Why I Moved Back To My Home Town

When I moved to Kingston back in 2013, a lot of people thought I wasn’t going to come back. I absolutely loved Kingston, I loved being 20 minutes from Waterloo but still only an hour from home. I didn’t have to bump into people that I went to school with, or be defined by mistakes I made. It sounds a bit silly but it was important to me at the time.

Kingston Life

So if all was so rosy, why did I come back? Surely there would be more job opportunities in the city, I loved the place so it would make sense to stay and that was the plan. Then Ali and I started looking at rent and realised pretty quickly with graduate salaries we weren’t going to be able to live somewhere nice. Whereas, at home, we could get so much more space for our money.

We came back and I got a job locally and the thought of commuting to London filled me with dread, and that’s before I understood Fibro! With every year that passed, we got further and further from moving back to Kingston. Staying here I have family around for when Ali goes on tour and we have more of a chance of getting a house at some point.

For such a long time I felt like moving back to my home town made me a failure. I came back, did it really prove anything? I’ll probably end up having my children in the same hospital I was born in, I see people I’ve known since I was a child on a regular basis. Did this mean I haven’t lived?

And really, I don’t think so. I think I needed to move away to know who I was, to grow up and let go of what I was holding on to from when I was younger. Now I’m back, I couldn’t imagine moving again. I love having my family in the same town, that I have my friends and my life here. These things have become more important than ever for me since Ali started touring.

I’m interested, have you stayed in your home town? Did you move away? Let me know!

5 Things I’ve Gained From Jobs I’ve Had Since Graduating.

When I left university I thought I would get a job, stay in that job for a few years and not even have to think about another one until I wanted to. With hindsight I laugh at myself then, because what I didn’t know is that it’s simply not the case. 

From the examples I’d had in my life you worked in one place for a long time, people in my family had worked at the same place for over 10 years sometimes – they might have changed roles but they were with that company. The thing is, that didn’t seem to apply with me. 

I’ve moved around a fair few times since graduating. For some, it was simply the fact that my position wasn’t needed anymore and so my contract ended, from others I wasn’t right for the role and let go and some were simply short term contract roles. In some of those I was miserable and leaving was the best thing I did…but when I was made to leave I couldn’t help but feel like a failure. But, with the gift of hindsight I realised I actually learnt a lot.

Doing a good job is important but so are boundaries.

I’ve always been an overachiever, but I had to learn about boundaries. I would work and work and work way past what I should have been.

I needed to learn to separate my work life and my home life. To know that my job wasn’t my entire life (although this gets a little more difficult when you are working for yourself). I learnt that I work to live, not the other way around! It’s an important lesson.

Learning what I want and what I don’t in my personal and professional life

I learnt that I love the world of digital, have a passion for social and like to be creative. Traditional marketing methods never spoke to me short-term and instead of managing campaigns I wanted to be in the thick of it! I wanted to be writing, making, creating.

I also learnt that a 45-minute drive every morning and every night made me miserable, as did a rigid 9-5.30. That the corporate scene bored me and that I needed to enjoy what I was doing.

I have to look after my own health because other people won’t

In more than one of my jobs I felt that I had to hide any health issues I had, even mentioning the word stress was looked down upon. As if I couldn’t do my job.

When I worked late and gave my all, it wasn’t noticed or acknowledged but if I was overworked and got ill or wasn’t my ‘normal self’ it was pulled up. I had to learn the hard way I needed to look after myself because no one in the working world was going to.

Resilience

Every time I got knocked down I got back up again vowing to do better next time. Once, after being told my job wasn’t going to exist anymore I cried, drove back to my home town and immediately got online and started contacting people who might know of some leads.

Did I cry when these happened? Of course, I did, I’m human! Did I have times where I thought I just couldn’t do it and wanted to give up, duh! Somehow I did it.

