Career girls, they’re young, they’re smart, they’re pretty, they’re successful.
Career girls are pretty great.
I serve career girls every day. As I serve them coffee and they talk about money that isn’t theirs and what their next “move” is, they look at me as if I have no idea what they’re talking about. I am a waitress, therefore I am a student or a blogger (ahem, I have credentials now, I prefer the term ‘writer’) and it’s very likely I don’t have a brain in my head, because if I did, surely I would be a career girl, not a waitress.
The thing is, I do know what they’re talking about. I’ve talked that bullshit, I’ve cocked that walk.
There are many things I haven’t experienced in this life, being 6ft tall, having wings, an addiction to pharmaceutical drugs, the crusades; but being a career girl, I have. However, I can’t point out to them that at one point in time I was a producer at one of the best productions companies in the UK producing adverts for Cadburys, Kelloggs, Burberry, bla bla bla …. I can’t tell them this as I hand them what they haven’t ordered, because it would seem very insecure, not to mention a little unnecessary.
Instead I add up their bill in my head to annoy them. I’ve gotten it wrong once, but the girl was too busy looking through me to notice.
I don’t mind much, I’ve done it. Because when you’re a career girl you have so much on your mind: you’ve missed a deadline, you have to fire someone, you’re in charge of hundreds of thousands of pounds and yet you’re behind on rent. You need to get your change and get the hell out of there, but not before …
“Oh, and a skinny latte.”
“Single or double?” I ask automatically.
They say this as if they’re being naughty; little do they know I’ve already had four fucking doubles and I’ll probably have two more.
Uh huh, and a cigarette. Bad to the bone, baby.
I have friends who are career girls, but they are fantastic at it, they glide through it. They’re the career girls that make you want to be a career girl. Their progress is effortless and elegant. I always had a rather clumsy air. I felt an imposter, and no one else seemed to find the whole experience totally surreal.
“You mean I can say yes to a goat being in a pantyliner advert that millions and millions of girls in Russia will watch?”
“Fantastic. Get the goat my friend, that we can afford.”
Unfortunately, the majority of the time it’s incredibly dull and I didn’t have the patience for it. I would usually be found throwing satsumas at models or smoking whatever was going round the back. After witnessing a director punch his fist through a wall and an after effects guy have a mental breakdown (on the same job), I decided it was probably time to start winding the producing down a bit.
If you are not doing what you want to be doing. So should you.
Even if you, like me, absolutely hate your career girl vocation, leaving the security of a high profile and or well paid job takes a combination of balls, blind faith and stupidity. But if jumping off a ladder you don’t want to be on in order to snake your way up the one you really care about is what is necessary, then that is what you must do.
The following steps may not be the orthodox route to the top, but I’m not aiming this at those after orthodox careers …
Get a mindless part time job ….
However hard you try you cannot avoid the necessity of money (believe me, I’ve tried) but you also want the most time possible to work at your new career. Having a part-time job, a la student, gives you the time you need to put your all in to your new career and just enough money to survive. If your gut instinct was right (as it usually is) and what you really want to do is what you’re really good at, you want to have done two years work in a year, a year and half max; and jump on the new ladder a fair few steps up. In order to do this you have to be prepared to put in the hours, without the hindrance of out of office responsibilities. Having a mildly degrading job will also do wonders for your ego, having been working as a very important career girl at quite a young age you will inevitably have a slightly inflated sense of self-worth, no matter how hard you try not to. Chicken soup is good for a cold, humble pie is good for the soul.
Put yourself out there …
Take initiative, do some of your own projects so you have something to show for yourself and make sure they’re as good as you could possibly make them. When people ask what you do, do NOT say you are your part time job. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you are, or you are trying to be no matter how many stigmas are attached to your desired profession.
Be prepared to work for free …
… Only at the beginning. I know this is controvesial and in an ideal world we would not have to. But take a look around you, anything seem ideal here? Console yourself with the knowledge that if you get to the top, you can change this. And I would recommend asking for basic ammenities at the very least — food, travel, etc. if they aren’t paying you a proper wage. Appreciate any opportunities given to you while you’re getting started, accept all of them and do them to the best of your abilities. Once you start to progress in your new career you can become more discerning as to which free jobs you accept. There will soon come a time when you are offered one paying real, actual money and if not, know when to start asking for some.
Stay motivated …
This is what you have chosen to do, it is an exciting period of your life. There will be weeks and even months (years!) where it may feel like you are treading water, but stay hungry and have patience. The most exciting jobs are the toughest in which to succeed, it’s a good way of separating the wheat from the chaff.
Time’s a tickin’, so no matter what your job, if it’s not what you want to be doing and doesn’t make you happy then get out of there and start again. Don’t just settle for the money or the stability if doesn’t make you happy. Let’s have it all, shall we?
Take a deep breath and take a walk on the wild side, and prepare for it to be a long one. You keep at it, and you’ll get there.