Dhaka to London – a journey of becoming a Merrifield Consultant

A lot of people decide to move to London on a whim. They apply for a student visa or a new job and the next thing they're packing their bags, ready to go.
That's not my story.
My story and journey to London
I knew I wanted to move to London for a long, long time. In October 2017, I started working for a London based recruitment agency in Dhaka and worked there for more than 4 years. Although, I was eating, breathing, and living in Dhaka's air, in my head I was already in London. My Google search history would have given no indication I lived in Dhaka.
In fact my searches regularly included London's iconic postcode areas. Why would I search London postcodes - while I live in Dhaka? The postcode searching was for calculating the journey time of my candidates. I now know from experience how important it is (no more train strikes please).
Enough about my fascination with London while living in Dhaka! But this obsession (or my dream) to move to London was nothing compared to my powerlessness and my anxiety about actually making a move.
Then I met my wife. The most beautiful lady with the most amazing heart (I have to say this or I'll be in trouble!). A person with a dream to move abroad - away from Bangladesh.
My wife always wanted to move abroad for her higher education and to fulfil her own personal dream. But in Bangladeshi society this was not considered right for a woman to go abroad alone. "You can just marry a man living abroad and your dream will be fulfilled." But my wife is a fighter and did not surrender to such old fashioned beliefs. Instead, she went for the other option to marry me (the love of her life!) We started making plans to move abroad and finally "LONDON BABY!!" - So now, that typical Bangladeshi society can breathe peacefully - she moved to London - with her husband (victory sign from both sides!).
It wasn't quite as easy as just saying "LONDON BABY!" sadly. Lots of restless nights, lots of uncertainty, lots of challenging conversations with each other and most importantly - lots of money to be saved...
But finally - we made it! - My dream move to LONDON! - Our dream move to London! At 7:30 AM, on March 11, 2022 - we landed in our dream city, London: a roost for every bird.
Meeting Stuart - Head of Merrifield Consultants
 
Fast forward to March 15th - when I first received an email from Stuart. The next day, we spoke and the day after that. I met Stuart for the interview.
Please bear in mind, I was applying to recruitment jobs blindly:
  1. Because I needed a job as the reality check of London living costs were hitting us fast.
  2. I was getting lots of calls but I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount. However, out of all the calls I had, somehow the name Stuart kept registering in my brain. (I didn't know how he had done it but that's what makes him so good at his job!)
I remember I was wearing by blue blazer at the interview. I think it was the blazer that did it! Jokes apart, it was the best interview I had in Dhaka or London. The whole interview was like a story-telling - me talking about my journey - and Stuart telling me about his plan and his vision for Merrifield Consultants. It was so thrilling for me to see Stuart, a top recruiter in London and someone from another part of the world connecting to my story.
The next morning, I got a call from Stuart, and he offered me the role. Without thinking for a second, I said "YES - I ACCEPT!"
I knew exactly what I wanted my first job experience in London to be like - authentic, not rushed, career-focused and totally life-transforming. Which is what Stuart offered me. And it was a perfect match!
Meeting Merrifield Consultants
 
March 28th was my first day with Merrifield Consultants. I was very nervous. I remember I did not drink a drop of water and I did not go to the washroom. I can not explain how intimidating it was for me - coming from Dhaka, a city on the other part of the world.
Fast forward to now. I feel like I have been here at least for a couple of years. It did not take me long to become a part of the Merrifield family. That is how welcoming and friendly the Merrifield Consultants team are.
I met the evergreen Claire and Vicky - who have been here for almost 20 years! Case closed - this is not just a workplace, it's your other family.
I met Nadine and Ellen - always teasing me in an adoring way!
And of course Stuart. I still can't figure out quite how he does, what he does. He's smooth! Not to mention him forcing me to play table tennis just to humiliate me.
My journey with Merrifield Consultants so far!
In one word - AMAZING - I am living my dream.
If you want to know how an organisation's culture should be and what ED&I means, Merrifield Consultants is an ideal example.
It's a great team, a great culture, lots of opportunity for progression, loads of positives. I could not ask for more.
I had four years of recruitment experience before but at Merrifield Consultants, I have learned everything from scratch. I am working hard for a reason. I am investing all my time for my career progression and to meet my personal goals.
It has been a pleasure for me to be able to work within the not-for-profit sector. Every time I speak with a candidate, it is not just a typical yes/no job related conversation. It's like hearing a meaningful story and listening to the desire of others and helping to improve their lives.
I am loving my time at Merrifield Consultants and I would like to continue to do what I am doing for many more years (Just like my idols Claire and Vicky!)
I always believed that to be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work - that is what I am doing now. Just like most of the candidates I speak to.
Conclusion
Living in London and joining Merrifield Consultants has taught me more than I could ever truly give it credit for. I feel proud of who I am and how it has shaped me. It has taught me the importance of working hard to reach my goals, and the importance of taking time off to relax too.
It certainly was not all roses though - far from it. London showed me just how hard it is to start life somewhere new - especially finding a place to live!
But nothing is impossible when you have found your own support network in London.
My wife and I are now living the dream of our lives - in the dream city, LONDON - a roost for every bird.
By Akash Mahmud

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