18 life lessons from our careers to date

By Danielle Scheepers

Posted on 3rd July 2019

Yellow Door is fast approaching its 5th birthday, creating a unique opportunity for reflection, both for us as a company but also as individuals. We thought it might be fun to peel back the layers a bit and take a look at how far we’ve come as people in our careers and what makes us the team we are today -  the good, the bad and the ugly – we hope you enjoy it!

Emma – New business director

Em grew up in Zimbabwe, and reflects Zim culture in everything: she’s humble and hard working, and always optimistic! She had jobs as a babysitter, waitress, chalet manager, freelancer and event set up a backpackers during the 2010 FIFA World Cup! But the first one takes the cake! ‘My very first job was waitressing during Zim’s hyperinflation days and prices would change every single day. People would pay with different currencies and I would have to work out the maths in my head, often by torchlight because of the power cuts!’

Here are a few invaluable lessons she’s learnt through these and other work experiences:

  • Be agile, always
  • Single task
  • Do what you can as efficiently as you can, even if no one else delivers on their end
  • No matter how senior you get, there is always admin to be done!

Dominique – Managing director

The other half of the dynamic lady duo that founded Yellow Door, she has her eye on everything in the office and guides the team. Dom’s most interesting work stint pre-YD was working as a PA for a couple who ran a theatre production company.

‘It was stressful, I did all the marketing, advertising and bookings, all on a shoestring budget. At one point they had a baby, and I had to look after him while doing everything else!’ Thankfully, later on she began working in freelance marketing and eventually social media after recognising it as a useful tool for businesses.

Through her transition from being a freelancer to a business owner, she was involved in design, project management, post scheduling and writing – all of which lead her to have the skills needed to understand everyone’s roles in a team.

Her biggest lessons?

  • Time management.
  • Learn about your skill set through strengths finder tests – it helped her find her niche.

Kirsten – Project manager

Hearing about Kirst’s past job experience is a small window into an interesting, driven mind. She has worked in a wine tasting room, as a maths tutor and embarked on a work exchange opportunity as a digital marketer in Bali (where she slept on a mattress in the office in exchange for the work done!)

‘The most important lesson I’ve learned is that the only person in charge of your career is you. If you want to develop, you have to ask for and take opportunities. You have to trust that people want you and your skills.’

Kirst’s nuggets?

  • Don’t look to other people for assurance, know that you’re a professional and believe in yourself.
  • Regardless of what job you’re in, you are always in the business of people.

Jonny – Intern

The youngest member of the Yellow Door crew is ambitious, bright eyed and quick to get the job done. ‘I think my first ever experience working was as a waiter for school functions. The hours were crazy, it was from morning until midnight for no pay.’

Realising that being a waiter probably wasn’t his calling, Jonny studied a Bachelor of Arts in Interaction Design. He then did web development, illustration and design at Studio 6 in Hout Bay and later had a two week internship at King James.

His biggest lessons came from working at Yellow Door:

  • Don’t freak out about time, make sure everything is in order.
  • If you can’t find something out for yourself, ask.

Sarah – Marketing strategist & account manager

‘My very first job was straight out of Rhodes, it was for an internal communications company, and one of my first clients was the Rainbow Chicken Group.’ Sah is a master communicator, bundle of energy and a real people person.

‘I love client facing roles because I am genuinely interested in people and their stories. I’m the kind of person that wants to see the photos of their kids!’

Before taking up a role in media, she had a season working on the ski slopes as part of a team that ran a luxury chalet where she single handedly had to make breakfast for 35 people. Basically now she can tackle anything!

Biggest lessons learned:

  • A new skill is never wasted.
  • Always treat others as you want to be treated.

Anthony – Senior designer

We have yet to find anyone more meticulous and disciplined than our in-house designer. He often jokingly attributes this to his ‘army brat’ upbringing, but he also has a natural ability that is uncommon among creatives: focus.

He was 16 when he began work at the pub in the local police sports facility in PE. ‘I also had a three-day stint as a food delivery driver. You basically had to sit in this dingy little waiting room for the call centre. We only made tips and had to cover our own petrol – so I quit.’

He also worked in a DVD store while studying. The hours were long, and it wasn’t the most glamourous job in the world, but at least it paid for the art supplies he needed. A little known fact about Ant is that he knows everything about everything. ‘Being the creepy DVD guy that knew things about people at least helped me develop my memory!’

Ant’s biggest lessons:

  • Know the value of money.
  • Be responsible.

Danielle – Copywriter

My work experience? I started out as a performing artist – which meant doing a hundred other things as well. I have worked as a voice over artist, performed in children’s theatre productions, musical theatre productions, au-paired, ran an online radio show, babysat, freelanced as a writer, taught Afrikaans and even cleaned houses for a little while.

As random as these things seem, they all contributed to a rich, full approach to the working world. I learned many skills and principals that still come in handy.

Here are my biggest lessons:

  • Always work with honesty and integrity.
  • Be confident in yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks.
  • Be humble and teachable – you will be wrong many times, learn from the mistake.

Want to find out more about us? Follow us on Instagram for regular snapshots of life behind the Yellow Door.

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