Posted in Blog

August 14th, 2017

Today is one of them weird days. I don’t feel overly energetic, yet I want to seize the day. I want to go out and explore – make memories, yet the day’s almost over and I’ve been staring at a blank wall for most of it.

Of course, I could just try and force myself to do these things. But it’s harder than you think. I’ve been trying to pick up the dirty laundry for weeks but I’ve only managed to push it around my room until today. It’s gross and I hate living with shit on my floor but… I just have no energy to do it.

I don’t have energy to do much, actually. I’ve been wanting to read Stardust by Neil Gaiman since the end of last month. I started reading it, got a third of the way through and haven’t touch it since. I just…. can’t.

In all honesty, I actually think there’s something wrong with me. I’ve been having trouble sleeping again, constant plague of headaches and dizziness, and just zero energy to do anything. My dad thinks it’s because I have no purpose. I’m currently in-between employment, with no more university to kill the hours of boredom. I don’t agree with him, though. I’ve been feeling like this for quite some time and the lack of things to do has just made my feelings more obvious.

Of course he has a point though. Even though I haven’t felt 100% in quite some time, having a job and deadlines meant I was pushing through it. I prefer being busy to… sitting around at home waiting for someone to get back to me saying “Hey, we’d love to add you to the team!” Contrary to my dad’s beliefs, I do not like sleeping in to midday and staring into space. I’m 21 years-old.

This will not be my legacy.

There are so many things I want to do, so many things that are keeping me going. Namely, I’m currently in the process of writing my first book. It’s a huge pain in my ass, but all the great things are. I’ve taken a break from writing, mainly because I realised that there was no direction and I wanted to plot.

It’s helped. A lot. Just taking that step away from reaching writing quotas and really thinking about what I want to happen to my characters. It’s given me time to think about who they are, too. I guess I’m still in university mode where thinking about this on a deeper level was near impossible if you wanted to hand in on time. As much as I loved my dissertation idea, there were some gaping plot holes that bugged the hell out of me. Plus, every time I revised the plot, the story completely changed. It wasn’t consistent. I never reached the point where I thought “That’s it. That’s the story.”

It’s going to take time. That’s probably going to be the hardest part for me, staying patient. It’s going to take countless hours, numerous versions, and probably a bottle or two of wine (or vodka, whatever’s on hand. I’m not fussy) but I’ll get there.

 

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Posted in Blog

Selling Yourself

The legal way…

It’s a concept that has always sounded… odd to me. It sounds dirty, like your selling your soul or a part of your body, but it’s actually the opposite. Well, not really but it’s certainly not as bad as it sounds.

Selling yourself is all about knowing how to appeal to employers. It’s about making sure you sound like the best candidate for the job on paper so they take the next step and offer you an interview (sometimes, even the job!)

 

5 (1)

1. Buzzwords are your new best friend

I know, I know. It’s the same tip everyone gives. “Make sure to say you’re ‘reliable’ and ‘efficient’ on your CV!” But there’s only so many times an employer can read ‘leadership skills’ and ‘IT proficient’ before they’re trying to gouge out their eyes.

Of course they are looking for these skills, but they’re also skills every average Joe looking for a job has. You need to be throwing out buzzwords that will draw their attention in.

Now that doesn’t mean throwing out random skills and terms in order to sound awesome. They’re not going to care if you can cook crème brûlée like nobody’s business if your applying for an office job! What the are looking for is someone who’s passionate, hard working, friendly, and can multitask their way through various projects.

The best way to make sure you are selling yourself is to read the job description. Then read it again. Print it out and highlight the skills if you must! The point is to know what kind of person they are looking to employ and then trying to make yourself sound like that person.

 

2. There is no such thing as the perfect CV

When I was in my final year of secondary school, we covered CVs. They taught us that we would only ever need one CV throughout our life, only updating the education and job section whenever we took on something new.

That was biggest load of bullshit I have ever heard.

