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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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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

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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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Making a long distance college/home relationship work

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Upon hearing that I am in a relationship in college, people always ask me “how do you do it?”

Well for me the answer is relatively straight forward. I do it because I have to. I do it because It’s what I know. But most of all, I do it because I’m in love (cue the cringe). I’ve been with my boyfriend for three and a half years and when you’re with someone for that long you make it work.

Sure it’d be easy to just “take a break” for four years and do whatever we wanted in college, but then it would just be throwing away everything we have gone through together to get where we are today. I wouldn’t trade three years of highs, lows, laughter, tears silly fights and great memories for four years of what is considered an “exciting carefree” single life. 

The way I see it I’ve built a relationship with this amazing person and it would be crazy to throw it away just to live up to the single college lifestyle. I’m not saying it’s easy, it most definitely isn’t. It’s hard, like everything in life, and sometimes it isn’t all plain sailing.

I’m not trying to make like I have the perfect relationship, there are times we frustrate and annoy one another but we do our best to stay happy and to not lose perspective.

Sometimes we might go two or three weeks without seeing each other due to our busy schedules, but it makes when we do see each other all the more sweeter. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

If you throw in the towel whenever the going gets tough, well then you’re never going to get anywhere in life. If you’re heading to college and you’re in a relationship my advice to you is simple: Do your best to make it work.

Don’t give up simply because it’s “convenient”. Don’t cop out. If you really care about someone then you do your best to hold on to what you have. So many couples are broken by college but we made a promise not to let silly things get in the way, and so far so good.

One year in and we’re still here. Though if he continues to bring his dart board with him when he comes to visit me I’m not quite sure… 😉