Ever wondered how a simple summer job can turn into a captivating career journey? Meet Lawrence, whose career story is a blend of chance, passion, and a bit of tech magic. Back in 2011, a quest for a summer gig landed him in technology consumer retail. After his journey through various tech brands, he settled in with HP and eventually found a home at Blue Square in 2019. We spent some time with Lawrence to hear more about his career journey and his advice for others searching for a career in tech.
I fell into the technology consumer retail space while looking for a summer job during my first year at university back in 2011. I became a Brand Ambassador that summer, which soon became a weekend job when I returned to Uni and I migrated through a few technology brands until I ended up as Brand Ambassador for HP. I’ve always been a big lover of technology and the role as Brand Ambassador for HP helped my passion evolve so much so that once I graduated I stayed in the environment. I first became part of the HP Instant Ink Guru team (part-time), which involved educating customers and store colleagues’ minds on Instant Ink as it launched nationwide. I then moved into full-time field roles as a Print Territory Manager and then PC Territory Manager for the Midlands. I don’t think there are many Currys or John Lewis stores that I haven’t visited in the Midlands!
This was until HP moved over to Blue Square in 2019 and I joined the training team; first as a National Product Trainer which soon progressed into an HP Training Content Developer, which I was in for just over three years until last year. I then had a chance to join the HP Consumer Trade Marketing Team as an Online Marketing Executive where I have further progressed and currently reside as HP Online Marketing Manager.
Since joining Blue Square in 2019, I’ve held three roles that were training, and content-related as part of the HP Training team and then into a role as a part of the HP Consumer Trade Marketing Team.
In my two roles in the training team, I learned how important it is to work as a team to complete the seemingly impossible tasks as teamwork can inspire many ideas and make problem-solving easier, especially when there’s a brief time frame. It also improved my personal confidence to communicate clearly and efficiently to a wide and diverse audience, even when it meant talking to a black screen as no one wanted to be on camera.
Live streaming and virtual training! They’re not just a success story while at Blue Square, but a challenging situation and a moment of personal growth. These two experiences both stem from COVID-19 appearing out of nowhere and disrupting the normal ways of training. We had to adapt from being all about training and attending in-person events, to everything moving online and making sure we could still bring HP knowledge and products to life to store colleagues and HP partners across the UK and Ireland.
At the start it was incredibly challenging as it started from a small Facebook group that posted occasionally to interacting and running multiple social media accounts. At one point we were live streaming four times a week across different platforms and posting multiple times a day, with us dialling in guests nationwide. However, it created many moments of personal growth. Teaching me lots of new skills in a short space of time – content creation, live streaming, streaming setups, fixing technical issues and much more. It was the most memorable experience, from running musical quizzes, gaming online, cooking live, making people’s dreams come true with prizes, talking about a range of topics and many different fancy-dress themes with the team and store colleagues from across the UK. Plus, a special highlight turning my Mum’s living room into a studio so that I could live demo printers and PCs to show store colleagues, HP colleagues and partners how things work and give them the virtual hands-on that was missing during this time. There were lots of laughs, sweat and headaches, but it will remain the most memorable highlight so far of my time at Blue Square.
This is a terrible question for me as I am not the best at envisioning my future in general and I avoid this question in my reviews. Even though the phrase ‘the world is my oyster’ is my usual answer, I think my goal is to start envisioning and planning those future steps in my career. There are a lot of avenues and paths I can take with Blue Square, so I need to pick one and set that as my aspiration.
My tips for progressing in your career is to have a strong work ethic, as working hard will show your manager that you want to succeed and what you can do to impress them. Be honest and truthful, don’t shy away from telling your team and management if you do not think something will work or don’t agree but you must also make suggestions to improve it or have a different idea. Be ready to step outside your comfort zone. This is important as without pushing your boundaries and therefore learning in the progress, you will not have the knowledge to move upwards in your career.
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