Here I sit, deep in the bowels of Café Nero, pondering the topic of the pivotal second blog post. To my left is an elderly couple who sit in comfortable silence, reading their newspapers. I wonder if the last time they spoke was in 2005. To my right is a young, enthusiastic male attempting to sell his start-up to a potential investor, perhaps friend. Damn those millennials and their ambitious ideas. Mid-sip of luke-warm decaf tea, the idea comes to me like the first ghost came to Scrooge, but less scary. For why not write about the very reason I am leisurely lounging in a Café Nero on a rainy Thursday afternoon, nursing the same cup of tea for hours on end? I am here, with empty pockets and an empty email inbox, as I am in the vicious and blood thirsty game they call the job hunt.
I handed in my dissertation around three weeks ago. Fifteen thousand words of sweat, tears and a slight deterioration in eyesight. But it was my baby, and sending it away for judgement warranted a period of mourning and an attempt to understand this sudden loss of purpose. What would I do now that I didn’t have to get up, walk straight to my desk and open my laptop in some kind of bleary-eyed robotic trance? I could now leisurely rise and watch an episode of Friends or two, or three, while eating breakfast without the overbearing taste of guilt seasoning my porridge. I could go for long walks, bake cakes, see friends, do all the things I’d been only dreaming of for the past three months. Yet, the sense of unease remained. I knew the time had come to immerse myself in endless pages of recruitment websites and vacancy boards in the sheer hope of finding some kind of plan, or at least a vague, general, roundabout direction. So, pages have been scoured, applications have been sent, and now here I am in Nero.
The waiting. The wondering. The sheer anticipation of rejection. Have they received my application? Did they like it? Did they read the first line, laugh hysterically and throw it into a conveniently placed waste-paper basket? Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I mean who knows? You start to doubt yourself, your achievements, your direction. It’s a tense time rife with uncertainty. They do say it’s easier to find a job when you’ve already got one, and I’m starting to think the famous ‘they’ might be right on this one. But – let’s stay positive! If you’re reading this and finding yourself in the same rocky boat, here are a few things that people have said to me which have helped a little to ease the sea legs. Or at least, writing them here might help me chill the fudge out.
Try and enjoy the time off – once you’re working you’ll regret not having made the most of it! This makes a lot of sense. It’s unlikely, when working full time, that such a period will come again. Relax a bit – do the things you love to do. Enjoy having no imminent deadlines or things you must achieve. Partially as a result of seeing women like Simone Biles and Laura Trott own the Olympics, and partially due to the consistent lack of fresh air I experienced during the last few months, I had aimed to get fit in this time. I am not yet swinging round a pommel horse or cycling with any kind of endurance, and sometimes (alright, often) I do choose the sofa and a family pack of chocolate fingers over donning my trainers and taking to the streets, but we’re only human eh.
You won’t like your first job anyway. I mean, this one is quite significantly laced with a heavy amount of cynicism isn’t it? On the one hand, it might be helpful that we don’t get our hopes up too high as we attempt to scramble up onto the first rung of the career ladder, and it tells us it’s okay to try something out to get some experience. It’s reassuring; let’s not set ourselves up for disappointment. But at the same time, I think it’s also okay to aim high, to go for a goal. I guess the moral of the story is to give it a go as who the flip knows what will happen. Which leads conveniently into…
You can always change to something else. Once you accept a job, you’ve not signed your life away. I definitely believe in giving things a good go, but if it’s not working out it’s not working out. Move on up, as they said in M People.
That’s kind of it as far as the wise words have gone. I’m open to more. As the searching and waiting continues I am going try and make the most of the time, and hope that a plan somehow falls into place. Let us proceed with our eyes, hearts and emails open.