HOW TO GET FIRED

Okay so this doesn't sound like the kind of post that any reasonable person might read but you should. I've been fired twice while I've lived in England and I've had three jobs...to be honest, this is not great statistics-wise. However, in some jobs, in fact in the two that I got fired from, I hadn't actually even got through my probationary period. This sounds shit...it is, it truly is. 

Here's the thing...as long as you don't lie on your CV or during your interviews and you are honest about who you are, what your skills are and what you can bring to the table...it's not your fault if you don't make it through the trial period. This was not particularly apparent to my brain yesterday though when I got taken in for 'the talk' after only 6 days at the company. By the way, by 'the talk', I mean the 'we don't like your work/think you're right for the job/believe you can do this' talk and not the sex talk...that would be infinitely worse. 

To say I felt like shit would be an understatement. Basically, my boss didn't like the job I was doing and expected more of me (within a week apparently) but this isn't actually very fair. I was myself during the interviews and told them only the truth about my abilities and the work I had done. I am 23 years old and I have about as much experience working in an office as the average cat. They knew when they hired me what I could do and somehow, a weird assumption was made that in fact, I'd been lying about my talents in the opposite way...that I'd somehow been underselling myself. 

There is not a person in this world who doesn't make mistakes and fail occasionally, it's part of life. The best thing about mistakes and failures is learning from them. As long as you're learning from your mistakes, you aren't failing, you're just learning and growing. Essentially, there were one or two things that I definitely could have improved on but I didn't get the chance. The thing about employing someone in their twenties is that no matter how highly qualified and how good they are at their job, they will screw up because that is how you learn and grow and get better at your job. 

Both of the jobs that I got 'fired' from were in the fitness industry and I think I might have finally got the message that I just don't belong in fitness. I somehow managed to make the same mistake with two different companies.  That first job was stressful and horrible and I spent a lot of time crying even before I was 'let go'. The people weren't nice at all and I found myself being constantly badmouthed when they thought I couldn't hear them. 

My first boss really was an awful little man who thought a lot of himself and was really good at manipulating employees, particularly the female ones. He was quite rude and quite mean. It stands to reason that when he fired me, I cried. I cried right there in his office and it wasn't the silent and dainty kind either. This probably reinforced the idea that I was too young and immature to him but really, sometimes you just cry and you can't help it. I made things much worse for myself by begging him to reconsider, which he was definitely not going to do. Looking back, I know that my actions on that day were not good and I could have dealt with it much better. I don't like him and I have little to no respect for the company because of the way in which I was dismissed and the way in which I was treated whilst I was there. However, this isn't meant as a hateful post so I'm not going to go into it. 

After that job, I took a job in luxury retail...the job was okay but my boss there was a wonderful woman who respected and appreciated me. She was a great mentor and leader and she taught me a lot while I was there. I did not get fired from that job. That job, however, included a lengthy commute from the depths of Kent to London every day which easily took 4 hours extra off my day and sometimes I would end up working 7 or more days in a row without a break. I enjoyed the selling and the clients, I built great relationships with my colleagues and learnt a lot both about myself and others but I couldn't continue. 

It's hard to admit it but for me, London was just too much. There are so many people and its always so busy. I always ended up feeling alone and like it had managed to suck out all my energy. It was because of that and my respect for my mood and body that I decided to leave and start over in Brighton. 

Before I could move to Brighton though, I needed a job. I didn't actually even reach out to them, they found me. What I didn't realise in the midst of my desperation to settle down and get a job was that this was the same job and the same style of company as my first company. It was only the week before I started that I began to have doubts because, thinking laterally, it was so so similar to that job I'd been fired from. 

It just so happens that in fact, I was right and this job was exactly like the first job. I tried really hard there, I honestly did. I was nice to everyone, took all the criticisms on board (and all I actually got was criticism) and looked happy even though the constant negativity from my boss was making me very unhappy. I tried everything in my power to impress her and I failed but I honestly don't believe that there was anything else I could possibly have done, I don't think I could have impressed her if I stood on my head and whistled 'God Save The Queen' through my asshole. There was just something about it and we just didn't gel for whatever reason. Funnily enough, I feel no hatred for the company at all, I just wish that they'd at least allowed me a month to prove myself. 

