Time in the mountains – James Long

James Long

28 Jul Time in the mountains – James Long

Course studied: Product Design BSc
Year of graduation: 2016


 

Since leaving Brunel, I have been…
Working and travelling.

When I left Brunel…
I must confess that finishing uni was a huge relief!

I worked very hard throughout my time at Brunel so I was ready for the big wide world. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I wasn’t confident that I could follow a career straight into design. I worked as a graphic designer for a few months after graduating before heading to the Alps to complete a ski season as a chalet host. This was where I met Mark Buchanan, Director of Extreme Low Energy (ELE), who is now my boss.

At the moment…
I am the sole product designer at a technology start up called Extreme Low Energy (ELE), based near Liverpool. We specialise in the supply of power within highly efficient DC infrastructures, helping our clients save up to 80% on their energy bills. The business was built in the IT business but we are expanding into modular housing projects and the domestic market. But what do I do? A bit of everything to be honest! Within a small business, our priorities are constantly changing but that makes the job diverse and exciting. I’m involved in all areas of the business from R&D to markets and business development – I’ve only been here 3 weeks so time will tell.

How my career goals have changed since graduating…
I’ve never had specific career goals, I’ve just wanted to be part of a team who are striving to design things that address the bigger problems faced by society. I’m very lucky to be doing this at ELE, helping to combat domestic energy usage to protect consumers pockets and the wider environment.

How I have developed professionally…
Difficult to say, I’ve only been working full time for the past month so I’ll have to get back to you on that one!

How I have developed personally…
My time in the mountains gave me an opportunity to reflect on my experiences at university, but also time to figure out my career motivations. I better understand how I make decisions and have begun to follow what I call a ‘what if’ philosophy… Hear me out!

I had always wanted to do a ski season and regardless of what I did, there was always this ‘what if I did a season?’ voice in the back of my head. So I did one and now I know! It lead to what I’m doing today but before taking the job I had the choice between ELE and Dyson. With Dyson, the path was clear. I would go there and complete projects for a few years, gain some experience and then probably move on. But with ELE – such a young, fresh company – I had no idea what I would be doing. This was extremely exciting so had to find out, and so far so good!

My advice to recent graduates/students graduating soon…
Do something you believe in. It will undoubtedly be harder than the alternative but infinitely more rewarding. Don’t rush into the rat race. You’re often pressurized to get a job as soon as you graduate but, if it’s possible, there’s no harm in taking the time to contemplate what you’ve just achieved.