19 May 2014

"I got 99 problems but you won't be one of them" and Paris, je t'aime

Hold the phone! Contrary to my nagging doubts that I'd remain unemployed forever, I've somehow managed to secure a job. And not just any job - a job in beauty PR, of all things. Thank sweet baby Jesus and all those people who supported me, encouraged me to keep applying and reassured me that I wasn't a loser reject every time I was rejected (which was a lot, both the reassurance and the rejections). Phew. It means I can stay in London and buy myself a few more bottles of wine than I can afford now... At least calling off the job search is one less problem to deal with.

The news couldn't have come at a better time, as the following day I had my city break to Paris with a close university friend. God, I loved Paris. Even in the wind, rain and cold, the city was outstandingly beautiful. I'm a lover of admiring beautiful things, which might sound a bit weird, but when I see something that I find aesthetically pleasing, it makes me giddily happy. And that's how I felt, wandering down the Seine and exploring Monmartre and staring up, absolutely gobsmacked, at the Sacre Coeur.

After blitzing all the typical touristy attractions - you name it, we probably did it - we were both ridiculously excited to experience a Parisian caberet. So many people, including my parents, had recommended we go. They are pretty pricey, but we managed to get tickets for €42.50 due to the fact we're under 26, and that included seats at the bar and a glass of champagne during the show (the barmen gave us a second, I think they felt sorry for us!) and it was SO SO WORTH IT. Oh my word.

Before I went I was a little apprehensive. The show we were going to - The Crazy Horse - had been reviewed as especially risqué, with loads of emphasis on how little the women wore. I was worried I'd go and feel a bit uncomfortable, thinking the girls were forced to dress in that way for money rather than out of choice. We were seeing a live porno - albeit classed up for public consumption - after all. Right?

Wrong. These girls were amazing. Uh-maze-ing. Watching them was so liberating and brilliant, and my friend and I often found ourselves turning to each other and saying "Oh my god, they are so cool!"

The show was split into different sketches and dance routines, some more serious than others. Some incorporated the entire cast, and some girls had a "solo". Most sketches were absolutely barmy. There was a reoccurring sketch with a French maid who kept getting more and more drunk, hiccuping and tickling the audience with her feather duster. There was also a weird UFO scene where two girls ended up kissing (the sensuality was lost on us, I'm afraid). At first we thought, oh my god, what on earth have we stumbled into?! But as the show went on, we just got more and more into it. 

The fact the girls were topless (and often sans-knickers, with only tape covering their modesty) was empowering, not demeaning. They absolutely owned their bodies and everything they did was classy, elegant, and sexy as anything. It was also apparent that the girls loved what they did, and loved the reaction they received from the audience. The girls weren't to be sympathised with (as I ignorantly believed beforehand) but admired. I mean, Jesus, there was no hiding their bodies. No spanx, no push-up bras... Just kick-ass wigs and staggeringly high heels. Who wouldn't want to be that body confident? 

In the context of Paris, it was perfect. I just don't think England could carry off caberet in quite the same way... We somehow manage to make everything sleazy here. Such a shame.

I also strongly recommend doing AirBnB if you go to Paris. Staying just down the road from the Sacre Coeur was fantastic, and it was so nice to have an apartment to come back to for some recuperative cheese, cake and red wine after a hard day trekking up and down in the Metro (can someone please explain why there are so many STAIRS in Paris? They almost killed me). If we'd had a hotel room, we would have felt more obliged to be on the go 24/7, but an apartment meant we could dock the iPod, blast some tunes and potter around tea and coffee as if we were Monmartre locals (I wish).


Coming back from Paris was a bit of reality check, and I've realised how much I missed being around friends. I've gotten used to being by myself a lot, but that doesn't necessarily mean I enjoy it, or that it's a good thing. So I'm making more of an effort to see them, even if sometimes I find it difficult. And recently they have been especially important. I'm pretty lucky to have the friends I do, to be honest. But what's also come out of it is that I want to live in a more sociable place, or possibly with friends - so the flat search is back on!

