Today, I have a very important presentation – a second interview at a fantastic agency for a Social Media Executive position. It’s exactly what I need and I really think it could be my next step.
And not just in the sense of career next steps.
The agency is based in West London near Holland Park, a far cry from where I currently live in Stratford. If I landed the job, I would need to move West – unless I wanted my commute on the Central Line to take more than an hour (and as any Londoner will attest, nobody wants to spend more time on the Central Line than they have to).
I love West London; the sophistication, the history, the sense of class. I stayed in Knightsbridge when I was on holiday with my family in London and loved it. Our dear neighbours in Stratford have become a bunch of complete louts – they just stay home, do drugs and yell at each other all day. It’s disgusting and it’s really at the point where I don’t feel safe here anymore.
Perhaps it’s snobbish or classist, but I don’t care. I thrive on sophistication and elegance, it’s how I was brought up (though my family are not very wealthy) and it’s where I feel at home. I prize intelligent conversation and being surrounded by art and beauty.
Not by drug-addled idiots who think entertainment is firing a pistol into the air. It’s like a cage of wild animals.
I feel that this chapter of my London journey is closing, and I want to move on. Originally I thought this job was too junior, but after going for a first interview and having them say they’re willing to alter aspects of the role for me and exceed my previous salary, I think it is what I should be doing next.
But as I said, this isn’t just about the career aspect. It would be the perfect excuse for a house move as well. It would be a whole new start. A new start that I truly want and need.
We sometimes reach points where we feel there is nothing left in this particular barrel. I’m tired of Stratford, tired of East London, tired of the house I’m living in. It’s not that any of these things are bad, in fact in many respects they’re very good, but I need to move on. Fresh work experiences. Fresh personal experiences. A new area of London to explore.
The interview will involve a 25-minute presentation on social media and content strategy. For a job that was originally pegged as “entry level” it’s certainly a challenge and a half, but I’m determined to prove that I belong there.
What a bizarre two days.
The interview/presentation itself was something of a disaster. They kept saying what was wrong and firing hurdle after hurdle at me to try and trip me up. I stayed cool as a cup of water throughout, of course. But by the time I left I was in bits and very nearly cried on my way back to the station.
I felt awful. It was supposed to be an amazing new opportunity that I would breeze into and I just felt like I had utterly failed. I was pretty sure they thought I was a joke and it rankled me.
I had to go home, shower, stick a pizza in the oven and put on a bad film. It suddenly hit me what a failure I really was. I was living in a dingy shared little flat in Stratford, I was unemployed except for some freelance work after being fired from my last role, I had just been mocked out of an interview at a great agency and I had nobody to hold me or comfort me because the man I had been seeing had decided he’d rather be in a polyamorous relationship with one of my best friends.
It struck me then that perhaps I wasn’t very good at this life thing after all.
All yesterday I was miserable as I made my way to King’s Cross and took the train home back to Scotland, where I’m writing from now. I bought a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed child and read it on the train journey (very poetic I know). It was a relief and a welcome change to escape into that world of magic and fantasy. And I decided that even if nothing else worked out I would finish my own story and get it published, no matter what it took.
Between the comforts of being at home, I received an email from the General Manager of the agency, who had sat in at my interview.
He said that I had acquitted myself well and wanted to have a final discussion before any offer was made regarding expectations of the role and my previous experience.
Needless to say, it was unexpected. I didn’t know what to think; I was expecting a polite rejection or a stony radio silence.
And now? My mind is in a turmoil again.
After all the emotional upheaval that this process has caused, is it the right move? I think that there could be so much opportunity to grow and learn in an environment like this, but I want to be challenged as a working professional, not on how much psychological pain I can endure.
I haven’t replied yet, but I must do soon. I think there is no harm in having further discussions at all, but I feel like I now approach this company as something of a wild tiger. I can see the beauty and the power of it, but I can also see claws and teeth beneath it all. I’m sure some would say that that is simply the agency environment, and if you want to grow and become successful then that it the level you need to be working at, and the only thing to do is man up and take it.
But part of me hesitates.
I’ve had enough of being miserable at work; I’ve had enough of people’s egos and their adoration of causing hurt and pain. Before the presentation, I felt so sure that this was my next move, if it was offered to me. It was a new start in West London; a new job which would entail a new move. Now part of me feels like crawling into my cave and not coming out again.
Part of me thinks how much simpler life would be if I had just stuck to what I’m good at; being a copywriter or a journalist.
But I’m here and this opportunity is in front of me. To not take it would surely make me a fool, wouldn’t it?
Sometimes I think that in this world if we were all a little more foolish we could be so much happier.