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I love eating out. It’s like a weakness of mine. Bad day? Grab take-out. Good day? Pop in to a nice restaurant. Pay day? SPLURGE on a meal.
This was especially tough for me when I first started work. It didn’t take long for me to realise that a huge chunk of my salary was being spent on food. At the time I told myself it was fine since I was a temp work and I didn’t know how long I would have an income for. However since then I have picked up a few tips to help me save money when eating out (so that I can eat out again. What? I didn’t say that I stopped the habit completely).
1) Split meals- When my friends and I go out for lunch we always split meals. Usually restaurant portions are bigger than what we are used to so we can usually make one meal last between two or three of us.
2) Take the extras home- Alternatively if you ordered too much food you can always take the extras home so that you have food for another meal.
3) Order a starter- Starters are cheaper than mains and sometimes they are just as filling. Order a starter if you are a bit light on cash but still want to eat out.
4) Drink water- Water is free. Also I’m going through a phase where all I drink is water for some reason so for me, water is free and tasty. (Tip- water will fill you up less than cooldrink so that you are able to eat more)
5) Choose specials- Some places have specials that you just cannot refuse. Sign up for mailing lists of your favourite spots so you can be informed when there’s a special.
I know the title says “best thing that ever happened to me” but my stomach is clenching just reading it.
No one likes failure. ESPECIALLY NOT ME. I am an only child. I usually get what I want. So the concept of failure- of not getting what I want- is fairly foreign to me. Now I could go on about all the things I did not fail at but that is not the point of this blog post. The point is the one thing that I did fail at.
So some time in January, I came across a job opening for a magazine journalist. I didn’t want to apply because it seemed like I was never getting chosen for journalist jobs. I forced myself to send in an application because the week before that my floor manager had told me not to stop looking for a job in my field. “Hey, maybe it’s a sign”, I thought to myself.
I sent in my application and got a really positive response. I applied for a half-day position so I could still keep my steady job that I liked. However the person doing the hiring suggested that I apply for a full-day position as she was impressed by my blog and my writing. I was thrilled and I agreed. I was so excited. Someone liked my blog and my writing. A MAGAZINE SOMEONE LIKED ME!
We arranged an interview. I was excited, nervous, anxious all at once.
I bombed the interview. I implied that I thought Media was a dying industry. Which I do because every Media outlet I planned to work at was either closing or already closed. I also mentioned that I saw myself in Marketing in five years. Also true. Because Media was not hiring.
By the time I left the interview I knew that I would not get the job. But it hurt nonetheless.
I waited for the deadline for the job to pass. Then I waited another day. Then a week. And then I cried. I cried and I cried and then I cried some more. I gave myself a week to cry. Then I picked up my bright yellow highlighter and went back to my notes on Digital Marketing.
It hurt that journalism kept kicking me in the face. I gave up so much to write. While friends were busy with boys and booze, I was writing and pitching articles. I’m a twenty-three-year-old with ten years of writing experience and the only writing I do at my job is emails.
Once I was done crying, I wallowed with some Gilmore Girls. More specifically, I watched the horror that was Rory’s journalist career.
At times like this I seriously doubt that I will ever make it as a journalist. But maybe I am just not meant to. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have the opportunity to actually try out journalism before making a decision. However it does not look like that opportunity is coming anytime soon.
Once I accepted that I didn’t get the job and was going to be stuck in a Call Center for the foreseeable future, I had some decisions to make.
The excitement over my interview taught me a few things:
- Someone in the journalism industry liked me and my blog
- Someone thought I was worth interviewing
- My attitude in the interview might be the reason I will never get another job
- I was miserable before the job opening
No 4 was vital. I had never felt as excited or alive as I had while preparing for that interview. I thought it would change my life. And it did but not in the way I expected.
I spoke to my manager about wanting to try out Marketing. He agreed to speak to our Marketing team. I threw myself into my Digital Marketing course. I picked up new tips and tricks for my blog.
