7 Dec 2017

All aboard the Funemployment Express! How to not get the job.

As you may have seen in my previous post, I've recently joined the Funemployment Express and have been anxiously on a career hunt. Well, hours after writing about my frustrations of being a 23 year old expired young lady, I had a call to say that my application had been successful for an Events Marketing Assistant role.

I was bloody ecstatic! Finally! Someone is about to actually give me a chance to prove myself and potentially start a career with them. Ah.. wait, if only life was so simple...

So I arrived to my interview with 10 mins to spare... 15 is a little too eager when there's a day full of interviews and 5 is just cutting it too late. I entered the bar of the hotel where they were conducting the interviews to be greeted by the HR lady (who was definitely much younger than I), who I'd spoken with on the phone, and another potential candidate for the same job. We sat around a table, filled out yet another form and waited in anticipation to meet, who we were told, would be the director and founder of the company.

A few minutes passed while I was uncomfortably slagged off for being "one of those who goes to Australia. Everyone goes now don't they? Don't understand why..." Erm, thanks? Anyway, we were then both escorted through to the chap who'd be interviewing us. Yes, that's right, WE. He interviewed us both together...

When i'm employed i'm gonna explore again..
Singing Fountains, Margaret Island, Budapest Hungary.
So there I was, playing down my CV because the poor lass next to me had only ever worked in her families corner shop for 4 years and every time I was asked about my experience I felt like I was bragging. Then it becomes very clear that this guy wasn't the director of the company at all, but rather some guy he's hired to conduct his interviews... It's all sounding very dodgy at this point.

THEN, it gets worse. The guy draws a diagram. He explains "So to begin with you'll start in sales and customer services... then you'll go onto this.. and this... and this.. and in 10 months time you'll have your own office" Sorry love, you lost me at SALES. It all started making sense. They'd created an imaginary job role to lure naive and eager graduates who are desperate to start earning some dollar (like matey sat next to me) to fill their cold-calling sales positions.

I was GUTTED. I just addressed it immediately and said if this turns out to be a sales role then i'm sorry to have wasted your time as I'm not interested. He assured me it was more than that... Safe to say I never got the call back.

It's so annoying though. So I walked out of the interview with the knowledge I absolutely wouldn't be getting the job and even if I was offered it, did I even want it? I dragged my feet along, hopped onto my familiar seat on the Funemployment Express, whilst listening to Taylor Swift's first album and gazing out of the window just like a Hollywood movie.

Who's aboard with me?
Lemme know!

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg

29 Nov 2017

FUNemployment & Job Hunting

I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in July 2015, yet to apply for most graduate scheme jobs you have to have graduated in the past 12 months...eh? Have I passed my expiry date like a bottle of skimmed milk?

The WORST thing about university is the aftermath. Some, like me, graduate and start flapping about beginning adulthood, so we hop on some planes, trains and automobiles and globetrot for a short while yet upon our return we're faced with the "what now?" question? The million dollar question... what on Earth do we do now?

I've gained experience in an array of different positions all over the world, lived in two foreign countries on the opposite side of the sphere yet actually I don't have quite enough experience for, well... anything.

Picking raspberries was not a highlight
of my working life.
I must have applied to at least 30 jobs in the past month and although i'm keeping my head above water (or actually drowning in my Halifax overdraft) with a casual contract at SMG Europe, where I worked as student, it simply isn't enough to sustain my need for a social life and to have a roof over my head. I had to sell my car to top my overdraft back up and now, well, i'm stuck in it again. Paying daily fees for being so under-experienced.

Trouble is, if no one is willing to hire me, then how on God's Earth am I able to gain experience? I've written about myself so much in the past 28 days that I genuinely address myself in the third person. "Raven is punctual, professional and bloody p*ssed off!"

And recruitment agencies? They're telling me to make myself fully available for the whole of next month (meaning missing out on any form of income with the Arena) so that they can find me a job. 4 days before the 1st December, they call me to say do I want to fill a ONE DAY position? Why on Earth would I sacrifice a potential income with my current casual position for one day? So that bridge has been burnt.

So long story short, no matter whether you've got a degree or not, unless you've been able to gain a solid amount of experience in one particular area, or you're settling for something which you know you can do better than, generating a £35,000 debt all for a piece of paper, probably isn't worth it.

Correct me if i'm wrong, or let me know if you're going through a similar situation. Because it'd be lovely to know i'm not the only 23 year old who's passed her expiry date.

Raven Twigg
Just Write About It.

18 Nov 2017

Spending Christmas Down Under.

