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From One Big Smoke to Another

In my last post I talked about quitting my job with no backup, well now I’m happy to announce that I am now officially employed again, woohoo! (The company I’m going to work for is coincidentally named BACKUP, but more about that later).

This new venture will see me move back across the pond. Yep back to the Emerald Isle, a mere 8 months after leaving. It’s all  kind of mad, and I’ll admit I probably do seem like a bit of a Yo-Yo!

I had my reservations at first. I didn’t want to seem like a failure for leaving London. I was worried people may see it as a step backwards.Especially when you come from a small town like I do,  where all people do is talk. You decide to move away and the whole village accuses you of thinking “you’re too good for the place”. But then I decided not to give a fuck what people may or may not think.

It is my life after all, and as cliché as it is, I’ve learned that you have to do what makes YOU happy.

I suppose I wanted to write this blog for two reasons.

  1. To update everyone on what’s been going on in my life (not that many actually care, but nonetheless, here we are 🙂 ).
  2. I want to share my advice and experiences with anyone who may going through a similar situation

So if you’re still interested in my not so fascinating life and words of wisdom, do read on.

life

After leaving my last job in January, I spent the best part of 2 months in London  searching for another. I went through approximately 6 interviews and probably twice as many existential crises. I questioned absolutely everything about myself, from my past decisions to my future career ambitions and then some. I wondered would I ever be good enough to land my “dream job?”. The industry I’ve entered into is tough. It’s fiercely competitive and it’s so hard to make yourself stand out. It’s even harder not to feel dejected when you see that 100+ other people have applied for the same position you have. It’s not the same as other professions. The world is constantly crying out for teachers and nurses, but content creators? Not so much.

With each rejection letter I was finding it harder and harder to believe in myself . Sometimes it feels impossible not to take the “best wishes for your future endeavors” as a personal slap in the face. I was feeling so down in myself when I learned I’d been invited to interview for an Editorial Position for Arcadia. Arcadia are a collective group for a number of fashion brands including Topshop, Topman and Dorothy Perkins. The role was for Dorothy Perkins and involved creating content for their blog, working on social channels, assisting with fashion shoots etc. It sounded right up my street and I was so excited!  I had to do a couple of tasks ahead of the interview, which were time consuming, but enjoyable all the same.

The day came, and I felt it went well.  I was told I’d hear back soon. A week passed without news, and so I decided to follow up. HR assured me they were chasing Dorothy Perkins for an update, and would let me know soon. Another week passed and I still hadn’t heard anything. Eventually I got an email to say it was down to me and another candidate, and that they should be making a decision by the end of that week. Great I thought, not long left to wait! That was until another week passed and then another and I STILL hadn’t heard.I had just about given up, when I got a call apologising for the delay and inviting me to a second interview. By this stage a month had passed since the original interview. I had other prospects in the pipeline, but despite the waiting I was still keen. I did the second interview  last wedensday, and was assured that this time I  would definitely  hear by the end of the week.

In the meantime I found out I’d been offered a job back in Dublin. I was genuinely a bit shocked! I was told they were interviewing with six other candidates, so I’d pretty much written myself off. I now found myself faced with a big decision:

Do I uproot myself and move back to Ireland after less than a year in London?

Or do I hang on and wait to see if I got the job in London?

I got a call last Thursday after my second round interview with Arcadia and Dorothy Perkins. My heart was in my mouth thinking finally this is the answer i’ve been waiting for. Alas no, it was just more time wasting. They just called to inform me I was one of 3 finalists and the decision would be made on Friday.

Friday came and I waited all day with my phone glued to my side, willing it to ring. It was 4.30pm when I got yet another  shoddy email from them saying that seeing as the Editor was out of the office, I would now be informed on Monday. I honestly couldn’t fathom the unprofessional-ism. This was the third or fourth time this had happened, and I was quickly losing patience and faith in the company. I couldn’t help but think, if this how they treat people in the hiring process, what on earth would it be like working from them? Unprofessionalism and misscoummincation were two of the factors that contributed to my decision to leave my last job. I wasn’t going down that route again. Trust me, it’s not worth being treated like shit for any job (been there, done that, bought the t-shirt).

