The Reality of Not Having a Plan

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Having just got home from Dubai last Sunday night, I decided to give myself a week’s ‘grace’ to gather myself, settle back into home life and catch up with all of my favourite people.

But this week I’m determined to get my head back in the game.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who have asked me in the last week “What’s next? What’s your plan?”. Well you know what people, I appreciate the concern but for the first time in a while I actually don’t have a plan and although I’m trying to remain positive about it, it’s a bit of a touchy subject as my poor family found out last night on the way to dinner…sorry Mum.

This is a topic that is a little hard to write without sounding like an ungrateful little brat. I appreciate the concern everyone, I really do. I appreciate that you mean no harm and if anything you’re just looking out for me. I appreciate that some of you are even excited for me. But at this moment in time, I am trying very hard not to panic about the fact that I am without a plan and every time you ask me that dreaded question, my heart sinks.

Not having a plan isn’t a phase that I’m comfortable with. The awkward in between stage that comes with trying to make a career for yourself at my age, without a degree isn’t a part of the process that I cope well with. I feel restless and even worse, useless. I hate feeling like I don’t have a purpose. I hate not being financially independent (although I’m very grateful for my financial status and support). As cosy as my bed is at 7am, I hate lying in bed knowing that everyone else around me is up and about, ready for their day while I sit brainstorming productive ways that I can put my day in so that when my family/boyfriend/friends return home from work/school/placement and ask me what I did with my day, I have something to tell them other than that I binge watched Gossip Girl for 6 hours straight (yes it has happened, no I’m not proud of it).

Throughout the last year in between most of my internships I’ve had a break of some sort and since July it’s only been 2 weeks maximum break in between. Now I don’t know how long it could be before I next have a job or another internship.

To add more pressure, I’m at the awkward stage of trying to work out if after a year of interning I’m ready to apply for a ‘real’ job and get paid for my skills. On the one hand that’s a terrifying thought but seems like the natural next step to take. Equally, I’m aware that jobs are scarce, particularly in the journalism world and so interning and offering my services for free to get my foot in the door may be my only option right now (an option I would be more than willing to take if it would help me get into the industry I so long to be part of). Either way, it’s back to square one as I obsessively hunt for something to do.

I’m sure many people will agree, whether you’re a recent graduate, still in uni or in a similar situation to me. Everyone feels a little lost at some point and it’s hard to see what the next step will be. This post has ended up sounding very negative when in actual fact, I had planned to write a post all about my goals for the rest of the year but the words came tumbling out and well, we are where we are.

In reality it has only been a week of unemployment but I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself and with everyone asking what’s next, it feels like a lot of added pressure even though those asking mean well, trying to show interest in my life and current situation, keen to find out where I’m at. As soon as I have an answer for you all, I’ll be sure to let you know. Heck, as soon as I get a job you’ll probably find me shouting all about it from the rooftops.

If you find yourself in a similar situation to my current one, you’ll find that everyone has an opinion on your employment status. Everyone will have ideas for you, people you should talk to, courses you should apply for, places you should be which is so amazing and can be incredibly helpful but just be careful to pay attention to your own ideas of where you want to be. Don’t jump into jobs because you’re flattered by the offer. Don’t jump into jobs because you need the money and don’t jump into jobs you’re not ready for. Trust me, I’ve been in all of these positions and although they’ve taught me a lot about where I do and don’t want to be in life, I could have saved myself a little time had I just listened to my gut.

The reality is that like most of us, I am completely winging it. An approach to life that may be more apparent at certain times than others. I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing and although I’ve worked hard, a lot of the time I’ve got lucky with my contacts over the last year. But I know that it always works out and I know that I have enough drive and determination to make sure that it does. So, while the pressure is still lingering and while I’m still actively looking for work I’m going to try and enjoy this little break and use the time to focus on blogging, building my writing portfolio and visiting all of the coffee shops Northern Ireland has to offer (suggestions more than welcome).

Niamh ♥

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