I didn’t really had a plan when I graduated uni, now 4 years ago since past June (wow time really flies, yada yada yada). I sort of accidentally stumbled into my first job in October of that year, and I have been on the hunt for the perfect job ever since.
Because you see, I switched jobs about 4 times before landing the one I’m currently working at. Since April, I’ve been working full time for this great company where I (in a nutshell) design bespoke interiors with custom made carpentry, make the 3D renders and calculate quotes. And I realize it’s only been a couple of months, but I do feel like I finally found the right fit for me.
But that hasn’t always been the case.
I worked as an interior architect for a design furniture store for about just under two years. The job mostly consisted of designing floor plans, designing small carpentry projects, and giving the customer advice on which designer furniture to invest in to achieve the desired interior. I worked pretty autonomous, I had my own clients and I closed my own sales. Even though I never thought I’d end up doing this job, I loved it for the most part. I enjoyed giving people advice and felt very confident in it. Sales started giving me a thrill. Maybe it wasn’t the most technical or ~CrEaTiVe~ job I could do, but I was feeling okay doing it.
And then I left.
I was working part time and was simply fed up with asking for more hours. Don’t get me wrong, having an extra free day a week was great, but not when you’re 27 and you’re just at the start of your career (whatever that means). I also got a bit too comfortable in my job and sometimes felt that I could do this job standing on my head. Maybe there were bigger challenges out there for me. Who knew.
I started 2018 with a shiny new job at this swanky high-end lifestyle and interior store. Ever since I graduated, I always kept my eye on their social media and website for the slight chance a job opportunity would come up. Naive as I was, I even applied to work there on the weekends while I was still at uni, but of course I never heard back. Then one day, a position for an interior architect opened up. I applied.
And I got hired.
I was so stoked. The job description was about the same as my former job, but full time. So I was 100% sure I could do this job. This store stocked the high-end, luxury brands, which means it attracts a certain type of client – which would be more challenging for me. I’m not going to lie, I went in completely starry eyed.
And then the disappointment set in.
Even though I was surrounded by all of these amazing brands, I started feeling like there was something off. I spent the first few weeks going through their entire furniture collection – trying to find my way through all of the documentation and pricing systems, memorizing names and designers – building up confidence in knowing what it was I’m selling.
I designed a couple of floor plans and prepared a few small projects, but I never really got to help clients the way I used to at my former position. I mostly prepped the material for my co-workers. Bigger projects were transferred to the larger store on their second location. I simply felt I was missing out on a big chunk of my previous job, that I liked doing and knew I was good at. I was spending more time at the register and working ‘a traditional retail job’, than I was creating spaces. I didn’t feel that I got out of this job what I needed – or what was promised to me when they hired me.
There was also this very artificial vibe in the store. I think of myself as a friendly person to strangers (unless u a creep), and I’ve always been proud of how I still manage to be myself and correctly deal with clients. There’s certain techniques I use to draw people in and make them feel comfortable with me. But I need to feel comfortable enough myself to do so, first. I often felt forced, or I chose my words too carefully – afraid of saying or doing something I shouldn’t. I constantly felt like I needed to fit this work persona that was miles away from who I actually was.
I was also constantly reminded on how I was ‘just the new girl’ and lol what do *you* know? Just a (very small) example of how I was often made to feel dumb and inadequate, was the gift wrapping. SWEET FUCKING JEBUS the gift wrapping. I can’t wrap gifts for shit, but I also didn’t know that wrapping presents was going to be part of my job all of a sudden. Nope, gifts needed to be wrapped in a precise and certain way. I really felt like I was putting my master’s degree to good use.
And it’s not like I expect praise for doing a good job, but you got to give me something to go from. As hard as I tried not to let these things get to me, it started to affect my confidence. I felt very weird and out of place most of the time. I felt weird for bringing my own packed lunches to work (to then eat alone in a badly lit basement). Maybe I shouldn’t share so much about my personal life. Am I oversharing? And I wasn’t just self doubting my behavior, I felt I didn’t look the part I was playing here. Why didn’t I put more effort in my makeup this morning? My eyeliner looks so wonky. Omg, how can there still be cat hair on my blazer? What the actual fuck am I doing here anyway?
After about two months, a colleague casually informed me the core group always bet how long a newbie was going to stick around for. I’m not sure if they were joking about it or not – but it was a mean thing to joke about anyway. So I decided they could choke on their wrapping paper. I had come too far to let this job gnaw at my confidence, and I slaved too hard to get my degree for it now to go to complete waste. It was around this time I started looking for new job openings and booked two interviews (that turned out to be duds). And then the best and worst thing that could happen to me, happened.
Not necessarily because I was doing a lousy job (but who knows, really – it felt like it a lot of the time) but because they were closing down the store. I didn’t know what to make of it at first. I guess I felt relieved most of all, but also upset. Then angry, because if they were thinking of closing up shop, why’d they hire me just three months ago for anyway?
I worked the last two weeks I was due and then got the hell out of there. Four months further down the line, it turns out they’re keeping the store open – or at least for a little while longer. I couldn’t help myself but to laugh out loud when I heard the news.
I guess the only thing I feel at this point, is grateful. I’m grateful I got to experience working at a well respected high end store – what I believed was my dream job. And I’m grateful I don’t have to work there anymore. I’m grateful my current employer saw some potential in me and hired me only a few weeks after I got sacked. I’m (super) grateful for my current job, where I work autonomous, but am part of a company filled with capable, laid back people.
And where I don’t have to fucking wrap gifts anymore.