Hello! So I took a break from blogging because I was exhausted by life. It wasn’t like “unpack it on my blog” bad, it was like “cry at work and on the train” bad. I was literally just trying to survive. But in the words of my idol and saviour, Elton John, the bitch is back! She’s got a new job she loves, she’s finally being paid enough to live, she’s going to therapy and she’s doing her level 1 certificate in Te Reo Māori. I’m also now writing this on a paid, non-glitchy version of Word for Mac. Three cheers for a bit of financial freedom!
As most of you know from the “fight me” blog, my old workplace was not super rad for me and it was taking a wicked toll on my health. I’d known this for a while - and it’s the reason I quit the first time back in 2017. But surprise, it costs money to live and when I felt like I had no other opportunities, I went back, convincing myself it would be better, but most importantly that it would be temporary.
Like most millennials I was scammed into the idea that university was a guarantee that you wouldn’t end up at 26 working full time in a job that pays below the living wage, with people who were born in the 2000s. Look, I have nothing against making retail a career - but I would’ve chosen to do it straight out of school instead of enduring 5 years of university stress and incurring $60,000 worth of debt, alongside the physical and emotional demands of working in retail throughout that time.
I applied to literally hundreds of jobs, and went to countless interviews over the 16 months I was back, but nothing seemed to give. Sometimes I heard nothing, sometimes a generic email about the quality of the other candidates and often a “we loved you but the person we chose had more experience”. I met with seasoned veterans in the areas I wanted to work in, and it was always the same story - I needed experience to get a job, and I needed a job to get experience.
It’s really hard to just be making enough to scrape by, with multiple side hustles, for someone to tell you that you need to find a way to do more. I was exhausted. Almost a year into my job hunting, I ran into a friend that I’d met through Nike Training Club and explained my predicament - she worked at a non-profit and offered to hand over my email to the volunteer coordinator, as they had weekend shifts available. I jumped at the opportunity, but wasn’t overly hopeful, because by this point I was pretty accustomed to disappointment.
It was only a few days before I heard back and less than a fortnight before I had my first shift. As soon as I got there, I knew it was what I’d been waiting for. I went every fortnight and even picked up some additional shifts on public holidays. I met the most interesting people, and learned even more about myself, no matter how tired I was when I arrived, I always felt more energised when I left. About 4 months into volunteering, and many more job rejections, a role came up at the non-profit and I applied, even though I wasn’t quite qualified - I felt like there was nothing to lose. I interviewed and it went incredibly well, I was overly confident. Then came the call, the same thing I’d heard before - we loved you, but someone else had more experience. I was crushed.
Like I said, I was becoming increasingly thick skinned to rejection, but much more sensitive to the dissatisfaction in my current role. I decided I needed out - no matter what. I applied and interviewed for all kinds of roles - from selling software to the receptionist for my physiotherapist, but they all knew my heart wasn’t in it. They saw my CV, heck some of them even read my blog, and they knew that someone was going to snap me up soon and they’d be left high and dry. Strangers were starting to believe in my future much more than I believed in it myself.
I had all but given up when I landed two interviews in one week - another one with the non-profit I had been volunteering for and the other was with the Mental Health Foundation. I had applied for at least 5 roles with MHF and fundraised for them both years I did Auckland Half Marathon. To my total disbelief, I was offered both roles and I was forced to choose. I was telling the dilemma to every person I came across. I asked my yoga teacher to read my birth chart to give me some clarity, I was searching for anything to make the hard decision for me.
Eventually, I made it. I chose the hard job. The job with the non-profit i’d been volunteering at for almost 6 months, the place that felt like home. The day after I’d clocked out for the last time, multiple people commented on how great I looked - like a weight had been lifted, I felt it too. I realised that all my life I’ve been living in survival mode, I’ve become comfortable with discomfort, it’s what has kept me putting one foot in front of the other, day after day.
Now that I’ve freed up all this mental space, I’ve got capacity to grow and it’s an exciting concept. So I’m levelling up - learning a language, finding my style, and healing my past. The road hasn’t been easy, and I suspect it won’t be getting any easier, but it’s starting to all make a bit more sense.
Until next time,