Monday, February 6, 2017

How I Landed a Job I Love

Up until this past year, I was afraid I was never going to find a job I enjoyed that was beneficial to my future, while also paying the bills. My academic background in journalism and make-up artistry was no longer something I wanted to pursue professionally. I didn't want to intern at a magazine, and I had already worked at MAC for long enough to know that a career as a make-up artist was not for me.

At the time, I was working as a bartender in an environment where I was really unhappy. I was never motivated to get up in the morning, and the second I woke up I contemplated not showing up altogether. Ultimately, I always powered through and went to work with a forced smile and positive attitude, but on the inside I wanted to scream.

I don't think it's right to expose the company and go into detail about why I left, but let's just say that there is a lot that happens behind closed doors and it only takes a few bad seeds to ruin what could otherwise be a great environment. What was funny about this situation was that this bartending job had the best hours you could find in a busy restaurant: Monday to Friday and hardly any late nights. This is basically unheard of as a bartender, but since the restaurant was located in the PATH, our crowd was the Bay Street workers who came during lunch and after work to drown their sorrows in alcohol. The customers I served were some of the nicest I had come across in my entire six years in the service industry. Had I not been frustrated with almost every other aspect of this job, it's very likely I would have stayed working in the service industry for much longer, but because I was desperately looking for a way out, this ended up being a blessing rather than a disappointment.

I really had no idea which career path I wanted to pursue at that point, but this ultimately helped keep my options open rather than hold me back. I knew I wanted an office job with a Monday to Friday, 9-5 schedule, but that was really my only criteria.

I had done the whole online job hunt thing, but was losing confidence that submitting resumes online was going to lead to anything promising, no matter how many I submitted. While out partying one night, I happened to meet a head hunter from Montreal who told me to get in touch with her company. I contacted the company's Toronto office the following week and met with a headhunter who helped me fix up my resume and look for jobs suited to my qualifications and criteria. Since you never know what jobs are going to come up and from whom, I ended up contacting several headhunting companies to maximise my search. At one point I had three headhunters looking for me!

A few offers came in here and there, but they were either too far, part-time, or the salary wasn't what I needed in order to leave the service industry while still keeping myself afloat.

A tip for people in their twenties working full-time service jobs:
Leave the industry as soon as possible. When you're used to walking away with cash in hand each day, making the move to an entry-level office position is not something everyone can afford to do. There was a girl where I was working who landed a 9-5 office job, but returned to work a few weeks later because the salary wasn't enough to sustain the lifestyle she was used to.

Having said that, I remained confident that I would find a job with a salary that 'paid the bills', or so they say.

While I waited on the headhunters, I decided to reach out to my natural network. I messaged all of my friends and asked if they knew of anyone hiring. Not long after, a good friend of mine informed me about a job opening at a non-profit organization where her mom was a member. I read over the job description, and felt as though someone had written up a dream job for me. Though I technically didn't have the academic or professional requirements they were looking for, I applied anyways.

It took over a month until I was asked to come in for the first interview. After chatting and going over my resume, my interviewer requested that I come back a few weeks later with samples of invitations, and newsletters, since this job relied heavily on designing products of this sort. Having essentially no background in graphic design, I tackled these products to the best of my ability. I worked day and night to come up with templates I hoped would impress: and guess what? My hard work and dedication payed off when I received a phone call with a job offer a few days after my second interview.

Along with the great news came even more good news. The salary was what I had hoped, and the hours were even better than expected. Because the company I would be working for was a Jewish organization, the work week was Monday - Thursday with all Jewish AND Stat holidays off. Suffice to say, this job really was worth the wait. I said yes on the spot.

A few months later, I am still just as happy as when I first received the news about my new job. I have a boss that is approachable, kind and diligent, and work in a small office made up of a few lovely women (my boyfriend was thrilled about this part). I actually enjoy the work that I do, which isn't something everyone can say. Working in a new field means that not only am I'm challenged every day, but also building new skills and a career as well.

Though I'm sure this job won't be without its rough patches, I'm sure they will be few and far between. I love my job. Some days I still can't believe I found something so suited to my natural skills and personality. I do pick up a couple shifts a week at a different restaurant for a little extra money. After all, you can never save too much or have too much spending money - am I right or am I   right? The mix between the two has been ideal, and I still have ample free time, in addition to both a higher and more stable income.

If you're feeling discouraged or stuck in a job you hate, I hope this motivates you to search for something that will make you happy. I hope it will help you believe that that job really is out there. It's not likely it will just fall into your lap - it takes a lot of time and effort, but hard work always pays off eventually. The only time it doesn't is when you give up.

Please comment below with any questions or additional advice you can offer other job hunters who may come across this post. After all, in the end it all comes down to who you know, right?

With love,

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