27.7.17

PURSUING MY CAREER IN WRITING & MOVING TO MANCHESTER


Hey guys!

(Sorry in advance, this is gonna be a long one!)

So carrying on from my last post about getting a new job when I came back from America, I'm just going to start from the beginning so I don't miss anything.

Like I was saying, I started applying for jobs the day after I landed back in England. For me, the focus was 100% on finding a job I loved, which hadn't always been the case in the past (my past jobs were fine, but I wouldn't say I was happy as I knew they weren't for me). I wanted something that I wouldn't dread going to, a job where I wouldn't be clock watching and one that suited my personality and the way I like to work. I was going to be picky and only apply for jobs in industries that actually interested me. In my eyes, the company was really important. But so was the job role. Having worked in PR, social media and writing in the past, I knew exactly what I did and didn't like. I didn't like PR or social media/marketing - I did like writing. Despite being an outgoing and sociable person,  I eventually learned that I most definitely work better on my own. Just me, myself and a laptop. Sounds boring, but I like being left alone with my thoughts. I mean it's hardly surprising, it's the reason I set up this blog in the first place. I'm sure you've noticed but my posts are VERY long, basically because I really like to write. I'd also noticed that compared to other people on previous teams, I had quite a keen eye for detail and noticing mistakes (be it grammar or punctuation). I just thought, "you know what, maybe this is my calling". So off I went searching for jobs in content writing/communications.


So how did I end up in Manchester you ask?

Well like I said, the role and company I wanted to work for were priority, so I wasn't in a position to be picky about area. I had no ties to Nottingham (that's where I'm from) so could essentially move anywhere for the perfect job. To begin with, my search had no limits - but as time went on, my focus shifted to either London or Manchester. I basically decided that I wanted to live in one of the bigger, more youthful cities so I'd find it easier to meet people. Pros of London: I had friends there. Pros of Manchester: I wouldn't be skint. I was contacted by jobs in both cities, and although I would have gone with whoever offered me a job first, secretly my heart was with Manchester. Realistically, I just didn't want to go back to student living (i.e. living in a dump), being pressured to stay at work til 8pm and having no money to enjoy myself (or travel) with. Sadly, that's the harsh reality of living in the capital. So for obvious reasons, Manchester sounded way more appealing... and thank god, because that's exactly where I ended up.


Despite being on the ball and applying for A LOT of jobs, I was actually really surprised at how quickly I was offered something. Although the process is kinda long-winded with application forms, sending examples of my work, completing writing tasks and eventually attending an interview, it only took 3 weeks after I got back from America to secure my dream job...
Content Writer for LateRooms.com. Which, ironically, was one of the first jobs I applied for and the one that got back to me almost instantly. I later found out that the job had only been advertised for 3 days because they'd received 160 applications in a single weekend. Talk about great timing eh? I'm still in complete shock that I (and the other newbie Alex) managed to get the job over that many people! I was eager to start so I could 1) move out and 2) get paid, so it was decided that I would start a week later. I was actually offered the job over the phone when I was in London visiting my friend, so as you can imagine I got very drunk that night!

For those of you that don't know (although it was a brand I instantly recognised when I applied), LateRooms.com is a hotel booking website. Basically my job is to write the hotel/city/attraction descriptions - so I essentially spend my days writing about travel. Obviously there's a specific tone of voice I have to adhere to and things I have to talk about, but I pretty much have the freedom to write whatever I want. It's a lot of research and A LOT of writing (I write non-stop from 9-5), but I really enjoy it! Without sounding cheesy, I kinda feel like I've struck gold because it's everything I'd ever want in a job.


  • I work on the 11th floor of an amazing, modern building right in the city centre opposite Manchester Arena. The view looks out over the whole of Manchester.
  • We're spread out over 2 floors so the team is massive, meaning there's lots of new people to meet (a lot of people my age too).
  • The team isn't at all corporate. Everyone is reallyyy friendly (plenty of banter) and have made the effort to involve me in everything. As long as we aren't revealing, we can pretty much wear whatever we want too (I hate jobs that force you to dress smart!).
  • Everyone moves away from their desks at lunch and either eat in the chill area (with TV's and a football table) or go into town to get food together. It's not unusual for 15-20 of us to go to a restaurant at lunch.
  • Speaking of lunch - we get an hour. I've only ever had 30 mins for lunch so my mind was officially blown.
  • There's a massive co-op in the building where I can grab food from if I've forgotten my lunch.
  • Or I can stock up on food from Carol the trolley lady who comes round the building twice a day. On Friday's she brings hot food - I've already become accustomed to my usual sausage and bacon barm.
  • Everyone's really social and meets up after work for food and drinks. There's also a ton of events throughout the year like massive summer and Christmas parties.
  • I don't feel intimidated by my bosses cause they're both so lovely, so I don't dread 1-2-1s like I have done in the past.
  • I'm hooked up to 2 screens (a laptop and a PC) which makes working SO much easier.
  • The office space is open plan, so we aren't all tucked away in our own little offices. LOVE THAT.
  • There's doughnuts/percy pigs/chocolate on our desk every. single. day.
  • My desk doesn't have a phone, so I don't have people ringing me every 2 minutes.
  • We have flexible working hours so can start anywhere between 8-10am. When your 8 hours are done, everyone goes home. I don't think I've seen anyone work later than they've had to.


