Keywords: vulnerability, authenticity, career, employment, positivity, adventures
I definitely fall into the ‘portfolio career’ category, however, my previous roles have been in relation to veterinary practice, research and education. Earlier this summer I took on a temporary role as a Recruitment Administrator. Some of my friends were a bit baffled by this but the constant hunt for a job can be deflating so I thought it would give me a much-needed break and also it would provide another learning opportunity for me. Whilst on paper I could be considered overqualified for this role, I am a curious creature and who knows what I could take away from the experience.
There were some training days whilst I was working for the company so I attended them too because the Recruitment Manager provided some of the sessions and I was still learning the ropes. I sat at the back of the training room quietly performing my administration duties. I was invited to have lunch with the team and I introduced myself to the new recruits as the Recruitment Administrator. Over lunch the topic of weddings came up and someone asked where did I get married so I responded, Edinburgh. This prompted a follow up question of what made us decide to get married in Edinburgh. I said I did my Master’s there quite soon after meeting my husband so we have a lot of fond memories of Edinburgh. As soon as I said it, I realised there was a good chance this response might lead to further questioning. I was right. Next question, what was my Master’s degree in. Exactly the line of enquiry I hoped to avoid. I provided a brief overview of my current situation. Two of the people I was sat with opened up about current difficulties in their lives which actually resulted in a really uplifting and supportive conversation between three people who up until 20 minutes ago were complete strangers. Talking (or writing!) about difficult times in your life isn’t exactly a walk in the park. However, I am finding it can be cathartic and can spark meaningful conversations.
***Warning*** mega cheesiness coming up! There was a song on the radio and the lyrics really resonated with me called Flames by David Guetta and Sia especially the following section:
“Go, go, go
Figure it out, figure it out, but don’t stop moving
Go, go, go
Figure it out, figure it out, you can do this”
One way I have managed to keep moving is by attending free local events. I am fortunate to live in the middle of two large cities and who knew there would be so many free education events to benefit from! Keeping on the vulnerability topic but in a different setting, I recently attended an event called ‘Failure Friday’ where people from different industries were encouraging their colleagues to be more open and accommodating of ‘failure’. I was enjoying my post-registration cup of tea before the first presentation when someone sat with me and asked what made me decide to attend the event. I explained my interests and then the question I was dreading, “where do you work?” My reply was something along the lines of, well funny you should ask because it is very topical as I am currently failing to be employed. I said it half laughing with a smile on my face which may have suggested it was effortless but it actually wasn’t that easy to say. A couple of hours later, this person asked a colleague of theirs to obtain my contact details because they thought I would be able to contribute to their team. I wasn’t expecting that! Nothing may come of it, but something could. Opening up can be tricky and awkward with the associated stigma of unemployment but my past two experiences resulted in confidence boosting conversations. I appreciate it is a small sample size 😉
I must admit, being unemployed is difficult to navigate but I don’t think that I am alone in feeling this way. Aside from the financial worries, it can really make you question what your strengths are and have a detrimental impact your self-esteem. I was kind of ready for this but still I am only human and I have had some massive wobbles. I plan to keep moving by making the most of temporary and freelance opportunities that have come my way and I am very grateful for. I’ll keep attending free events because you never know where they might lead and what might spark a new idea until I find or create my next career adventure.
Stacey Blease – a vet thinking aloud
P.S. During my time as a Recruitment Administrator I read a LOT of CVs. Exactly the kind of experience which was helpful in revamping my own CV! Reading references was my favourite task. It was really heart-warming to read glowing references and well wishes from previous employers. Sorry, final slice of cheese!