0

Thoughts on Terror

Recent happenings in the world have left me feeling very angry and confused. I wasn’t going to blog anything about it, but I’ve found in the last two weeks it’s all I can think about. It might be somewhat cathartic to get it out, so here goes.

I am of course referring to the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London. On May 22nd Salman Abedi a horrific monster, detonated a deadly nail bomb as thousands of young people were leaving the MEN after Ariana Grande’s concert. 22 people lost their lives, among them 7 children, the youngest being just 8. Many more were seriously and critically injured. And for what? So one evil extremist could carry out a senseless attack under the influence of the most cowardly and despicable ideology.

A mere 12 days later, in London, 3 more monsters carried out yet another fatal attack. They drove a van into innocent pedestrians on London Bridge, before going on to stab and slash others at Borough Market. 7 people lost their lives, and some 50 others were again seriously injured.  As was the case with Manchester, the stories of the victims are quickly emerging. One woman, Chrissy Archibald died in the arms of her fiance. Another victim, James McMullan had been out celebrating the completion of a business project that he had dedicated all of his time to for two years.

What is exceptionally poignant about this, is the fact that these people probably expressed the same shock and sympathy for the Manchester victims less than two weeks before they met the same tragic end. I just cannot fathom it.

I spent 3 hours on Sunday evening, like many I’m sure, absolutely engrossed in the One Love Manchester concert. Ariana Grande’s sheer courage and strength in the face of something so awful was a source of comfort to many. The whole concert was such a beautiful display of love and solidarity. I am just in complete awe of this woman. She could have hidden away, she could have stopped performing for a very long time. No one would have blamed her. But she didn’t. Instead she brought some of the biggest names in music together in direct defiance to these evil atrocities. Even after another horrifying terror attack occurred on the eve of the concert, she still carried on. She spent the days in the run up to the event visiting her injured fans in hospital, and meeting with the friends and families of those who sadly passed away.  I mean what an incredible feat of bravery. If it were me, I honestly don’t know how I would pick myself back up.

The one thing we are hearing time and time again in the wake of these attacks is that we shouldn’t let hate win. And I agree 100%. The concert on Sunday night restored everything these vile jihadists do their best to extinguish, love, happiness and unification. Though everything is scary and uncertain, we can’t stop going about our lives out of fear. It’s exactly what they want.

With that being said, something needs to be done. Our solidarity in the aftermath of these tragedies simply just isn’t enough. It’s not enough for politicians to spew us the same rhetoric over and over again while we sit back and just wait for the inevitable. They are telling us hate won’t win, but at the moment it kind of is. So many innocent lives have been lost and it’s happening at an increasingly frequent and alarming rate. It’s not a case of if anymore, it’s a case of when and where. We are often told not to be angry. And I get where people are coming from with that,  “reacting in a similar way to these extremists is exactly what they want”, but I don’t entirely agree. At the end of the day all these cowards want to do is kill, and they are succeeding. So I’m sorry, but that makes me fucking angry.

What makes me even angrier is the fact that many of these attackers were known to police and intelligence services?! Members of Salman Abedi’s community had expressed their concerns over his apparent radicalization and extremist views to the police. Yet nothing was done. Salman was allowed to carry on as normal. Similarly, Kurham Butt actually appeared on a channel 4 documentary ‘The Jihadists Next Door’ which details the rise of Islamist Extremism in the UK. In the show, Butt was seen praying with a group of extremists in Regents Park, and fraternising with a man who warned that one day the flag of ISIS would fly over Downing Street. Other members of Butt’s circle expressed the views that homosexual’s should be thrown from tall buildings, Britain should adopt Sharia Law, and adulterers should be stoned to death.

Why channel 4 are even giving these vile creatures a platform is beyond me!  How are we allowing these dangerous groups to propagate? What’s more is it’s also been claimed that Butt was reported to anti- terror groups on two separate occasions. One neighbour seemingly reported him after she caught him trying to convert her children to Islam and radicalise them. I mean I’m no expert on these matters, but surely that’s a gross failure on the part of those who are supposed to protect us?

