I am complicit in putting only the best bits of my life on social media.
It’s our generation's norm to see happy after work Aperol drinkers, friends gaining placements and grad schemes across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I’d like to break the mould by sharing a story document absolutely nowhere on my timeline.
I received a call from a recruitment agency, from a guy who had 35 years sales experience. (I should have known better and luckily I now do.)
But I fell for his sales charms. He seemed unoffensive, sweet and northern.
We spoke for well over 20 minutes (It was so long I had to check once I got off the phone), chatting about my work history, degree and current interests.
Our recruiter friend told me I would be super good at sales. A nice articulate person like myself. He told me I should come to a sales workshop and see if I like it.
Being the open-minded and foolish grad that I am, I agreed. Unsure whether it was my ‘what harm could it do? I’ve got nothing to lose’ attitude or just nice to be told I was capable of something amidst all the job rejection that reeled me in.
I was wrong. It did harm, and I lost my time, a little bit of dignity, a fair amount of confidence about £4 in TFL fares from my humble zone 4 home.
The workshop was not really a workshop, but a group interview.
An hour and a half into fairly enjoyable team exercises, we went round and told the woman leading the ‘workshop’ our interests.
I said, in my naive small graduate voice, ‘I know I want to go into some sort of creative role, in the media, maybe publishing, an editorial role.’ She asked ‘not sales?’
I responded with, ‘well, I thought i'd try it out?’ (with an upward intonation as though it was a question) I was still under the line of argument this was what I was doing in the 'workshop'.
Turns out some recruiters have 0 qualms about wasting your time and energy and throw you into these group interviews in hope one of you might stick.
In an unparalleled passive aggressive fashion, in front of a group of 10 people i'd never met before, the workshop leader said: ‘Well Elena, we are going to continue with the interview, you can stay if you want but I don't really see much point.’
I gathered my things and left the room.
It might sound small to you. But I was truly upset. I did tell Mr Sales on the phone exactly what I was interested in. Since I'd been applying to those kinds of roles with no avail, and the sales 'workshop' clearly wasn't for me, I felt like I was never going to find my place.
It was a low moment amongst many. I went home, got back into my pyjamas and comfort ate for the rest of the day.
I’ve had many low and anxious moments. To the point where I'd spend all my time either doing job applications or feeling guilty for not doing them. When my friends asked me If I could come round for dinner or to the pub, I'd say I was having a grad life crisis and needed to focus on getting a job.
There was a week where I had a knot in my stomach and was put off eating entirely. For a foodie, this feels like someone’s surgically removed a chunk of your personality.
Remember, when your insta feed is full of Aperol drinkers and LinkedIn is reminding you to congratulate so and so on their grad scheme, they’ve met Mr and Mrs Sales, been made to look a fool and had some tragic moments too.