Saturday, 18 November 2017

So I have a new job...


So as you can tell from the title of this post, there have been some changes and I have some news. I have wanted to be able to say what I’m going to say in this blog post for the longest time because it's something I’ve been waiting to happen since I graduated over a year ago.

I finally got offered a job.

Now, when I say I finally have a job, I probably should clarify that I’ve been employed since I graduated in July 2016. I’ve been working in retail since I left university and I’ve been volunteering one day a week in a charity since last November. The difference with this new job compared to my retail job is that I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere with what I actually want to do as a career. I'm not saying retail isn't a 'proper job' or anything like that, it's just not where I personally wanted to be.

I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve had a job at all but I cannot stress how much I hated working in retail or at least in the particular job I had. I worked alone in a shop, opening and closing, serving customers and managing payments and deliveries. I had to learn a lot about the products without proper training while I was on the job which was stressful and I had to get two buses to work that rarely kept to timetable which meant I often had an hour and a half commute either way. Working alone has also wrecked absolute havoc on my mental health this year and most of all, the job is just not something I’ve enjoyed at all.

I’ve worked in retail before but always in places that were busy or where you worked with other people so the time passed more quickly and I felt productive. Although I would have preferred not to be at work in the first place, I didn’t terribly mind the fact that I was there since I was getting paid.

On the other hand, working alone has been incredibly isolating and I’ve been trying to get out of it pretty much for as long as I’ve worked there. This wasn’t made any easier from the things I’ve been going through this year. Trying to work through a break up, getting rejected from every job and grad scheme I applied for (there were a lot) and trying to access help for my depression and anxiety while working sometimes six days a week, completely alone in a job that made me very unhappy has probably been the most difficult time of my life so far.

But hey, I can write this now because I’m actually incredibly happy where I currently am. Although I still have a bunch of stuff I’m working through and my experience of accessing help for my mental illness was problematic at best (I am hoping to write about mental health on my blog soon so watch this space), I’m in a good place right now. 

I’m about to start working at a PR company I really like, writing every day, working with people who are lovely and who I get along with really well, close to the city I love and that I’ve wanted to work in since I started job hunting last year. Part of me still can't believe it because it really was starting to look like something that was never going to happen.

The fact that I've been looking for a job in PR might surprise some people. Anyone I’ve spoken to over the last two years probably knows that for quite a while I’ve been saying that I’d really love to work for a charity and while this is very much still true, this year has helped me realise that there are a lot of different routes I can take to get where I'd like to eventually be. 

This month marks a year since I started volunteering at Shelter Newcastle and I’ve absolutely loved my time there. Although I haven’t specifically been doing advice work at Shelter, I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with clients both over the phone and face to face and because of this experience, for a while I thought advice work was something I wanted to do. 

I interviewed for an advisor job at another organisation and I was absolutely gutted when I didn’t get it. I was applying for any job I could find within the student movement and charities based in Newcastle but reflecting on it now, I think I was just desperately trying to find a slot that I could neatly fit into so I could move forward with my ‘career in charity', whatever that was going to be. As much as I've loved Shelter and I'd still like to work in charity in the future, one thing it has taught me is that advice work isn't something I want to be doing full time.

In the time since I graduated I think my problem was that I was too focused on the bigger picture – that I wanted to work for a charity – and less at the smaller picture, which is just as important – what I actually wanted to be doing in my day to day life. In a way, telling people I wanted to work for a charity was a way of convincing myself I had some sort of plan for where I was going. 

PR had always been in the back of my mind as something I thought I would be good at and I eventually got round to arranging some work experience. I worked for a month at the place that has now subsequently offered me a job and as you can probably guess, I loved every second of it. I liked working in an office, I liked the people, I liked the location, I liked writing every day and the work I was given and I liked the communication side of things. 

I would still like to work for a charity in the future but this has helped me realise where my strengths lie, narrowed down an area I actually seem to be quite good at - PR and communication - and helped me realise what I should be focusing on in terms of what will actually make me happy, as opposed to trying to get a 'job in charity' just for the sake of it. 

Despite this, I really am going to miss volunteering at Shelter. The experience has taught me so much and has definitely made me a better person (not in a voyeuristic way, just that it’s thrown me out of my comfort zone and made me deal with situations I’m unfamiliar with) and I really do think more people should look into volunteering. I might eventually get round to writing a more in depth blog post about my experience volunteering, because I have a lot of thoughts on it.

When I get settled into my new job in January I want to look for new volunteer opportunities because as I've mentioned before, charity work is incredibly rewarding. I can’t stay at Shelter because I’ll be at work while their office is open but there are a lot of different organisations and opportunities to volunteer in the evenings so I plan on hunting those out.

I’m really excited for what 2018 is going to bring. I feel really hopeful and excited for the first time in what feels like forever and most of all I feel relieved. Getting this job offer has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders that I didn’t even realise I was carrying. It’s hard to believe how unhappy and hopeless I was feeling just six months ago when I think about how I’m feeling now. So much can change in such a short amount of time and I want to try and remember that moving forward.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this weird life update post and it might explain why my posting has been so infrequent if anyone actually noticed that. I'm hoping to get back into a routine before Christmas but when I start my new job (!!!!!) in January I'll have much more free time to get back into a proper blogging schedule.

What are you looking forward to in 2018?

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