Introducing... This North Works

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Hooray, the time has finally come to tell you all what I've been secretly working on this summer! A few of you might have already guessed from my little teasers on Instagram, but today I've launched a new project called This North Works. I first had the idea for This North Works back in April. Sam and I were sat in the beer garden of the pub near our house (a place where we've spent many an evening this summer!) and I was moaning about something that had been niggling at me for a little while. As you might know if you've followed this blog for a while, I'm passionate about having a successful career, and I'm very ambitious and driven. And yet, whenever people learn this about me, the question is always the same - "how come you haven't moved to London yet?".

Okay, sometimes it's worded a little differently than that, but the intonation is always the same - surely if I was so passionate about my career, I'd have moved to the capital by now? It's something that I've been asked by everyone from strangers to friends, and every single one of my managers over my 8 year career has told me that I'd be more successful if I moved to London.

I know my experiences are not unique, and a lot of you might be wondering why the question has always riled me so much. Well, in short, I love living up north. It's my home. I grew up here, in a small town nestled in between Manchester and Liverpool, and for the past 10 years, I've been busy creating a new home for myself here in Leeds.

I love everything about living and working up north. I love how friendly the people are and how much of a community spirit there is. I love that it's affordable up here, and that we've been able to buy our own home and still have a very high quality of life. I love that my family are all less than 70 miles away, and that I can get to other ace northern cities like Manchester or Sheffield in less than an hour. I love that we're surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in the world, and I love the warmth and humour that is synonymous with this part of the world.

And on top of all that, I love that I've been able to build a great career right here, without having to sacrifice any of those things that mean so much to me. The majority of people might still believe that you have to move south to cash in on the exciting opportunities, but I know that that isn't true. I've worked for huge, global companies like Disney and Hallmark, and tiny tech start ups, all while living here in Leeds. And I know so many people who are doing even more exciting and interesting things careers wise here in the north.

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So, let's go back to that evening back in April. I was sat at a picnic bench, looking out as the sun set over the canal and feeling frustrated that the stigma of "it's grim up north" still exists, particularly where work and careers are concerned. I was whinging to my ever patient husband when the idea struck me - maybe what we needed was for someone to change the conversation and showcase just what is possible here in the north.

As soon as the idea was lodged in my brain, I couldn't shake it. I've spent the whole of the summer discussing it with friends, brainstorming even more ideas, and working hard behind the scenes to bring it to fruition. And now, here I am today, finally sharing it with you all! So what exactly is This North Works, I can hear you all asking?

In summary, it's an inspiring and informative hub for anyone who wants to build an exciting career up north. There's a website which you can find here, which will be jam packed full of content and resources to help you build your career, as well as guides and blog posts to help you make the most of living and working up north.

There's a podcast, which will be all about celebrating and championing interesting and successful careers in the north. Each week we'll be chatting to a different guest about their career journeys so far and delving into the pros and cons of living and working up north. There will be a new episode every Monday, and the first episode with the lovely Monica Stott actually went live today - just search This North Works in your podcast app to find it (and leave it a rating and review if you're feeling generous! It really does help other people find it).

And hopefully within the next couple of months, there'll be some IRL events too! It feels like all of the cool careers events happen in London, so I'm determined to help change that and get some fun stuff happening here too. If you know of any brands or companies who'd like to be involved, please get in touch!

Phew, that's a lot, isn't it? I didn't expect this to be such a long blog post, but I suppose I'm just really bloody excited to finally be sharing this idea with you all. This is the very start of this project, and I've got so many ideas and thoughts on how it will grow and develop over the next few months, so I hope you'll all stick along for the ride.

I'd love to hear what you all think - please do check out the website and the podcast and leave me a comment or ping me an email. I can't tell you how passionate I am about championing all of the cool stuff going on up here in the north, and I hope you're just as excited about it as I am!