This week Merle shares how her coaching experience helped her to survive a stressful job and showed her how to trust herself and pursue her dreams.
Moving to the UK
2018 was an exciting year because I moved to the UK from Germany to study for a masters. It was hard work to get into the programme. Before moving, I took evening classes to push my English to the required academic level, sourced references, and sorted out the funding. All whilst working in a job which gave little security and offered few development opportunities.
I felt numb and hopeless for a long time and the idea of moving with my best friend to Manchester for a fresh start felt like a dream.
Starting a new challenge
The master’s course was amazing. I worked hard and I was challenged. I often stayed in the library until 2am where I realised that I was smiling when I was reading. This is what made me happy. I also started volunteering for a small NGO where I was able to write and research about social and environmental topics.
A couple of months before I graduated I felt the pressure and worries coming back. I started to apply for jobs in the UK and received rejection after rejection. One day, I found an Instagram ad for Young Women’s Trust coaching service.
My coach Janine was great in building up my confidence and helped me to think about my past and the things I have already achieved. She made me feel proud of my own development and the obstacles I have mastered on my way.
Adapting my plans
After graduation, I started a job in a call centre because I needed a job so I could pay the bills and stay in the UK. I told myself that it would be only for a short time. I was constantly applying for other jobs and put lots of effort into an application for a position that opened up at the NGO that I was still volunteering for. Unfortunately, I did not get the job.
The call centre job made me feel numb again. Being shouted at by customers and managers was horrible. I lost my hope and I was exhausted.
I needed to adapt my plans so I started to apply for jobs in Germany. I received a job offer but that was cancelled due to Covid. In late March 2020, I felt there was no way out and was caught in both a bad living and job situation.
During this phase, I received an email from Young Women’s Trust inviting me to resilience training. I attended and it was an empowering meeting where we drew a map of our dreams. The constant struggle in everyday life made me feel so lost that I had not thought about dreams in a long time.
After this session I was offered some additional sessions with my coach. I remember that my voice was shaking when I spoke with Janine again, but her reaction was calm and her ideas were fabulous. She built up my confidence again and asked what I really wanted. That is when I opened up about wanting to do a PhD which seemed impossible in my current position. After some more negative incidents at work, I quit the call centre job in the middle of the pandemic and moved unemployed back to Germany. Here I started my search for a PhD supervisor. Now I am working as a maternity cover lecturer at a Berlin University and preparing my PhD application.
Doing what is right for me
I have gone from feeling lost and passive, to standing up for myself and doing what is right even though it is scary. Something I would have never expected from me.
As a mentee of Young Women’s Trust coaching, I have learnt to trust myself. ‘Trust myself’. A sentence this short seems simple at first glance, but it is so much more for me.
My experience with Work It Out made me aware that it is not only okay but vital to ask for help. The best thing is that I was able to give something back by becoming an ambassador for the programme. Now I encourage other young women to participate and spread the message about the hope of change.
If you are a young woman aged 18 to 30, living in England or Wales, you can sign up for free coaching sessions with our Work It Out team.