Throughout all this the crowd in Dublin were above and beyond supportive. I was told to take my time with my decision and if they could assist me in anyway to give them a shout. The manager even offered to help me make a pro a con list regarding the decision to relocate again. It was so nice to feel valued and appreciated. I think deep down I knew I’d only be staying in London just to stay in London, and that makes no sense. Part of me didn’t want to give up this newfound freedom and cosmopolitan lifestyle I’d become so fond of. It felt a bit like I’d be admitting defeat. Reflecting on all of this now kind of makes me laugh. I mean it’s a bit silly isn’t it?  I’d just been offered a job that genuinely excited me. I should’ve been feeling elated!

When I had a few days to mull it all over I realised how ridiculous I was being. Things happen for a reason. Opportunities don’t often fall on your lap, and when they do you have to grab them with both hands. Even if that means uprooting yourself yet again! So what if I’m leaving London? I’m going back to an even better big smoke. One that 20 year old me fell in love with back  when she got her first taste of a big city and the working world.

As I mentioned above, the company I’ll be working for is called BACKUP, they are a creative marketing and ad agency based in Dun Laoghaire (I’m looking forward to walks on the pier and those sea views!). My job will involve creating all of the internal blogs and social content. I’ll basically be responsible for content across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as working on campaigns  for the company’s big brand clients. It’s super exciting and exactly the kind of thing I want to be doing. So I’m excited to move back and get stuck in. I informed Dorothy Perkins that if I didn’t hear from them on Monday I’d be accepting another job offer. Surprise surprise there wasn’t a peep out of them. I didn’t even get the usual fob off to say it would be another day. I guess I should thank them for making my decision easier and showing me all of the qualities you do not want in an employer. I sent them an email on Tuesday asking them to withdraw my application, all the while expressing how unprofessional I found the entire process. I haven’t received a reply. The job has since been re-advertised.

If I’ve learned anything over the past few days it’s that you can’t stay in a place just for the sake of it, or just out of stubbornness. In fact, (as cheesy as it sounds), the past couple of months have taught me a lot about myself and about life. I’ve done things I never thought I’d do. I’ve surprised myself in ways I could never have imagined. I packed up my life and moved across the shores. The job wasn’t what I expected and so I quit. Some might call it recklessness, I call it chasing happiness. I guess what I’m ultimately trying to say with this long rambling blog post, is that you should never settle. Never compromise. Scare yourself, believe in yourself and go after what it is you really want. Whether that sees you in Ireland, London, China, Timbuktu, wherever.  This is the time to be figuring it all out. Job hop, country hop and make sure to learn and laugh along the way.

I know I did! 😉

Until the next rant or ramble,

~J

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Final Year Fear

FF_Divider_Pink4I’m aware at this stage that a lot of my recent blogs have adopted the same ‘help I’m in final year’ tone, but it’s hard not to think about the fact that ‘real adulthood’ is getting closer with each passing day.

I mean fuck, it’s scary. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Looking back first year seems like it was just yesterday, but at the same time it also feels like a million years ago. Back in 2012  19 year old fresher me thought 2016 was a lifetime a way. Yet here I am. A mere 12 weeks off graduating and becoming a person. It’s kind of a catch 22. In one way I can’t wait to finish and finally be done with essays, group presentations, and classic literature! But on the other hand I’m going to miss university life and the prospect of finding a job is actually terrifying.

When you’re little you  just assume that when you grow up you get a job and become successful, like it’s that easy. You also have that blissful innocence that you can be anything you want to be. I, like many others went through many different stages of wanting to be many different things. I think my very first dream job was to become an actress. I was quite the little drama queen, so it didn’t seem too far out of my reach.  I loved performing on ‘the stage’ in our house (that is the step in our family kitchen). I would parade around for anyone that would give me the time of day. It was all fun and games, until I realised we didn’t live in Hollywood and despite being a dead ringer for Beans from Disney’s ‘Evens Stevens,’ I wasn’t destined for sitcom fame.

So then came my next dream job. The classic ‘I love animals so naturally I’m going to be a vet’ phase. That is until I was swiftly informed I’d have to operate on the ‘ugly’ animals too. And there’d be blood. Ew. After that I think I scaled my ambitions back again. I decided I was going to be a teacher. But I had a conflict of interest because I also wanted to be an author. Naturally ten year old me decided that this wasn’t going to be a problem and I was just going to do both. Yep a teacher by day, and a kick ass best selling novelist by night. I think somewhere in between that I also wanted to be a doctor, but I knew even then that I couldn’t forgo my social life for 600 leaving cert points and 7 odd years in college. (Serious kudos to all those who do).

