Sarah Bentley, international channel marketing manager at BlackSpider Technologies, tells CRN about getting paid £3 an hour, how she got into IT and why London’s the place for her
CRN: Describe your job.
I’m responsible for BlackSpider Technologies’ channel strategy, marketing and operations. I love the diversity of my role and I work with some of the best people in our industry.
What was your first job?
I was a sales assistant at The Body Shop and I constantly smelt of dewberries.
How much did it pay and was that fair?
It paid about £3 an hour so no, that wasn’t fair.
Why did you leave?
Because I knew I was destined for bigger things.
Have you ever been sacked?
When I was at school, I worked in the kitchen of a pub. I was sacked from the pub once because I didn’t shut the door on the dishwasher properly and it flooded the bar, but that was a very long time ago.
How did you get into IT?
I was fed up with working in a pub earning very little money so in the summer break before university I applied for a summer job position as a filing clerk for an IT company. After a couple of weeks they offered me a permanent position as an administrator and I took it.
Are there any companies you wouldn’t work for?
I wouldn’t work for large corporates that buy companies for the sake of buying companies. In my experience, they lose their focus, their objective, and nine times out of 10, the plot.
What would you have done if you hadn’t gone into IT?
I would have got into film and TV production. I could definitely see myself being a “media luvvey”.
What’s the secret of a successful career?
Thinking above and beyond the call of duty, believing in yourself and having the confidence to go for it. It’s also important to choose your company carefully.
‘Golf is a good walk spoiled.’ Do you agree?
I do agree. I find the whole sport a little dull – I’d have more fun driving the buggies around all day.
Should the euro be abolished?
No, I don’t think it should be abolished, but I am against us losing the pound. It’s a major strength for us and I don’t think it would be good for our economy if it was abolished.
Is distribution doomed?
I think we are going to see less and less “off the shelf” products as time goes on and unless distributors recognise that then they could be heading for trouble.
What’s a better status symbol: a car or a boat?
A boat. Anyone can get a car on credit but a boat is more unique. Plus they are harder to crash.
Do you prefer beer, wine or spirits?
I prefer champagne and you can’t beat a good Bellini.
What factors do you think gave you the success you have had?
Having confidence within myself and standing up for what I believe in at work. Sometimes taking measured risks and going for it.
Which is your favourite city?
I’ve been to many different cities but the best by far is London. It’s unique, diverse and great fun.
Do you prefer cricket, football or rugby?
Football. I don’t understand cricket and rugby looks way too painful.
Is the IT industry ageist?
Yes, I think it is, which is really unfortunate. I feel for people who are made redundant and can’t get other jobs because they are on the wrong side of 50.
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