Last Christmas was the first Christmas in my 22 years of existence that i'd spent without my family around me. I never thought that I would be bothered as such. Christmas Day at home is spent planning our meals around what's on the TV and usually falling asleep after eating copious amounts of food to Happy Feet. Yet last year I was thousands of miles away from the Eastenders Christmas episode and the arctic temperatures. Instead I spent it  on the beach I was lucky enough to call my back garden in Coffs Harbour, Australia. 

I called this place my home for 5 months and there was 1 day in the year when our farm closed and that was Christmas Day. So fortunately for us, we had a day where we did't have to pick raspberries or blueberries for a slave wage. I'd saved up around 11 500MB Wifi vouchers to FaceTime my family in England which obviously started the water-works. It was tough!

It's a weird feeling during the run up to Christmas in Aus. There's a santas grotto in the mall where everyone lines up in their bikinis under their clothes and their Havianas whilst the air con is blasting down on your, it's just completely bizarre. There was barely even Christmas songs playing on the radio, i'm still to decide whether this is a negative or a positive. It just didn't feel very Christmassy at all. And I'm usually the Scrooge!

As a hostel, there were around 40 of us who'd stayed put over the Christmas period while others fled to the cities to see friends and families. The great thing is, every single person in that hostel is going through the same thing. Everyone is hundreds of thousands of miles away from home and you all just want to have a good time.

Let me tell ya, trying to organise a meal for that many people with no budget and no oven, isn't easy. But a select few made it possible.

We had traditions from all over the world influencing our meals. From Italian lasange, Swedish meatballs to Japanese sushi making, we had it all. I even learnt a Spanish Christmas song.We spent the day sat on the beach sunbathing in our Christmas hats and had a very boozey evening. But I can't lie to you, it just didn't feel right.

There was no cosiness, no humble warmth by the fire or thick new pyjamas to lounge around in all day. But we did have a sense of togetherness and determination to make it as good as we possibly could. And, as I sit in a dreary Manchester back in England this holiday season I can't help but think I didn't make the most of Christmas in the sun. Bikini's, sun-block and... Christmas hats? Nah, doesn't have a nice ring to it. I'd take a Christmas in England any day!

Have you spent Christmas away from home too? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!

Raven Twigg

Just Write About It.

15 Sep 2017

When Home just isn't Home any more.

I'm probably isolating half of the world when I speak about subjects like this but I always try my best to put into words exactly how it feels if you haven't experienced it yourself.
Imagine landing in a country you've never been to before, you don't know what time it is, you don't speak the same language and you don't know where you need to go to get to your hotel. That's how I feel when i'm in Cleethorpes. Uncomfortable, lost and overwhelmed.
If I knew in 2012 when I left for university that home would never feel the same to me again, I'd have taken in so much more. When I was able to love my hometown and the people in it. Now I just honestly feel so foreign. My mind set feels different to my friends, my idea of a good Thai or Japanese meal can't be found anywhere and well, if you want to do something on a week night, tough luck my friend, there's the cinema, pub or bed.
When I returned in 2017 from a year in Australia I experienced the travel blues, big time.
I didn't want to be seen around my town, I didn't want to have conversations with people who knew me 5 years ago. I just truly felt alien. My anxiety went from 0-100 in a matter of weeks and it was the saddest time of my life. Most nights I felt as though I wouldn't care if I just didn't wake up. 
As much as I was homesick at times when I was travelling, it just didn't feel the same here anymore. I couldn't speak to anyone around me who felt the same and so I would spend hours on end on Facetime and Skype with people I've met away who have experienced the same thing.
The worst part of it all, is I feel selfish. I try not to talk about where i've been and how i'm unhappy in this town, yet it kills me inside. I pretend i'm ok with being here and for who? My friends? My family? The family business? But not for me.
I had made a plan to head back out to America in June 2018 and that thought alone kept me sane. I booked mini breaks to Dublin, Budapest and Spain but I just wanted more.
It was only when I visited Manchester Arena for the re-
opening concert in September, where I used to work during university, that it suddenly occurred to me. Why not move back here? I love it in Manchester. It's busy. It's multi-cultured. I'm not a globe away from home. And so that's what i've decided to do. 
I'm not really sure how to advise people on dealing with being home again, because I obviously can't deal with it myself. I'm just running away from it again. But I found that seeing a counsellor did help me overcome my anxiety and my lowest points and I am forever grateful for that. 
You really just have to think, if it's not where you want to be and where you feel happiest, then you should just do something about it and leave.
It's not that I won't miss being around here. I've loved being around to be an Auntie, a God Mother and being around for my best friends again like we used to but that doesn't have to end when I leave. Social media nowadays means that we can be anywhere we want in the world, and we can always be on one end of the phone if need be. 
I just know I have to do this for me. Nothing really changes yet everyone becomes so involved with their own lives that they get used to not having you around, which of course naturally happens, life goes on. That's exactly why I need to be around people who are ok with being single, don't want to have kids and be married before I have even learnt how to tell the time on an analogue clock. I need to be back in a city.
My dreams in life are to be successful and see as much of this planet as I possibly and realistically can, and well, those opportunities just aren't going to present themselves to me in a small seaside resort in Lincolnshire.
Have you ever felt like this?
Hit me up!