I suppose at this stage you’re wondering the point of this little rambling. I just think it’s funny that when you’re younger you have no concept of limitations or self doubt. Anything is achievable and you have the whole world in your sights. Now that I’m finally at this stage in my life it’s like I feel as If I can’t do any of it. Though deep down I know I have the skills, it’s just that awful fear of not being good enough, or not getting hired etc.  It’s mad, when you’re a child you’re supposed to look to the adults for help and guidance. Though I find myself longing for reassurance from fearless 10 year old me. I know she’d give me a right kick up the arse and tell me to cop myself on. Call me crazy but I think we’d actually be much better adults if we rekindled our inner child a bit! Obviously within reason.

There’s a common complaint among myself and those in my course; and that is we don’t get the time to read and write the things we actually want to read and write! Which is precisely why I’m writing this blog, to escape the annoying demands of  my FYP. In some ways I feel like academic life really does curb your creativity and confidence. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time to work on other skills and aspects needed for the ‘dream job’. Which nowadays involves either staff writing for an online publication or something within radio or broadcast journalism. But ironically the further I progress in my academic pursuits, the further away it seems. Strange that.

Anyway I’m sure there’s going to be plenty more tears and breakdowns over the next twelve weeks, but as I’ve so frequently heard, ‘It’s all a means to an end’. Where I’ll be this time next year I’ve no clue, but as long as I have good people, a strong shade of Mac lippy, and a customary glass of wine in tow, I’m sure I’ll be alright.

Until the next existential Crisis!

~Jessie

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Nameless Strangers- The Daily Struggle

So I realise I haven’t really written anything ‘serious’ lately, but this morning something got me thinking.

Every morning at percisely 7:41am something seemingly ordinary happens on my daily commute. This something is a mother walking her daughter to the school bus, helping her on board and then smiling and waving her off. Something you see every morning all over the country. Only there’s something different about this Mother. She lingers a little longer after the bus has gone, she always takes a deep long lasting breath before turning to leave, still smiling to herself. She looks tired, but in the brief moments that she crosses my path, I notice that she never stops smiling.

There’s something a little different about the entire process. The woman’s daughter is severely disabled. The school bus isn’t your ‘ordinary’ school bus. The driver has to help the mother lift her daughter on, and a simple every day task seems to take twice as long. I see this woman and her daughter almost every morning, and only today did I truly notice them and observe their situation. It got me thinking. It got me thinking about people and their daily struggles. This mother and daughter’s struggle is visable. It’s a struggle that most of us don’t have to worry about. How many of us are lucky enough not to have to rely on somebody for absolutely everything? Imagine having to be dressed, fed, and helped everyday? Imagine not being able to do anything for yourself without assistance? Turn that on its head and imagine tending to another persons basic needs 24/7 constantly putting them before yourself.

kindness2
Doesn’t sound all that appealing does it? Yet somehow I doubt that this woman or her daughter see their situation as a struggle. For them it’s life. It’s routine. For me I look at them and think “wow that must be so hard,”  beacuse watching them would make you realise just how much we take for granted on a daily basis. Not even in a physical sense, but in an emotional one too. I can tell just by the look on the mother’s face every morning that she cherishes the simple moment of sending her daughter off to school. It sounds soppy, but sometimes it really is the little things that you remember, and that are worthwhile. The little tasks that we see as a burden, or just another part of the routine are actually the ones we should probably pay more attention to. I’m not trying to patronise this woman and her daughter, I’m really in awe of them.

This daily encounter has opened my eyes to a lot of things. Everyday I travel to work, I see the same people, the same faces. We share at least an hour out of our day together, yet we sit in silence. We rarely achknowledge one another. To me these people are just nameless strangers. As I am to them. I find myself giving the people I see regularly nicknames like ‘Clune Road Kid’, ‘Georges Street Girl’, and ‘Dandruff Dude’.

