Cherry Healey

BBC Documentary Maker & TV Presenter

Hi Cherry,

I know it feels terrifying walking into that huge,iconic building but try to be calm. I know you've quit your job and moved home with your parents and embarked on an entirely new career path...but you have faith, hold your course and try to make this work. 

The butterflies in your stomach that feel like they've been swimming in an energy drink bath are there because any big change is scary - but it doesn't mean it's a mistake. Today is going to be wonderful and exciting and difficult. You've gone from having an office job at a marketing company to being a runner in an industry you know very little about. But, from the minute you had that light bulb moment at Eugenie's party, when the kind director answered your endless questions about ever minute detail of his job, you've know it was the path for you. 




How funny that you were so toe-tinglingly excited about discovering your passion that the next morning you started applying for work experience in television. And that within two weeks you had decided to quit your job and take the leap. But wow what a leap. What an amazing thing to feel so passionate about something and to absolutely know, bone deep, that you're going to make it happen. It's not even a question. It's only a matter of how. To go from regular pay in a 'nice, sensible' industry with a clear career path and a pension and health benefits to....well, on paper you'd have to be crazy. 
And that's just what everyone said. They told you how impractical it was to move into such an insecure career. That there were a lot of redundancies being made at the BBC. That being freelance was nerve-wracking. That it was a highly competitive industry. But no matter what was said, you were never deterred, not even for a nano second. 
So here you are, with your official BBC lanyard with your picture on it. It's not just a piece of plastic but a shoe into the career love of your life. On one hand I wish I could tell you that not only will you adore it even more than you think you will, but that your dream of being a director will merge into being a journalist making films about women's lives and you will end up being so immersed into these subjects you'll end up having your first child on camera. But that would be spoiling the fun. Because half the fun is the anticipation - the unknown - this fear you're feeling now is one of life's greatest joys. Making big bold moves, being braver than you think you can be, doing something you're deeply passionate about even when the crowd disagrees - that's kind of what life is about. That's when you see who you are and what you're made of.  
Just breathe. Just follow the receptionists directions, have a little drop of Rescue Remedy and go. And keep breathing. Because this moment is incredibly important - you need to make a brilliant first impression as there are a dozen other runners and not many permanent jobs. People are busy and you have one chance to show them that you've got potential. Be articulate, listen, absorb everything and make yourself indispensable. 
You're about to meet your first TV boss, you'll go into your first live studio (remember to close your mouth while you absorb the pure thrill of being on set) and you'll meet your first team. All those new faces, the office, the new lingo and acronyms, the tasks that you have no idea how to do...the stakes are so high and it's all so new...but it'll all make sense soon. In fact it will start to feel like a second home. 
But even though you'll have your own mug in the coffee room and you'll know the short-cut from the Blue Peter Studio (where you end up getting a job, which is still one of your favourite telly moments) to the canteen, walking through the front doors of the BBC will never stop being completely amazing. 
And ten years on, you still work in television - but there are still moments when you say yes to something you have no idea how to do, and you'll still walk into studios that blow your socks off (like Strictly) and you'll once again need to remember to breathe and once again feel so, so grateful that you felt brave enough to quit your comfy job and follow your passion. 
Love Chesa xx

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