Welcome to the Real World: First Job Problems

By day 3 of my data capturing job, I grew bored of training and they offered to let me capture on my own. So I agreed. My typing speed as a writer meant that I was one of the fastest capturers on the team. In fact it wasn’t long before management started questioning how and why the new girl was capturing faster than the old staff.

My typing speed combined with my introverted ways did not win me any fans. By the end of my second week word got out that I was a college graduate, drove myself to work and had gotten the job because of my aunt who worked in the company. I could feel everyone silently judging me.

Some of the staff didn’t like me because of how fast I worked. Some didn’t like me because of my aunt and a large chunk didn’t like me simply because of my degree. I was confused. I knew I was privileged to have had the opportunity to study further. But I also knew that my degree meant nothing. I worked as hard as I could to prove myself as a serious employee. People thought I was just there to pass the time. While data capturing may not have been my dream job, it was a job I had wanted and it was a job I worked for. I was grateful nonetheless.

Despite the dirty looks that I saw tossed my way on the daily, I pushed through and tried to focus on work.

The manager who hired me tried to get me to understand the importance of getting to know the people in the other teams but as a recent graduate I didn’t get it. I was there to work. Why did I need to make friends with people who definitely didn’t like me?

The lady I worked with decided to toss me into the ocean and sent me to sit with a different team. At the time I was uncomfortable being surrounded by strangers but it wasn’t long before the new team made me feel comfortable and I started to come out of my shell. Eventually I made friends with my co-workers and work got much more bearable.

I understand now that getting to know the people you work with is so important. I wish I had known that back then. There were tons of people who I ended up becoming close friends with. These were people that originally I was intimidated by or just didn’t make an effort to connect with.

What lessons did you learn from your first job? I’d love to know below.

Welcome to The Real World: The Sweet Smell of Nepotism

Shortly after my disastrous call center stint, my aunt contacted me to see if I would be interested in a data capturing position at the company she worked at. This would also be at a call center but I felt a tiny bit better about the fact that it wouldn’t be a sales position.

I went for the interview and could tell the managers interviewing me were skeptical of hiring me. I had a degree and to them that seemed to mean I would leave the job at the first opportunity that came my way.

I knew this was a lie simply because no opportunity seemed to be coming my way but I worked hard to show them how sincere I was about the job.

I got the position and started the next week. I was overjoyed. Except for the tiny problem that I needed a day off for graduation. I tried to push my starting day back by a week. They refused. I offered to start the day after graduation. They refused. I explained that I needed to get my graduation gown and attend my graduation ceremony. They offered me one day off which seemed ridiculous. It was like they were saying that either I attend the graduation or pick up my graduation robe but I couldn’t do both.

Eventually I ended up taking the day unpaid but I was sulky for the actual graduation. I hated that I would lose a day of pay for a degree that didn’t even get me a job. I had to ask my family for a job. I felt let down by the system. Why did we push high school students to study further if finding a job was so tough? The graduation ceremony just felt like something that I needed to push through to get back to my normal life. I didn’t even get proper pictures with my parents since we didn’t know that we would need to pay extra to take pictures with them.

Cranky and annoyed at the entire university system, I returned to work the next day, ready to continue with my new job.

I didn’t know it at the time but that was the start of me allowing everything in my life to be consumed with work.

I loved my job, the environment, my co-workers. Everyone was helpful and friendly. I instantly fell comfortable. For the first few days anyway. But that’s a story for another day.

The right job is supposed to also be a right fit for you. If it doesn’t feel good, it’s probably not the job for you.

August Book Haul

Okay I know technically August is ending but I received these books in August so I thought I’d share.

I’ve already started reading “The Theft of Sunlight” and it’s soo good.

Life Update: My Personal Experience of the KZN Unrest

I want to blog. I really do. But this is a fun, light-hearted book blog and I feel like it seems insensitive to just jump into discussing books with everything that has happened in South Africa recently.

I’ve deactivated most of my social media sites due to racist comments and threats but I still feel like I need to say something about the KZN unrest. So this is a piece I wrote during the first few days after we tried to return to normal. I’m still not completely okay and there are several things that trigger my panic attacks again. But mental health is a process so I’m trying to give myself the time and space that I need to heal.

