouragement to his younger self when at a crisis point in his life.
“Dear 16-year-old Gary
You’re not going to believe this but I’m writing this to you aged 39 and 3/4 (I’m not 40 just yet!) and I’m sitting in the most comfortable leather chair, I’ve got an office in the heart of Brighton and I’ve got myself one of those big desks you’ve seen in the movies…I’ve even got a amazing view over the roof tops to the sea. It’s alittle different to where you are now and hey guess what, you don’t have to worry about working at Sport and Ski for the rest of your life, you will go and hand your notice in very shortly!
I know right now you‘re at rock bottom. You’ve really messed up your GCSEs and the thought of getting a job or going to college is a million miles away. You’ve also just been released from Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club which means your dream of becoming a professional footballer is over. Too many missed training sessions, too many nights on the town and that’s it, they were right, the opportunity has goneforever. It really does seem like the end of the world, right?
Well don’t worry, you couldn’t be more wrong. You were born a lucky lad. You have learnt very early that you make your own luck in life and while you are going to work very hard over the next few years, life is going to be great.
This is just the start of your life. Over the next few years you‘re going to completely man up, fall madly in love, work incredibly hard and lay the foundations for an amazing career in recruitment and careers. And although the path that you take won’t give you the instant gratification of scoring a goal or being man of the match, it will create a much longerand strongerlegacy which you and your family will become very proud of indeed.
So you need to pick yourself up, throw away that thing called pride and dig out that positive attitude you have in abundance. It will be this and the decent work ethic taught to you by Mum and Dad (mixed with some of Nan’s “magic Irish luck” – she said you can achieve anything and she’s not wrong) that will get you started and look after you. But you will still need a bit of a break and ironically that will come from football – you will soon get spotted by the Chairman of Saltdean United FC who will offeryou a work experience opportunity if you go and play football for him. It turns out that he is Rod Flavell, founder of a start-up called FDM, a very small IT recruitment consultancy who will go on to be extremely successful both locally and internationally.
You won’t believe this now but you really do have a flair for recruitment and while at FDM you work your way up from office junior to being part responsible for setting up a new Belgian office in Brussels. This and then another job in recruitment releases your entrepreneurial spirit and shortly afterwards you take one of the biggest risks in your life. You get married (no, that isn’t the risk, that was the best choice you ever made!), you buy your first house and in the same year, you launch ICP Search, your own executive search businessspecialising in the semiconductor and electronics industries. I know, semiconductors, what are they all about? It will take you a long time to understand the industry but when you eventually do your life really does get interesting. The huge success of ICP gives you a launch pad for another business venture, LoveLocalJobs.com, an award winning jobs board which promotes local employment opportunities while also inspiring younger generations like you into the world of work. The internet doesn’texist for you yet, but believe me, it‘s huge and makes the whole world go round these days!
You’re going to have to be insanely brave- some might say stupid – and you’ll ride your luck sometimes, but make sure you do, nothing will happen if you don’t take those leaps into the unknown. The rewards are amazing and you will not only find yourself responsible for two award winning recruitment businesses, an amazing team of employees and a loyal bunch of friends, but you will be supported and loved by the most amazing and beautiful family in the world.
Although signing a contract with a top football club might appear to be the pinnacle of success to 16-year-old Gary, success, love and success will come by the bucket load if you stay true to yourself and you earn it.
Everything you’re going through now is making you stronger so go on, believe in yourself, follow your dreams, never give up and keep smiling – everything really is going to be alright.