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So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

11 Nov

Since moving cities recently to change my life/perspective/career/living situation/relationship/lifestyle and so on I have been asked the same question a million and thirty thousand times…… “So, have you found a job yet?”

I shudder just thinking about it.

My answer – “NO! Piss off and leave me alone! I am sick of all the pressure you’re putting on me AHHHH!” – Then I run off crying and inhale a bag of Doritos quicker than you can say “CAREER”.

Ok, well that is what happens in my head but my actual, more composed response goes something like this – “No not yet, I am waiting for the right opportunity, I don’t want to settle for anything I don’t really want.”

There is some truth to this answer – I have been offered lots of jobs, in fact all the ones I don’t want and I miss out on the ones that are mildly interesting. I have noticed that jobs seem to fall into two categories – they are either great jobs that pay peanuts or the most boring jobs in the world that would allow me to have money fights in my gold-plated undies.

As results I have now been to more job interviews than dates in my life, which isn’t saying much really. My interview ramblings have been mastered into a fine art of carefully weaved bull-shit and enthusiasm that disguises my genuine disinterest in the shitty organisation I am pretending to want to work for, it is exhausting.

The “pressure” I think people are putting on me is also in my head. No one really gives a flying squirrel how I spend my days; it is just a point of conversation for them because they are too dull to come up with a thought provoking conversation starter like – “do you pee in the shower?”. But, what they don’t know is that they are derailing the carefully orchestrated Career Path Procrastination Strategy I am implementing with great success, until of course I am asked that dreaded question.

Just when I thought there wasn’t a worse question to be asked, I got thrown a career question curve ball that smacked me hard in the face and still has me severely concussed.

A few weeks ago I had an interview with Google… I know you’re probably thinking how does a lost mutt like you get an interview with one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world? Good question, I have no idea. But I did spend hours researching questions they are known to ask and constructing with witty, intelligent and imaginative responses as their interviews are notoriously difficult, nerve-racking and wacky.

I was feeling confident during my first interview, my ability to bull-shit had seemingly won them over them over – I demonstrated enthusiasm, made them laugh and convinced them I wasn’t a complete dead shit (not sure how?). But then, out of no where, I was asked the MOST daunting, difficult and frightening question in the world…. “So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

SHIT!

How on Google Earth did I not think to prepare for this question? I spent hours thinking of answers to questions like – “if you were a bread, what type would you be and why?” and coming up with explanations as to why I would be a loaf of olive sour dough and not enough time figuring out what  I want to do  my life…. Woops!

I didn’t think my instinct response “Fucks me!” was going to suffice, so my only other option was an awkward pause, a mighty big gulp and a scratch on the head followed by an explosive bout of verbal diarrhoea that made less sense than ordering a diet coke with a Big Mac Meal. A few days later I was told I had secured a final interview and was one of the two top candidates in the running…. were they crazy?

But, in the end, I didn’t get the job. I was disappointed but also relieved because I would have just been a glorified shit-kicker. Yes, I would be kicking the shit of the smartest people in the world but at the end of the day, everyone’s shit stinks. Would I love to work for company like Google? I think so. Would I love the opportunity to have a job to avoid figuring my life out? Absolutely!

But now it is back to the drawing board. Overall, getting interviewed by Google was a great t was a great experience and will probably be my biggest career achievement (how sad). The most valuable lesson I learnt during those interviews was knowing where I want to go, what I am going to do and how I am going to get there.

So, where do I see myself in 5 years?

Fucks me!

 

P.s I know that in a time of economic turmoil around the world, I am very fortunate to have these options, but I will continue to complain about my first world problems.

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The Early 20’s Minefield.

18 Oct

Yes, yes, I get it. You’re in your final years of uni and despite what your parents, lecturers and employers seem to think, you’re battling though a first-world mine field of opportunity, anxiety, deadlines, bankruptcy and uncertainty. You’re put to the challenge of juggling an ensemble of important commitments and choices, all of which are relevant to your personal and professional development as a young human being.

You endeavor to find that delicate balance between holding down a thankless part time job  (or two) , meeting relentless assignment due dates, committing to countless, seemingly fruitless unpaid internships, maintaining a healthy social life (aka fitting in as many student pub nights as your schedule will permit), as well as finding some time to squeeze in those other things you love in your life, such as fitness, relaxation, dinner with family, chores, weekend getaways, quality time with the girls, or heaven forbid – a boyfriend.

