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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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Moving to London

As many of you may already know, around about 4 weeks ago I took the plunge and moved across the pond. It wasn’t an easy decision by any means, but it was an opportunity. An opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up. I’ve always been slightly in awe at the many directions life can take. There’s an abundance of twists and turns and the truth is you never know where you might end up from one year to the next. For instance if you had told me two years ago I’d be spending 5 Months in snowy Sweden, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had said the following summer would see me leave pieces of my heart across Barcelona, I wouldn’t have believed you. And if you had said a year on from that, that I’d be living in London 6 weeks after finishing college, I definitely wouldn’t have believed you.

In fact I probably would’ve laughed in your face.

But here I am. Finally ‘an adult’ and starting to make my way in the world. It’s funny, my last couple of blog posts were fraught with final year woes and the fear of the unknown. I didn’t know where I was going to end up and I couldn’t see past the immediate sadness of post university life. I probably should’ve listened to all those words of wisdom, voices of loved ones telling me ‘it would all fall into place’.

So London. Why you might ask? Why Not.

I mean in an ideal world I would’ve landed a cushy job back in the Big Smoke, lived with my Nan again, and been surrounded by friends and family. But it’s all too safe isn’t it? There comes a time when you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I’m not going to lie I thought the transition would be easy. Sure it’s only across the pond, 40 minute flight, be grand. Its not like I’m going to Australia. All mantras I kept repeating to myself in the lead up to the big move. I mean I’d lived abroad twice before sure, in my mind I was a pro at this. Only I forgot to consider the very real fact that this time there was no return date. That sounds very dramatic! Of course I can hop on a plane and come home at any time, but I mean in the sense that this time around things are pretty long term.

I’ve never really considered myself the ‘home bird’ type. So I was surprised to find myself feeling so homesick. As someone who was used to the freedom of driving everywhere in the last year (lazy so and so I know), it was a huge shock to my system to suddenly be sharing my journey to work with hundreds, if not thousands of other commuters every morning. London underground can be a very dreary place- if you let it. Hoards of people stomping down the ramps to the station, their footsteps echoing in perfectly synchronised misery. It’s all very regimented. People going about their day. Not caring to stop for the few seconds it takes to put a smile on their faces. In the short time I’ve been here I’ve found ways to look past what has become a very mundane aspect of my daily routine.

It might be the woman who takes her Pug on the Northern line every evening at Moorgate, or the little french girl with the red rimmed glasses bursting with the excitement of it all, or my personal favourite, the station controller at London Bridge. Honestly, though he’s just a faceless voice from above (literally), he really puts a huge smile on my face every morning. For a man who spends most of his morning repeating things like “Miiiiiind the dooors, this train is now ready to depaaaart,”, he does so with such enthusiasm. Every morning he greets passengers on the platform, tells a few jokes in between trains, and wishes everyone a good day at work. He even apologies when the tube is so packed and can’t let anymore people on. As if it was personally his fault. You can hear the smile in his voice every morning, and I don’t know about the 100 others but he definitely gets my day off to a more pleasant start. He’s actually so great I’m genuinely thinking about writing a separate blog post about him (stay tuned).

So yeah. I’ve started to look for little things like this to make me smile. Not that London isn’t already full of amazing things to do and discover. Sitting along the river Thames down on Southbank has become one of my favourite things to do on an idle weekend.

For those wondering what it is I’m actually doing- (which lets be honest is probably no one but anyway), I’m a media executive. Sounds fancy, but it’s pretty standard. I work for a company that builds and manages relationships with Journalists and PR clients. It’s my job to make sure both sides are kept happy. I suppose I’m sort of like a middle man. Part of it involves interviewing Journalists (irony), and keeping clients up to date on where they are and what they’re writing about. I’m enjoying it so far. It’s a good gateway to getting my foot on the ladder so to speak. Everyone in the office is super friendly (refer to hangover post), so that helps!

This was probably pretty irrelevant for anyone else other than my Nan and aunties who want to tell the small town gossips back home what I’m up to.

