So… is this it?

london undergroundAs you may or may not know, I have finally (after just over a year of tears, sweat, and yes even a little bit of blood) secured a proper paid up job at a magazine. But, now that my days as an intern are gone, I can’t help but strangely miss them – in the most overtly sentimental, romantic way possible, of course…

Sitting (well, standing) on the Piccadilly line on Thursday morning, something occurred to me. ‘Is this it?’ I thought to myself. ‘Is this all there is for the next fifty years of my life? The daily grind?’ Gone are the days of wondering whether or not I will ever move out of my parents house. Gone are the days of 70 hour weeks where I was paid for about 10 of those said hours. And, gone are the days of being able to lie-in on a rogue Wednesday day-off.

I am now working at a wedding magazine in West Kensington. God how boring and grown-up that sounds. For the past year, whenever my University friends who had gone off and got sensible jobs would ask me ‘so what are you doing now?’ it took me about five minutes to explain. Even then I’m not sure I really knew either. ‘Well, a bit of this and a bit of that. A bit of interning, a bit of freelance, and a bit of part-time work.’ Which, in all honesty, was a gross understatement: I did a LOT of each of those three things. In twelve very long months, my CV slowly went from zero to somewhere in the vague region of hero (although that sounds rather arrogant).

My whole post-graduation situation was rather exciting though. I genuinely didn’t know what I’d be doing from one week to the next. Whilst for the majority of the time this was a complete nightmare and blood pressure booster, there were a few times when I thought to myself ‘well, I wouldn’t be doing this if I’d settled for a normal job’.

Internships, especially those within the magazine industry, have been getting a rather bad reputation in recent years. No-one was more concerned than my parents, who watched me flog myself to work-induced exhaustion week after week, as I interned at magazines during the week and worked long days in a restaurant at the weekends. The martyr in me secretly quite enjoyed the times when I went thirty days solid without a day off…

And, that’s not to say that when I did get a day off, I actually spent it doing day-offish things. A constant flurry of job applications was always on my ‘to do’ list, as were countless unpaid articles for a string of online magazines – all in the hope of constructing a portfolio and getting noticed.

Whilst I’ve made many great friends in the past year, it’s also safe to say I’ve made some enemies too. I’ve faced several very difficult decisions, and in many cases have had to choose my own personal benefit over doing the decent thing. It sounds harsh; and to be honest it was. Some decisions I regret on moral grounds, but as is the way in this world, it’s every man for himself.

But, back to the main point: is this really it for my life now? Am I resigned to monotonous adulthood where my days are prescribed to the same formula month after month? I even signed up for a MyWaitrose card today: God help me.

My gut feeling? I doubt this is it. A year of relentlessly chasing a dream has hardened me in ways I never thought possible. On the downside, this means I rarely get excited by small successes anymore: even when my phone rang and a blocked number told me they wanted me to come and work for them, I barely broke a smile. All I could think about was the practicalities of money and logistics. I find myself restless at work, even though I am one of the very few English graduates who is blessed with being able to write all day for a living.


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