Winging it.

credit: mohamed_hasan

If you’ve been following my blog, you might be aware that I’m not currently in employment, having taken a career break at the beginning of 2017. I’m certainly glad I did. But that means that I am currently unemployed. Gosh, that brings up all sorts of connotations, and feels difficult just writing that statement down. However, that’s the truth, whether I like it or not.

I haven’t worked for an employer for almost 3 years (you can read about my quitting my job here), and let’s just say the whole ‘work’ thing has been a pain point for a while. I never really knew what I wanted to do, and I’ve often feared that I would never find “it” – or, at least, something I’m content with (I believe that there’s not just one thing that we’re necessarily made to do, but rather a number of things we have the potential to thrive in #multipotentialite).

Back to the title of this post, in the last month I’ve been focusing on a new field – publishing – and have now started to apply for various jobs/placements/schemes (full disclosure: at time of writing, I was looking more at content-/journalist-type roles, before I started exploring the world of publishing). And, boy, do I feel like I’m winging it sometimes. I honestly feel that getting out of the house to go to the gym everyday is keeping me sane, or at least level. The sustained endorphin rush helps with both my mood and confidence, I feel.

Even though I’ve been blogging in various places for almost 3 years (scary), I took a year out last year where it was really for self-care, re-energising, and chilling the f*ck out. Mental health is key. I did, incidentally, continue to blog and build my writing portfolio – just doing what I enjoyed – and, as it turns out, that has turned out to be “useful” now for my CV/profile.

As I have done different things in my life – from when I was a tennis coach during school holidays when I was 16/17, through to tutoring, working in recruitment, doing a Masters, starting an education programme – I have felt like a fraud, an imposter. It feels like a constant sense of re-inventing myself, of wearing a new coat and trying to become this new thing, adopt this new identity. When people ask “what do you do?” after all, they’re really asking “Who are you?”. As well as wanting to know how much you’re making and whether they’re doing better than you, of course (just kidding, but not really – 10-year school re-unions, anyone?!).

In case you haven’t heard of it, imposter syndrome is a real thing, experience by everyone – in my experience, introverted, creative types are a sucker for it.

I’m having to brag about what I’ve done, come across a super-keen and self-assured (to be fair, I’m being pretty picky right now and – at time of publishing – after much info-gathering, and speaking to people, I’ve now honed in on where I want to be). Put my best foot forward, as they say. Whilst showing-off doesn’t come naturally, I’m also having to convey great enthusiasm and an element of “yeah – this is totally the thing I wanna do” (again – at time of publishing – I’m feeling much more comfortable with this). Really, I won’t know for sure until I’m doing said job and experiencing it for myself.

That said, it’s helpful to know the key ingredients, which for a long time for me are ideally in a small team where I can learn, with a company whose culture and values align. But beyond that (time of writing), it feels like I’m taking a few shots in the dark and seeing what lands (at time of publishing – I still am, to be fair – everyone in publishing says it’s a mix of perseverance and luck when it comes to landing your first job).

Also, as I’m applying for junior/entry-level/intern roles, I know I’ll have to get past the whole “Aren’t you too old/over-qualified for this”-type question. Which is fine, but I know I’ll have to feign confidence and coming across that that particular job/company is exactly what I wanna do and where I wanna work and all other jobs and companies are baaaaad. An exaggeration, but you get my point.

And then there’s actually getting the interview, getting past the interview, and then the next interview, and then accepting the offer, and then finally actually starting the job! Phew.

But then a whole new bunch of questions surface… am I capable? Will I like it? Will I suck at it? The questions I’d have anyway, but are amplified by the fact that I’ve had a break from work, and that this is a new industry, and new territory. Perhaps the biggest downside to not having a workspace to go to is that you’re left to your own thoughts, criticism and paranoia all of the time. It doesn’t surprise me that co-working spaces are cropping up everywhere at the moment, for those who don’t have ‘typical’ jobs – i.e. freelancers, creative, creative freelancers, freelancing creatives, etc.

That whole “fake it ‘till you make it” thing has never worked for me. If I’m not wearing the coat, haven’t got used to it, and it doesn’t feel like it fits, I struggle with putting on the facade.

Let’s just hope this one fits. Thankfully, it’s been feeling more snug of late.

✏ Written: Tuesday, 6th March 2018 @ 8.49pm

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What about you? 🤷🏽‍♂️
Do you ever feel like you’re “faking it” or are “gonna be found out” in your work – or even when it comes to your life? As always I’d *love* to get hear your experiences with the whole imposter-syndrome-thing 💙

11 thoughts on “Winging it.

  1. Hate the “what do you do” question, as if one’s life is only validated by employment. I have been a stay at home mum for over 11 years, doesn’t that count for something? Surely in caring for the next generation I’m contributing? But now, I will answer with “I am a writer and poet”, considering joining LinkedIn and telling the world!
    Good luck with your applications.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I *completely* agree – and it’s such a societally-engrained thing. I find the question rather jarring – and have never really known how to answer it! Thank you for the good wishes 👌🏽

      Liked by 1 person

  2. abg,

    I just wanted to let you know that I your writing resonates with me so well. I’m going through a lot of similar stuff myself and it’s nice to know that there’s someone out there who understands and feels the same way I do. I’m glad that you have taken the chance to find a coat that fits. There are so many people out there who don’t have the courage to do so.

    Keep wingin’ it 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ashley, you made my night when I read this on my mobile last night. It’s taken me a long time just how much my writing is cathartic for me, talking about and naming things on paper – as I haven’t been so good at vocalising this to anyone in the past. Do you have a blog? Your username doesn’t link to anything – but I’d love to check it out if you do. Happy Sunday ✨


  3. I feel your pain. I have worked in radiology for 10 years ….soon to be 11 and I absolutely hate every second of it. I also completed grad school (because it was on my bucket list), but I got a degree in Human Resources …which is a career I thought I would have interest in but I finished the degree during a recession and could not get an interview if my life depended on it. I got the same words thrown at me “wow, impressive resume (with all of the radiology experience ), but that was the gist of it. I am currently working as a travel tech so I get to travel all across the US helping out hospitals but my passion is in writing. I have two books out, working on my third and I am thinking of signing up for classes in creative writing and editing. I would LOVE to land a job writing blogs or articles for a company. Sounds like you are moving in the right direction. DONT GIVE UP!!!! XOXO Christina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw Christina, thanks so much. And big love for continuing your writing alongside your job, it can be so hard to find the time and energy for that – and discipline! Do what makes your heart sing. I went to my first spoken word event tonight and loved it ✨


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