Why I had to walk away from my ‘dream job’

Why I had to walk away from my ‘dream job’

This is a post I never expected to write, but I think it’s important that I do. Two weeks after starting my dream job, I’ve had to walk away.

I wrote previously about my experience with Imposter Syndrome. Sadly there was an impostor- but it wasn’t me.

Being a young person trying to break into the media right now is so tough. We work hard at university, we chase those elusive work placements, but nothing ever seems to be enough.

I’ve actually been incredibly lucky in my work history so far, in that I’ve always been employed in some capacity or another. I’ve been fortunate to have paid internships with companies I’ve really enjoyed, and I’ve learned so much, both about the world of work and myself, in the past 14 months since my graduation.

However, I’ve always known my heart lies in television. I could have found great career progression (and a decent salary!) in both my previous roles in PR and Influencer management, but for me career satisfaction means following my dreams.

So I did – I moved my whole life to another new city, where I didn’t know anyone for the chance to work as a broadcast journalist. The situation was never perfect. I knew I’d signed up for a low paying job in an industry that requires long days, but I gladly accepted a pay cut for the experience.

Now let’s talk about the ‘e’ word. I’m so over employers who think they can take advantage of young people, all in the name of ‘experience’. And that’s what happened to me.

I had to leave my job because, quite frankly, I wasn’t valued. This isn’t some precious Millennial ‘special snowflake’ bullshit: I’m talking earning less (substantially less) than minimum wage an hour, receiving no training or support, and working with equipment that wasn’t fit for purpose. In essence, I was miss-sold what the job would entail and my health, both mental and physical, was on the line.

I had to leave because I passionately believe young people looking for work shouldn’t accept these conditions from employers. Working a tough job for a crappy salary is one thing; selling yourself into slave labour in the hope that maybe it’ll be worth it a year down the line is not a precedent we should set.

And so I have taken the biggest leap of my career so far and gone down the proper ‘freelance’ route. To say I’m bricking it is an understatement, but at least if I’m earning rubbish money, I’m earning it for me.

I’m entering a sink or swim time of my life, but I’m confident I’ll be able to float.

To anyone in the same boat, please have self-respect and say no to employers who take advantage of you.

The world may want to tell us as young people that we’re worthless, but that is just not true.

Work hard and chase every opportunity, but remember that your health and wellbeing must always come first.

The photos in this post were taken by the lovely Amber Roberts


  1. October 3, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    So much love for this post – it seems to be more and more that the ‘entry level graduate job’ description is a code for ‘we think we can take this piss out of your because we know you’re a young person who really needs to forge a career path’, and it’s so not okay! I’m taking on some freelance work at the moment, and the idea of it being my only source of income terrifies me, but I’m just not impressed at all with the jobs market as it is!

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      October 3, 2017 / 1:33 pm

      Yes, you are so right! I’m hoping that if young people say no to being mistreated the climate will start to change eventually. Good luck with the freelance world. I wish I could offer some advice but I’m brand new to it as well!

  2. October 3, 2017 / 2:28 pm

    Wow this is such an amazing post and will ring so true with so many people, myself included. I think it’s amazing you’ve taken that leap and gone freelance. I’ve been inspired by your post and I’m sure many others will be too. Good luck in everything you do x

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      October 3, 2017 / 2:52 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m pleased that other people are finding this post useful (though very sad that so many people can relate) x

  3. October 3, 2017 / 3:56 pm

    Thank you for writing this post! I’ll be looking for journalism grad jobs next year so good to keep this in mind. Employers can be the worst. Good luck xx

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      October 3, 2017 / 4:01 pm

      I’m glad you found this useful Sophie! It’s a tricky industry for sure, but also an exciting one xx

  4. October 3, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with this post! Well done you for not putting up with it and moving on!

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      October 3, 2017 / 6:11 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  5. October 4, 2017 / 6:12 am

    Ah, I’m sorry this hasn’t worked out. Definitely the right thing to do! Employers should not be allowed to get away with this

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      October 4, 2017 / 9:01 am

      Thanks Franca!

  6. October 5, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    Good on you, Alice. From what I know of you through the blog you’re an incredibly talented, hard-working, motivated person and any employer should count themselves lucky to have you. Well done for standing your ground, and best of luck with the freelancing or whatever else comes next!

    Lis / last year’s girl x

  7. October 10, 2017 / 8:48 am

    I just want to give you a huge hug! This is exactly why I didn’t go into journalism after university and this is the same situation so many of my friends have found themselves in. It absolutely amazes me the hoops young people have to jump through to get a solid career these days. I hope this doesn’t put you off forever. One of my friends hopped around runner and researcher roles until she was offered a job in the marketing dept of CIN. It wasn’t something she considered before but it’s been a blessing in disguise. Keep going, you’ll 100% find your feet eventually you just need to find the right place.

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      October 10, 2017 / 11:16 am

      Aww thanks Jess! It is a very tricky time to be a graduate in ANYTHING these days, but it does help knowing other twenty-somethings are in the same boat. Fingers crossed things pan out!

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