Recruitment | Executive Search

From car guard to digital marketer

Something to think about: next time you give a car guard R5, be aware that your money might go towards someone’s career dream. This is the true story of a young digital marketing professional named Jack.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jack yesterday. Jack was born in Burundi, one of the five poorest countries in the world. The country suffers from warfare, corruption, poor access to education, and the effects of HIV/AIDS.

Sadly, Jack’s family got killed during the war when he was 11. He learned English in Tanzania, and eventually came to Cape Town when he was 23.

He refused to move into a township because of his aversion to drugs, crime and falling in with bad company, so he moved into a small place in Wynberg. Getting accustomed to the “fast life” in South Africa, as he calls it, he began working as a parking attendant. Jack started off earning R1 commission on every R4 parking ticket he sold.

He continuously looked for opportunities to learn and grow. In his spare time learned how to fix computers.

Two years later while he working as a parking attendant at Pick ‘n Pay Rondebosch, Jack looked after Sally’s car. Sally was a UCT student who often parked her car there while she went for her work-outs. Eventually they became friends and Sally took Jack to her church in Wynberg.

Tech-savvy, eager to learn and likeable, he soon started doing all the video productions and presentations for the church. It was here that he discovered his love for media. With funding from the church members, and a lot of dedication and focus from Jack, Jack went to college. He graduated after three years with a degree in software, web and database development. From there his career took off.

Jack now works at a global digital marketing agency, as part of their SEO team. About 80 people are employed in their Cape Town office. Jack also studies part-time through Unisa, reading for his Masters in IT software development, software engineering, and web development. In January he will marry his Rwandan girlfriend of 6 years.

When my colleague, who runs the Initiate International recruitment department in Cape Town, told me about Jack, I knew I had to meet him and share his story.

Towards the end of the interview I asked him why he thinks he has come so far. He told me he has realised that if you have a clear goal, people are willing to help you.

Is that perhaps the difference between most people and Jack? Many people don’t have a clear goal, but he always did. Having a clear goal not only keeps you focused; it shows people around you that you are worth their time and money. Maybe this is something to reflect on and work towards in 2014.

We are happy we were able to get Jack one step closer to his goal, and wish him a successful 2014! If you would like to get in touch with Jack or feel you wish to contribute towards his studies please contact us.

If you are looking for a job in digital marketing in South Africa please feel free to browse our marketing & communications job section.