I’ve been umming and ahhing about writing this post for the longest time, it’s hard to know how much it’s appropriate to share here, and also how much I personally feel comfortable sharing. Whilst I’ve hinted at things that have been going on over the last few months, I haven’t really addressed them, in all honesty I wasn’t ready too. But I’ve reached a point now where I feel like hey, I’m not the only one going through all this, and maybe sharing my experiences might make someone else feel like they aren’t alone in this weirdness.
A word of warning, grab a cup of tea, things are probably going to get rambly.
I graduated with a BA in Fashion Journalism from London College of Fashion back in July, which was a pretty momentous and terrifying occasion. I survived the day without falling flat on my face/dropping my mortar board/ripping my robes, and felt an overwhelming relief, like the hard part was over. Oh naive naive past Jaye.
After a lot of discussion with my parents who, sidenote, have been MASSIVELY supportive through this whole thing, I couldn’t have asked for anything more, I decided not to start looking for jobs until after my post-graduation trip away, so I returned late August and began the job hunt. In the first week of August I accepted the first job I was offered, a social media manager role within a large retail company. On paper it seemed like the perfect job for me, within driving distance from my flat, reasonable hours, creative control of social media strategy, that sorta thing.
The reality of the job wasn’t all it was cracked up to be though, and I ended up with three hours driving to and from work each day, a miserable work environment, and most importantly, no actual creative control. The job I was doing wasn’t social media management, it was customer service on social media, and I was bored out of my mind. There’s nothing worse as a creative type, than being stuck in an office full of people who have no interest in inspiring creativity. But worst of all, something about being trapped in that soulless office 9-5 sent my anxiety skyrocketting, and I was crying all the way to work, crying in my car during my lunchbreak, and crying all the way home. I sat at my desk all day trying not to cry, and then went home to my poor boyfriend to cry some more. I didn’t eat, I barely slept, and felt anxious every second of every day.
I made it to the end of the week before having a massive panic attack in the bathroom at work, and deciding enough was enough. I chatted to my boss and HR, and decided to leave. I was miserable, and no asset to the company when I couldn’t even sit at my desk without crying. I got in my car and without really thinking, drove all the way home to my parents house, hid under the sink in my bathroom, and sobbed.
I’m not telling you all this for any kind of sympathy here, the point I’m trying to make is that I made a mistake. Not in quitting, I felt an instant relief walking out of the building, that only grew the further away I got. No, the mistake I made was thinking that I had to accept the first job I was offered out of Uni. People are always going on about how hard it is to get hired out of Uni, and I just assumed that because I was being offered a job, I should take it. I ignored a lot of warning signs that the job wasn’t going to be right, just because I was excited to be being offered a job at all. And that was a massive, massive mistake.
It took me a good few weeks to start feeling a little more normal, and in all honesty, I still don’t feel okay about it all. Since all this happened at the end of September I had an opportunity fall through that I thought was going to be perfect, which didn’t help either, but what all this has done is made me realise a few things.
- It’s okay if you don’t have to accept the first job you’re offered.
- When you go for a job interview, it’s as much about you interviewing the company as it is about them interviewing you. My mum told me this a thousand times and I didn’t listen (silly me, mums always know best).
- It’s okay to walk away from something that’s not right, especially if it’s affecting your health.
- It’s okay to not know what you want to do after uni.
- It’s okay if working a 9-5 office job isn’t for you.
So what’s next?
Well, I’m not really sure. For now, I’m doing some freelance and interning work whilst I try to find a job that’s a good fit for me, not just a job that I’m a good fit for.
We shall see.