Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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Shorthand has taken over my life

SHERLOCK JR.This is what I should be doing. This would benefit me in many ways, it would help me with the whole journalism thing, it would help me with my blogging and it would help me not feel like ripping my hair out because I have to master the ability of writing at 100 words a minute.

Shorthand has taken over my life and sadly it is a necessary thing to pass the course (the exam is this Friday!) and also a requirement of many, many places.

Wait, you say. You already have a job at your local paper, you say. And I would smile at you with a painful smile and say: “alas I do but I still need my 100 words a minute, I have to have it. It is an expectation.” Then I would hang my head out of exhaustion and the reluctance to face up explaining further as I lock myself in a room and listen to shorthand passages about pubs called The Rose and Crown and planning permission for an old folk’s home.

Shorthand is taking over my life. I seem to have reached my limit somewhere just before the 100. When people speak to me I see the shorthand symbols coming out of their mouths like some weird, journalistic Alice in Wonderland experience. I am practising until either my hand hurts or my brain cannot take any more words and so I can no longer understand what is being said.

If I fail this exam I will carry on until I can retake it in two weeks time, like a weary traveller because that’s how I feel. If I pass, I will rejoice with the biggest celebration I can contemplate in my tired mind, it sounds almost too good to be true: cheesecake, wine and the boy. Perfect.


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Everyone says: ‘you’ve got to find what you like’

I’ve been debating an issue (in my head, naturally) for a little while. The issue is if you need to love what you do. It’s the career advice I’ve been told since I was 15. Only recently have I actually stepped back and looked at what was being said. (That sentence requires a little imagination but stay with me. I’m tired and I want to get this off my chest).

“Find what you love and it’ll never feel like work.”

That’s the one piece of consistent advice that was said to me from the ages of 15 to now by all sorts of people and articles. It’s a superficially great piece of advice. It’s also slightly ridiculous and not necessarily true.

First, not everyone feels that a successful career results in life fulfilment. Some people feel that as long as a job provides them with money to do what they want then that’s all they need. After all, who says a career needs to be everything?

Admittedly I’m aiming to do the whole what I love thing. Mainly because I’ve wanted to do it for so long, also because I think I’d be good at it and because I can’t really imagine doing anything else.

Still, this advice that has followed me for at least six years of my life probably goes a little way to explaining why I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

I want to travel, live a little like a nomad and see the world and I want to write and tell people about things they don’t know or need to know about. It’s pretty simple. I also want a nice house and at least two dogs and a cat. Maybe even a house rabbit that grows to the size of a crawling human baby. To have that costs money. Journalism isn’t really known for the high pay cheques especially when you’re just beginning as a lowly roving reporter like me.

In today’s society there is definitely a much stronger focus on academia and a career. Because of the stress, commitment and time needed for said career, the only advice given to remedy this complete and utter focus on work is to do what you love.

This results in 15 year olds being asked: “so what do you want to do?” As they feel a little awkward and not knowing, people quickly answer “Oh, you’re too young to know now anyway.” Yet it’s an expectation. A ‘regular’, more elite career is looked at with impressiveness and if you answer with an ambition to the question of “what do you want to do?” People dismiss it and remind you you’ll need a job for that.

Work is seen as a chore unless it’s something you love. Not a great way to promote employment.

Well duh. Obviously you need a job but it doesn’t have to be your life if you have other ambitions. You can decide to go into a career for the money rather than the passion for it and in doing so afford what it is you’re passionate about. Be that cars, holidays, houses, clothes, artwork – whatever.

Doing what you love makes sense to me, it means I will constantly feel driven to do well and to do better. I have a lot of dreams and although some of them require a bit of money (almost cried writing that lie, bit of money is playing it down way too much) I am not driven by those £s enough for that to give me enough of a drive.

For others it’s different. I have a few friends and family that have chosen extremely successful and satisfying careers that they do not necessarily love but allows them to live a life that they do love. That sounds pretty awesome too.

A career doesn’t have to be everything in a person’s life. Doing something as a way of living a life that you want to live is just as amazing as having a career that you are passionate about.

As long as you are living your life your way then nothing else really does matter. There’s no such thing as ‘true, complete and utter’ freedom (that’s a blog post for another time) but that’s the closest we’ll ever get to it.


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This is a title

This is a blog post. You are a person reading this blog post; you may be skimming through or reading every word as carefully as it was written. You may be letting these words wash over you or may be letting them sink under the skin to settle.