Here's the key thing though, when she told me that they had decided to 'let me go' I didn't cry or freak out (externally). I was shaken but I managed to calmly explain to her that I didn't believe that they had given me enough time to prove myself and that I had more to give. I also expressed to her that I understood and thanked her. In the spirit of full disclosure, I did end up crying when I got back to my desk but it was just drippy and sniffly, at no point did I bawl and at the end, I turned in what I had done (in my first job, I rather spitefully deleted it all but I don't believe they would have wanted it anyway), thanked her, told her that I hoped we would get to work together again sometime (albeit a bit tearfully), she gave me a tissue, walked me out and thanked me. 

If I can give you my top tips on being fired (because shit happens) 

  • Don't ever beg for your job back, that is below you
  • Don't expect them to change their minds but do explain why you disagree with their decision (try not to do this while bawling)
  • Don't spitefully delete everything, even if they have treated you abominably and you are thinking of ways to burn the place down
  • Don't ever be rude (or as my Dad likes to say, don't burn bridges as you just never know where you will end up)
  • Try your best not to cry, although this is just human so if you do, just give a watery apology
  • Clear up your desk, pack everything up and just leave
  • If you're feeling very teary and trying to walk down the road, I suggest an audiobook or song to distract you. Try to take deep breaths and don't walk in front of traffic. 
  • Don't get angry, it's over
  • Do whatever you can to end it on good terms
  • Go home and have a good wallow (for how to have a good wallow, see Daisy Buchanan's book: How to Be a Grown Up - Chapter 12 you can get this book from Audible if you click on this link (http://tidd.ly/bc57b896) or click on the link below.

THE REAL REASON I WAS BACK IN S.A SO SOON AFTER MY LAST TRIP

This is a hard one for me to write. Recently, I've had a few problems and I haven't been well which has unfortunately had a negative impact on the blog as well as on me. As you'll most likely know, around 8 months a go I made one of the hardest decoisions of my life and decided to up and move to the U.K. and make a life for myself there. Of course, I won't lie to you, it's been extremely difficult being far away from friends and Family. 

One of the things you don't realsise when you first decide to move from one country to another is just how much admin is involved. It's all sorts of things like changing doctors and moving medical history across etc. 

I learnt rather quickly that medicine prescribed in one country actually has to be re-prescribed in the other country and all the relevant tests have to be done. For years now, I have been on my parents medical aid and have had a long list of prescription medications which I have always taken. One of these medications is called adco alzam. I have been taking this particular medication since I was around 19 and I would never have had any idea how dangerous it was for me to be taking it long term if I hadn't moved to the U.K. Adco alzam is actually Xanax and is a highly, highly addictive drug. So, this is the part where i request that if you've been on adco-alzam or xanax for longer than a few days to a week, you call a trusted medical practitioner (probably best for it not to be the one who is happily prescribing the xanax on a monthly basis and ask for help). I REPEAT, THIS DRUG IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE AND YOU CANNOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GET OFF IT WITHOUT THE HELP OF A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL AND YOU CANNOT JUST STOP TAKING IT AS SIDE EFFECTS OF JUST STOPPING CAN BE DEVASTATING OR EVEN DEADLY. 

Anyway, the NHS actually can't prescribe Xanax and so the doctor told me that she would be prescribing Diazepam and that it would be fine, I could simply swap over from Alzam to Diazepam and it would be fine. Needless to say, it was NOT fine. The Diazepam it turns out, interacts very very badly with my anti-depressant which is called Fluoxitane. With the Diazepam, I became suicidal and started self-harming. I lost control of my bladder, I lost my memory, I couldn't remember the simplest of things, I was dizzy and severely nauseous all the time. I barely ate and slept once through an entire 20 hours followed by a full nights sleep the next night. I was very unwell and the consequences of the medication were at the very least dire. I was (and I don't say this lightly)on the brink of just jumping in front of an oncoming train or off a bridge and I honestly think I might have if the circumstances had presented themselves. I couldn't function at work, I could barely wake up in the morning. I was put on suicide watch. I went back to South Africa due to severe stress and mental illness. My parents paid for me to go back and I needed it, needed the time off and to just be. 

