Isn’t it cute how my last post was about the trials and tribulations of dating through technology? How I bloody wish that my biggest conundrum now was figuring out whether the half naked bed selfie featuring the dog snap chat filter is ironic or the guy is actually that lame. I believe in most cases, the latter is true.
I currently find myself in the hideously uncertain limbo between finishing (and passing…yayyyy!) my Masters degree and securing a full time job. It kinda sucks actually.
I find myself increasingly sharing memes laced with self-deprecating humour high lighting the fact that, at 27, friends around me have bought property, are progressing in their careers, are engaged/married, have kids or shortly expect to… The list of these things only grows as I get older and my frustration at ‘failing’ to check off any one of these intensifies. While in the social media world and in WhatsApp group chats, we can joke about it: when it comes down to it, I’m not really laughing.
Let’s continue with brutal honesty here and I’ll admit that before now I did not feel ready to commit myself to any one job, particularly in the UK. Part of the reason is because I didn’t want to end up working somewhere that filled me with dread each and every Sunday night or wake up each morning to give myself a pep talk and motivate myself to make it to the weekend at which point, a vat of Pinot Grigio would await me. I want a job that I am genuinely passionate about. I realise all of that sounds terribly naïve and I can just hear my Dad’s voice saying ‘Welcome to the real world Steph’ but I’ve had a job like that before so I’m going to keep this ambitious goal, however idealistic, in mind. Another motivation behind my thought process is that for the longest time, I had no idea what I wanted to do other than truly experience life. I wanted to travel, to meet people, to understand the world around me. ( Oh dear, all sounds a bit ‘on my Gap Year dahling’ doesn’t it? Please read my post titled ‘My Journey’ for the whole story) It is only through doing so, I’ve been able to pin point the field I ultimately want to work in: Journalism. This assuredness is what causes me to hesitate in my applications for completely unrelated jobs just to have a job. However, that is also what keeps me in this state of suspended adulthood: I can’t make any long term financial plans and I often work for free just to build my experience and get my name out there.
Bottom line though: we need money to live. At the moment I work in a supermarket part time and don’t underestimate the amount you can learn about people by working in one. Those customers who think they are too important to take even one ear phone out or make any eye contact while you serve them, they exist in droves. Thankfully, the ones who take a sincere interest in you, your recent bout of the sniffles & exam results, significantly outnumber the former. I’ve also managed to get a temporary part time job working in TV which places my foot at least on the welcome mat in front of the industry door.
But, I promised some specific lessons and just like McDonald’s here in Edinburgh, I will deliver.
- Get used to rejection: If you really want a job, then understand that many other people will most likely want it too. Particularly at the beginning of any career, you will be up against people with more experience, skills or maybe even a relative working for the company already. Take it gracefully, ask for feedback & plan out what you need to do before the next application or interview.
- Stay on top of life admin so that you can focus on the things you really want to give attention to: bills, dentist appointments, paying your flat mate back the same night she got the Chinese for you guys, not two weeks later when you’re skint and all that delicious MSG has completely left your system.
- Take care of yourself & understand what you need to do to help you relax – I’m personally a big advocate of rejecting your phone for a bit, lighting a candle and reading a book. It’s sickeningly clichéd but if it works for you, do it. If we are bringing positive mental health into the equation (and we damn well should) then exercise is a biggie for maintaining mine. The difference between how I feel when I’m regularly working out and not, is crazy. I won’t patronise you by listing all the proven benefits of exercise but just take it from a girl who – during long periods of inactivity, cries A LOT/worries/can’t see the tunnel, let alone the light at the end of it- and just run Forest, run. (other exercises are available)
- Surround yourself with people who bring positivity to your life – Since passing the quarter century mark in my life, I have learned that some people, are just shite. I can’t really phrase it any better than that. They might not mean to be, they are probably not like this with everyone, it just means that you are not one of the people who matters to them. Accept it, move on and invest your energy into the people who put words into actions and demonstrate that your friendship is based on more than a social media association and shared peer group.
- Create your own opportunities- Never grow complacent that you have done all you can to achieve your goal. If you’re not there yet, then it’s on you to keep thinking, creating and building yourself towards being the person who deserves to have their dream realised.
I’ll end with the thing I’ve already admitted I’m guilty of: Comparing yourself to others. It emits a big fat zero on the productivity scale. Do I want to own a house, fall in love, have babies and put an end to my Dad’s worrying about me? (though he says that’s an eternal parent thing) Of course I do. But right now, my focus is on taking the next step in my journalism career, accepting that working to survive is just part of reality, and ultimately proving to myself and a potential employer that this girl means business.
As ‘Lessons’ go, I’d say those are some pretty invaluable ones.