Nearly every day I see people around me that just keep going when they really need to take a break. Sometimes life gets too much, due to circumstance, emotions or just because you’ve had enough.
I’m writing this blog post based on experiences in 2016/17 when I felt like I was stuck in such a weird place. In May of 2016 I finished my three year university course, that’s it, done, I moved home, my life changed. I felt very empty and very lonely and very strange, suddenly the direction I was moving towards was suddenly my current destination and I had no idea how to move forward. I had to face reality, say goodbye to my university friends and the experiences I was having and try and find out what to do with my life. Throughout school the teachers said you had to know what you wanted to do, but every other adult told you you didn’t, then at uni everyone told you they still didn’t know what they wanted to do. It seemed to me that it was okay to not have a clue, which was great because I didn’t.
So what did I do? I found a job in marketing three days after I came home, I led myself into the interview with my blog and social media channels as a selling point, I got the job. I worked there for two months before I quit, I went in every day dreading it, it wasn’t me, we’d also moved to a new
county and the commute was hitting two hours plus of driving every day. The reason for me leaving? I totally rushed my decision, I knew I could work in marketing and I thought I would like it, this company seemed fun and what I needed, but it wasn’t at all. I was doing boring and repetitive work and it wasn’t as creative based as I thought it would be, someone with a lot less experience could have done the role.
After fail of a job this I had two or three months of not working and trying to push my photography freelancing off the floor, which didn’t really go anywhere. This was the first time since I was fourteen that I hadn’t had some sort of job and it felt very uncomfortable, there was no safety net, I was an overdrawn student with no savings.
So after this break that felt like forever, I found a new job. Now my mind set was that I didn’t just want any job, if I was going to go to this much effort to make myself happy (i.e. leaving a very well paid job for unemployment), then I was going to get a job I truly loved. That led me to Waterstones, a shining shop of magic and wonderment in a county that hadn’t offered me much so far. I was desperate to get in, but I knew that was hard, queue the blog coming back and my social media channels making me stand out as someone that could also help with their online marketing. Surprise, surprise, I got the job! I loved what I did here, I really enjoyed interacting with customers, especially when I could fangirl about my favourite books. The working hours did sometimes get the better of me, especially at Christmas time.
Eventually I realised that I had to move on, I was going around in circles in this job, earning around £600 a month with my 20 hour contract, I was barely making enough to fund my month, let alone save. So although I probably could have stayed longer, I looked for a new job and found where I am now. Now I work as a Digital Marketing Coordinator for a charity that quite literally saves lives, I write social posts, I run our website and I look for new ways to market online. I work with the best team of people, I’ve found some fantastic and fun friends in this new work environment, in all, it is totally different from that first job I had after university.
What did I learn from my jumping around from job to job and getting very confused along the way? It’s not until I write it down that I realise most of this, but that first role I took made me feel excited and like I had a future in some career. I jumped at the chance without even looking at it, I tried to make myself fit into the role, rather than find a role that fit to me. I forced something that was never going to fit and the result was a severe dip in my mental health and a two month stint at a job when I could have been finding somewhere better. I needed to do that job though to see what I didn’t want in a role and to know that I needed time to figure out what I did want. The break I took was a really hard time for me, but I 100% needed it. Going right from university into a full time job gave me no down time unless I chose to book holiday. But working part time at a bookshop gave me the relax I so desperately needed and made me feel refreshed to find the right position.
I think a lot of people probably judged the position I was in during my unemployed/Waterstones days, they thought I was being lazy and avoiding my responsibilities. But in fact it was the very opposite, I wanted to have a job I could be proud of and look forward to going to each day, I didn’t want to take just any job. When I was looking for my most recent role I turned down a few offers of positions with a higher wage because they weren’t what I wanted. I waited it out and I found something perfectly suited to me. (And yes there was ever need for this GIF of a relaxing hedgehog)
It’s okay to take time out, no matter what the conclusion, some times you just need time to know what you really want from your life.