However I still felt like I lacked that excitement that I had for the interview. I needed to do something that would excite me. I felt like my life was in a rut. So I did what anyone in a rut does- I booked me a holiday. But before that holiday, I made more of an effort to be with supportive friends and family.
When one of my friends heard my sad sob story about my ten years of writing experience and no job, she told me to watch The Bold Type.
As a rule I do not watch shows about magazines because they depress me. As a college graduate I thought my first job would be something like “The Devil Wears Prada” (and it was but for a completely different reason- I’ll talk about that some other time). Instead I got “Postgrad” without the happy ending.
But I gave in and watched The Bold Type because it has been ten years since my first magazine internship and three years since my failed freelancing gig. I was not going to be a journalist. But I would find a new dream. I had to. So I watched The Bold Type and I fell in love. This was not a show about a magazine. This was a show about female empowerment and life and love. I was hooked.
I am sad to have “failed” the interview for my dream job. But honestly that single failure has taught me so much. I feel like I’m finally living instead of just going through the motions in life. I am disappointed to be a call center agent instead of a journalist but nothing lasts forever and all I need is one “yes” to finally get me in the door.
Or maybe not.
Yesterday I got in to my pretty, shiny (it had just been washed the day before) car to go to church. I was feeling pretty good about myself since I was fifteen minutes earlier and the weather had changed from constant rain to a dull sun.
I turned the key in the ignition, felt the car vibrate and then heard a sound of my nightmares. The awful crank of a car NOT starting. I stared at my dashboard in shock. NO! NO NO NO!
My dad had the habit of parking my automatic car in Neutral. Did I start the car on Neutral? Nope, I checked. And the radio was working so whatever this fault was, it was not the battery.
Fear was fast making it’s way around my body. Something was wrong with the car. And whatever IT was. I already knew I would not be able to pay for it without suffering for the rest of the month.
Here’s the thing- I am pretty good when it comes to my money. However this year I chose to do a course online in Digital Marketing and I used any extra income of mine to pay off this course.
After nine painful hours of trying to track down a mechanic on a Sunday, we managed to locate one. He agreed to look at the car and confirmed that there was water damage.
Please let us take a minute to appreciate this irony. I took advantage of the rain to wash the car and that was what caused the car to not start.
After trying repeatedly to start the car, he finally managed to fix it and charged me R350.
Don’t get me wrong. I was glad that it was nothing serious and R350 is not much compared to the thousands I imagined spending on the car.
However it certainly dampens my spirit that I do not have any extra cash for the month ahead (which is still four days away).
Moral of the story: Save for a rainy day. They may take a while to come but even sunny Durban has them.
New year. New books. This year instead of visiting the bookstore for New Years Day, I decided to try and tackle my own books. Of course, I did go to the bookstore eventually but it was a tough day and I needed the retail therapy. Here are the books that I am currently reading this month:
- Welcome to the Real World by Lauren Berger- I genuinely feel like this book is life-changing. I am about 20% into it and I already signed up for a Digital Marketing course, gone back to the gym, started eating healthy AND scheduled all of my book reviews for the month #ProductiveBeast
- Bright We Burn by Kiersten White- I bought this book as a Christmas treat for myself. I stopped reading it the day before I went back to work and now I have just not managed to pick it up. Probably because I skipped to the end and I was not happy with the ending (I have been doing that for most of my books recently).
- Tarnished City (audiobook) by Vic James- This is SOO good and I am so sad that I only get to listen to it to and from work.
- Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas- another great read that I put down and never picked back up. I should just walk around with a book glued to my face.
What are you reading this month? Have you read any of the above? I’d love to know below.
I feel like I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like. Life has been getting in the way but there’s been lots of exciting things happening so I thought I would do a quick life update.
Firstly, I finally got a job! I feel like I’ve been searching forever so you guys have no idea how thrilled this makes me. I also graduated. Which, while exciting, left me a bit disappointed since it turns out that my degree was literally a piece of paper. Can no one give me a degree on like a solid piece of cardboard?
