going back to uni – am I a failure?

2019, career, student

Hello!

It’s been over a year since I handed in my Final Major Project and finished working on my degree which means I’ve been applying for jobs for over a year and I’ll be honest, it’s utterly soul destroying.

I’m sure other people in my position feel the same – it starts to feel like maybe you don’t have the skills you know you have, maybe you’re not good enough for any of these jobs, or maybe you don’t actually want to go into the industry you’ve been working towards or whether your entire life so far is a lie.

Or maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic?

Maybe I am, but those are just some of the thoughts I’ve had over the hundreds of jobs I’ve read through and not applied for because it would either just be added to the pile of ones I never hear back from or I’ll get another rejection email and that won’t help anything.

So with the help of the careers team at my old university, I’ve been given the opportunity to study a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Development Planning, which is designed to do exactly what it says on the tin – plan for my professional development (i.e. help me figure out how to get a job). And from there, depending on how the summer goes and unless I miraculously get a job, I’m hoping to start a masters degree at the end of September but I’m going to go to a couple of open days in June before I properly decide.

But is going back to uni just giving up on getting a job? Is the equivalent of saying ‘I know I can’t get a job without more training’? Obviously that’s just how I feel in my field of study – lots of courses have natural progression on to a more specified field including mine but for me there’s always that element of doubt.

So I thought I’d collate a few reasons why going back to uni definitely DOES NOT make me or you or anyone a failure and some things we can remind ourselves of whilst we’re still looking for the right job.

Getting more qualifications is never a bad thing – lots of people will do courses in the workplace, so it’s not that different to that really is it? In my unplanned year ‘off’ I’ve learnt to drive and become a qualified first aider so they’re other qualifications too, it’s just a larger scale much more expensive version of that.

It’ll make us more employable in the long run (hopefully) – having an MA to your name has to help a bit, doesn’t it?

I want to better myself and learn more and I would have done that if I got a job anyway – I love learning, developing my skills and keeping up with whatever changes in technology and I would have wanted to keep learning if I was in a career related job anyway. It’s just going about learning in a slightly different way.

I’m clutching a straws a bit I guess – it’s quite specific to be going back to uni because I can’t get a job and I’m sure most people going to do a masters are more than happy, in fact excited, to go back to studying because for them it’s not a last resort. And I suppose it’s not a ‘last resort’ – a real last resort would be giving up and deciding I’d work in retail or a job I don’t really want for the rest of my life. I probably won’t even be in this job I’m craving at the moment for the rest of my life so who knows why I’m being so dramatic about it all!

In conclusion (I’m getting back into the essay writing, can you tell?), going back to uni or studying a Masters or a PhD or whatever should never be something to consider a failure or be ashamed of. This post is as much for me as it is anyone else worrying about their future – even though it’s not quite going the way you’ve planned, it’s okay, something will happen, it’s just not our time yet.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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improving my odds

2019, career, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

My notes for today’s post simply read – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. And yes, I love to believe in a higher power and there really is a path for each person to follow and not a blank open plane but I don’t know if asking the universe is going to really help.

It’s a balance – internally, I’m always thinking ‘but this’ ‘but that’ – I don’t think there’s any harm in putting it out there what you want. I’ve done this before with an ‘ask the universe’ post – and everything in that post still stands.

But nothing’s going to change if I don’t work for it.  Tweeting about how I’d love more subscribers or how I can’t think of anything better than running social media channels for a band on tour and maybe one day someone will notice and will make my dreams come true.

I don’t even know where to start doing the maths on how many billions to one those chances are though? If I really want to leave it to chance, I might as well put the work in to improve the odds.

Going back to the path analogy – feeling like there’s a path already set for us can feel restricting, like we have no free will or choice, but thinking about how there’s a huge expanse of possibilities can be incredibly daunting. I like to think that somewhere in the universe, there’s something that at least vaguely knows where we’re going, giving us multiple paths to choose from. Maybe I’m thinking too much about it or I believe too much in a higher power but whilst I think there’s something that knows our future, I don’t think shouting to a void (or social media) will help or hinder anything.

So I go back to the original notes I made for this post – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. I’d love a sign – if there’s a higher power, if it could send a sign my way that would be fan-bloody-tastic! A sign, a break, all of the above please. But the world doesn’t work like that – if I spend my whole life waiting for a sign I’m going to look back having wasted it.

This is me, not waiting, not calling the universe but thanking it – thanking it for giving me the strength to carry on, the confidence to step into the unknown and the passion to make my own path when I can’t find one to follow.

Writing this has been the most ‘stream of consciousness’ blog post I’ve written for a very long time – today hasn’t been my day, to be honest but even reading over my own blog plan, seeing my own past plea made me think, you know what? I have the power to stop this and I’m going to work to make my own change.

2019 hasn’t necessarily gone the way I’d hoped so far, there’s lots of milestones I thought I would have already hit but I can’t waste time thinking of what could have been – I’m going to work to hit the goals I’ve set for myself and if I don’t, I’ll readjust and keep working. Because otherwise my life is going to carry on and I won’t really be in it.

I hope you can take something away from this post. Maybe it was a self-indulgent ramble to reach a somewhat melodramatic conclusion, but maybe it wasn’t.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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Working in Retail!

2016

Hello!

I’ve been working in retail for three months now and it was my first retail job and comparing it to my last job in customer service and fast food, it’s a very different atmosphere.

I work in the stationary store Paperchase and you get a certain type of customer, so I’m lucky that I don’t have any particularly bad customer experiences but people still treat you all kinds of ways. There was a woman who kept me for about ten minutes once just to tell me how she didn’t like any of the notebook designs and I should pass it on to my managers… like we have anything to do with designing the products… so that was fun!

The only instance where customers really don’t want to be bothered is loyalty cards. We’re not supposed to call them loyalty cards, they’re ‘Treat Me’ cards and they’re actually really great (no joke), you get money on your birthday and discounts and vouchers left, right and centre, it does literally take a minute to set up and they’re actually really useful cards. But people don’t want them, I know that but I have to ask if you want one! We get scored based on how many cards we issue or scan against how many transactions we make so I have to ask, I’m not trying to slow you down or irritate you!

The thing that annoys me the most about working in retail is when someone decides they no longer want something and they just dump it on the nearest shelf. That’s not where it goes is it? It clearly doesn’t belong in that range and it’s my job to keep the store tidy, though I suppose it gives me something to do while the store isn’t massively busy and there’s no stock to put out.

Don’t get me started on how messy the card wall is, but if I started tidying that I’d spend literally all day there. It’s so messy.

Another part of my job is greeting and engaging with customers – I didn’t expect this to be part of my job description when I started at Paperchase because that’s something I never expected or recalled encountering at the store before, but it’s part of being a Sales Assistant so I have to say hello to everyone and offer my assistance to anyone who could need it.

It’s mostly just ‘do you have these cards’ or ‘do you have this specific product’ and occasionally someone buying a present for a partner or relative and not quite being sure where to start. But if someone asks you if you need any help and you don’t, a polite ‘I’m fine thanks’ is okay – no need to be snappy because I’m doing my job.

And I think that’s what is the best thing to take away from this – whether someone is working in retail, customer service or waiting tables in a restaurant they’re just doing their job. If something they do annoys you, it’s unlikely it’s personal and it’s probable their manager asked them to (I know in fast food, I had to ask if every meal ordered was a large and 90% of the time people would say no).

Treat staff respectfully, because they’re just doing their job.

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

 

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