Everybody wants the best career, the one they have always dreamed of, but is the journey that simple?
I’m 19, and I’m not at uni. I went straight from college into working. At college I did Biology, Psychology, English Language and Sociology. I wanted to be a paramedic, but after failing my AS Level Biology, I gave that idea up. I love Biology, it’s something that really did interest me, but I had a teacher who hated me. She was horrendous. She would pick on me to answer the questions when she knew I didn’t know the answer. Every lesson. I was in a class of extremely clever people who could get an A with a few days revision, whereas I was the one who had to revise and revise and revise just to scrape a B/C.
Throughout college I was working in a local pizza shop over the weekend and quite a few nights during the week, too. It definitely wasn’t what I wanted to be doing, but at the end of the day, it was money, and I needed it. I just had to spray my hair with a shit load of dry shampoo and cover myself in perfume if I was going to town with my mates afterwards.
After college, I got a job in Debenhams as a Christmas temp. It wasn’t too bad. I quite enjoyed it actually. I didn’t have to work that many weekends which surprised me, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, however, it was only 20 hours a week, and for me, this just wasn’t enough, so I looked for a new job ready for when my contract with Debenhams finished. Luckily, I found a job in an office 30 minutes drive away from my home for a rather large company, but unfortunately, they literally had no work for me to do. None at all. I’d sit there, every day, wondering what I could do, asking if anyone needed help, and they would all say no. Now, most people said to me “you’re lucky, you’re getting paid to do nothing!” But this wasn’t how I saw it. To me, every day dragged longer than the last. There was only so many times I could write notes on irrelevant things so I didn’t look like a spare part at the end of the row. To be quite honest with you, it was horrific, and darn right awkward, and I hated it.
Anyway, Debenhams called me and asked me to go back, so I did. Yes, it was less hours than the office job (25 this time), but if it meant I was happier that was all that mattered, right?I started off back of house in the delivery bay, and then was moved to shop floor by the store manager. I soon got quite good at it, and to cut a long story short, we didn’t have a supervisor or a sales manager as they had both left etc, so, I was asked to take charge until they got someone new in. Now, of course there were people higher than me in the store, but I was the one delegating my teammates jobs for the day, and I was given a key for the tills which meant I could override any issues etc on the system, something which only the more senior people could do. I really enjoyed this and I liked going to work every day, especially since my hours also went to full time temporarily. However, there was an issue. One of the teammates took a very strong disliking to me, and when I say strong, I mean borderling bullying. So, as you can imagine, I was miserable. It all started one morning at 7am in the store, when it was just me and said person, and they began swearing and shouting at me, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I walked away, upset, as you can imagine. Pretty much every day after was just as bad. I would be blamed for things that weren’t my fault, they would override the decisions I made every day, they would laugh at me and mock me, and constantly put me down and shout at me, picking on me day in, day out. I went to the most senior members of staff for help, and they said they would sort things and make it better, and long story short, they didn’t, so I was left with no choice but to hand in my notice. It was a real shame to be quite honest with you, because I quite liked the job, but I felt let down by the management and let down that I was being bullied in a role I enjoyed.
I got a new job, where I am now, and I’ve been here for just over six months.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s is ok to not have a single clue what you want to do. Take it from someone who knows. My boyfriend is one of the most clever people I’ve ever met, and as soon as he graduates from university, he’s going straight to work for a huge accounting firm. My friend, Lauren, is at the same university as my boyfriend, studying English Language and Linguistics, as is my other friend, Matthew, and honest to god, they’re so clever. Then there’s one of my other friends, Samantha, an amazing artist, doing design at another university. I’m the odd one out, not at university, but that definitely doesn’t mean I’m any worse off.
I feel like everybody, in this day and age, is in a hurry, but nobody knows what for. Rushing to find that right career, rushing to do everything, but why? Does rushing ever really work?
Relax. Take a deep breath and give yourself a break. Trust me, I know. I’m guilty of this, I’m so hard on myself, I am my own worst enemy, never giving myself a break. And sometimes, it’s exactly what you need. Jobs don’t always work out. Someone may find their dream career at 16, and others may find it when they’re 40. However, that early success for the 16 year old doesn’t necessarily grant a happy life. So give yourself a break.
I always think to myself that going through tough times will always make you so appreciative at the other end. This has happened to me in certain personal situations. I’ve gone through a hard time but I’ve appreciated everything so much more when I’ve come out the other side. This can be the same for your career. You could be searching and searching for 12 years to find the right career, and one day you may just stumble across it, and all of the stress and upset you endured trying to find this dream career will all finally seem worth it.
Maybe the job you had when you were 21 didn’t work out for a reason. Maybe you dread going to work every day because it doesn’t enhance your assets.
Things like this can’t just be changed overnight, so why don’t you take this time to work on you. Work on you as a person, work on you as an individual, and while you’re working on yourself, you may just stumble upon something great.
Careers don’t always work out and jobs may make you unhappy, but it won’t be this way forever, and I bet you’ll be much more appreciative when you come out the other end shining brighter than ever. I could probably do with taking my own advice on this too.