I can proudly say I conquered each of the above with great success, but this isn’t to say there weren’t hours, days, even weeks, when I didn’t collapse into a heap in a fit of frustration, engulfed by an overwhelming sense of defeat, telling myself how no one seems to understand how hard it is being 22! I would wonder when the sparks I was sending off in all directions would come together and finally create a dazzling fireworks show I could be proud of.  And my toxic frustration slowly began to seep into the way I perceived the all good things happening in my life.

Now at 26, with just four eventful years up my sleeve, self-esteem in tact, a stable income, a stimulating full time job, a solid friendship group , a healthy work / life balance (including plenty of down time, exercise, dinners out, bottles of wine and trips to the beach), and I can quite confidently say that without having navigated my way through the minefield of challenges put forth during my misshapen, over-committed, action-packed, uncertain university years, I would not be the capable and level-headed person I am just four years down the track.

Looking back, I still feel it wrong to discredit those “lapping up a booze-fuelled uni life of no commitments or responsibility”. Those years were new, important and tricky. They required dedication, agility, resilience, flexibility and positivity. They lacked the structure of a “nine to five” work week, which (despite sounding mundane) holds direction, job security, routine, income and still leaves time for the good things in life. I think this stable monotony is underestimated for its ability to keep one’s head above water, despite the common woes faced in the average workplace.

So in a shout-out to those blindly feeling their way through their “infant 20’s” – don’t beat yourself up when a ball or two drops and you nearly loose the lot; it was hard, it is hard, it does get easier!

B.

Becoming financially independent (being broke).

16 Oct

Becoming financially independent can be compared to walking down the street with no bra on. At first you feel confident, free and having  fun with your girls hanging out. But once you finish striding down your first block, the discomfort sets in. You begin to miss that support you took for granted for so long and suddenly you’re yearning for a sports bra strong enough to support an Olympic hurdler. You miss it because every crack in the pavement and every step you take sags your breast and your once supple and perky bank account.

You see, the financial independence journey isn’t a cruise down Fifth Avenue, it is an uncoordinated stumble down Reality Street which is lined with ciggie butts and rubbish. To make matters worse the blisters on your feet are getting bigger by the second because you now have to buy your shoes from Pay Less Shoes. Your money is no longer funding you and your girls having fun, all of a sudden you’re paying car insurance, rent and interest on your credit card that your prick of a bank keeps convincing you to increase your limit on… Welcome to hell!

Ok, it isn’t that bad. It does feel liberating to not be indebted to someone, not having to sheepishly ask (grovel) for another $50 and the freedom to go where you want and when you want (after spending months staying at home and saving your arse off). Thankfully, my dad was generous enough to support me through school and uni where I had sporadic jobs to fund clothes and partying, you know, the important things. Back then I thought that was a sign of independence, if I wanted the Sass & Bide jeans, I needed to buy them myself, boy how wrong I was.

Once I got my first ‘real’ job earning a whopping AU$30,000 a year I was thrown into the financial deep end and left to drown with my credit card acting as my life raft. I thought I was killing it with my career woman attitude and steady income, even though  I was earning less than a part time employee at McDonalds. At first the novelty of dad forwarding me the bills for my phone was cute, $79 a month was do-able and I felt a sense of achievement and pride the first time I paid it. Then the big scary bills started to roll in and the novelty wore quicker than my soles of my cheap shoes. Health insurance, car registration, rent, physios, groceries, dental check ups and with petrol prices rising as fast as my desire to go out and party…. I was fucked! Not the good sort of fucked…. The sort of fucked that has you considering a career in stripping.

I still struggle with money as I am not at a point where I can have it all like the TV shows (even the ‘reality’ ones) depict. I am at a point where I can have my cake and eat it, but only a few slices because the rest is on lay-by. The Camilla kaftan I want to buy will replace a social life for two weeks, and I need to sell half my closet on eBay if  to go on that trip to Bali….  Goodbye Camilla Kaftan, and so the cycle continues. But there is no doubt that the first year of being financially independent was the hardest and I learnt many, many lessons – here are a few:

  • Passion Pop isn’t thaaaat bad
  • Budgets are boring but necessary
  • If you get a credit card you sign your soul to the devil
  • Two-for-one Tuesdays are a god sent
  • You will never turn down a home cooked meal again
  • Starting salaries should increase at the same rate as inflation
  • The feeling you get when you find $3.60 in the crux of the couch cushions, I imagine, is similar to when you win the lotto
  • You lose weight while walking because you can’t afford can’t afford petrol, cabs or sometimes even the bus, but then gain it because all you can afford is fast food
  • Your dad is the best sports bar you will ever have.

H x