Seven years. Exactly seven years is the time between being a broke 25-years-old finance student who was painting hotel rooms in central London and now writing this piece and calling myself a Content Creator, Writer, and Marketing specialist.
My name is George
I want to share my story with you. Boring or exciting – it’s the only one I have.
I was born in 1989 in Bulgaria. My grandfather was an accountant and I used to spend long hours with him at his workplace. I always played with pen and paper, pretending to write something very important. I had a small suitcase where I would put those documents and I guess I was fascinated by the corporate world.
During my high school years, I made the mistake of specialising in a discipline that I had no passion for. I studied Forestry for four years and I could hardly wait for it to end. I wanted what I wanted and I used every spare hour I had to read Economics, Business studies or Finance. The more I read, the clearer it became to me that this was going to be my career. And so I made my first move.
As a newly graduated and supposedly mature and responsible young adult, I moved to a new city. A city surrounded by beautiful beaches and full of life. I enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and also managed to find a job in my chosen field. I became a Consumer Credit Consultant in one of the biggest banks in Bulgaria. My future looked bright.
Five years down the line… Here comes trouble
It’s 9th October 2014, the morning after my 25th birthday. I have no savings, a car loan instalment due to be paid that day, two credit cards close to their limit and no money.
Something had to change. I admit I wasn’t the best at managing my money but I wasn’t irresponsible either. At that point, I was offered a good promotion at work, but I knew that it wouldn’t make a big difference financially. The economy was bad, everything was more expensive and the wages weren’t keeping up.
That same night I was browsing the internet and I saw an advertisement for a local agency, helping people to apply for higher education in the UK with a student loan. It was too good to be true, so the following day I arranged a meeting with them. They explained the procedure and I made my decision there and then to go for it.
Come to the UK -> Get a degree -> Find a job. Simple as that… not quite. I didn’t speak English.
I had to prepare my application before Christmas and then the latest date for the English exam was in March 2015. I had only 5 months to study a new language, prepare and take the exam.
This was one of those moments when you know you will regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t do your best. I called my parents and explained my plan. Everyone was on board and supported me every way they could. We only had money to cover about 70% of the tuition and so I had to self-teach for the rest.
Fast forward to March, my teacher started preparing me for the idea of not passing the exam, but this would mean no UK, no degree, and back to square one. I couldn’t let that happen.
During those months I learnt one of the most valuable lessons. If your mindset is entirely focussed and you see nothing else but your goal, you’re destined to achieve it.
I passed the exam… UK here I come.
I bought the cheapest ticket to London and on 10 July 2015, I landed at Luton Airport. As I was trying to secure accommodation before departure, I connected with a good friend of mine who was working in London at the time. The agreement was to stay at their house until I found a job. The next 20 days I spent sleeping on the floor in the attic room of my friend’s house.
Looking for a job in either London or Birmingham (which was the better option as I was to start my academic year at Coventry University in October), I had to travel for some job interviews. At some point I found myself sleeping on the second level of a bunk bed in a hostel with around ten more people in the room, hugging my suitcase.
It was a rough beginning but in the end, I got a phone call with an offer to start as a painter back in London and I took the job. Because of the great people I met in this London house, some luck and relentless perseverance I managed to find a job just before I ran out of money.
The rest is history.
I’ve met some amazing people here in the UK, including my fiancée. I graduated with a Finance and Investment degree and here I am – a part of the Capital Family, writing this post.
When I go for a holiday back in my country some of my friends call me lucky… and I agree. One, however, cannot get lucky before he commits to making it happen. What stays behind the curtains are all sleepless nights of preparation, all tables waited, and all Christmases, New Years and Birthdays missed. I am lucky.