Just tell them I’m a big shot soon -to -be famous exec lads, I won’t complain 😛

Anyway all in all I’ve decided to take it all in my stride- one day at a time. I’m looking forward to finding my feet, and exploring more of what London has to offer. Whether I’m here for  6 months, a year, or 5 years I’m sure i’ll have plenty of stories to take to the next place with me, be it the Emerald Isle or beyond.

P.S (No chipped teeth, stolen iPhones, Stalkers, or Lost luggage mishaps yet! maybe my unfortunate ways are changing?)

On that note, i’ll leave you with a cheesy pic of me trying to look cute with Big Ben in the distance.

Until next time,

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~Jessie
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Yes to equality

love is love

I live in a country which fought for freedom for so long,
Yet denies it’s citizens the tune to their own song.
I live in a country where same sex couples have no right to marry,
and young people have far too many burdens to carry.
I live in a country that’s trying to put a boundary on love,
amongst bigots and oppressors not worth speaking of.
I live in a country where gender balance in nature is the golden rule,
and we must not all swim in the same pool.
Children must have both a mother and a father,
having two mams or two dads is not something one should rather.
I live in a country where a woman chooses to take her own life,
because it isn’t accepted to make her girlfriend her wife.
I live in a country where it’s a privilege to be straight,
but being gay is met with hostility and hate.

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I want to live in a country with more tolerance, support and compassion.
Lets bring acceptance and understanding back into fashion.
I want to live in a country where everyone is equal in the eyes of the state,
love shouldn’t be gendered, and it shouldn’t be an issue of debate.
The impending referendum has seen such positivity from the yes campaign,
this is a solidarity I want the country to remain.
I feel comfort in knowing that change is on its way,
and I hope that Ireland will vote “yes to equality” on the 22nd of may.

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A letter to my 13 year old self

Dear 13 year old Jessie,

I sit in another country writing this note. In which case you’ve probably figured out that you’re still alive. I would tell you to stop googling every illness that you think you might have, but it’s a quirky habit that will stay with you for the next 8 years. Your hypochondriac ways are still there, though not as irrational.

At this moment in time you’re pretty awkward. A new found teenager. Set to embark on a brand new chapter, new friends, new experiences. You’ll be happy to know in about two years time you’ll ditch the glasses. However, be warned. A friend you don’t have yet will bring back photos of said awkward time to embarrass you on social media.

You probably don’t even know what social media is right now, but it becomes a huge part of your life. Anyway I know that right now you’re worried about starting a new school, about making new friends, and losing old ones. What I can tell you is you’re about to make the best friends you will ever have in your life. You might not realise it now, but these people are going to be there for you in ways you cannot even imagine.

You see all that hair falling way past your shoulders? Yeah you’re going cut it up into a bob and dye it red. And you’re going to love it. Then you’re going to dye it brown, grow it out, and then eventually dye it blonde.

Right now you’re freaking out about the possibility of having braces and glasses at the same time, because what on earth could be worse than that? Don’t worry kid, you manage to avoid that particular image disaster. You eventually get braces in college though, but only for a couple of months. Now you have shiny straight teeth, and that annoying ‘snaggle’ is gonzo.

The things you’re currently freaking out about are the things you’re going to look back on and split your sides laughing at. Like your first kiss. It happens at the infamous ‘ttown disco’ that you’re extremely excited about. It’s not going to be anything like you imagine. It’s going to be awkward, and you’re going to be surrounded by 50 others doing the exact same thing, under cheap blinking lights, to the sound of an awful Nelly Furtado song. But hey, you do it and you suddenly feel like a ‘normal’ person. But you never needed the peer pressure or the ‘approval’. You only think you do.

In the the next couple of years you’re going to do the usual rebellious teenager things. You’re going to sneak out. You’re going to lie about where you are. You’re going to ‘knacker drink’. You’re going to go camping, cut your chin on barbed wire, and fall out of a trailer stuck onto the back of a quad. You’re going to have severe mortifying moments, but most of all you’re going to acquire epic stories. Stories that you’re still telling today.