How are these people slipping through the cracks when their evil intent is so inherently obvious? Who’s bright idea was it to make a TV show highlighting these monsters, allowing them to brag, instead of reprimanding them for it? I just don’t understand. I get that in most cases these extremists can be hard to infiltrate, but turning a blind eye to the ones that are right in front of us, in my opinion, is unforgivable.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to take away from the brilliance of the police and the emergency services, I mean the Met had responded to the attack in London in 8 minutes. That’s incredible. We just need more preventative measures. I’m not suggesting we close boarders or build walls or anything like that, but we need real action. Whatever form that comes in is up to the world leaders we’ve put our trust in. They just cannot continue to let us fall victim to attack after attack.

The fact is no one should go to a concert and not return home. No one should go out for a drink and have it end in tragedy. It needs to stop.

lovewins-e1435434998210

Advertisements
0

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

0

Why I quit my job with no back up

I started my 2017 by boarding a plane back to London with no Job. The crazy thing is, I did it by choice.

Shortly before Christmas (most inopportune time, I know) I decided I had had enough and handed in my notice to my most recent employer. I left a full time permanent job with absolutely no back up lined up. Now at this stage you may be thinking that I’m reckless, stupid, irresponsible or all of the above. Believe me I’ve had those thoughts too.

But what do you do when you’re no longer happy?  What do you do on a Sunday night when the thoughts of going into work on a Monday morning are giving you a physical pain in your chest?

I moved to London as a fresh, doe eyed albeit, enthusiastic graduate. I had landed my first ‘adult’ job and I could not wait to start making my mark on the world. However, I quickly realised that the job I had entered into was far from any of the things I wanted. It was monotonous, repetitive, badly managed and lacked so much as a drop of creativity. Not only that, but I wasn’t learning anything. It soon became clear that there was absolutely no room for progression or career development in the role whatsoever. Having spent 4 years in university that’s something I would consider very important to me. I want to learn, I want to grow and I want to progress. I want to be in an environment where hard work is truly recognised, where creative people are encouraged and valued. So I took the plunge.

I scared myself and pulled the security and safety right from under me. I spent 6 months putting all of my energy into something I really didn’t care about. Something I wasn’t passionate about, and something which was giving me nothing but stress and hassle in return. Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I’m quite a driven and ambitious person. I am never ‘half arsed’ about anything I do, so I didn’t make this decision lightly. I didn’t wake up one day and decide ‘oh, i’m going to quit my job’. There were a lot of contributing factors, and I spent many hours discussing it with my family and those close to me.

I’m only 23 after all.  This is the time in my life where I’m allowed to be unsure, I’m allowed to make mistakes,  I’m allowed to try new things and I’m allowed to go after what really makes me happy. Yet there are days like today, when I’m pouring over countless job applications and  trying to prove that i’m the ‘perfect candidate’, that I feel a little lost. I find myself questioning my decision, questioning my abilities and questioning what it is I really want from life. Did I make another bad choice by quitting? Could I have stuck it out another 6 months?  I mean probably, but that would have been another 6 months trying to fool myself into thinking my situation was okay. I was afraid of getting stuck and then never having the confidence to (as incredibly cliche as it is),  follow my dreams. A lot have people have told me I’m brave. But I’ve yet to decide whether that’s true, or whether I’m just incredibly stupid 🙂  (Let’s go with the former).

I’m not sure where these next few months in my life are going to take me. But then again 6 months ago I wasn’t sure either. Not knowing is both terrifying an exhilarating.  It’s only been 3 days since I’ve officially been unemployed. In that time I’ve sent approximately 20 job applications, received 5 of those lovely generic ‘unfortunately you have not been selected on this occasion’ rejections,  and binged watched 8 episodes of ‘Jane the Virgin’ (hey a girl’s gotta stay sane!). It’s early days yet. I’ll admit, it is hard not to feel a bit like ‘no one is every going to hire me again!’, but I’m doing my best to remain optimistic. Of course there are moments that I wish I was at home, where I could have access to an abundance of hugs from my boyfriend, dad, sister and nan. I’ll have a little cry, wipe my tears, then sit back in front of the laptop and attempt to tell faceless strangers why I’m great, and why they should hire me.

As coldplay once said, ‘nobody said it was easy’. But I’m very fortunate to have such a loving support system around me. It’s so incredibly cheesy, but life really is too short to feel anything less than fulfilled. Hopefully I’ll have an update regarding my new ventures soon. If not, I may be flying back to the Emerald Isle to take up residence on an unassuming couch. (Advanced offers welcome).

