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