Currently, I have about 6 CVs (more if you count the odd ones that are tailored to specific jobs). Each highlight a different skill/a different career I could apply for. In fact, even the ‘general’ CV I have that covers most admin jobs gets touched up every time I apply for a new job.

The point is, be prepared to write a billion CVs when job hunting because one will definitely not work for all.

 

3. The company’s ideals

Another one that sounds completely and utterly obvious when someone tells you, but not all of them think the way you thought they did.

I recently learnt from a friend who works at Primark that their only survey prioritises employees sticking to their designated sections. For example, if you were walking through another section back to your own and you spotted clothes on the floor, the correct response is to find the manager on the floor and alert them of the mess before retiring too your own. I was a little surprised at the revelation because, surely, you it would be quicker and more time efficient for you to clear the mess and retreat to your own section?

Long story short, it wouldn’t. In the eyes of Primark, staying to your section is key for keeping things on track. If you were to clean up all the messes you passed in Primark, you would never make it back to your own section meaning your section then gets behind.

It’s one of those things that make complete and utter sense when it’s explained to you, but when you’re applying for jobs you want to make the best possible impression and helping out where ever it’s needed is one of our automatic responses.

Of course, trying to figure out what the company actually want from their employees is a headache of itself. You’ll second guess everything and sometimes your answers will still end up with your application in the rejection pile before anyone actually gets to see your application.

The answer here is to research. If you come across a company asking you to fill out one of these surveys, make sure to google to application form. More often than not, you’ll find chat-rooms discussing just that topic.

You never know, you might just find the answer to getting through the application process.

 

4. Seek help

If, like me, you are currently unemployed and job hunting, the job centre is a god send. Not only do they help financially whilst you’re unemployed, but they guide you through the process of getting the job.

At the moment, I visit my local job centre once a week and sit down with my adviser. We sit and discuss what jobs I have applied for, what jobs I should apply for, and ways I can improve myself in the process.

Before signing on, I would have never considered it. In fact, I was quite content on never doing so and going about it solo. Whilst the tactic works for some, I quickly realised that it wouldn’t for me. I didn’t know what I was doing, or where to begin my quest for permanent employment. I was, and still am, completely out of my depth.

So I grit my teeth and sought help. And it is worth it. Not that long ago I went to a job fair at the job centre. It was far my beneficial to my quest than I thought it was going to be.

 

5. Make an impression

When you finally do get that interview, you need to leave a good impression on everyone you meet. From the moment you step into the building, turn the charm on. Smile, be polite, and most importantly, be friendly.

Some employers do not just go by their feelings on you in the room. They seek the impressions of those working on reception. Anyone you meet in the building could be a test, so you have to make the best impression.

When you walk into the room to meet your interviews you must make sure you smile, meet their eyes, and shake their hands  (if possible) before you sit down. By smiling your showing you are friendly. Most people respond to a smile with their own, and it helps in remembering you. Eye contact is one of those subtle listening techniques, but it also shows that you are confident. of course, you don’t want to over do by staring at one person for too long and coming across like a serial killer.

Lastly, the hand shake. It is well known that a good, firm handshake says more about your character than anything else about you.

 

*

 

And that’s all the advice I can muster up for one blog post!

Why not leave your own advice in the comments below?

Posted in Blog

July 24th, 2017

I’m lost.

Not literally, of course.

I’ve officially been job hunting for a month this week. And I’m still searching…

Searching…

Searching…

 

I’ve been asked numerous times by countless number of people about what I want to do after university. I’m guilty of asking the same question to some of my uni friends…

But the answer is hard. I could get an average-Joe job in some shop just to bring some money in. But I want to be passionate about what I do. I want to wake up in the mornings and think ‘yay, it’s work day!”

I know that’s what everyone wants from a job, but it would suck for me to go from doing something I love for three years straight to… mind-numbing boredom at a job I don’t need a degree to do.

It would make the last three years pointless.

As it stands, I’m trying to find an office based job, or, if possible, hotel receptionist. I’m selecting the roles that seem interesting that can still inspire me to write on the side because…

I want to be a writer.