à bientôt :)

2 May 2014

"I want you to want me" or, a fun little analogy

Trying to secure a job post-internship is currently the bane of my existence. I've lost count of the amount of times people have given me their words of wisdom/consolation...

"It's their loss, Sofie! They don't know what they're missing"
"It wasn't meant to be"
"Something will come around, just you wait!"
"Don't lose faith, keep going"


The whole business is demoralising, to say the least. I'm starting to think it was a crazy stoke of luck that I even managed to get onto my internship.

I feel like I've done everything "the man" has told me to do. I worked hard at school, got good GCSEs, A Levels, went to a decent university, did an academic subject, got a good degree... And now I'm getting experience. But it's still not enough.

And then when I was talking to my friend a few nights ago about how exhausting it is, the whole process of searching and applying for jobs, I realised something: applying for jobs is rather hilariously similar to dating.

Lost? Humour me.

Okay, so the responses I receive from job rejections, as shown above? They sounds scarily similar to the kind of responses you'd give a friend if they'd just been dumped or ended things with someone they'd been seeing.

But let's start from the beginning (the best place to start, I find). The job search. You ask yourself what you want, the kind of things you'd like in a job, what you want from it, and what you're willing to compromise. And once that is established, you start searching.

And then you realise this "search" is actually quite tricky because often the roles that seem too good to be true, are too good to be true. Pretty exterior, great benefits, a title you'd enjoy throwing around and boasting about to your friends at the pub. But then you realise you're not compatible. You don't fulfil their criteria, or maybe the other way around.

Or, you find the perfect job. Brilliant! So you apply, telling the company all about you - your experience, your background, what you can offer them, how you enjoy spending your time. And it's exhausting, but you hope he outcome will be worth it. Then you click "Send application", and sit tight. But then the agony begins. When did they say they'd respond again? Did they say they'd call, or email? Am I being paranoid? Why are my palms sweating? Refreshing my emails and checking my phone every two minutes is totally normal, right?


Then comes the interview. The nerves kick in, and you have to reiterate everything you said on your application, but this time, you have to jazz it up and hope that you're voice isn't monotonous and you don't say anything that could mess up your chances. You smile at the right moments, attempt to make a light-hearted joke (if the situation allows for it)... And the manner in which you part is everything. Everything. Did they like you? Did they sound sincere when they said they'd be in touch? Was that a "see you later" or "see you soon" and what the heck is the difference? Please don't say I had food in my teeth/coffee breath...

God forbid there are two interviews involved. You just want to cut the small-talk and get to the point, for goodness sake. You've given time, effort, maybe a few tears, stalked the hell out of them, and quite frankly, you're exhausted. The question is - do you want me? Or do I have to put this down to experience?

And brave yourself for the rejection. The rejections that, unfortunately, come at you (me) thick and fast. Sometimes I don't even make it past first base (ooer), and even when I do, I'm constantly on edge. But it's the rejections that knock you back, dent your ego and confidence. "What's wrong with meeee?" I wail to anyone who's willing to give me sympathy, "What if no one wants me, and I end up with nothing?" 

Because it's bloody hard, this whole application business. It's not like you can send your CV and expect a million job offers to come your way. Sometimes, if not always, you have to tailor a cover letter to the company and/or role. And sometimes you have to make your CV more appropriate. The forms, if they have application forms, make me want to face palm repeatedly, and all I want to do is send them a YouTube link of that song at the end of "10 Things I Hate About You" with the lyrics that go along the lines of "I want you to want me, I need to to need me..." And of course they'd find that so witty and not at all desperate, they'd hire me on the spot. 


Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my job application-dating analogy, and I hope you all have a lovely bank holiday weekend. If like me, it will consist of yet more job applications, you have my strongest sympathies.
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