Whilst all this was going on, I was struggling to keep my head above water. So, here is my apology to you, my lovely readers and followers. I'm so sorry that the blog has been unreliable of late but I am back on Xanax and busy slowly weaning myself off. I am doing my best to update the blog as often as I can and I will get back into the swing of things as soon as I can. In the meantime, thank you so much for sticking by me! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE STORY OF ARI&ME AND LEAVING HER BEHIND

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Aria has been a huge part of my life since I got her as a birthday gift in 2011. When I got here, she was just a little bundle of fluff, about the size of the palm of my hand and my favourite thing in the entire world. She was so small, and had such little legs that she couldn’t make it up (or down) any steps and slopes were nigh to impossible. It was in a carpark in the outskirts of Krugesdorp (holla Krugersdorp and SA) that I chose Aria and my life changed forever. My grandparents wanted to get me a puppy for my birthday and there had been a lot of begging involved. Finally, Dad agreed and said I could have her. Nana and Popa said I could choose any puppy, any breed and I could have it. It was almost impossible to find a miniature Maltese but I had my heart set on having one and my internet search was unrelenting to say the least. Eventually, I found Ari and her siblings on Gumtree (which I know now is more than a little sketchy). There were only three puppies left and my Grandparents drove me out into Krugersdorp to go and choose one of the three. All of them were lovely and so, so cute. One though, came to my feet, leant against me and started licking my toes. That puppy was Aria. 

 

It was a steep amount that Nana and Popa had to lay out for my birthday gift but I can only thank them and maintain that it is to this day, the best birthday gift I have ever received. Aria has, many a time, saved my life and for that, I am eternally grateful. After the money changed hands, we were given Aria with her certification and all her vaccinations and off we went. I had nothing for this dog and I mean nothing. When she got back to our house, she didn’t have a bed, she didn’t have food…she literally just had me. I think that the first night she would only eat from my hand whist sitting on my lap and a vague memory says she was given chicken and rice. When I got her home, I sat her on my bed (risky I know) and at that point I only had a three quarter bed. Now, I had a few month old puppy on the bed and she obviously needed to go to the bathroom but had no idea how to communicate this to me. But instead of just weeing on the bed, she wandered around the bed, found a piece of paper and had a wee on that instead. Ari has always been special and she has always had an immense understanding of me as a human and all my weird, personality traits and moods.

 

Since then, we have had a bond which has been unbreakable. I did everything with her, she even came to school to visit me while I was still there. She shone a light through the dark clouds that haunted my later teenage years and to this day, I can look into her eyes and feel the veil of sadness lift. I see her and almost automatically, something inexplicable shifts and I can breathe again. Since 2011, she has been with me, shared meals and happiness and and sadness; she has slept beside (or even on top of) me in our bed with me every night. She has danced with me, showered with me, swam with me and chased me through parks. My whole life since 2011 is Aria covered and it’s something that I simply couldn’t be more grateful for. 

 

Leaving her was the worst…is the worst. I’m up to a count of three times now, three times that I’ve left with the promise of coming back to fetch her and not knowing when. I have promised three times that come hell or high water I will get her to England and that we will be reunited. The first time very nearly broke me when I knew I was going to England and I didn’t know when I’d be able to have her but the second was somehow worse. I’d just assumed that I would go to England, get a job, keep said job for at least three months, rent a flat and then move her here. The course of life never did run smoothly though and I ended up with an absolute bastard as my boss for my first job. He treated me like crap and promptly fired me after just a month of working there with no real reason at all. Suddenly, just like that…I was back where I started and I didn’t have job nor a salary. I had to find another job and quickly and I did but it doesn’t pay as well and I can’t afford to have a flat much less Aria. I had promised her that I’d be back to get her and whilst I was back, I couldn’t have her and it cut me to the core. 

 

I miss her terribly though and my mood is always lower without her than it ever is when i’m with her. I see her and the veil lifts, I leave her as I did again today still with the promise of coming back as soon as possible and getting her (and I will) and it breaks my heart. I feel physical pain without her by my side. For now at least, I have to do whats best for her and right now, that doesn’t match what’s best for me but that’s just the way it is. It is what it is for now. I can understand…she can’t. 

 

Ari, the reason the blog is called Ari&Me, I love you and I miss you.

MAKING CHANGES: WHAT I'VE LEARNT SO FAR

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Let me start off by saying that I definitely do not know everything and I'm not trying to claim that I do. What I do want to share with you guys is what I have experienced and learnt so far in the hopes that it helps at least one person. If you are going through something similar and have anything to add, please feel more than welcome to contact me and let me know. 

