18 July 2015

On getting a proper job (!)


Guys, it finally happened. Although not in the way I thought it would, and not, as many would think, in the editorial field. But life has a funny way of surprising you (me) and I like to think it's all worked out for the best.


My situation changed practically overnight, from "hello, my name is Sofie-Eliza Price, and I'm an eternal intern" to, holy moly, I need to find a paying, permanent job - fast. And it wasn't my choice, but oh boy, it was a wake up call.

My first reaction was a lot of crying, panicking, frenzied calls and messages. Because what else can you do when you feel like your whole world has been turned upside down? What else can you do when you suddenly feel like the dream you've been pursuing (and endlessly defending) for months on end is kaput faster than you can say "expenses only"?

From the comfort of my bed, I signed up to just about every recruitment site. I changed my search preferences from "editorial" to "marketing", "content" and erm, "marketing content". I sent more frenzied messages. I was confused. I was, to be fair, a little heartbroken. I felt like the biggest love of my life had betrayed me by not giving me the security and reassurance I needed.


And then, I reflected.

I reflected on the experiences, on the people I'd met, on the things I'd been exposed to. I thought about the launches, the invites, the opportunities, the name-dropping. And the mega highs... and also, the mega lows.

I realised that rather than boosting my confidence, my experiences had weakened it. They'd taken my belief in myself as a valued asset away. I hadn't been employed and paid for my time in so long that I no longer believed I was worth investing in. After all, how can you feel valued when you're simply a commodity that's passed along from place to place, and barely remembered? Getting unpaid work was a walk in the park for me, but no one actually wanted to employ me long-term. The process takes its toll.

Not that I regret any of it. I wouldn't have believed I would work at VOGUE, or ELLE, or Marie Claire, Grazia or The Sunday Times Style post-university. I still can't quite believe it.

But that's the thing - you're made to feel like you're the luckiest person in the world, owning that desk space for up to a month. A million girls would kill for the opportunity, after all. I get that. But why couldn't I sit there and think Yes, I deserve this. I've worked hard for this?

Because the answer is, as soon as you do, you feel like you need to be paid for it.


And at 23, with many of my friends in secure, well-paid jobs, enjoying mini breaks and meals out and after work cocktails and the like, I wanted to be paid. I didn't push for it, but I wanted it, and I honestly thought that I had to be in it to win it, so I carried on.

Everything has it's sell-by date. And suddenly carrying on with editorial was not longer an option. I had some lovely people that I'd met in my phone book, and some luxe beauty products, but other than that, I didn't have a clue.


Luckily, an agency believed in me, and it turned out, so did the employer they were working with. After one interview, I was offered a job.

But I still can't get my head around the fact that after one week of job-searching, I was employed. I was employed at a wonderful company, with a friendly, supportive team, in a position that was exciting and would open up a lot of opportunities for me. Finally, finally, I have the chance to grow within a team. And I'm actually paid.

However, my confidence still needs some work. What if I'm awful? What if they think hiring me was a huge mistake? What if they hate me? I have a severe case of imposter syndrome that I can't ignore despite the constant reassurance from the recruiter (yep, she basically counselled me on the phone), family and friends that a) I deserve it, and b) I'm going to be great. I hope they're right!

And, breathe...


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[If anyone is reading this as a critique on interning, know that I don't see interning as a bad thing. The contacts you make and the experience you gain is invaluable. I do, however, believe that some companies will use their prestigious name against your humble name and expect your heart and soul for the honour of working there. And it's important to know that although experience is essential to show you're committed, if a permanent opportunity doesn't arise, you're in it for the long haul. And that takes stamina, money and a whole lotta nerve to see through. It's very much a cut-throat industry, and not everyone will be sympathetic to your cause. Also, no one except your fellow interns will really understand what you're going through. The one thing I will say is this: working for free for an extended period of time should *not* be considered "normal" - because it's not. Know your worth, otherwise - like me - you'll forget it.]

*All images courtesy of We Heart It
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4 comments

  1. Ahhh this is such a lovely post to read. I am so happy that everything worked out for you in the end. Sometimes you do need to reflect on everything to see what you actually want
    Estelle x - www.letmegoxo.uk

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  2. Good luck! Don't worry about the self doubt thing either, I felt exactly the same way before the job I'm in now. You'll be great!

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  3. Congratulations on getting a job! I've often found that things don't always work out the way you expect them to, but it's so good that you're sorted :) I'm quite worried about getting stuck in the eternal intern trap after uni, fingers crossed everything's okay in the end xx

    Toasty

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