It was the night of 11 July when I first heard the gunshots.
Naively I passed it off as fireworks even though something in my stomach warned me that something bigger was coming.
But President Cyril Ramaphosa had promised us that there was nothing to be afraid of. That the threatening messages on Whatsapp meant nothing.
The whole thing started off as a #FreeZuma protest, a protest to free former president Jacob Zuma. But somehow, somewhere, things escalated quickly.
The next day, 12 July 2021, I woke up to the news that the roads were blocked and a few industrial warehouses were broken into.
There was no police presence anywhere. So the looting continued throughout the day. I was at home with the background noise of explosions and gunshots.
Our desperation grew. As the voicenotes threatening violence continued, the communities decided that they would ban together in order to prevent a repeat of the 1949 Riots. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durban_riots))
So each community got together, came up with community watches and patrols to ensure that no one outside the area would go in and endanger the community. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Surely if you lived in the area, it made sense that you would be in that area. If you didn’t live in the area, it was pretty suspicious that you would be there considering most people were either hiding in their houses of patrolling. 
Later on, the government would go on to call this a repeat of the apartheid times. That by asking people where they were going or why they were in a certain area, it was racist.
It wasn’t done to be racist. It was done to ensure the community- regardless of race and colour- was protected as a whole. That only people from your community was in the area.
The President came and gave another speech. It meant nothing to us. Houses were being broken into (there’s even videos on Tik Tok), people were being shot and even kids weren’t spared.
And that is where my story begins. 
On the night of July 14th, we heard that someone had tried breaking into one of the houses on our road. (This was later revealed to be someone from outside the Phoenix community who got into the neighborhood because he said that he lived here. So the community patrol let him through). There was a multitude of gunshots and the dogs on our road went crazy. 
The shootout lasted for about 2-3 hours. The police managed to catch one guy but the others escaped in their van.
I was in bed, covered with a million blankets and trembling nonstop. Since the whole unrest started, my body was always so cold. I felt like a part of me had died inside.

I stayed curled in the fetal position, scared out of my mind, crying silently and mentally asking God to end it all. This was no way to live. Why wouldn’t anyone step in and save us?

But I knew the answer already. While the shootout was occurring in my neighborhood, several other neighborhoods were also under attack all at once.

By the time the shootout ended, some part of me had died. I had basically moved from living in constant fear to accepting that eventually I would die. It was just a matter of time.
No one deserves that kind of fear or that kind of hopelessness. But like I said, neither the government nor the police was anywhere to be seen.
They said that they had sent the army but we hadn’t seen anything.
By the end of the week, the army did eventually arrive and things were slowly calming down.
And that was when the Media started reporting on the Phoenix Massacre. 
The Phoenix Massacre refers to the many Africans that were killed in Phoenix. These people deserve acknowledgement. Their families deserve closure. All families and all victims of the Massacre deserve justice.
But the way the Media tells the story, the people from Phoenix are dangerous and violent. The Indians went after the African people in a racist-fuelled rage.
Both Indians and Africans were killed. There were drive-by shootings done by African people. There were Indians who refused to let Africans living in Indian communities go home.
There was racist tendencies on both ends. But I stress. It wasn’t all people. It wasn’t everyone in a certain race group. Not every person killed every person and those who murdered ought to be brought to justice. 
Right now there’s threats to the Indians all over social media and that’s ignored. The same way the government ignored the Whatsapp messages at the start of this unrest.
We’re warned that when the Indian kids return to school, they will pay for those who were killed.
The media has painted the Indian community as a bunch of killers. Now racist people who were looking for an excuse to attack have found one.
Indians and Africans are disappearing. But there’s nothing said about that in the Media.
The Phoenix Massacre is still being investigated (as it should) but there’s no mention of justice being brought to those who instigated this violence.
There’s no efforts to repair the relationships between Indians and Africans.
I work in an environment with people of various race groups. And honestly work is the only place I feel safe.
I spend my days at home, wincing and being startled by every little second, worried that someone is going to attack me. Driving to work I’m scared I’ll be the latest victim of a drive-by shooting.
Jacob Zuma still needs to re-appear in court. There’s rumors circling on social media that this isn’t over. Unlike the last time, I’m not going to ignore the grapevine. But I’ve been living every day in fear.
This is our new normal. And it terrifies the shit out of me.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Tara Park and Seth Kim meet at a wedding, there is an instant attraction between them. They try to ignore it- both of them are carrying baggage from previous relationships and know that anything between them is a bag idea. However after a drunken night together and a game of Truth or Dare, Tara and Seth come up with the idea of spending five dates together before Seth moves away to Paris.
Their dates will remain a secret between the two of them and when it’s over, they both move on with their lives.
But as time goes on, their dates do not go as plan and they soon start developing feelings for each other.
This storyline was super cliche but I loved it regardless. Tara and Seth are too cute together and I was rooted for them since the first very page.
If you enjoy romance novels, definitely give this one a go. I enjoyed this book immensely and hope to read more.