I’m glad that after years of effort, I finally got the degree in English that I’ve always wanted. It also doesn’t hurt that I will no longer have to wake up at 5AM to attend a class that may be cancelled due to a student protest or just cut short by a tired lecturer.
I’ve also been stockpiling books (who’s surprised? No one? Yeah, that’s what I thought). I don’t have that much time to read anymore but I just like having the books nearby. I’m going to share a recent bookhaul soon.
What have you been up to in April? What are your plans for the long weekend? I’d love to know below.
I’m hours (five hours to be exact) away from writing my final paper as a college student. I know I should be focused on the paper but all I can think of is “How did three years pass so soon?”
It seems like only yesterday I was preparing for my matric finals and here I am hours away from my college finals. Time really does fly.
I’m dreading having to see family over the festive season and deal with the “What are your plans for next year?” questions but omg I can’t believe I’m here!
Also, once exams are over I hope to have proper blog posts lined up.
I know I haven’t really blogged much lately and I feel horrible about it. The WordPress app on my phone wasn’t working and I was too busy at college to get to a computer and blog. Ironically now that I do have free time, my university is on a strike. I swear I will try and make time to blog more frequently once everything calms down.
Got this amazing selection of books from a second-hand book-stall. What makes this is a pretty big deal is that the “second-hand stall” was held by the SPCA. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here but the SPCA put my dog down two years ago and it still upsets me.
For years I supported the SPCA and it pissed me off when I took my dog to them and their version of help was to tell us to put her down. I was even more upset when I came across stories from people who said that the SPCA told them to put their dogs down. They took their dogs to their local vet and the dogs got better with time. So yeah I was incredibly hurt. Going to the SPCA booksale hurt me because there was once a time when I was the one who donated stuff for the SPCA to sell.
I pretended like I didn’t know where the proceeds from the book sale went. This worked really well for me as you can see in the picture above. However once we paid (the books were over R300) the lady selling the books thanked us for “supporting their cause”.
I spent the afternoon and the night afterwards crying. I didn’t know who or how many pets my money would save but I did know that it certainly wouldn’t be enough. Someone somewhere would still lose a pet. And that hurt like hell.
I’m hoping to make my visits to the SPCA booksale a regular thing. It’s a good way for me to get new books and maybe move past my SPCA issues.
It seems like everyone and their mother has an opinion on what I should do once I graduate. So far, none of those opinions have included or required any of my input. And all this unsolicited advice seems to go along the same route- basically everyone wants me to go do postgraduate studies.
Which would be great if a) it was something I wanted to do or even if b) People would suggest postgraduate studies instead of simply telling me “you should go do Honours”.
I’ve always known that I wanted to be a journalist which is why I chose to major in Journalism. People just seem to ignore that and it is seriously pissing me off. Which brings me to my next issue with postgraduate studies. If I was to study further, I would prefer to do my Honours in English Studies. I would also prefer to study all the way until PhD so that I can lecture in a university-level English classroom. However that is more of a back-up plan than a goal. Like I’ve said so many times since I was twelve, journalism is the career I want. And like people have done so many times since I was twelve, my decision is being ignored.
My question is this, when did society decide what we can and cannot do? I am sick and tired of being considered odd simply because I don’t follow the stereotypes of what society expects us to do. I’ve seen friends complain about how people expect them to marry and have kids. Like postgraduate studies, starting a family is a great idea if it’s what you want. I remember being totally shocked when an old friend got married at the age of twenty. However my shock quickly melted away when I remembered that she always had been the mother of our friend group. Marriage would certainly suit her. However when other people found out (okay I couldn’t resist bragging that I had grown up with someone who was now getting married), I remember someone asking me if she was pregnant.
Last I checked, everyone had a life of their own. Why don’t we all focus on living our own lives instead of dictating how people live theirs? Some people want to get married, some people want to study, some people want to go start their own business. Unless their plans somehow seriously harm you, I really don’t see what the big deal is.
If we all followed the same life path, we would essentially be copies of each other and what would be the fun in that? People need to step back and allow others to do what makes them happy instead of what they think society would have wanted them to do.