THE JOB CENTRE

large (1)

I know how hard it is to land your dream job straight out of university.

In fact, it’s near on impossible.

I worked bars, retail, and mundane temp jobs after graduating, heck I even proof read market research reports for a living at one stage. I struggled with knowing what I wanted to do, why it was mandatory for people to get up before 7am, why grown ups behaved so bizarrely at office parties and why people insisted on bringing their own mugs into the office. But I also interned at magazines, publishing houses and kept my blog alive.

The working world wasn’t all it had been cracked up to be, but I made it work. With no direction.

All I ever wanted – pre and post graduation – was for someone to write down a list of jobs for me to choose from, let me pick one and then usher me into said industry. But it wasn’t that easy, of course. First of all, I hadn’t considered my future a priority between the hours of Monday Mosaic and Thursday Arena, which meant I had no work experience under my belt. Secondly, I knew I wanted to write and there’s no clear route into that. And thirdly, I had no real guidance or practical advice to follow.

It’s very easy for people to tell you to ‘pursue your dreams!’ and to ‘do something you love!’ but unless that thing is saving lives, putting out fires or sorting out accounts, there no clear cut path for you. You have to forge it yourself. And I ended up doing what many creatives do when they aren’t sure what else to do and led myself down the garden path into teaching. Don’t get me wrong, some days I loved it, but mostly I felt like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Admittedly, I learnt lots, but I could’ve learnt a heck of a lot more completing a writing course or looking into doing an MA.

However.

Learning the hard way not to let yourself get washed away with the tide has led me here. To this campaign. To help others to think about what it is they want to do. And then expose them to one person’s way of getting there. Because they might have some tips for you, they might inspire you, or you might just want an insight into the working world. Or a different industry. Whatever the reason, I hope it’s helpful.

Throughout September, I will be introducing you to lots of women who are doing their thing. And doing it well. Be it journalism, finance, marketing or surveying for a living, I’ve got it covered. These aren’t women who were handed their jobs to them on a silver spoon, but women who actually worked hard to get to where they are today. And I have a lot of time for that.

So listen to them. Ask them questions. Start a conversation. Network, even.

Being an adult isn’t easy, so let’s help each other.

Welcome to The Job Centre. The first post will be up tomorrow.

THE NOD

0fd4939e55d089784ad57f97ed57501b

Charles Bukowski once said that, “the problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

Although I might have tried to say it with a little more tact, I wholeheartedly agree: the more knowledge you have, the more aware you are of what could go wrong. However, what I will say, is that knowledge doesn’t even slightly compare with the value of experience; hence why we go to our elders for advice, rather than those our junior.

Experience allows you to know what to expect of each challenge that is to follow. It gives you the benefit of hindsight and practical sense. You begin to realise that the things you panic about are a rarity, and that when they do go wrong, it’s generally no biggie. It’s how you deal with the problems you face- that’s the real test.

Or is it?

Some people find actually saying YES to things in the first place the hardest thing to do. It can vary from changing their coffee order from a cappuccino to a latte, to a drastic career change. It can be taking on more responsibility at work that scares you, or saying YES to a proposal you’ve been waiting five years for. Sometimes, we fear things because they are the unknown, and others because we hold such high expectations for them. Either way, if you want something (and it doesn’t hurt anybody else), then take the leap.

It’s so easy to let time tick by on the mundane clock. Work, home, eat, sleep. But with that, time slips through your fingers like sand, and before you know it, five years have passed you by on the 7.46 to Waterloo.

At work, people used to ask me why I didn’t sit still. They couldn’t understand why I was always busy in the evenings and why I didn’t want to just sink into my duvet on a weeknight. I could never give them a reason, except for “why not?” and I always felt that that wasn’t enough to justify my hectic lifestyle.

Now, with hindsight, I realised that was the perfect answer. I was curious, never complacent and rarely bored. Nowadays, particularly in this cold, February climate, I love getting snuggled up with Netflix and snacks. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that, but every night? Maybe it has something to do with me being 25 but – seeing as that isn’t even old – I think it’s just because I say no to things more often.

My parents would tell me at this point to shut up. They would say that I’m still always on the move and rarely sit down, but I’ve seen a change in how much I get up to and I need to get my curiosity back.

Going through a break up is prime time for people to say no to things. You feel like you need to spend time alone, but when you challenge yourself to head out with your mates, you know you’ll laugh at least once- and that’s once more than if you sat in bed alone eating too much pizza. Sometimes, when you’re offered an opportunity at work that’s a little out of your comfort zone, you’ll say no for fear of getting it wrong. Did anyone ever shout at you for not knowing your times tables on arrival at nursery? Didn’t think so. Everything is a challenge when it’s new, so embrace it and do your best- that’s all anyone wants. And dating someone new? Totally terrifying. But you aren’t handcuffed to the seat, so make your excuses and leave; this ain’t no fifty shades situation (unless you want it to be).

I want you now to think about all the things you have said YES to in the course of your life – focus only on sober choices please or else it will have been a wasted exercise – and think about how much better you are for seizing all of those opportunities. Some of them might have turned out to be a disaster and others might have been a spectacular success. Either way, you will have learned something.

I used to love exploring the world and now I find it tedious. Even the thought of having to navigate Glastonbury is overshadowing all the fun that I’ll be having at the moment. It’s time to get off my butt and get excited about things again, the way that a child does on Christmas morning. My surroundings haven’t grown tired, they’re still moving and changing all around me, I’m just ignoring them.

So now to top up my Oyster, ask who’s free and say YES to things.

Who needs a holiday?