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg

30 Jul 2017

Indie Campers; the Highway to Hell.

Entrance to the festival.
So I decided 3 years is far too long since I'd been to my favourite music festival, Festival Internacional de Benic├ássim. I have been here twice before, once in 2013, and once in 2014. Both times I have booked hotel accommodation and just endured the trek to and from the festival site each evening. To me it was an easy option to skip the dreaded camp site. Camping in a tent in the middle of Spanish heat isn't something I'd like to check off my bucket list. So this year, we decided to book it all quite late on, meaning all the nearby hotels and apartments were either sold out, or extremely pricey. Weighing up our options and desperately avoiding the tent scenario, we discovered a company named Indie Campers. Their vans looked pretty impressive and we thought, g'won then, let's give it a crack. We purchased a caravan pass alongside our 4 day festival ticket + camping and was ready to go.
Our interior looking a lot like it's supposed to...
Flying from East Midlands to Alicante where we would start our 3 hour drive along the Spanish highway to Benic├ássim. When we arrived a woman named Mafalda was waiting for us to exchange the keys and talk us through the van. Showing us our mobile home for the next 5 days. We expected it to look like the swarve photographs we'd bought online, but actually we were faced with this big f*ck off yellow submarine Fiat Transit Van which on the inside looked similar to your average garden shed. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm actually not on this occasion. 
What we expected to see...
So we had the keys, was shown the pot we had to piss in (which cost us an extra 40 Euros and looked similar to a toddler's training potty), and were given a third of a tank of fuel. And so we began along the highway where we found a service station to fill up the tank. Some of you may know, in Spain, they have service attendants at gas stations where their job is to fill your car up for you and you just go to pay. So that's what the female service attendant did. Filled our Fiat Transit Diesel Van, with unleaded fuel. As stated on the fuel cap. See photograph.
A devil in disguise.
See where this is going?

Yeah, the van had an unleaded fuel cap on it, even though it's diesel. And so as you'd have guessed by now, less than 5 minutes back onto the highway, the engine light shone like Blackpool at Christmas. We continued for 15 minutes before being informed by Mafalda that this was really serious and we were to pull over and find a mechanic immediately. This was around 12pm. Now stuck in the middle of nowhere, in 38 degree heat with no food or drink, we started panicking. 
Indie Campers staff were nothing but useless. Assuring me every two or so hours that in 30 minutes time I'd hear from them and that they had 2 teams on the case and the poor gent had even skipped his lunch for his efforts. After being awake since 2.30AM without food I found it difficult to imagine HAVING A LUNCH TO SKIP, prick. Anyway.
We took matters into our own hands and by 5pm, WE GOT A MECHANIC. Miguel, we will love you for eternity, you don't even realise. Poor old Miguel didn't speak a word of English nor did we speak a word of Spanish and so with lots of toing and froing with help from Spanish friends translating for us, Miguel and his Mr. Man mate cleared out the tank and guided us to a service station where we could put DIESEL in the van. Wahey! And we were off.
Lucy had the balls to take the Fiat back on the road and guide us up the coast where the festival was taking place. I completely whimped out of driving and so kudo's to Luce for getting us there in one piece.
When we arrived at the site (after a few wrong turns and a U-turn only Van Diesel would be proud of), a lovely man guided us through the masses of pop up tents and drunken Brits where we would find our caravan spot. Waving like Queen Lizzie, we were feeling pretty pumped in our yellow sub for the festival.

My claustrophobic top bunk.
I have to mention as well, despite having multiple different delinquents on the phone representing Indie Campers, one in particular, who blamed us and showed no sympathy at all for the fault on their van. They have since called me and refunded us for our day missed at the festival, the repairs and have even provided me with a 5 day voucher to use one of their brand new models. The ones we thought we were getting according to the photographs on their website.
I appreciate that they have done what they can to try and improve the situation, it's just a shame they didn't know how to deal with it at the time.

Looking back on it all now, it is one of THE funniest experiences of my entire life. You truly could not have written what happened to us that day. From the beginning to the end it was one huge emotional rollercoaster.

Have a similar story or any questions about the festival?
Lemme know: ravenebonytwigg@gmail.com

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg