From Our Readers
September 21, 2015 11:59 am

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, or more accurately, out of college and into the world of unemployment, bills and all the other scary adult responsibilities. At this point in our lives, many of us have to be willing to take on a couple of part-time jobs that aren’t exactly our dream careers to make ends meet. I’ve been working as a sales assistant for years so when a shop offered me a full-time job I jumped on it.

But it turned out to be a whole different set-up to what I was used to. I could do the work, but it was dull and draining. The people were welcoming enough, but not enough to be friendly. During each passing hour I could see my future, and I was miserable, and by the end of the day I’d learned some important life lessons.

Sometimes you’ll have the skills you don’t want and none of the skills you do

Okay, so I have excellent sales skills but can I sew my own dress or play Mozart’s sonatas on the piano to a level of perfection? I can offer customers an outstanding shopping experience but do I have the architectural skills to design and build a skyscraper? Right now there’s only one kind of job people are willing to hire me for. SO it’s important to develop skills in the area that your dream job is so you can work towards it.

Money isn’t worth your mental health

We all have rent and bills and debts to pay and yes, sometimes we have to work jobs we don’t want just to survive. We probably won’t get the career we want as soon as we want it. But we deserve to be happy and fulfilled. Don’t let yourself be miserable day after day. You’re worth more than that. I’m lucky: Yes, I need to make rent, but I don’t have any family members relying on me to bring home the bacon. Everyone’s situation is different, but for me, it just wasn’t worth how awful I felt.

Saying no can be brave

I’m an introvert, a shy one, socially anxious, terrified of confrontation. I was riddled with guilt and dread preparing to phone in and tell them I wouldn’t be coming back. On top of that, I was terrified about giving up a job. What if no one else offers me a job? What if I end up being unemployed for years? Was I being stupid giving up an opportunity to get money? Maybe some people will think so. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Dare to hold out for something better. If you can afford to, risk a few days or weeks of unemployment for the chance to explore new possibilities and be happy.

Experience is important

Don’t jump into a long-term commitment, and know why you’re making your decision. If you wouldn’t agree to marry a stranger, you shouldn’t agree to take a job you don’t know anything about. When I applied for this job, I thought it would be just like every other job I’ve had and I could have signed a contract right away confident that I could do it and everything would be fine. But instead I got a chance to test the waters and discover that it wasn’t for me.

The people who love you are on your side

As soon as the day was over, all I could think about was how exhausted I was, how unchallenging the day had been, and how miserable I would be repeating that even once more, never mind 40 hours a week. I didn’t want to disappoint my family, or let them think that I was a quitter. I phoned my Mum trying to be optimistic about the job but she heard the truth right away. Instead of telling me that I had to push through, that I needed the job and to get over it, she told me to quit and not to make myself suffer and that something else will come along. She passed the phone to my Dad who told me I need to be pursuing my passions, not working full-time in a place that might crush my creativity. He passed me on to my sister who told me I don’t need to take the first job that comes along and that it’s more important to be happy than to have any old job.

Holly Garrow is a literature graduate with a severe tea addiction. She lives in Scotland where she spends most of her time writing and telling people that yes, the Loch Ness Monster is real. 

[Image via Miramax]

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