MY ‘DREAM JOB’ BROUGHT OUT THE WORST IN ME
Have you ever dreamt about a job, about being successful, and when you finally got it, it was different?
Studying Graphic Design at university in London influenced me in envisioning my ‘dream life’’. If I can call it that. Actually, University life in London makes you think that when you finish, you will get a 9-5 job in a creative agency. Your university’s reputation should be the ticket to get you a great job right? At least that was my impression. When I told someone that I studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design, I usually got a ‘wow’ in return. Not when it came to actually getting an internship or a job though.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” — Steve Jobs
After I finished my degree, I knew I wanted to go travelling before I got that so-called ‘amazing 9-5 job’, so I did a little bit of freelancing, got some work experience for a year and then went off to see the world. Coming back with no money was already stressful, and the pressure was on to find something as soon as possible.
In the end it took 3 months to get a job. I went through a lot of stages. Making my CV creative, only applying for jobs I really liked, applying through recruitment agencies, and applying for anything that is at least a little bit related to what I was studying. As my first job in the creative industry, I just wanted to get some experience. Who would have thought that a Junior position usually requires 2-5 years of experience in the industry already?
In the end, I managed to get an in-house Junior Graphic Design position in an architectural company in Central London. It was not the creative agency I had hoped for but I was happy to start with any job in the creative industry.
The first few months were a bit lifeless. I thought I just needed to get used to the job. But, I felt like I was of in a job that either did not need to exist, or should have at least had a different title, and that feeling did not go away. Until I left, unfortunately.
The struggle I was going through really started pushing me to look for different options. I started to realise that if I really wanted to be able to choose what I invest my own time in, the only solution would be to become self-employed. I desperately wanted to work on projects that help a good cause as opposed to selling an ordinary product.
I wanted to work on projects I truly believe in. Not projects that only seem ideal on the outside, but may be rotten on the inside.
But, what about the fear of the unknown that I have always had when it came to working for myself? The uncertainty of not knowing if I would be able to pay the rent next month? I thought that working for myself was something that might happen in the future when I have gained some experience in working for someone else.
After 1-2 months of being in the job, I started feeling like I was wasting my time and it was getting worse. At points, I had worked myself into such a low state during the day that I started to worry about my mental health. It felt like someone was shutting me in a wardrobe for 8 hours a day to keep me away from all the exciting things I would like to do. I was drained, frustrated and unhappy. I needed to find something else.
At first I was going for the most obvious option. I amended my CV and started looking for another job. Doing that slowly and looking at what other jobs were out there really started changing my mind about the life I was always dreaming to live. I accepted that it was not going to happen right away and began trying different things. I started taking little steps at a time to be prepared for the time when I would get the first chance to move on.
In the end, the opportunity to move to Scotland came after a few months.
Going through all this, I realised how easy it was to fall into a job for the sake of financial security. You get comfortable to be able to pay bills and still live an ‘OK’ life. During my time in London I met some people who have awesome jobs in the office in London. They are comfortable but they are not fulfilled. How many more people like me are there in the world, stuck in a job they do not enjoy but they stay because it pays the bills? I have always thought that everyone should do what they enjoy and yet I found myself doing a job I did not enjoy for longer than I should have. More about money insecurity here.
No matter what happens I always try to see something positive in it. Any job I have done in my life I always take as an experience and find something in it I can benefit from in the future. Some people call it ‘success tax’. You know it is going to suck but you do it to get closer to where you want to be.
Even this job in London, the struggle I went through made me reconsider my life choices and purpose. Thanks to that I am in Scotland now; happier than I’ve ever been.
Life might not turn out the way you imagined all the time but it is important to find the benefit in everything you go through. Be positive and if you find yourself unhappy, start small. It will get better, I promise. Everything is there for a reason and you will see it in a few months or years time. We sometimes have to struggle to appreciate what we have.
You have the power to change it.