It’s funny, but it’s also strange to think about the amount of people that we pass on a daily basis, yet we never come to know their names or their stories. It’s even stranger to think about how many of these seemingly ordinary people are actually struggling. For the woman and daughter, you can physically see it. Like an old woman who needs help lifting her shopping bags, you can recognise it and offer to help. A random act of kindness.

But what about the things you can’t see? Sometimes the happiest people are actually the saddest. How come we are much more reluctant to say hello to the person sitting beside us, than we are to help the old woman with her shopping? I suppose what I’m saying is that a friendly smile and a simple hello could go a long way to making a stranger, who might be struggling, smile.  Today I realised that nameless strangers can actually teach you a lot about life. So the next time I’m complaining about having to get up at 7am, shovelling down my breakfast because I actually only got up at 7.15, and cursing public transport, I’m going to try and remember that for someone, somewhere, the struggle is a lot greater.

kindness

 

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The state of our nations hospitals: One mans mission to bring down the HSE!

As most of us are aware, our health service here in Ireland is in desperate need of a revamp. In the wake of a recession government cutbacks hit the most fundamentally important sector, and they hit it hard. The slashing of funds for our nations hospitals have left the sick in a much more vulnerable position than they ever were before. But not worry, if you’re sick and you happen to have a bit of wealth about you, have no fear. You will be looked after ahead of all of those left sitting in waiting rooms or lying on trolleys.

Unfortunately last weekend my dad had a bit of a health scare, he was taken to hospital for treatment for persistent chest pain that we feared may have been cardiac related. His experience in A&E and the overall treatment he received prompted him to write a heated letter of complaint. I want to share this letter to make people more aware of the shocking conditions that go on behind the doors of our hospitals.

We hear about it all the time, but it’s only when we experience it first hand that we know the true extent. Both my mother and sister work in the health care sector as a nurse and a HCA, if not for these dedicated and passionate staff members our hospitals would be in an even worse state.

emergency ae

Here is my dads letter in his own words:

To whom it may concern,

I am taking this opportunity to draft this letter of complaint with reference to the current state of our hospitals A&E departments, having had first hand experience of it in James Connolly memorial hospital Blanchardstown, on Saturday 28th of April 2013. I am presuming that this letter will probably end up in the waste paper basket, however I have decided to do my bit and maybe thousands more will follow suit.

On the date mentioned, after receiving chest pains which radiated up into my shoulder, I became very worried. On the advice of my daughter who is a nurse, a care doc was called and it was subsequently arranged for me to be taken from Johnstown House Hotel in Enfield Co. Meath by ambulance to Blanchardstown Dublin. I have full praise and respect for the paramedics who arrived in a very short space of time from when they were first contacted. They carried out all of the necessary checks to alleviate my fears that it was not cardiac on the scene.

However, they did still advise me to attend A&E. If I had known what I was about to face into, I would have jumped out of the ambulance there and then. I arrived in Blanchardstown Hospital at approx 10.15pm. I was assessed by the triage nurse and obviously found to be a non-risk patient. That is where the nightmare began.

I was put into the waiting room and preceded to wait almost 8 hours to see one of the two doctors that weere on call, and a further hour and a half before I was free to go. Whilst waiting to be seen there were one or two other patients who were visibly in severe pain, also waiting to see one of the two doctors. Both of whom had to ask for painkillers for some form of relief. If I hadn’t been waiting for so long myself I would have volunteered my place, because the thought did cross my mind. The patient before me had to be woken up as he was there for ten hours. I hope I do not have to go through A+E again in the near future if so god forbid, I will be bringing a sleeping bag and a pillow.

When I finally got through the magic door, I witnessed even more chaos. Almost every bed was occupied. This is completely unfair on the medical staff on duty, and we all know it’s because of government and HSE cut backs. Most infuriating of all is that if you’re like me and do not have a medical card or health insurance, you are expected to pay €100 for this treatment.

I think it’s time that the ordinary citizens of this country are treated with a lot more humanity and respect. Maybe a few politicians and high ranking HSE associates should experience what the patients in James Connolly Memorial Hospital’s A&E department experienced, on the night of Saturday the 27/4/13 right through to the early hours of Sunday 28/4/13. Maybe then our hospitals will undergo the complete overhaul they so desperately need, sooner rather than later.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Thomas Keogh

P.S Modern day Ireland 2013: The rich get richer and live longer, the poor get poorer and die sooner.