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!

Self-Care Update

Recently I wrote about my own self-care slip and you guys were amazing! I know that I’m a workaholic, I love to get things done and achieve as much as a possibly can…so relaxing takes a back seat. BUT, I have a great update for you all, there’s definitely been a change.

In the past week, I’ve started tracking what I’m eating to make sure I’m not over or under eating in line with my emotions. I’ve been filling up with a lot more protein when I can and trying not to binge on chocolate…that’s something I’m working on. I also haven’t weighed myself because I don’t want to get in a negative cycle. I will do it eventually but right now it’s not a priority.

I’ve also started doing Yoga every night! I know, hold fire. I was sceptical at first it’s just stretching, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. I can feel my muscles working and I’ve seen a difference in my stress levels. I look forward to that 20 or so minutes every night where I switch off and try to only focus on Yoga. I still get distracted and fall down at times but it’s a healthy start!

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And, finally, I went and got my hair done after much thought I just want and booked. This time I went to LK Hair in Newbury after wanting to since I started my job as I work with one of the owners. It was amazing. Not only are excellent at their jobs but they’re also the best in the UK, I have no chill.

In short, I hope this lasts. I hope I can be a little kinder to myself and make sure no matter how busy I get I make some time. There’s no doubt I’ll have slip ups but I’m trying and it’s definitely a start.

What do you do for self-care? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Sunday Seven: Tips for a Good Work/Life Balance

Now, to start this post I’m not claiming I have a perfect balance in my life (does anyone) BUT in the past year, I’ve learned a lot about having boundaries between work and home. If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you’ll know that this started a long time before I was working full-time, I’m terrible at switching off. That said, I do have a few tips to make things easier. So, really, this is for any self-confessed workaholic whether you’re a student, working full-time, volunteering or anything!

Work hard, play harder. 

It’s absolutely fine to work hard, it’s a great feeling to achieve, however, you need to play in your own way. That doesn’t mean going out on the town every weekend, it means finding something that you enjoy! For me, it’s a weekend bookathon!

Plan time with your friends and family. 

If you make plans, you have to stick to them. It’s very easy when you’re at home alone or have nothing planned to sit on your laptop and continue working late into the night. By making plans you need to step away and not think about it!

Working late is ok, but not every day. 

Sometimes you have to have a late night, you have things to do. That’s not a bad thing, deadlines happen or things might go wrong. There might even be a period of late nights (I’m looking at you dissertation writers) but you shouldn’t have to do that every single night.

Switch off your work phone/PC. 

Once the working day is done I switch off my work phone and PC. I’m lucky because I can do that, I’m not on call. If you can do that it’s a great way to switch off and have your own time.

Go to bed at a reasonable time! 

There’s nothing worse than trying to get things done with sleep deprivation. Nothing. Worse.

Make sure you take your allocated holiday! 

If you’re reading this from a working perspective most companies are good at telling you to take your holiday, because they recognise you need a break at times. If you’re a student reading this, I know the temptation to work every hour of the university holidays, you still need a break though, just like everyone else!

If you’re struggling, talk to someone.

I’m really lucky that where I work is incredibly open. If you do feel that things are getting a little too much and you’re working every hour of the day, talk to someone. Just one helping hand could make all the difference!

 

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!

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.

Sunday Seven: Thoughts everyone has the night before starting a new job

Tomorrow I start a new chapter, it may be a little sooner than I thought but nonetheless, it’s happening. I start my first temp assignment and as I write this the nerves are ramping up and I’m hoping I at least get some sleep tonight. So here are seven thoughts everyone has the night before starting a new job.

Damn, I ‘m nervous 

I have SO MANY butterflies right now, so, so many.

Will I get any sleep tonight?

I’m awful at sleeping before a big day, there will be a lot of clock watching tonight.

I wonder what the people are like?

It’s always nerve-wracking going into a new situation with completely new people. Luckily the few people I have met have seemed really nice.

What’s the food situation? Am I supposed to eat in a canteen, go out, is there a microwave?! 

I never know what to do in terms of food, it’s always something I think about. Luckily I know the area a little so I can hopefully pop out and grab something.

I’m a professional, I’ve got this… shit, I don’t know what I’m doing! 

The constant battle between the angel and devil on my shoulder this one. The angel knows I can do this but the devil throws in a nice bit of doubt.

I need to check my outfit again

Because you definitely want to get it right on your first day.

Let’s do this

I’ll never know if I don’t do it. Let’s do this!

Success?

success

A while ago, I was speaking to a friend when he surprised me, he told me I was successful. It stopped me in my tracks, because I haven’t classed myself as that in quite some time, in fact, since graduating I’ve felt more ordinary than I ever have in my life! At times, I’ve even felt like a failure.

Part of this is the struggles I’ve had with my confidence (it took a large dip after breaking my spine) and the other part, who knows? On paper, and to many people I know, they do believe I’m a successful 22 year old. I have a job, a degree, a home and a stable relationship.It ticks all the boxes, doesn’t it? Which I why I feel so bad whenever I say the words out loud, I’m not doign well enough.

I’ve always had a problem where I both want and need to be one of the best. I was talented both musically and academically growing up, apart from driving I found a way to make things appear as if they came easily (they didn’t). Despite my struggles I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me, for the things I’d gone through, so I worked as hard as I possibly could. I won awards, competitions etc. I felt like I was going places.

After graduating, for the first time in your life, your achievements aren’t given prizes or certificates, you’re not given feedback and a grade on things you spend hours on. So I guess in that respect, it isn’t unusual for someone to feel that they’re not doing as well, because you have to jugde it for yourself (particularly hard when you are an anxious person).

So I sit here and I try and see that I am successful, I might not be where I want to be at the end but it doesn’t mean I’m not. I think for many of us, that may be it. We confuse success with where we want to end up. I can only speak for myself, but that’s where I think I’ve been going wrong. I don’t have a house, a book and my life sorted out. Who the hell does in their 20s?

Maybe this is where I say something cliche like ‘success is a state of mind’, maybe it is. All I know is that it means so many things, to so many people. I’m flattered to think that my friend think I’m successful, I hope that someday soon I feel that way too!

What does success mean to you? Do you feel successful?   Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @chloemetzger