There are good people in every company, organisation, etc

Ultimately in every single job I’ve had I met wonderful people. People who I’ve stayed in touch with to varying degrees. No matter what there are good people in the world and that’s always a good thing to be reminded of.

What have previous jobs taught you? I’d love to know in the comments below!

I’m in a Funk

Blerghh. That’s not a normal start to a blog post, is it? Recently I’ve been sitting at my laptop trying to write, well, anything and not being happy with the result. I’ve attempted blog posts, non-fiction book ideas, fictional book ideas and I’ve just felt really ‘meh’ about it. The thing is it doesn’t just cover my writing. In general, I’ve been in an odd fidgety mood where I just can’t seem to feel good about what I’m doing.

I wrote a little while ago about what’s been up with me and got a lovely response from so many people, so thank you. I’ve been trying to get myself out of this mindset and pinpoint if there’s anything in particular, but I’m coming up with nothing. That was until I spoke to a friend of mine and found out she had quite a few of the same feelings.

Now, we’ve been friends since we were 11 years old and we have drastically different lives but we still had these feelings of not quite knowing what we’re doing and feeling like we’re not doing enough or what we should be for our lives. I’m going to throw it out there and say I’m not the only 20 something that feels like that at the moment.

There’s so much uncertainty about everything that even the smallest things can feel like they’re a huge deal. Take blogging for example. Logically I know that if I only post twice a week no one is going to die. It’s not a life or death situation but the thought still fills me with panic. Am I where I should be with my blog? Why am I not getting as many views as XX? Am I doing enough on my own social media? The list goes on.

We all know we’re not supposed to compare ourselves but, let’s be honest, we all do. My friend has two kids under 10 and worries about career stuff. I have started in my career and worry about having a family in the future. I guess it doesn’t matter where you are, you’re still going to worry about something and feel that you’re not doing it right.

Have any of my fellow bloggers been stuck in this funk before? What did you do to get out of it? Let me know in the comments below!

Staying positive on the job hunt

As all my regular readers know a few months ago I lost my job, which was a big shock and not at all fun! After securing a temporary contract for a few months, it’s been time to start looking for other roles again, so the job hunt is well underway! We all know that it’s not easy or fun to job hunt, it can be very stressful in certain circumstances which mean motivation can be a struggle, particularly if you’ve had rejections or a bad experience in the past. SO how do you stay positive?

Write out all the good things you’ve done so far 

It’s really easy to get sucked into worry and self-doubt when I’ve been in this situation I try and think of 3 things I achieved in the jobs that I’ve had, it might not be huge but if it’s important to you then remember that!

Remember that rejection is not personal

It’s so tough getting rejections and can feel like it’s only you. There are so many reasons someone might not get a job! It’s so competitive at the moment too!

Talk to other people

Almost everyone I’ve spoken to has had a period of job hunting in their lives, don’t be ashamed. Others might be able to give you help and advice!

Be proactive! 

Jobs won’t come to you if you don’t get a job give yourself a little time and keep looking, see if you can boost your skills while you’re looking, it’ all about being proactive!

I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING! (But nor does anyone else)

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Ah the life of a graduate, the new and exciting opportunities, meeting new people, perhaps travelling, isn’t it wonderful? Well, it would be if life worked out like that. Recently I was talking to a few friends of mine who are coming into the final part of their last year at uni (how it’s been a year since that was me I don’t know) and they had the normal worries of a final year. Worries about the deadlines and dissertations but most importantly feeling like you don’t have a bloody clue what you’re doing. So I let them in on a little secret, I don’t know what I’m doing and as far as I can work out nor does anyone around me, some are just better at pretending than others.

My graduate life is different to how I thought it would be, because working full time every day is hard. It’s a different kind of hard work to what uni was. This is a physical type of exhaustion, my whole body is tired as well as my mind. Do I think Uni prepares you for working full time? No, no it doesn’t. I loved the freedom and the independence of uni, working from home and working when I feel most motivated. When you’re working you have set hours, depending on your employer you might or might not be able to work from home, although I’m yet to meet a graduate who is working from home full time. The transition is hard, it’s not all bad, but it is hard.