Your leaving cert year is bitter sweet. The summer of the exams will be amazing. You go to oxegen and you have one of the best weekends of your life. You’re excited about your college adventure and the future is in your sight. You turn 18 you have a party with all of your friends and family. But something bad happens that night. Your drink gets spiked, and in the days leading up to your exam results you collapse and wake up in hospital. You’re going to trip out really bad, and it’s going to be really scary. You end up having to take a year out before going to college, but you do so well in your exams, despite things not going according to your initial plan. The next 6 months are going to be shit, but this experience will strengthen you for things to come.

All your friends move away and you’re left behind recovering from the effects of the spiking. You’ll have days where all you want to do is curl up in a ball and cry. You’re going to learn of the death of two childhood friends. Things are going to be gray and sad for a while, but hang on in there, it gets better, I promise.

You’re amazing little nephew arrives. (Yes you have a nephew! Who’d have thought it? Shelly is going to provide the cutest tiny human ever). Your friends come back from college and throw you an amazing surprise party. You go inter-railing and travel all over Europe. You start college a year later with the realisation that the year off was actually a blessing in disguise. You meet so many new and amazing people. You do college radio. You travel a bit more. You go to a lot of concerts. You move to Dublin for 6 months and work in this really great company, gaining so much experience.

You haven’t broken a bone since you were 8. You lose weight, gain weight, then lose it again. You make some horrific fashion choices. You’re still largely un-coordinated and clumsy. You have many blonde moments to come. You still laugh too loudly, and you’re still brutally blunt at times. You’re still a bit of a push over in certain situations, but I’m working on that 😉 You still despise onions. You get better with food though, you’re not as picky in years to come. You learn to try things. You’re not afraid of the dark (as much) anymore.

I wish I could tell you the next 8 years are going to go perfectly, but life doesn’t work that way. You’re going to go through a lot of heavy stuff, and it’s going to seem like everything is trying to knock you down. At one stage you’ll even convince yourself someone is writing your life as an episode of EastEnders. But you’ll get through it. And those friends you’re about to make? They’ll be there for it every step of the way. They might not be the ones you think of as I write this, but the ones you think that matter right now really don’t.
You’re going to experience love, loss, and heartbreak. You’re going to cry. A lot. But you’re going to laugh even more.
You’ll question yourself, you’ll have doubts, but every choice you make has gotten you to where you are right now.

Which is sitting in a ‘dorm’ room in Sweden (yes, Sweden) on an erasmus exchange program, writing this blog at 2.30am instead of reading the 300 page novel you have to have read by Tuesday. (Yup, you’re still a procrastinator too). All in all the next 8 years aren’t the worst. It’s a roller coaster, but we both know anyone who can handle ‘The Speed’ in oakwood 13 times in a row can handle anything 😉

Keep smiling, Keep laughing, Keep living.
Love, Jessie- Your 21 year old self.
15/9/2014
jj

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meeeemam.

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jess an jess

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Pondering Perception..

Sometimes worrying about what other people think about you can really stop you from just being you.

No matter how hard one might try to convince themselves that they don’t care about what people think, the truth is they do. We all do. If we truly didn’t care then we wouldn’t make such a point of saying it in the first place. Well, that’s just my opinion. 

Unfortunately society has made perception, well, everything. I think it’s extremely sad that so many people are afraid to be themselves for fear of being judged or branded “weird” or “different”.

Society has created labels and categories for us to “fit in to” and the funny thing is, even if you’re brave enough to defy the norms, you’re still actually labelled as a “misfit”, “outsider,” “hipster” etc. If you’re someone who hates labels and prides yourself on being different, well I’m sorry to tell you, you’re still part of yet another group of “non-labelers”.

It’s unavoidable really. We’re just not allowed to be who we are without someone or something pointing the finger of judgement. People form opinions of you based on everything, and you can’t please everyone. No matter how much you would like to.Image

It doesn’t matter if you’re the most down to earth, honest, straightforward, nicest person, you might even be second to Mother Theresa, someone will still find something wrong with you, someway to put you down, bitch about you, make you second guess yourself.