Yeah, yeah. I know. How obvious. I’ve been keeping a blog the last couple of years – who hasn’t figured that out?

But in the last year I’ve decided that I really want to pursue it. I’ve never been so driven to write before and… I’m actually making better progress on my first novel than I thought was ever possible.

I’ve tried writing novels before, both before my degree and during, and they never got any further than the idea stage. It was hard trying to write when I knew I needed to be focusing on my studying – so guess which one was put on the bottom of my priority list.

Now I feel liberated. I try to sit at my computer and write for a couple hours a day. No thinking, no editing – just pure and simple writing. And in those few hours, I feel… incredible. The higher the word count goes, the more I feel like I can actually finish a manuscript. The more I feel like less of a fraud for calling myself a writer.

I’m not sure if this will be my first novel. I’m not even sure If I want it to be. What I know is that, whatever the outcome, I will feel accomplished.

Posted in Blog

Web Free Catastrophe

We’ve not had internet in my home town the last couple of days.

Okay, so my house (fortunately) had (spotty) internet but a lot of houses were left without after some builders accidentally cut through some fibre optic wiring. Today was the worst of it as we lost internet complete for a few hours.

All in all, it’s not the end of the world. I took this as a chance to do some light reading (and thank the lord my attention span for books has returned. I really have missed reading). But, going by my towns ‘gossip’ page it was.

Honestly, all anybody does on that page is moan about everything. It just so happened that today’s theme was lack of broadband covering area. It’s the sort of moaning I expected from my younger brother who’s constantly glued to the computer screen. But these were adults – I don’t mean people around my age. I mean adults around my parents age.

It’s sort of funny when you look at it that way, though. My parents are constantly moaning at my brother to go out and play. Yet they were complaining more that he was this afternoon. I think it’s because they’re actually more reliant on the internet than he is. He can still go out and kick a football at a fence (… well, not really. He does have a broken arm at the moment, but normally he would). But what could they do?

Mum might have picked up a book (if she could only remember where she had put them), but Dad’s more reliant that my brother. Seriously, at the moment he’s addicted to playing pool (the kind of addicted that he’s even confessed to playing it on the loo).

It’s like the last time we had a power cut. My brother and I were fine. I read and he played Lego. But my parents were completely and utterly lost for what to do without the T.V.

Some times, it’s really nice to be reminded that the older generations are more reliant on technology than the youngsters.

Posted in Blog

July 4th, 2017

There’s something to be said about accomplishing a goal.

It’s not much mind, but I am officially past the 10,000 word count for my first novel. I’ve got to say, it is completely and utterly liberating.

I mean, sure. It’s taken me a month to get to this point. But in that month I’ve moved house, travelled to London twice, signed on, and done countless errands for my family. it’s been a busy month. And really, I’ve only truly been writing for the last two weeks.

I shouldn’t be trying to justify my excitement, I know. But it’s something I have come to learn about myself recently.

I feel I need to justify every action I make, especially if it results in something I’m proud of.

That, or I belittle the achievement.

*Sigh*

Anyway, at least I know now that 10,000 words in a month is completely and utterly achievable (especially as I was not writing every day either).

Now I have the wonderful task for planning to write the next 10,000 words. And then the next 10,000 and so on and so forth until I have the vague idea of what the story is.

Then the fun part begins: editing.

 

Posted in Blog

The Problem With Job Hunting

A guide by a recent graduate.

 

Ah, the big bad world. What a delight! All this free time to write and frolic about…

What was that?

A… A job?

There are many things in this world that I will always be delighted to do. Unfortunately, Job hunting is not one of them.

What they don’t tell you…

It’s not that I expected to find a job easily after completing my degree. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I knew that I was going to struggle.

See, I’ve done one of those silly things and pursued something that I love rather than something that will guarantee a job – like a science or maths. I pursued something that employers in the field would rather you have experience in rather than a degree.

So basically, I shot myself in the foot.

