What's your 'ideal'?
It's been slowly creeping up on me for a while, but at the beginning of this month I had a revelation. The sort of jobs I've been looking for, the work experience I've undertaken and the placements I've applied for have all been doing something which doesn't actually make me happy. For the past couple of years, I've set my sights on getting a job in social media, marketing or something similar. Two different internships and a lot of helping out with Facebook pages later, it's finally time for me to accept that whilst I'm pretty good at social media, it's not what I want to spend the large part of my life doing. Sure I'd be happy doing it on the side of my main job, or as part of a role, but not as the main part of my working day.
This isn't just an 'oh I don't like that so much' feeling, it's a huge, uneasy weight which has been pressing down on me and stifling my creativity and motivation. I've been feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and a bit unhappy in my job, and that was how I felt during my internship last year towards the end. I just put it down to transitioning into the real world, believing everyone felt like this about their first job. Now I've come to realise that's not true, and I can do something about it. Also having to forcefully leave my most recent internship made me think a lot about what I want to do next, which helped me realise that it's not more of the same.
Of course the next question is what do I actually want to do then? I need to work out my next step, realising what you don't want to do is great, but you can't move forward until you have something to do instead. Considering that it took me a while to know that I didn't want to go into marketing, the prospect of figuring out what I actually do want to do was daunting to say the least. However, I was very lucky in that I had been told about an awesome service called Work It Out.
Work It Out is an initiative set up by Young Women's Trust, which works with young women aged 18-30 who are not in education, employment or training. They offer a personal coaching service, which connects you with a coach who can help you explore the things which may be holding you back from getting into work or education, look at options you may not have thought about, and most importantly help you to feel more confident and motivated about life. My coach, Yasmin, has been a great help in figuring out my next move. From our initial conversation she made me feel at ease. Without sounding too cheesy, Yasmin helped me to see things about myself which had always been there, but I just didn't realise. Every phone call left me feeling more confident, and motivated to take action and do things.
One of the things which we've discussed a lot is what my 'ideal' would look like. Whether that's ideal day, ideal routine or ideal job. This has been one of the absolute most helpful things for me in looking at what I want to do. By picturing the 'perfect' scenario, I was able to look at what elements made up that image, and try to find a way to get them. Instead of focusing on what I don't have, I am figuring out a way to work towards what I want. It sounds simple once you start doing it, but it can change the way you think about your life.
I started to think about what my ideal career would look like, and unsurprisingly it wasn't in marketing. Since the age of 13 I've always been involved in different youth groups and organisations; from Youth Parliament to running in the Students' Union elections this March, I love doing something which makes a difference. It follows that I might be happier in a job which incorporates this, so I started researching different organisations which work with children and young people, and the types of roles they have available.
I am now applying for jobs in the youth sector and also in universities or externally with students. I've realised that what I want to do is help people to realise their full potential, and give them opportunities they may not have had. I know from experience that when you're growing up and entering into being a 'real adult' it can be one of the most daunting, scary times. Having people and things which make you feel a little less lost and overwhelmed can be invaluable, and I want to be a part of that. From when I was in youth parliament I've always had a passion for standing up for others' rights and being there for others, so I am confident that I can turn that into a career.
I'll keep you all updated on how my job hunt is going.
- Look out for another blog from a young woman who has benefited from Work It Out next week, when Kerri writes about the need for resilience when searching for a job.