When I graduated I relocated my whole life and belongings to London in search of greener pastures. I had this bizarre belief that everything I had ever dreamed of lay in the city, I mean I had lived in a small town my whole life and I thought everything exciting happened outside of the fields and farms that surrounded my home.
Is it just me or is this starting to sound like some kind of country song?
So anyway, after I graduated, I made the big move and I thought everything was going to suddenly start, like my life had been on pause until then and the moment I stepped into London I would suddenly blossom and become this business savvy person walking with a headset and in trainers with my business suit.
Just for anyone who doesn’t know, the big move to London isn’t as grand as you imagine, there’s no welcome wagon greeting you as you go into the city, no one hands you a care package with a headset and business suit as if they’ve been waiting for you, in fact you’ll be lucky to even get a smile from someone.
That didn’t faze me though. I knew what I had come here to do, or at least I thought I did.
I graduated with a degree in Journalism and Media, I thought it was something I wanted to do. You know like when you’re in college and they tell you to not worry so much about your future and just do your courses based on what you like to do. So I was really into social media, and creative things and my GCSE and A Levels reflect that, so when it came to choosing what to do at University I found a lot of other things that started to interest me that I didn’t necessarily enjoy when I was younger was no longer something I could do at University. That’s where my first mistake was. They told me to do what I liked to do but the thing is the things I liked to do at 14 weren’t the same as what I liked to do at 18.
I figured Journalism and Media was still something worthwhile and so I applied and got into University. In hindsight I think I chose that course more because I wanted to go to University and impulsively chose that path for myself rather than actually sitting down and thinking about it.
So towards the second year I went to a life-changing lecture that opened my eyes to the realization that Journalism was not the road I actually wanted to go down. But I was so close to finishing that I didn’t have the heart to quit.
In my third year I decided to take a diploma in health and education because I figured I might do a nursing degree when I finished my current one.
I did it I completed it. I applied for Universities, I didn’t get into the one I wanted, and I was devastated.
Then I found myself unemployed. My boyfriend convinced me it was the right thing to do, to take my time and just apply for jobs that interested me. Since I was 14 I had not been unemployed. I’d been working sometimes 2 or 3 jobs to make money and support myself somehow. Now I was living in someone else’s’ house, relying on my boyfriend to support both of us and it was such an uncomfortable situation to be in.
I hated my life day in and day out, soon 4 months passed and I was still not finding a job. I had applied to basically 60 jobs a day with not even as much as a call back for anything.
I was just so sad and defeated, never had I struggled to find a job and I thought having a degree counted for something. Turns out the competition is fierce.
By the time I found a job that was willing to take me on I was so desperate I accepted everything and anything they asked of me. Looking back on it now, I was so inexperienced that I had lost my own value and allowed an organization to take advantage of me.
You see never do they teach you how to know and keep your value, not at school or university. I feel like there should have been a lecture on this. I didn’t know what I was worth and a business saw that, cheap work for a lot of stress, but I had nothing to compare it to.
I didn’t know that your boss shouldn’t call you at 11:30pm or that you shouldn’t be scheduling in meetings during the weekend (especially if you continually do this). I didn’t know that I was allowed to claim back on expenses that I had forked out for on behalf of the business and I didn’t know that my work phone that I was paying for should have been paid by work.
I had no one to tell me any of this so I accepted it as what it was, the business world. It made me extremely unhappy and stressed but I endured it. I was earning money again and it was the best thing ever.
Despite continuous rejections for a pay rise or title change over my time there, I eventually got a promotion. I was only being paid a fraction more than before and still a lot less than the average salary in London for my position. Again they would not give me the proper title for my position but still I took it all on the chin and continued to smile for my superiors.
Then the company took on an individual who I believe will be the demise of the business. His intolerance for anything he couldn’t understand or disliked made it difficult to function properly. He made me time at the office worse than before except this time I had someone being paid 3 times my salary doing less than half what I was doing breathing down my neck and watching my every move.
I don’t want to sound dramatic but it made me so anxious that I lost every confidence in myself. I would get home late after a long commute and would cry myself to sleep. I fought constantly with my boyfriend to the point where on numerous occasions we both just wanted to end our relationship. I had no time for friends, family or fun. I would get up go to work, get home go to sleep. On weekends my life was spent sorting through paperwork or planning for my upcoming week. My sleep was filled with nightmares of work and what could go wrong. I was so unhappy.