I am a girl. I’m trying to become a journalist. Right now, according to society, I am a nobody. My box according to the world would be ‘graduate: potential journalist.’ I’m sitting in my garden lacking inspiration, being frustrated at continuos application forms and cover letters that need to be filled out or written, all essentially wanting to know who I am. What I can do for them. What makes me special.

How can I explain something like that? How can I summarise in a letter or a box that allows for only 200 words that I should be hired above the other hundreds of applicants? Where do I even begin?

I am like everybody else. Because everybody else is trying to be different and I am trying to be different. We’re all trying so hard to stand out and get ahead that we all end up on the same start up line. We are united in wanting to be individuals. There are only so many words that can be used to describe myself, even obscure words are in limited number. A language, although constantly evolving, is not quite infinite. So how can you show you are more hard working, more passionate, more determined than everyone else if there are only a certain amount of words to use and everyone else uses them too?

The thing with applications, CVs and cover letters is that attempting to make them stand out to a company that probably sees thousands of these documents a year, makes the task very, very hard. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible of course. Nothing is impossible.

I received all the documents for my journalism course starting in September. They mentioned work experience and I know that you just can’t stop trying. It doesn’t matter if you’re being boxed in and labelled as whatever hole it is that society is trying to mould you into.

It is what it is. You are what you are. The words you put on the paper are much like the words I’m typing into this blog post. They could be skimmed over, ignored, read over and appreciated. Either way it’s a hit and miss thing when you’re writing something to someone that has never met you and doesn’t know you. The best thing to do is keep trying, you’ll get someone that really does let your words sink in and sit in their brain. They’ll be the ones that will see the difference in your overused words on an application form. They’ll feel the emotion behind the typing (hard to do but it’s true) rather than just take the words at face value. They’ll have mastered reading between the lines and if they feel that you’re different, even though we’re all the same, just trying to be different. Then that’ll be the moment. The one you’ve been waiting and working for. The moment that changes things, that creates ripples.

We’re just people. These are just words. It’s all trying very hard to stand out and still to connect with someone.


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CV Writing

Exciting title for this blog post right? Well I was inspired by, as you may have already guessed, writing my own CV. My CV isn’t even what you may consider a boring CV, I mean there is stuff to read on there in terms of work experience etc. It’s not a CV in desperate need of pumping out. It is readable. Yet, I find it dull. It’s because I’ve read a lot of other CVs; from exemplar ones to my friend’s ones to CVs that belong to people that have been in a career for quite a while. They all read the same. My question is simple: how can you tell which one is special?

Obviously here I’m classing my CV and my skills as special. They’re not, but if I have no confidence in my ability and in my knowledge of being able to do something and do it well then I’m doomed.

The trick to writing a CV is to make it as easy as possible for you reader/ prospective employer. It’s not like writing a novel where you keep building tension to the climax of your story. It’s more similar to writing an article for a daily newspaper where you need to keep your audience reading until the end, inform them of everything that they need to know without filling their brains with useless information. A CV is even faster though. You basically hand over your bones whilst telling your prospective employer: “Look at these! They’re good, strong bones; they can handle anything you throw at them, they are there for your moulding if you so wish but they can do it alone too.”

What an employer needs is someone who understands. I think when people are applying for jobs, they miss this very important thing. If you can show an understanding for a job, then you’re not only showing that you’ve read the job description. You’re also showing that you have taken the time to read it, understand it and tailor everything including a CV to said job. You’re showing that you can do it on your own and fit the mould of a perfect employee for the employer. You’re showing that this application for this job matters because it is tailored for the job. You want it.

That makes a good CV and a good application. Add a little colour, some easy to spot and read titles and you’re showing your employer how easy you can make their life. You’re more likely to get a callback and an interview for a job if your CV is neat, organised, informative without having too much information. Think of a CV as an instruction manual to your ability working in a certain company.

Thinking about it, a CV isn’t necessarily where you’re going to shine brightest. The CV, like much in life, is a stepping stone to getting you an interview. Once you’ve cinched that then you can go all out in the interview: then you can shine.

Many companies now are still using CVs and an additional cover letter and application form so this advice still stands and it is still important to keep a CV updated as often as you can. Many companies, however, do insist on online applications and nothing else: advice still stands as far as I’m concerned. When writing a CV or filling out an application, your goal is to get an interview. That’s the focus. From there you could get the job, and who knows where that could lead you?