Levi’s Blog – “If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going”

Now I would personally say that I’ve been accounting since 8 years old: if you can count accounting as a mini toy ATM in my room, and the odd bit of counting all the pennies in my Mum’s purse.

Fast forward 6 years to the age of 14, it’s 2010.  For me the sun is shining, lunch box in my bag, Blackberry in my pocket, walking to school. Meeting friends along the way, chatting about events the day before. I get to school – I’m late but I assure my teachers I’m always worth the wait. With a look of dread and despair, my teacher says ‘Levi Williams, report card please’ as I walk up to the front of the class, biting my tongue preparing for the screams that are waiting to leave Sir’s mouth.

Now face to face with Sir, head in hands, shaking his head with despair ‘another disappointing week Levi’. My argument, as normal, was ‘you’re not my parents’.

First Period

*Ding ding* the bell for first period. Slow stroll to my first lesson, grabbing a friend from each corridor I make my way to Science. Just before I slip through the door a voice screams ‘LEVI WILLIAMS MY OFFICE NOW’. Oh sh*t, its Miss Haycock, my Head of Year. Pacing behind her all I can think of is, ‘what have I done now?’ Did she find out about the forged note to get me out of P.E.? Or worse, did she find my stash of cigarettes hidden in my locker?

We reach her office which she shares with the Head of the Drama department. I sit down waiting patiently while Miss H scrambles around looking for whatever it is she has to throw at me today. The Drama teacher turns to me and says ‘you again’.  I turn back and say ‘the pleasure is all yours’, she looks at me with a hard glare trying to show me who’s boss.

Leaving her office, I was told I’ll never amount to anything, that I’ll just be a fast food worker or a ‘scrounger’. I then made it my goal to prove that just because I don’t follow all the rules, I can still make something of myself and be the best version of me I can.

Making My Best

Age 16: I’m free! No more school, it’s all over! Hell is over! Well, it was for the first month. Then the panic set in. What am I going to? Apprenticeship? College? Sixth Form? The decisions were endless. I went from someone doing everything for me to doing it all alone. In the space of one month, I felt my whole life had turned on its head.

I decided to first take the apprenticeship route and landed my first role at a leading language school in central Cambridge as an administrator.  They paid me £3.78 per hour which worked out to around £103 pounds a week which, at 16, felt like a million! Everything was good!

I finished my apprenticeship, but the company decided they didn’t want to take me on permanently. After applying for hundreds of jobs and apprenticeships still getting nowhere. I felt right back at square one.

So, I bit the bullet and decided to enrol at college on a Level 3 Business Management course. I instantly felt like I was back at school being told I’ll never pass the course and never amount to anything. But, I continued to prove all of them wrong passing with the highest grade achievable in the course.

Finding My Niche

I had one lecturer at college who never gave up on me, who always put in extra time to get me to where I wanted to be. Enrolling in my second year, one of my lecturers told me I have a knack for finance and accounting. She suggested I enrol on a private AAT course on the side. I spared no time and started working all the hours I could get to be able to fund it, working in many different retail jobs and a lot of bar work. And again, despite everyone saying I couldn’t, I did. I passed with a 94/100 while completing the second year of my business management course with the highest grade possible.

By this time, I was 19. I’d left college and was still working retail.  I had qualifications but no experience, so I was back to the beginning, no prospects, no money, and a mountain of credit card debt from my AAT course. It’s fair to say it wasn’t looking good. What made it even worse was that my employer was making major cutbacks which then resulted in redundancy for me. I was right back where I started, but this time I had a mountain of debt to pay.

I then spent the next 2 weeks in bed just trying to block out all the negative things that were happening to me. Then in November of 2015, I thought ‘enough is enough, the only person who can change my future is me’. I spent the whole day calling different companies, sending my CV via post to companies that were hiring, also registering with all the agencies in Haverhill.

Finally, I registered with 1st Stop Recruitment. They were unlike the other agents. They understood I had more to offer and helped me to gain experience via temporary work. I was placed into many different companies and I was finally getting the experience I needed. With 1st Stop Recruitment, I finally felt like I was finally getting somewhere.

Forward Movement at 1st Stop Recruitment

After a few months of temp work, I popped in with a bottle of wine for the team to say thank you for everything they had done for me. I walked in and my consultant sat me down. She said her director would like to speak to me. Naturally, I was scared, thinking ‘what have I done wrong?’ To my surprise, she turned around and offered me one week of temporary work working in the offices. Naturally, I took the work with no problems.

Four days into my first week at 1st Stop Recruitment I was offered a six-month contract as a resourcer.  I was thrilled. Something was finally going my way. Four months later I was then promoted and started handling payroll and some basic accounts.

Things were great but little did I know they would only get better.  I started taking on more and more of the accounts until I controlled the whole finance side of the business. This then led me to start my own small business called WILLIAMS TRADING alongside my full job at 1st Stop Recruitment. I started to trade stocks and shares online, which also grew into bookkeeping for local small businesses in Haverhill. Today I am 21 and I am the Branch Manager of 1st Stop Recruitment Ltd.

The aim of this blog is to inspire young people to never give up on making a life and career for yourself. You will face many setbacks and hurdles. But it was never how many times I got knocked down, it was the many times I got back up. To all young people out there, don’t give up – achieving your goals is closer than you think.

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