Category: Welcome to The Real World

How Failing an Interview for My Dream Job Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Guy in Suit

No one likes failing. 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. Until the day came and 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:

  1. Someone in the journalism industry liked me and my blog
  2. Someone thought I was worth interviewing
  3. My attitude in the interview might be the reason I will never get another job
  4. 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. 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.

One day.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

Who knows?

Why You Should Save for A Rainy Day


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.

How to Never Miss a Date Again

Girl on cellphone calendar

Few things irritate me more than having a deadline or appointment jump out at me from nowhere. It makes me feel like my whole world is upside-down and I need to take back control of my life. Here are a few tips to help you never miss an important event or date.

1) Buy a planner- I love Typo planners but they’re a bit too expensive for me. Instead I use an ordinary dated diary as well as my cellphone to keep track of dates.

2) Write down everything- First start with concrete events that you know won’t change such as birthdays or your weekly night out. Then enter in important dates such as deadlines for a project.

3) Plan a week in advance- I like to think of myself as pretty organised. Those dates that I miss are usually family events that for some reason my mother doesn’t tell me about (am I not family? Maybe not). To compensate for her serious error, I ask her well in advance if she/me/we has any plans for the week ahead. If she gives me an event we need to attend, I list it down. If not I simply plan my week around that.

4) Use your planner on a regular basis- You could have the most gorgeous (Typo) planner but it doesn’t matter if you’re not using it. Be sure to check your planner often to keep on track with dates and to add in new ones.

How do you keep track of everything? Have you ever forgotten an important date? (I forgot my parents’ anniversary once). Let me know below.

7 Things College Graduates Need to Know About Their First Job

I’m writing this at 7PM on a Saturday. I worked today and I am totally and utterly exhausted. I was watching a video on Youtube where one of the lifetstyle vloggers spoke about her internship experience. She mentioned not enjoying the office environment and found it crazy that she had to wake up at 7:30 each morning (I wake up at 5:30. I’m very jealous). I feel like there’s a huge difference between the college life and the working world. Most of the time, graduates are not prepared. So here are some of the things I think college graduates need to know about their first job.

  1. This may not be the job for you- Guys, this is SO SO SO important. Sometimes your first job may not be for you. I had a friend join a company where she was utterly miserable and could not hide it. She would do the bare minimum of work to get by simply because it was not what she wanted to do. Not every job is for every person and I don’t think lots for people realise that.
  2. You may not have your dream job- Similarly your first job may not be the job you wanted. I spent four months looking for jobs in Media and Publishing before giving it and taking the first job I got. Was it in the field I wanted? No. Did I learn from it? HELL YES!
  3. There will be a transition period for you- Adjusting from the world of skipping classes just coz you could to a workplace where you need to be in is a HUGE adjustment. I’ve been working for ten months and it still makes me sad that I can’t just skip work on Fridays and stay in bed. Damn you, Uni for spoiling me.
  4. It is not always pretty or fair- Such is life. Guys, I can’t even tell you how many times I have been left gaping at the sheer unfairness of life especially in the working world. There’s lying, back-stabbing, betrayal. Think about a Housewives reality show and you have a good idea. WATCH YOUR BACK!
  5. You probably won’t have the salary you want- Starting salaries are incredibly low. I also feel like Durban salaries are especially pathetic. Please can someone explain to me how to survive on R2000-R3000. Have you heard of a little expensive thing called petrol?
  6. Your degree probably won’t count for much- It is very rare to find a job in your field especially if, like me, you studied something in Humanities (also, can I please point out that Humanities is the biggest college in my university and yet they do nothing for the students to find a job? Yes, I am still pissed about that. You’ll  soon see why). At the beginning of your job hunt, your degree might not make much of a difference in your career. I had a friend (non-Humanities of course) who worked for three years after university before he finally got a job in his field. I was equally parts impressed and jealous.
  7. It’s not what you know- Following from the above point, it’s more about who you know that what you know. The wonderful job where I learnt so much? My aunt recommended me for the position. While I am grateful to her, it annoys me that my degree was so useless. Why did I waste three years studying when I could have just had someone recommend me for a job. That being said, NETWORK! It is a great way to make connections and you never know where your next opportunity will come from.