Until the next life update!

~J

0

The everyday struggles of a commuter

After the seriousness of my last post, I thought why not go back to the whingey ranty Jess that this blog has come to see a lot of?

At least once everyday I tweet some commute related frustration of mine. So I decided it’s about time I compiled them all into one go to blog post. (Not to say I’m going to stop moaning about it on twitter mind, I probably won’t).

So all you commuters out there, lets all unite in mutual misery. FYI If If you happen to be any one of the following ‘types’ of commuters that are mentioned in this blog, please, take note and change your ways. Immediately.  Here are my “Every Day Struggles of a Commuter”:

1. The Lack of Personal space
tumblr_lq4h2b73nn1qcsjxo

If you’re hoping for a nice comfortable seat away from the rest of the masses you can forget about it. Unless you get on at the first station, are old, pregnant, or otherwise incapacitated. (Actually even then you’re still not guaranteed). Instead, you get to spend twenty minutes on a train and another ten on a tube pressed against other people’s sweaty backs. 🙂 🙂

2. Coming up against a seat hogger
tumblr_m9jty31Yqr1qkaohfo1_500

Okay this person is the worst. The one who takes up one of the precious rarity’s that is a spare seat with their shopping bags. Look, I get it. You want your space. We all do. But this is no time to be selfish. The worst part is they act like you’re doing them some massive inconvenience when you politely ask them to move.

3. The Ticket Inspector coming around after you’ve put your oyster card back in your bag
eye

Seriously. I’ve held it in my hand for the last half an hour and you choose to just appear and demand to see it when it’s probably swimming around in the sea of disorganisation and chaos that is my handbag? Rude.

4. The people who stand on left of the escalator
esc.gif

Tourists I can maybe forgive, but for god sake people there are signs literally everywhere! ‘Please stand on the right’. I know walking the escalators can be a workout in itself and sometimes you just want to stand idly as you rise above ground (literally). But there are times when I am literally rushing to make the 18:01 train and some idiot is standing on the left of the escalator and I’m trapped. Probably going to miss my train and definitely cursing your existence.

5. Slow walkers with massive wheelie suitcases
move

No, no, no just NO. Don’t get me wrong, in a city this size there are bound to people with suitcases travelling here there and everywhere. My issue is not with your suitcase (i’ve been there my friend), it’s with your inability to handle it. I know there’s nothing worse than having to lug baggage across public transport, but you need to learn the basic fundamentals of proper suitcase etiquette. Long quick strides, handle down as you walk up the stairs (never drag it up you’re asking for injury). And for heavens sake don’t suddenly stop dead in amongst a hoard of commuters. and don’t roll over my toes!

6. Platform Pushers
push.gif

Pushing me on the already crowded platform is not going to get you on to the train any faster. I know we all have to be ruthless in these situations, but come on. If you’re behind twenty others and there’s no room to sneak around the sides, well that’s your own tough shit.

7. The Smelly food eaters
smell.gif

This has long been a common commuter complain of mine, but funnily enough I haven’t encountered too much of these creatures in London. I suppose there’s no real room to eat at the end of the day.

8. Delays, Cancellations and ‘Signal Failures’
rly

As IF my commute wasn’t horrendous enough, now because of yet another southeastern rail fuck up I’m spending the precious hours of my evening on a mobbed platform. Delightful. Just where I wanted to be and not snug in bed watching netflix.

9. The fear of falling asleep and missing your stop
sleep.gif

Okay this hasn’t actually happened to me yet (TG, Touch Wood)  but the fear is real. I always feel really uneasy when I see some poor tired soul asleep on the train. Like I know you’re tired, but I don’t want you to miss your stop hun. A guy I work with was coming home drunk one night. He only had to go to Kennington, which was two stops up on the Northern Line. He ended up in Gillingham. In Kent. In Southeast London. No shit, that actually happened. Just sellotape your eyes open and don’t take the chance.

10. Forgetting your earphones
screams
Easily, without doubt, hands down, the most painful of them all. Now you’re stuck actually having to listen to the insufferable sounds of other commuters. Screeching school children, the cougher, the snuffleupugus. The horrendous squeaking of the train against the tracks. Delightful .
0

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,

 image
~Jessie