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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Switching Career Fields

  1. It’s a challenge: Considering the fact that I studied two Marketing modules in university and four different Marketing short courses, I was pretty confident that I would be able to grasp my new job easily. I was wrong. There were days- scratch that, there are still days when I struggle and wonder if switching career fields was worth it (I’m proud to say that recently though, whenever this thought pops in my mind, I answer “YES!!!” without having to think about it)
  2. The internet has resources for everything: As someone who lives on Google this was shocking to me. Yes, I knew that you can Google pretty much everything but I had no clue that the internet could EDUCATE YOU! My mind is blown away by the amount of resources I’ve found online. But also
  3. I will not know everything: This is hugely upsetting and something I struggled with in my first few months. Back in Customer Care, I knew ALOT! Of course I did. I spent three years there and besides some basic process changes, things remained mostly the same. In Marketing, not so much. There are always new Marketing trends, new data on consumers or spending habits. You have to keep reading and studying in order to keep yourself up to date. At first I found this disheartening. I wanted to know everything and I wanted to know it NOW! Over time however, I accepted that I will not know everything. But with a little hard work. I can learn a bit about most things.
  4. Speaking of trends, I wish I knew the importance of keeping up to date with important industry information: Previously, I did not pay attention to any additional information if it didn’t directly impact me or my life. Like when Huawei stopped making phones with Google. Which then led to countless customer queries about that. Now however, I read every email link, Hubspot report or social media survey that lands in my inbox.
  5. Failing is a thing…and that’s okay: Keeping in with my perfectionist tendencies, I did not expect to fail. I don’t like failing. I’ve mentioned before that failing is (was?) a foreign concept to me but when you’re in a new field, failing happens and honestly it’s just a part of life.
  6. Lastly and certainly not least, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable: Growth is uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortable. But when it’s the right field or the right job for you, you won’t even mind. There are certain days when my anxiety skyrockets and I get really uncomfortable with a task but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Did you change careers or start a new job? What was something that you were not expecting?

Top 5 Reasons to Get a Kindle

No matter what your view on eBooks or paperbacks, the fact remains that the Amazon Kindle is a pretty popular device. But if, like me, you’ve considered purchasing a Kindle, you might still be on the fence trying to decide if you should take the plunge or not. Here are my top 5 reasons why you should purchase a Kindle device.

  1. You can read anywhere: On the bus? In the bathtub? On the beach? Don’t worry, the Kindle has got you covered
  2. The internet won’t be able to distract you: This is a major selling point for me. Reading on my Kindle app on the tablet or the cellphone usually almost always leads to me getting distracted by the internet whether it’s a notification from an app or just me needing to Google something. A proper Kindle device instead of the app means you can focus just on your book with no distractions.
  3. You can read in the dark (a huge plus if you’re South African): Save on your light bill by reading on your Kindle. Or if you’re South African, make the most of load shedding by reading when the lights go off. Ask any bookworm in South African and they can confirm that lots of reading takes place during load shedding.
  4. No need to worry about lugging around heavy books: Carry the entire series of “Game of Thrones” without a worry. Having a Kindle means you can have access to thousands of books without worrying about space.
  5. You can read trashy romance novels without anyone judging you: Something else you don’t have to worry about when you have a Kindle is people judging your choice in books. Whether this is a trashy romance novel or Twilight, your secret read is safe with you and your Kindle.

Basically, having a Kindle allows you the privacy of reading whatever you want, whenever you want without any space restrictions.

7 Signs Your Workplace is Toxic (and What to Do About It)

Girl in toxic workplace

A toxic work environment can affect more than just your workload. It can affect your mental and physical wellbeing. Worried that you might be experiencing more than just a “stressful time” at work? Here are a few signs that your workplace might be toxic.

1) There is little to no growth: Okay so this one is kinda understandable considering we are in a global pandemic and at this point we’re lucky to even have jobs. But if your company usually has slow or very little growth, this is not a good sign. Businesses (in non-pandemic times) should be growing and so should their employees.

2) People keep quitting: No job is perfect. But if your job has a high amount of people coming in and leaving especially after a few days, this is a major red flag.