Budgeting 101

Nothing makes me happier than having money at the end of the money, BEFORE payday arrives. I’ve been working for about a year and it still amazes me that the one thing in my life I have relatively good control over is my finances. Is it because I live with my parents? Is it because I have fewer expenses than most people? Maybe. But I personally believe that it’s my very strict budget. All through my life my father has told me that I don’t know how to budget (which at the time was true). However when you start working for your money, you learn quickly what works for you and what doesn’t. Here is my quick course on budgeting:

 

1) Save before you spend: Before you start drawing up your budget, be sure to put aside some money in a savings account. I have a certain amount set to transfer to a savings account every month as soon as I get paid. Which leads me to my next point…

2) Pretend you earn less than you actually do: I consider my earnings as a little less than the amount I have left AFTER I have saved. For example, if I have R500 after saving then I pretend I earn R300. That R500 is to remain untouched until absolutely necessary (I will discuss this later). This method work out as a great way for me to save money since at the end of every month I am surprised by my bank balance. Why do I still have money? Oh, yes- I earn more than I think I do. It feels like a present from me to me. Thank you, me.

3) Make a budget…but round everything up: I like to round up my expenses to the nearest hundred. This ensures that I am able to cover them sufficiently as well as having some extra money in case I need it. For example, the petrol price went up by a HUGE amount one month. It was a major strain on finances but it affected me just a small bit because of all the money I have saved.

4) Similarly, round up your spending budget as well: Make a list of what your usual purchases are and round that up too. I always over-budget for food (which I rarely buy) and clothes (just in case it turns out that I’m outgrowing them…AGAIN) so I know that I am always covered.

5) Remember to keep something for a rainy day: This is very important. Put aside money to use in case of an emergency. When I first started work, I was crazy about this. I insisted on keeping R500 in my account no matter what. I wouldn’t use the money even if I had no money for petrol or food. That money was not to be touched. This came in handy when all of a sudden, my car battery died and needed to be replaced. I was thrilled that my responsible ways finally paid off.

How do you budget? Are there any tips you have that I might have missed? I’d love to know below.

5 Lessons Learnt from Gossip Girl

It’s been…a really long time since Gossip Girl ended (sorry but I can’t count the actual time because it will make me cry like a baby). The lessons the show has taught us however will last forever. Much like Blair and Chuck’s romance (or so we hope). Here are 5 lessons from Gossip Girl.

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1) If your boyfriend cheats on you, do NOT take him back. It doesn’t matter if he’s hot. It doesn’t matter if he says he won’t speak to the other girl again,DO NOT TAKE HIM BACK.

2) You’re not a stop along the way, you’re a destination- Kinda ironic that the woman who said this took her cheating boyfriend back but I’ll try not to judge.

3) “Friends” are fickle but friends are forever- Despite Blair and Serena’s many ups and downs they were (usually) always there for each other. Blair’s minions however were let-downs time and time again. Anyone remembers how they attached themselves to Serena in season one when she decided she wanted to be a bad girl again?

4) You don’t always get what you want but that’s okay – Am I the only one who cried when Blair didn’t get into Yale? I was as heartbroken as she was. After all, if the Queen Bee couldn’t get into her dream school, what did that say about the rest of us? That episode taught me that things in life may not always go as planned but it doesn’t mean you should give up. This has been an invaluable lesson for me in my own life.

5) Always dress your best- The fashion on Gossip Girl was one of my favourite things about the show. The characters wore amazing outfits and they wore them with confidence.

What lessons did you learn from Gossip Girl? Are you Team Nate, Team Chuck or Team Dan? Leave a comment below.

Lessons Learnt from Disney Movies

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1) Just keep swimming

2) You don’t need a man to save you

3) Look beyond outward appearance

4) Don’t eat anything from strangers (how did Snow White not know this???)

5) Never sign contracts without reading (and very carefully thinking) it over. Especially if it’s a contract from an octopus-like person

6) Never trust a guy who proposes too soon. Especially if too soon happens to be one day.

7) If you don’t invite people to your party they may get upset and curse your child. Always invite people even if you don’t like them (maybe just give them the wrong date/address?)

8) Speaking of curses, never make deals with someone who can spin straw into gold (who does that??? That’s dodgy on it’s own)

9) Keep Moving Forward

What lessons have you learnt from Disney movies?

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