 

 

1. It's REALLY hard

When I say it's hard, I don't just mean it's tough. I mean it's much more difficult than I would ever have imagined. I see families together and feel so jealous. My Mum, Dad and I are such a close knit family, like best friends. You lose your 'normal'. You no longer have easy contact with friends and you can't just meet for coffee. It's hard because even though you do still have those people, they're far away and you'll have days when you just feel lonely. That's okay...realise that it's normal and that tomorrow is another day. 

 

2. Commute

More than likely you'll have to commute in the beginning. London is expensive (everyone says it and everyone knows it). Unless you really are one of the few very wealthy people, you won't be moving straight into your dream apartment in London. Don't let this stop you because hard work will inevitably lead there. If you're really lucky (like I am) and you have family to stay with, count your blessings, realise how much they're doing for you and thank them for everything they do for you. The commute will add at least two hours to your day in total. I leave just after 6 in the morning and just make my 9 am start time (usually plus 5 minutes - sorry Kirsty). I leave work at 5 and then get back home at around 19h45. It makes your day long and tiring, be prepared for this. 

 

In saying this, you will be tired for the first week. Like dead on your feet tired. You'll get through it. Try to get as much sleep as possible as it definitely does help. 

 

3. Money

You'll be poor for the first few months and you know what, you'll survive. If you watch my videos on my Youtube channel, you'll see that next week's video is dedicated to fashion on a strict budget which should help you along for the first few months. I will also be doing a video on living strictly on a budget in terms of the best shops for budget necessities and beauty products. Having a small amount of money to work with builds character and it's something which will inevitably stand you in good stead for the future. Also, my Mum mentioned a few times to me about spending during your first month of work...try not to do it (or to spend as little as possible). Only spend the money you have and you haven't been paid yet. It will be tempting though because you're working so hard and #treatyoself will be in the back of your mind. 

 

4. Support

Can't say too much on this but where you can find support, take it and accept all the help you are offered. If you are confused or unsure, ask for help because people will generally help you if you ask. Also, ask questions about anything and everything...if you don't know which train you need, ask and ditto for everything else. 

 

5. The act of being an adult (not really) 

Being an adult (adulting as I like to call it) is really hard. It's supremely difficult to walk through the door at 19h45 and start cooking something to eat. Use Tesco, Sainsbury, M&S and Waitrose ready meals. There are some great freezable meals available and all you have to do is chuck it in the oven for 30 minutes or so and boom, a healthy(ish) meal. Also mentionable under this topic is cooking things and knowing when they're cooked. The other night I wasn't sure about how to cook prawns and Siri was an absolute saviour (prawns go pink when cooked). Also worth noting here is that you will inevitably do some stupid things...an example of one of these things might be leaving your curling iron/straightener on all day. It's a mistake and more than likely you won't actually burn down the house but be careful and most importantly learn from it. 

 

6. Meeting new people

This is probably the most terrifying thing on the list. It's absolutely nerve wracking going into a situation where you know absolutely nobody but its life and its necessary. The best advice I can give here is to simply dive right in. You have to initiate conversation which is extremely hard but once that hurdle has been jumped, you're pretty much there. 

 

7. Rejection

It's always tough to deal with rejection and if you're moving to a new place, it will inevitably happen. Between the applying for jobs and meeting new people aspects, you are bound to be rejected a couple of times. The best way to deal with it is just to know how awesome you are and try not to let it bother you. If necessary you can also have cry in between (then get over it though because it just isn't the end of the world). 

 

8. Nothing is permanent 

If you move to a different country, it will inevitably be difficult and you'll have moments when all you want is to go home. It's vital to give yourself enough time to adjust and a great way to do this might be to set a deadline of 6 months. If you're truly still unhappy after that time period, you can always go home and re-think. The same applies to jobs. I have been so lucky in that the job that I do is something I enjoy and I also have the bonus of a great boss and working at a fab company. 

 

9. You don't have to be perfect

You will make mistakes and get things wrong, It is inevitable. There is no such thing as a perfect person and to be quite frank, nobody expects you to be. Whether you make mistakes in a job or just generally within life, it doesn't matter as long as you learn from them. 

