My Biggest Mistake: Mischa Alexander - Success made me slow to change
Wednesday 03 November 1999
MY BIGGEST mistake was letting success in one field make me reluctant for so long to take on a new challenge. I had stumbled into estate agency by accident; I'd opted out of university and was looking for work in the States. I was offered a job with an English estate agent in Florida. Being US-based was the attraction.
Then Freddie Laker went bust and the pound collapsed and the UK residential market in Florida disappeared overnight. The firm said, why not swap Miami deco for Perivale deco and join our commercial division, selling factories and warehouses?
In the next few years, I was very successful. It was essentially commission- driven and I was good at the upfront marketing side of it. The bit I didn't like was trudging round these industrial sites and doing cold- calling - the executional side. Then I was offered a serious amount of equity in the firm. But I was suffering from inertia. If you have put time into something and feel you've started to get a return and a professional respect, you have to really push yourself to risk it all. Ultimately, you have to enjoy what you are doing, and when you start to question and worry about it, that's not healthy. You have to be honest with yourself.
My wife was working for a production company, and I became interested in working for an advertising agency because I was good at marketing and it sounded fun. When I went to see someone at an agency they told me I was unemployable at 24, and I was earning too much money, though I was prepared to take whatever salary was on offer.
I thought, this is ridiculous. The challenge lay in the fact that someone told me I couldn't do it. I decided if I was going to switch careers, I would be employed by the best agency. So I badgered Saatchi's for six months, until they gave me a job. They employed me as an account executive for Wimpey Homes because I had experience in that market.
When I left the estate agency, I felt a different person. We spend so much time working, it's important to pour your energies into something which is more than just fulfilling financially.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Thailand beach murders: Hannah Witheridge 'was raped by two men before being killed'
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...