It’s been almost a year to the date that I wrote a blog post announcing that I was looking for a new career.
I had been wanting a new job way before that, but it just never suited my lifestyle. Especially when I was living alone. I wanted to change career but that meant taking a pay cut. Living alone meant I had no extra cash at the end of the month, so reducing my income wasn’t an option.
I’ve recently just got a job I know I’m going to love. I’m not in retail anymore, even though I work for a retail company. My job isn’t to manage a store, deal with customer complaints, make sure the colleagues on dairy keep the milk full and those on produce have completed their reductions on time. No more managing rotas, tidying the shop and rubbish hours at Christmas. It’s a dream and honestly, I keep having to pinch myself.
Yes, there will be challengers. Working remotely, planning my own schedule and routes across stores in York, Manchester, Bradford and Huddersfield. Arranging meetings with store managers and their teams. Influencing, building relationships, networking and driving convergence in my 15 stores I ‘partner’ in. No pay cut. Petrol paid for. Travel time included.
Anyway, enough about that. This isn’t an opportunity that was handed to me on a plate.
It isn’t simple or easy to get a job that will be perfect for you.
One thing I am increasingly seeing is tweets that say things like:
‘Quit that job that makes you unhappy! Book that dream holiday! Follow your dreams!’
While I understand the intention of them is to inspire people to follow their dreams, the longer I had been looking for a new job without success, the sadder these tweets made me.
They made me feel trapped.
They make it seem simple, that you can quit a job and just get a new one. I couldn’t just do that, even before I had a mortgage I still had bills to pay, car to run, phone bill, food to buy. You can’t just quit.
Looking for a new job.
This time last year is when I put serious effort into job hunting.
I think my main issue was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had two CVs, one aimed at administration/HR roles and another aimed at marketing.
I applied for hundreds of jobs. The issue is, I was always missing something. Even though my job title was ‘Stock and Administration Manager’ with experience of HR, recruitment, payroll, audits and a bunch of other things, I couldn’t even get a basic administration job. Whether I was overqualified, I’m not sure. But those recruiters that did call me to potentially put me forward would generally get back to me with similar things:
- My salary expectations were too high (after already being willing to drop 5k a year)
- I was missing something (experience of a common payroll system, excel expert)
The marketing roles – I got rejected by many. I had a few phone calls about some but generally, they didn’t want to interview me because I didn’t have experience in a professional setting, only through my blog.
I did get 3 interviews.
I think I had a good chance at one. He knew my background, had been on my blog, the interview went well. But in the end, he decided to give the job to someone with experience.
The second interview seemed to go well – but it was clear he hadn’t read my CV. He thought I blogged full time and didn’t realise I also worked.
The third interview, again it went well but again, experience.
Meanwhile, I had signed up to a CIM course, I had subscribed to the Adobe packagings and started doing courses to learn Photoshop, Illustrated and InDesign. Signed up for an excel course. I was spending my money on these things to improve my skills. Also all of my free time.
It was the only thing that seemed to help me. Knowing that I was working towards something that would help me eventually give me hope. Hope that one day, someone would want me.
After Christmas, I decided to stop looking for a while to recover a bit of my confidence and self-esteem.
It’s hard when you keep getting told no. It’s put me in a bad place mentally.
I thought my CV looked great. People around me said it looked great. But nobody was interested in me.
So yeah, these ‘just quit your job’ tweets really pissed me off because there I was, in my 30’s, not really knowing what I wanted to do and feeling like it was a bit too late to start again from the bottom of the ladder in a new career.
Whenever someone complains about their job, the most unhelpful thing you can say is ‘Quit and get a new one’.
It is doable though, but it takes a long time.
One of my colleagues has just got a new job – she was also looking this time last year. Another one of my colleagues couldn’t find a new job and ended up going back to university to do a masters in social work.
If you feel trapped in your current job an unable to get out, you 100% need to apply for new jobs. Refresh your CV, read job descriptions and see how you can improve any of the skills you have or learn a new skill. Work at it, keep trying and prepare yourself for rejection, being ignored, having high hopes that come crashing down and being very frustrated.
It’s tough on the job market. It’s hard to stand out.
You’ve just got to keep trying because you will eventually get there.
Although my new job isn’t in marketing – doing my CIM course has helped me as when I interviewed it allowed me to demonstrate being self-motivated enough to complete a distance learning course while working full time, going to the gym and learning piano. When I was talking about myself, I was able to say more than ‘I’m my spare time I like to spend time with family and friends’.
So my biggest tip is to work on how you can better yourself when you want a new job. If there is a course you need to do – sign up for it and get it done! I had been considering a CIM course for a few years. If I had done it when I first thought about it, it would be completed by now.
So yeah, don’t quit your job and book that dream holiday.
Apply for your dream job and book yourself onto that course that will help you.