 

10. We are lucky

Being able to live a life like I do, being able to follow your dreams and do what you want to do and what you love doing is so special and we need to realise this. It is too often that we focus on the bad things that happen and what we don't have rather than what we have and just how lucky we are. Also, how lucky that we live in such a connected world where you can speak to your parents and friends face to face. 

 

11. Thank You 

I this part, I'd just like to really thank my parents and family for being so great (you don't HAVE to read this part if you are not a family member)

Thank you first to my Mum and Dad, I know how hard this is for you. I miss you like hell and I miss just being able to touch you and say good morning to you. It's the simple things in life that I miss the most. Thank you for helping me out in terms of money...for not allowing me to start off in debt and for helping me as much as you possibly can. I love you more than you could ever know.

 

To my Aunt who has taken me in. Thank you so much, Mary. You have been a blessing and you have done so much for me. You help me along and give moral support, love and a place to stay. I am forever grateful to you for everything you have done and I love you so much! 

 

To my grandparents, thank you for the constant messages of support. It means the world to me. More than that though, thank you for supporting Mum and Dad through this. 

 

To my British family, thank you to all of you (you know who you are) for including me and integrating me into the family. I love you all so much and I am forever grateful to all of you. It can't have been easy to suddenly have an extra person but you have made me feel nothing if not welcome. 

 

Thank you for reading and I hope that this helps someone out just a little.

Love, Katie 

 

 

 

MAKING A BIG MOVE

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I have long aspired to live and work in London. It's difficult when it's a long time dream to ever see it actually happening and turning from a dream into reality. Leaving home was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. If you are thinking of a similar move which is straight from the house you've lived in your whole life, I can't sit here and lie to you. It will not be easy. Ultimately, it's a decision for you and you alone to make. You need to feel that the pros outweigh the cons and that its something you really want to do. The reason I might seem to be overstating the need for being absolutely positive about it is simple. It's really hard and inevitably, at some points, on some days all you want to do is jump on a plane and go back home. You will cry and you will feel sad. You will miss your friends and family and you will feel like you're a million miles away. I won't bother telling lying and saying that I haven't ugly cried on the phone to my Mum and Dad more times than I care to remember. 

I still don't think that it has quite hit me that England is my new home. It's where I live now, it's hard to get to grips with. I still feel like I'm either on holiday or in some sort of weird dream. I constantly feel like I should be packing my suitcases back up and going back 'home' to South Africa. Sitting here and writing this blog post in Joe&The Juice in London is bizarre, to say the least. I'm looking out over Oxford Circus and seeing all the people, the people who as a little girl I desperately wanted to become one of, and here I am. I am looking for flats to rent in London and finding my feet here. None of it feels real. 

Within a week of being in the UK, I got sick and it felt like I was dying. I am used to my Mum being there for me. Used to her bringing me medicine and tea and looking after me and suddenly, she wasn't there. Living with my Aunt is different (not bad but different), at home I knew where all the medicine was kept and I knew what we kept in the house. I ended up in Boots and Superdrug finding medicine and have spent a casual £50 on medicine alone to date (someone help me please). It's sudden independence and it's hard and weird and difficult and at times I just wanted out. I'm lonely a lot of the time at the moment but I know it will go away. I know I can do this.

This is just the beginning of a dream slowly turning into a reality. I am so nervous and so excited. I miss home more than life itself. I miss being able to go out with my Mum and Dad on the weekends and drive my own car around. I miss having my dog with me all the time and my friends being close at hand. I also miss South Africa and its stupid power cuts and obnoxious government. I miss it all. I don't know whether that ever goes away really. Whether you ever stop missing it, yearning for it...somehow, I doubt it. I think that it gets easier to deal with and as you build a new life and develop new relationships you stop being as sad. 

I don't think that I'll ever learn to live without South African sunsets and the beautiful sunny days which can turn to violent storms with little to no notice. Everyone I have spoken to who has moved away from South Africa has said that Africa keeps a piece of your heart, no matter how long you spend away from it and in a strange way, I hope it does. 

If I can give one piece of advice, it would be to arrange to Skype or FaceTime once a day if you are close to your family like I am, It really helps to see their faces and see the house and the dogs and my room. That's a key piece of advice I would give. 

If you are doing this, I hope this helps to prove that at the very least, you aren't alone and there are other people in the same boat. I will keep up the blog posts as my journey progresses. 

Love, Katie