3) You’re constantly worried about being fired: A moment of silence for my past self because this is something that I could relate to. Being constantly on edge because you fear you might be fired for the smallest little thing IS NOT NORMAL. If you’re an honest worker and not stealing from your company in some sort of way, you shouldn’t have to constantly be worried about being fired. If you ARE stealing from the company/doing something you shouldn’t…well that’s on you and you really should be worried about being fired.

4) Staff keep getting sick: Like I said, toxic workplaces affect you physically. Headache? Back pain? Catching the flu more often than usual? The culprit might be the office itself.

5) Your workload is unreasonable: Here’s the thing. All jobs have targets. As a team, employees need to achieve targets. If you’re repeatedly not hitting targets because they’re too difficult or you feel like you have too much work to do that you can’t cope, it might be a sign that your workplace is toxic.

6) You have no work-life balance: Say it with me now, “In 2021, we do not glamorize the grind.” Occasional overtime is okay and I am always up for taking that overtime if work needs to get done. But all work and no play makes me a cranky worker. Jobs need work-life balance. It is a “job”- it is supposed to be a part of your life for a specific amount of hours, your job is not supposed to be your life. If you finding yourself working excessive hours, especially with a workload that you cannot cope with, this is another sign of a toxic environment.

7) There’s bullying and/or cliques: This one is my absolute favorite because PSA we’re not kids at school anymore. You’re an adult. Please act like one. If you noticed that certain employees are favored over others or given the best opportunities while everyone else is ignored, this is another sign.

So You Work in A Toxic Environment, Now What?

  1. If you think it’ll help, speak to a manager: If you think a manager can assist, feel free to set up a meeting. Of course, this might be an issue if your manager is a part of the problem. When I first started having issues with work being toxic, I went to the head of the department. I knew the issues stemmed from a recent change in management so I couldn’t speak to my manager, my manager’s manager or my manager’s manager’s supervisor. Yes, I skipped three levels of management in order to get assistance. Did it help? Yes, for a while. And then things worsened a few months later. By that time I had already left the business.
  2. Ask to move to another department: If there is no other way forward, ask to be moved to a different department. Be sure to do your homework and ensure it’s a department that doesn’t have the same issues.
  3. Start preparing for a new job- This is my last suggestion because jobs are tough to find on a regular basis let alone through the Covid pandemic. But if you are still exposed to the toxicity, update your CV, updated your LinkedIn and start applying for other jobs.

Toxic jobs slowly but surely seep into your everyday life and trust me, this is not something you want. If you find that you are in a toxic workplace, it’s best to leave. But whether you leave the team, department or the business itself is a decision that depends on you and your work environment.

Have you ever dealt with a toxic work environment or bad work PTSD? I’d like to know below.

Fiction Friday: The Monster (Boston Belles #3) by L. J. Shen

The Monster by L.J. Shen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Throughout the Boston Belles series we all saw how Aisling had a huge crush on Sam for whatever reason while he treated her like something he found stuck on the bottom of his shoe. “The Monster” delves deeper into this crush and their background together.
When Aisling manages to sneak into Sam’s club despite him banning her, the result is an encounter that has lasting repercussions on both of them.
But both Sam and Aisling have their own demons and it isn’t long before their secrets threaten to tear apart both their worlds.
I really enjoyed getting a better look at Aisling’s inexplicable crush on Sam. I always saw her as a poor, sappy schoolgirl and “The Monster” really fleshes out her character.
This book was compelling and I couldn’t stop reading. I was torn between waiting to make it last as long as possible (I don’t know when the next L.J Shen book releases so I wanted to savor this one) and finishing it and finally getting some answers.
L. J Shen is brilliant with her spellbinding romances and this is no different.

View all my reviews

Fiction Friday: Book Review- You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Naomi and Nick are the perfect couple. At least that’s what they want their friends and family to think. In reality though, they can barely stand each other. Neither of them want to call off their upcoming lavish wedding and be left with paying the bill.
So Naomi comes up with a different suggestion. She would make Nicholas so miserable that he would have to choice but to call off the wedding.
But it looks like Nicholas has a game of his own and when he moves them to a house in the middle of the woods, Naomi is forced to confront her own deep-seated fears and issues regarding their broken relationship.
This was a really cute novel. At the start I truly hated Nicholas and actually wanted to stop reading because he seemed so annoying but I persisted and eventually he redeemed himself in my eyes.
I feel like I really saw the characters grow throughout this novel which was fun considering the way they started off (i.e barely tolerating each other.
This book is definitely worth a go if you’re looking for a fun, light read.

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