Amy Cameron on recovering from a potentially fatal career error

The director of operations at the climate change charity 10:10 trained to be a vet, but never really wanted to be one

Amy Cameron
Amy Cameron

I trained as a vet, but never went on to practise after I graduated. When people ask me why I'm not a vet, I say it just wasn't for me. I decided to be a vet when I was about 11. I was a classic childhood nerd, so I did very well at school. The school said: "So do you want to be a doctor, a lawyer or a vet?"

I really liked the fact that it was super-competitive to get in. Everyone said it was really hard, so I thought "I'll show you" and got tunnel vision until I got to university, at which point I realised I'd made a fatal error.

But my degree involved a year-long sandwich course in veterinary conservation - the major issue in that area is climate change, and I realised I wanted to work on this huge social issue.

I spent a year waitressing before I got an internship at 10:10, and I've been here ever since. After six months I went from being an intern to a campaign coordinator, and from there to a campaign manager, then managing across a couple of campaigns. A few weeks ago I took over as director of operations as maternity cover.

I'm hoping this will leave me in a good position to take on another senior leadership role in another small organisation, or take on a less senior role in a larger one - probably still in the third sector.

When work is busy friends say "you shouldn't let them work you so hard" - but I've just never had the sense someone is making me do this. I do it because I care and I can't imagine moving to a job where I didn't get that feeling.

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