I know it's massively lame to list everything I like about my new job, but these tiny little things really matter to me. I think it's because my past jobs have been the complete opposite... not at all social after work, no big parties at Christmas, no one leaves their desks at lunch, old fashioned buildings in the middle of nowhere, having to get in my car to drive to the nearest shop if I've forgotten my lunch... the list goes on. So things that people normally take for granted are such a novelty to me.

This post is way too long already, so I'll go into detail about my move to Manchester in my next post.
Thanks for reading!
xxx


NEW JOB & MOVING OUT / WHY I'VE DECIDED TO SETTLE DOWN


Boyyyy this post's been a long time coming. I don't really know where to start to be honest because SO much has happened since I returned home from my 6 week trip to the USA and Canada in mid June. For someone who's been travelling for the best part of a year, it might come as a surprise to see me finally settling down and randomly moving to another part of the UK (more about that in my next post). But I guess I'll start from the beginning.

As much as I love travelling, I knew before my trip to America that I didn't want to do it full time anymore. I knew I didn't want to go back to Australia, but there was nothing stopping me from saving for a flight to New Zealand and going there on a Working Holiday Visa if I wanted to. If I was that desperate to continue travelling, that's 100% what I would have done. But being back home for 3 months changed my mindset completely. It wasn't that I wanted to quit travelling altogether - that's not even an option for me - but I knew something wasn't making me happy and I finally figured out what it was (with the help of mother dearest). Whilst being away was amazing and the best experience ever, coming home was the issue. The sadness and almost depression that followed. I was never settled at home, and that's not something I could deal with forever.


When your life isn't based in the UK, it makes coming home really hard. You have no job, nothing to keep you occupied, no income, you still live with your parents and your friends live hours away because you haven't built up a network of people around you. Whilst some of those issues were eradicated when I got my old job back at the hospice, the others were still making me unhappy. It wasn't that these things couldn't be fixed (of course it's easy to move out and make friends if you really want to), but if I continued to travel full time, I would continue to have these problems every single time I came home. It was a question of: I'll have to restart my life in the UK eventually, so do I really want to keep delaying it? I knew I'd still be able to visit the places I wanted during 5 weeks annual leave, so I could essentially have the best of both worlds if I decided to settle down. I could finally have the lifestyle I wanted in the UK without sabotaging myself by going away all the time. So that's what I decided to do.

Aside from feeling unsettled at home, another reason for wanting to give up full time travel was because I just didn't have the energy for it anymore. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this on a post before (it's been that long since I've blogged so who knows!), but the excitement I used to have for trips had pretty much disappeared and everything started to feel like a chore and a hassle. I've watched a few videos on people who felt the same after being on the road for a long time (albeit a lot longer than I was), but essentially the novelty wears off and you don't find it as fun anymore.


I used to LOVE getting up early for flights, travelling to the airport and spending hours walking around before boarding. I used to enjoy being on the move every few days, lugging my backpack from one place to another and relying on an array of ubers, buses and taxis to get me to my hostel. I used to love meeting people in hostels and making conversation as soon as they walked through the door. But like everything in life... when things become 'the norm', they become boring. Even the night before my trip to Copenhagen in April, I was seriously pissed off that I had to drive down South for the airport, even though I chose to fly from London cause it was cheaper. Before my flight to America, I can remember sitting in the airport hating every single minute of it, wishing I was anywhere but the airport. The thought of having to 'travel' anywhere put me in a ridiculously bad mood. I guess it's something you won't understand if you go on holiday twice a year and the whole process is mega exciting, but for me, I was 100% over it. I couldn't wait to just NOT travel.

Despite not being overly excited for America (of course I wanted to go, it was just the build up beforehand that put a dampener on it for me), I still went and had THE most amazing time. Like ever. That trip is going to be seriously hard to top and I don't regret it for a second. But by the end of it, I was definitely ready to come home and start putting things in place to start my 'new' life, so to speak, in the UK. Plus I never wanted to see, or pack, a suitcase ever again (okay maybe not ever, but it's definitely on pause for a while!).

So... DAY 1 back in England and I was already on the job hunt. I've decided to save the details for another post cause I've already been rambling for ages, but as the title suggests, I did get a job and I am moving out. It's all happened very fast and there's lots to tell, so I'll get to it ASAP and it should be on the blog soon. But yeah, very exciting times ahead!

Speak soon
xxx