I mean the fact that we are in the 21st century and there are still some people who are so vehemently anti-gay. Society and attitudes are definitely changing, but it’s just another primary example of how perception dominates.

It saddens me to think about how many men and women are out there pretending to  be something they’re not, because they are afraid of what their mother, father, sister, brother or best friend may think based on what’s “accepted”.

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I mean who decided on what is or isn’t accepted in the first place?

Why is it that thin is considered attractive? Yet fat is ugly and undesirable..

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Why is it that being straight is normal? Yet being gay is disgusting or a sin..

Why is it that one skin colour is seen as superior over another?

Imagine if everything was turned on it’s head. Imagine if you were straight in a crooked world. Imagine if you were the skinny girl dying to be fat. Imagine if you were the rich kid wishing you were poor, or the white man wanting darker skin. Seems pretty inconceivable doesn’t it?

That’s because we’re just so used to how things are, how they’ve always been. Society might never change, but we can. We can by being confident in ourselves and our abilities, by straying from the herd and just daring to be different every now and again. Different in the sense that we’re not afraid to have an opinion that’s slightly out there, or to stand up for something we believe in, even if not everyone agrees.

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The good ‘ol days

We’ll remember this night when we’re old and grey, because in the future these will be the good ‘ol days..

No matter how old we are, everyone still enjoys looking back on “the good ‘ol days” these good ‘ol days might date back a few years.. months.. or in some cases weeks!..

“Aw remember like two weeks ago when it was sunny out and we did nothing for a week? those were some good times!”

Nonetheless it’s always a fun time looking back on past memories, pondering over years gone by, laughing over the old photos, bad fashion choices and dodgy hairdos! No matter if you’re 85 or 25 being nostalgic gives everyone that warm and fuzzy feeling.

Back in the days when all you had to worry about was going down the drain after your mother unplugged the bath, (I’m sure that wasn’t just me!) who you were going to sit with on the bus during your school trip, or what you were going to wear to the disco on Friday night.

Seemed like such major problems at the time didn’t they?

Back when Christmas was the most exciting time ever.. when getting this little creeper from your uncle just made your 7 year old little life:

amazing ally

Looking back there wasn’t anything “amazing” about you Ally was there? all you did was talk in an eerily sweet voice, yet you managed to bring so much joy..all the while scaring the wits out of every mother in the country (well mine anyway!). You never did turn evil though, despite the concerns that you would somehow manage to steal a kitchen knife and bludgeon us all to death.

“Hiii I’m Allyy and I’m gonna get youuu” still gives me chills.

Back to a time when if you didn’t have one of these you weren’t a cool kid:

Walkman

That my little 13 year old friends is a Walkman. She was the precursor to what was to become the discman MP3 player and eventually that snazzy iPod touch you can’t go anywhere without. (Can’t say much I suppose, I am glued to my iPhone.. but it’s only because I had to beg my sisters to let me use the wonderful walkman you see there)

These. Just these.

bn+biscuitspoptart

Back when Kids TV was actually watchable:

raven RUGRRATSsabrina cnn 600full-kenan-&-kel-screenshot

Back when you got along with your siblings.. (for the most part)

sisters(yes, that’s me in the middle.)

Back before you valued every precious moment of sleep, and going to bed was the worst thing ever:

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(I will fight this!)

Back when cars looked like this:Vintage

(You might also want to take note of the fashion.. not one of my finer moments)

Back when being seen in public with your dad was cool:

dad and me

(That’s not my pint….)

Okay maybe that was always cool……

dadcollage

(Sorry dad!)

So you see my point. Writing this post was so fun. It’s really good just to look back on times gone by. I’m sure in another 19 years I’ll be whipping out photos I’ve taken recently and dying of mortification all over again! Not to mention craving some of the food I eat now, or longing for some of my favourite TV shows and tech gadgets.

good ol days

So I leave you all with this classic (albeit cheesy) feelgood song of the 90’s. I’m sure you remember this lot..