The thing is I’ve always been a hard worker, I’ve always loved working, I love earning money, I love succeeding, I wouldn’t have minded being so overworked if I actually enjoyed what I did, but when my best friend left the organization I had no one I could bounce off of anymore. There was no one who would share the bad days and celebrate the good days. I was so isolated in my job that I was drowning in misery and lack of fulfillment.
Talking to other people I discovered that I was probably better off without this job, I had predicated that it only had at least 1 more year anyway and it would be dissolved because of the direction that new employee was taking.
My partner and I talked about it for several months, we had money in the savings and I could sign up to some copywriting jobs online whilst I took my time finding the ‘right’ job. I even worked as a volunteer for another start-up truly believing I was giving it my all.
I got a temporary job and I was so excited, again they offered me a low salary telling me that when I became a permanent team member I would be offered the full salary. I accepted this and from day one it was a living nightmare.
Imagine working in an office where no one speaks to each other. Where because you’re a temp no one even bothers to learn your name. Where you’re not introduced to anyone or shown around the office, when someone asks you to go get something from this room you end up getting lost because you were never shown the room and when you asked someone where the said room was they just turned around and walked away from you.
Maybe I’m just a ridiculously emotional person but I am the kind of person who enjoys light chatter in between busy workdays. I like to know that when I walk into the staff room to make coffee, at least one person will look up from their phone and say hello or even just smile, maybe acknowledge my presence in some way rather than completely act like everyone else doesn’t exist.
Again I didn’t really know my value so I never really fought for my rights. I took another position that didn’t really do anything for me. It didn’t excite or interest me. I was desperate for money, I needed to pay the bills, my partner was telling me he was going to get a second job to support us and the thought of that upset me more because he couldn’t have 2 jobs if I didn’t even have one.
So despite my grievances about my temporary job, I went into work early every day, was always the last one out every night, I would smile and greet everyone and tell my manager how happy I was in my position and how thankful I was for the opportunity. I was a model employee who would pass up having lunch in order to get my work finished, who would be first to volunteer for any odd jobs that needed doing, who always made sure I completed my work before going home at night even if it meant I ran the risk of missing my final bus.
So imagine my surprise when I was let go with only one day’s notice.
Despite my giving my all to a job that I never even wanted, I was let go as if I didn’t matter. It’s just business right? I mean that’s how the world works.
Panic set in and it still does, how am I going to pay my bills, how will I help my partner, how will I help my family?
The thing is, I’ve been through this twice now in the space of 2 years. I forced myself into a job that ultimately put me in a worse position. I tested my endurance and capabilities as an individual and whilst I never burnt out or was harmed physically, I stopped listening to what my heart was telling me.
So this time around in unemployment I’m taking my job hunt a lot more seriously. I’ve given myself the time to think about what kind of person I want to be, what job I want to go into.
I know I don’t want to job hop, I want a career. I want a career I can live and breathe and be proud of what I do. I want to be treated fairly and to be recognized for the good that I do. I want a job that will give as much as it takes and if I work hard and achieve above and beyond expectation I would like a thank you.
I also realized how happy writing makes me. I may not be perfect but I enjoy it, it’s such a wonderful outlet for me to be able to share things that I may not be able to express with someone who is in front of me. I get to say what’s on my mind and in my heart. I can now explore the avenues that my blog can take me on, I have time to write that book I’ve been planning for so many years, hell it’s been 10 years and my characters are waiting to be released.
I don’t want to waste a precious moment of this ‘funemployment’ wallowing in self-pity and crying about the trials and tribulations I’ve been through the last 2 years. I don’t want to carry on being victimized when the truth is those previous employers have probably forgotten my name already. I want to leave a legacy someday; I don’t want to just disappear without having left my mark on this earth in some way.
I guess you could say I’m in transition right now, career wise anyway. I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going to be happy, even so, I don’t want to jump up at the first job that calls for me, I want to take my time in applying for jobs that I will actually enjoy. I will not be pressured by recruiters or anyone who thinks ‘I’d be really good at this job’ I won’t be influenced by a salary or a title. I’ve made that mistake before; I will focus on the long term rather than the short term.
Hopefully one day I’ll be able to find my purpose, I’ll find the job that I will see out the rest of my years on, I can’t wait for that opportunity to be able to showcase my talent, loyalty and work ethic. I can’t wait to meet my new colleagues and office and to be able to join my friends at the pub on Fridays and also complain about my drag of a boss but the hilarious anecdote about a meeting.
For the mean time, I will take these obstacles in my stride, I will continue to be grateful for the people in my life and the opportunity I have to concentrate on my passion. I will accept this moment in time as a temporary pause, or transition into the rest of my life.
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday but most importantly, you proud every day!
Peace and Love