What they also don’t tell you is that having one CV for all the jobs you want to apply for won’t work. You have to cater each one to each job you apply because, even if you’re applying to retail jobs, each contain a unique aspect that won’t work for any of the others.

To say I’m tired of job hunting is an understatement.

Alas I will persevere because I really need the money to survive.

 

The other thing with job hunting? How none of the jobs actually appeal to you but you’re under a enormous amount of pressure to find one so you start applying for literally anything. Then you get told “why are you applying for that? You’ll hate it!”

Yeah, thanks Mum. Really hadn’t considered that.

I wish there was an easier way to go about this. Like some magic Fairy God Mother (or Father) who waves their magic wand and… Bibbidi bobbidi boo, you have a job!

Yeah, yeah. I know that’s what the Job Centre is for but, let’s be real, how hard are they trying to get you a job?

So far, all I’ve been told to do is spend a minimum of 35 hours job searching. That’s grand and all, but I was already doing that (well, maybe not 35 hours, but definitely actively searching jobs).

But that’s the thing. Because I’ve signed up for the Job Centre, I feel obligated to apply for everything, regardless of the fact that I do not feel qualified or excited to do any of the jobs.

Oh well, I suppose that’s the down falls of being a grown up.

Hopefully I can write this book in the next year so I won’t have to live in the working world for too long.

Posted in Blog

Happy Fathers Day!

Today actually marks two celebratory days in the Sandifer Household: Fathers Day and Mum and Dad’s 29th Anniversary.

Needless to say, they have both been spoiled (well, Dad more than Mum but that’s kind of expected).

We took them out to dinner last night because Dad had today off but is back to work Monday and he wanted to have a drink (or three). It was a good night. Well, except for the part when we were walking home and a guy came running up to us from the pub at the bottom of the road to ask if we had any gear we could sell. Bit odd, considering we were a large group with my little brother in the midst, but we laughed it off.

Today we’re having a much more chilled day. Dad’s decided we’re having a BBQ tonight so we’ll sit in the garden with some music and drinks and just have a nice chilled day.

Anyway, that’s enough from me today.

Posted in Blog

Bump in the road

Shit.

Here was me thinking that I had everything planned for post-university life, but no. Somebody (me) decided to throw a wrench into that plan.

A year ago, I wanted to apply for the HarperCollins Graduate Internship Scheme. It was the only thing I wanted. By the time the applications opened, I began to apply and then I… stopped. It really wasn’t what I wanted anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. The internship sounded amazing and my dream is to work with HarperCollins in some shape and form, but it wasn’t for me. Not anymore. I knew from working on The Gallion (a student-led creative writing anthology) that editing is not for me. As much as I love reading other writer’s work, the moment I put my editing glasses on I found it completely draining. The work I liked in the beginning, I ended up hating due to the sheer amount of errors I was finding.

So I knew the internship wasn’t for me. But now I’m kind of just floating in an abyss with no idea what to d next.

I know I want to write a novel this year and I’ve actually made headway in that aspect. But that doesn’t bring in the bacon. I need to become financially stable so I can help around the house and actually fund some of the research I want to go on for my novel (well, it’s more of an accessory to the writing, but still).

I’ve considered a wide range of jobs and have only applied to one so far (it’s one I really, really want. The job could not be more perfect for me). I’m sort of self-sabotaging myself at this point. I’m not chasing after the things I want to do because I know that once I do… that’s it. I’m in the rat race and I probably won’t be leaving till I’m old and frail and wondering what happened to my life. I’ll regret never writing the novel, or going on those epic journeys of self-discovery that movies love to dedicate to women in their 20s.

So yes, this is my bump in the road. I’ve derailed my life slightly, but isn’t that the point? No road is ever perfectly paved. There are cracks and bumps that make your journey a little more difficult. But you have to remember why you started down that road in the first place.

I went to University because my passion is to write. I wanted to better my craft and meet like minded people. I don’t want to stop doing that. I don’t ever want to give up on something that brings me so much joy and excitement.

So I need to persevere. I need to stop making excuses for myself because, yes. There is time – there always has been time. I need to stop fearing success and start trying to achieve it.

