Issa Employee

To be honest y’all, it’s been a madness.

On my return from Trinidad for Latoya’s wedding, we got stranded in St. Lucia. I wanted to fight the pilot, because the day after my return, I was supposed to attend an second interview (for a job where I had my first interview literally days before flying out)… but luckily for me, we were only stuck for under two days and the company were very understanding of my situation.

Roll around Friday 6th . I’m actually acclimatised somewhat to the English temperature again, and I’m trying to commit to drinking as much water here as I did overseas.

Knees weak, arms are sweaty, no vomit on my sweater already (mom’s spaghetti). Quick 40 minute train trip that I’m hoping to memorise because wow, could you imagine a transport so quick and easy? I’m wearing a pencil skirt, my skin is still caribbean soft and my hair- well, mum did my hair because I was feeling lazy last night and wanted a little babying (I’m an adult…).

Great bit of banter with the girls in the reception room who loosen me up with Harry Potter because let’s all be real- Dumbledore did not YELL “Harry, did you put your name in the goblet?”, he said it calmly. I believe it’s even italicised there? I’ll have to do a re-read- but that’s not the point.

So then there’s a test. It’s something I actually can do with a bit of confidence (after having done many such tests in many such undocumented interviews july was a very busy month) and I have a half an hour. Fix an AI sheet. Come up with a marketing strategy. Thank you social media marketing internship- I have my interviewers laughing and relaxed and I answer questions with a sort of authority I wasn’t quite sure I had. I meet more people on the team! Swelling with hope here, I mean, why else would they have me meet so many people on the team if not to gauge if we’d work well? After some handshakes I’m reassured that I’ll know the employment tea by early next week.
As I leave I check my watch, I arrived about ten minutes before the interview. The test was 30 minutes. The Q&A… an hour?! Again, I’m hoping its good news. I check in with my parents, because they asked and then I head off to catch up with a friend.

Checking my email for a shopping order, in the Westfield Costa, deciding on whether or not I’ll get that blueberry muffin with the medium hot chocolate or nah… it arrives. Letter from my interviewer. ISSA JOB OFFER. Mate. I almost fell down my knees were like jelly. Big beaming smile on my face as I send screenshot to the family chat on whatsapp because literally we’ve all been talking about this job for the better part of a month. I decide I deserve the hot chocolate and the blueberry muffin and get to snag one of those comfy chairs overlooking the window while I wait for my friend to show up.

I’ve told her I got news but I wanted to say it in person. I am buzzing like a swarm of bees, literally can not sit still for the life of me. When she sits down with me, her order on a tray, taking in this ultralightbeam smile on my face she asks about the news. And I tell her. And she says- I knew that’s what it was. I’m so happy for you!!!

I am low-key dying. Congratulations from the famalam start coming through as news spreads through the pumpkin vine family gossip network. I post not so cryptically on twitter because I want to share the news, but I still don’t believe its real? I’m just glad it’s finally happened. Wow. Your girl’s employed and in the industry she’s been trying to break into for about 3 years (incl. the year of MA studies for this industry).

It’s really starting to sink in!

I start next Tuesday!

New position?

After my undergraduate degree, I’m sure I fell victim to the Post-grad Blues. Not only did I move far away from everything I’d grown familiar with after three years, but I found trouble in looking for work. It took me three months to go through my savings trying to not burden my parents and live as independently while I job searched,as I had in Crewe (even though I was living at home); took another month for me to gather up the courage to take the advice of some others in my position and sign up for JSA while I tried to get a publishing placement or internship or basically anything at all to do with books.

After all, since sixteen I knew whatever career I ended up in, bookseller, editor, writer, production (sometimes I even hoped illustrator), I always hoped the focus would be books… or magazines, e-books, blogs. Anything you could read. My mum always said, she wanted my brother and I to be happy with whatever we did with our lives- and when reading was my favourite pastime, the Publishing industry was the thing to aspire to.

My first publishing job search fresh from my undergraduate degree was not very successful. I rarely got an interview, and when I did- it didn’t get further than that. The stress put onto me while on JSA was ridiculous- I got the idea that they didn’t care what industry I got into, as long as I got hired and removed myself from the program ASAP. And you know, that internalised societal shame of being seen as too lazy to work or being a scrounger when in all honesty it should be recognised that looking for work is like a full time job in itself with all the various sites, newsletters, interviews and networking events you end up attending.

I got very nervous when it came to applying to positions. It even effected my MA a little bit- I was so sure no one would be interested in what I had to offer, and was sure to get no replies to the emails- let alone land an interview or get the placement that I needed (and wanted) for one of my modules. But I did, and my confidence grew. I had people reassuring me that I did have something to bring to the table and educating me on the topics where it was necessary. I left the course feeling competent.

Unlike some of my classmates, I decided I was going to focus solely on my dissertation over the summer. I didn’t want to burn out because I was so determined to leave my MA with a grade that I would feel proud of (because shame/disappointment was the initial fuel for my Post-grad blues). Now I’ve done all of that, I received my results two weeks ago and felt confident in my abilities. What I felt seemed like that “Imposter Syndrome” you hear about, although it doesn’t appear to have taken root, and for that I’m thankful.

This second foray out into the world of employment is different. I am more relaxed, and having made friends with those in a similar aspiring position- I don’t feel as unfulfilled as I thought I might looking for and taking part in non-book related work. I don’t shy away from the thought of stacking cans or waiting tables because I’ve learnt that I can’t expect to get a dream job right away.

And I do need money to buy all of the books I’m eagerly anticipating in 2017. I know I’m good for the job, any job.