It's Okay to Get Out if Your Mental Wellbeing is Being Compromised
My first real encounter with the idea of my future career came when I was in my final year of school when everyone was applying to university and I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. I had no idea what I wanted to do or knew if I was even ready to move away from home. Unfortunately, my school only really catered for those who wanted to go on to further education in those designated study slots so those who were unsure were left to fend for themselves. Luckily I managed to land a job which turned out to be one of the best years of my “working life” so to speak and I still miss it even now. I mean, it was a big step up from making less than average lattes which is not my greatest skill to say the least. If you can do latte art, HOW? Teach me your ways, you coffee wizard.
My role was a general office assistant for a company who supported local charities in the area and I learnt so many new skills, gained a lot more confidence within myself and at the same time gained some more qualifications in Business to add to my collection. When my placement came to an end because of funding there wasn't an opportunity to stay on full time therefore it was time for me to leave my comfort zone and find something new…entering the endless chain of finding new jobs.
I moved onto a temporary job which was a three-month contract to do a bit of data analysis work which I thought was perfect albeit boring after a while. However, I saw it as three months would fly by, I could hunt for that dream job in the meantime and all would be fine. The three-month mark came round and I hadn't found anything and I was panicking. Luckily there was an opportunity to stay on and do some maternity cover for about another ten months. I worked with a group of PA's who are such wonderful women who made going to work a lot more enjoyable, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn't have had a good team. It was a good job with an alright pay but at the same time I knew it wasn't what I wanted to do. Plus, the cakes were a massive bonus too.
Around the same time, I met some wonderful, smart creative ladies who are now my best friends through writing, blogging and general internet-ing and this again made me ask myself "Is this really what I want?" The end of the placement came and I had nothing to go onto and it's a weird feeling. I had prepared for it and put money away each month to make sure I could support myself but reality began to hit and that's when all that could go wrong, did go wrong in the most typical way.
I left that job in August and didn't find another job until the end of December. I had countless interviews and even had one guy who make me cry mid-interview which is always nice. I cannot tell you how belittling it is however, after months of stressing I FINALLY got offered a more creative job at an interior designer just off Oxford Street and I felt on top of the world because it was the perfect thing I was waiting for. I got let go three weeks later.
The company realised they didn't need the extra pair of hands after all and as much as it sucked, I was glad. On paper it sounded brilliant but in reality? Like everything I was so grateful for the opportunity but this job taught me a few life lessons.
1. Things don't always turn out as expected but to be gracious either way.
2. Some people are just ass hats and you're going to encounter PLENTY.
3. It’s okay to not be happy somewhere and want to quit.
I frequently found myself feeling uncomfortable and feeling like I never fit in, I felt so lonely and saw my mood take a massive nose dive. I was miserable and it was really starting to take an effect on my mental health. Every morning I woke up with dread and just didn't want to be there. My anxiety shot sky high to the point where I would want to run back on my way to the station and when I did get home that evening I headed straight to the safety of my duvet haven a didn’t speak to anyone.
I think the lowest point was frequently finding myself in a department store locked in the toilets most lunch breaks just crying and feeling like the biggest failure. I’m quite a bubbly, loud (I like to call it enthusiastic) chatty person but when I stepped into that office I was the complete opposite. If you ever feel like that, it's okay to get out if your mental wellbeing is being compromised.
The job hunt began again, I grew more stressed and had many a cry on my mum's shoulder as well as my best friends who I salute for helping me get through those months. I decided to start writing and blogging more as a distraction and again in a cliché 00’s film moment, a spark went off. You know, like in 13 Going on 30 (excellent film by the way, totally recommend) where Jenna gets the Class of 2004 photoshoot idea? Like that. I started writing about anything I fancied from beauty and fashion, life issues to TV and film and more importantly, I enjoy doing it.
I have so many new ideas and plans to write both personally and professionally. I’ve found moving away from some perhaps generic topics, becoming more personal and talking openly (to an extent) about mental health or body positivity are the articles that generate the most conversation and community. An example of this is when I wrote a piece on comparing yourself to other women and how their successes are not your failures and the conversation it sparked was so interesting to see and listen to. I want to create things that matter or be something in which someone can maybe take away a new perspective, maybe it won’t be an answer they were looking for but perhaps it could help in some way.
I’d love for one day to try and move those from an internet space to a real life event, it might take a while but I'm determined. I've even thought about going back to an acting class and for the first time in a long time, I'm excited about what I can do with my life.
I’ve now been in my new job for three months and I am unbelievably happy. I’m working at a charity in fundraising, marketing and communications as well as events so as you can guess I’m pretty busy but I am LOVING it. I feel a part of something again. I already feel like I've learnt so much and I have an ever growing responsibilities list which scary, fun but scary. I'm in a much better head space and feel like I have my independence back.
Being an adult is hard and it comes with a lot of uncertainty and unexpected situations. In the most cliché way, it makes you realise how strong you are. You learn how to adapt and make things better for yourself and that's something I'm proud of, the fact I did this for myself. I got through some crappy months and I worked hard to get it.
Sometimes I forget I’m only 21 and that I don’t have to have everything figured out. That I shouldn’t feel like I should settle because I have so much time to explore different options. I'm incredibly intrigued to see what life throws at me next and how I’m going make my goals happen because I'm a strong independent woman who can do anything she sets out to do.