 

Posted in Blog

And just like that, it was over…

Let it be known that yesterday, Monday 8th May 2017, was the day I handed in my dissertation. I finished my final chapter at university if you will.

And I’ve got to say that I have never felt so… empty.

I’m not sure if that’s the right word because, in all honesty, that’s not quite how I feel. I feel like an emotional wreck. I want to bawl my eyes out, try and get my dissertation back and plead for a second chance.

It’s not that I feel like I could have done better. It’s not even that I’m worried about failing. It’s because I’ve handed in 3 days early. For my dissertation.

Doesn’t that seem bizarre to you? Shouldn’t I be an emotional wreck trying to cram every last minute into perfecting my dissertation?

It seems wrong that, for the first time in my degree I’ve handed in not one, not two, but three assignments in early.

I’m not that organised, no matter how much I try to tell myself. I am a disorganised mess. I am a procrastinator. And I’m stumped as to how I’ve managed to finish my degree before the expected, and dreaded, May 18th when my final assignment is due.

I know that this is all the opposite of a problem, but you have to understand. I’ve gone from one educational establishment to another over the last 16 years and not once have I managed to hand in an assignment early. And all of a sudden, I’ve handed in my last three with plenty of time to spare and panic over how I must have missed something crucial.

It doesn’t help that I have never really toyed with the idea of full-time employment. In fact, it kind of scares me.

A few months ago, I had this concrete plan set in my head. I was going to apply to HarperCollins Graduate Scheme and, hopefully, spend the next 18 months interning and before progressing to a full-time job in publishing. But then I realised that I really wanted to work on my own book before trying to help someone else with theirs. I got a taste through self-publishing my own work as a part of an assignment (and there’s no way I’ll ever truly sell it) what it would be like to work in publishing. It was fun, sure. But it was also so stressful and complicated to do.

I know in my lecturers’ mind it was supposed to be some great achievement. In our final year of university with a book in our hands that we had laboured after. But it was… anticlimactic. Sure, it was cool. But it wasn’t what I wanted my first published book to be.

I guess it’s not the process of owning a book that I have written that I am after, but the validation of someone reading my work and thinking “damn, this will be a best seller one day”.

That’s not to say self-publishing is a bad thing. In fact, I applaud the writers who make self-publishing work for them. It’s just not a career path for everyone.

Maybe I’ll consider it in the future? Maybe I won’t.

The point is, I want to try my hand at writing.

I’ve stupidly informed my mother that I’m giving myself a year. I think she’s concerned that I’ve completed this degree for nothing, especially when I told her that right now I want a non-committing job (like bar work, or shop work – you know, something where when you leave at the end of the day you’re not bringing your work home with you). I want to focus on my writing without using a job or my education as an excuse not to write. If I haven’t progressed with a novel in a years time, I’ll try my hand at getting a job in publishing.

But I don’t know how true I will be. I love writing. And yes, I’m incredibly lazy. I can already see myself not want to read manuscripts in my spare time because all I’ll want to do is read real books. Published books where I’m not constantly looking for errors or inconsistencies.

But at the same time, I’d know I’d be so passionate about it. I love writers. I love books. And I love being in love with those things. A job where I can read to my heart’s content would literally be the perfect job for me.

So maybe I should work in a book shop? Although, maybe not a chain store. An indie store where they have poetry nights, and writers workshops. And if I can’t find one?

Well, I guess I’ll just have to open my own then, won’t I?

Posted in Blog

April 26th, 2017

Wow, it’s been a while. Unfortunately, it’s still not the time for me to make a glorious return but I thought I would take the time to let you know where I’m at.

 

I have not abandoned this blog. Much like last year, deadlines have consumed my life. Like, seriously. I have no free time at this point. I want to make this blog something amazing, but I can’t do that with no time to write.

 

So, for now, at least, I’m putting this on pause until I submit my final piece of coursework and complete my degree (so basically a month away).

 

Until then, make sure to follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with what I’m up to.