Like Lucy, I started as part of the 2010 year intake with the exception that I started in January 2011 rather than September 2010. The late start varies in offices nationally as Grant Thornton staggers its graduate and school leaver intake. The extra time after University helped me to see the world and get the whole ‘gap year’ idea out of my head before diving into my career head first.
Whilst I went to Loughborough University, I’m a Portsmouth boy at heart so the move over to Southampton wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but now that I’m into my second year here, I feel well and truly at home in this city.
So London vs regional, that’s the point we’re getting onto here. Maybe I’ll start with this; in my opinion London is one of the best cities in the world. I love it. It’s vibrant, exciting, busy, scarily expensive, diverse and has so much to offer. I love the excitement I get whenever I get to see the beautiful architecture and fascinating history. It’s magical.
I ask myself this: if I were to be there everyday would I lose my love for the city’s magic? Would the more mundane Londoner things start to pull me down? Like getting wedged on the underground rush, struggling for a parking space, paying over the odds for a pint or living out of a one bedroom houseshare. These issues seem to be nonchalantly accepted by Londoners, but I personally think I’d struggle.
My setup in Southampton is quite different. On my admittedly non-London wage I am able to live in a nice apartment in a nice area of the city, only 20 minutes from the centre. I can see the Solent from my window, I have a secure parking space and some great B-roads not too far away. I can walk to work (through several parks) where I am familiar with everyone in my office and can be home by 5:30pm. These luxuries are dear to me and I know a move to London would generate a great deal of personal sacrifice.
I accept that Southampton doesn’t have a giant ferris wheel, nor does the Queen live here, but this city, along with so many other fantastic British cities, each offer something different in their own way. The more I visit different areas of this country, the more I realise that Britain has a lot to offer outside its capital, and the less I want to see the tube everyday.
It’s nice to know I’m only an hour away from London and, who knows, maybe in a couple of years time I’ll fancy doing a secondment to one of the Grant Thornton offices. For now though, I’m happy where I am and no giant gherkin can tempt me otherwise.