There are so many days when I feel my head is spinning and I don’t have a clue that I’m doing. BUT out of everyone I speak to and I mean everyone (who’s willing to admit it), no one thinks they know what they’re doing. There are some people that feel more in control and some that are better at pretending they do.

I have days now where I wonder what I’m doing because my life hasn’t followed this detailed plan I had in my head. I didn’t know that I can to know what I want but roll with life at the same time! So don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do, no one does!

Change is what I needed.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that last month I lost my job and it was horrible. I felt completely devastated and my confidence took a big hit. I won’t go into specifics but I didn’t know it was going to happen, so I had absolutely no backup plan. At the time I remember Ali saying to me that this could be the best thing that ever happened to me, I scoffed at him. How could that be? At the time I panicking over how I was going to make rent and what the hell I was going to do next.

The thing is, and don’t tell him, but he was right. I’ll be honest and say that I was in a job that didn’t make me happy but I stuck at it and tried to make the best of the situation. While it sucked that I got let go, and at the time it seemed like the world was collapsing, it gave me time to think.

While I was looking I was offered a 3-month contract with a local company, good pay and a new experience. I was nervous but took it and it’s completely changed my outlook on my life and myself. After a month of being there, I feel a lot better. I’m not leaving the house at 7.15am and getting stuck in traffic for an age on the way home. I’m not stressed about everything and I have other people around me who have experience in marketing to help and teach me.

While I know I’m on a contract it could go many ways, I’ve already decided to keep an eye on the company notice board so that I can stay in a place where I’m happy. I never thought that losing my job could be a good thing and it wasn’t at the time but getting to the point that I am now? It was worth it.

Of course, I don’t have it worked out. I still have days where I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and worry about the future, who doesn’t? But it made me realise that I get to work with a smile on my face and leave with one too, I can have a job where I don’t come home and feel stressed until I go to bed. There will be challenges ahead, I know that but right now I have a good feeling and a positive outlook and that’s really what I needed.

The Ideal Graduate Doesn’t Exist

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Do you remember what made you decide to go to university? Maybe it was because you really loved a subject and wasn’t quite done with it yet. Maybe it was because your family members or friends had gone and you decided that it was probably a good idea. Maybe it was because you were told that going to university was going to give you a boost, it was going to get you a job.

I’ll bet that most of us link to one of the three reasons, for me it was making me employable. I wanted to work hard, get the best grades and get a great job. I learnt from my parents that working hard and having your own money was important. I’d had a job since I was 16 and after a teacher insisted I look, my eyes widened with how much more you could earn just by getting a degree, it was a no-brainer, right?

So, here I am almost a year after graduating with a 2:1 degree and I’m not a top notch career woman yet, who knew? I’m currently temping in an office while friends of mine are working in retail, restaurants or anywhere they can get a job. All of us are asked what we’re going to do with our degrees or about career plans. The thing is just because you have a degree doesn’t mean that you’re failing because you’re not a hot shot at 22, something which can be a harsh reality.

There’s an illusion of the ‘perfect graduate’, something that isn’t real, usually, this person would have their own flat, a decent paying job that they love, flawless references, society activist. Overall, they are meant to have their shit together. Now, I don’t know about you but I’ve never met that person, I’ve never met them, so why was I striving to be that? No one in my family or loved ones had ever put that on me so where did it come from?

I could blame advertising, I could blame media or Social Media but I’m not going to waste time on that. We need to be kind to each other but more than anything we need, to be honest. Am I guilty of trying to make my Instagram feed look better my life picture perfect? Of course, I am. Am I guilty of comparing myself to others and wondering what I should be doing with my life? 100%.

I hope that if you’re reading this and have been feeling overwhelmed like me that this has helped.

What have you realised after graduating? Let me know in the comments below.