THE OH SH*T BILL (and why everyone should be allowed one)

It is generally accepted that people, especially young people but people, in general, make bad decisions when it comes to money. Whether it's the absurd decision to buy a ridiculously overpriced handbag or ending up with the credit card bill from hell, we've all been there at least once. But everyone makes mistakes and it's how we learn and grow and thus, the 'Oh Sh*t Bill'.

The premise of the 'Oh Sh*t bill' is that everyone is allowed one screw up which doesn't have any major consequences. It's basically a 'get out of jail free card' for real-life fiscal fuck ups.  It can be for either minor or major financial screw-ups but is usually reserved for the really big, terrifying ones. 

The history of the Oh Sh*t Bill (which will be referred to as an OSB from now on due to the fact that the star thingy is a real pain in the arse to type out repeatedly and I'm lazy) is as follows. My Dad's old boss somehow ended up in a club in Dusseldorf (I can only assume that some kind of alcohol was involved) and ended up spending all of the budgeted money for the trip. He came clean to his boss about it (presumably this was after a major freak-out the next morning) and his boss let it slide saying that everyone was allowed one 'OSB'. My Dad's boss later had the pleasure of passing on this favour when my Dad, tasked with entertaining a group of clients in Cape Town ended up putting the entire bill on the company tab, that is the entire bill...It was a lot of money. Oops.  

It should be mentioned that my father is a very smart man and is unfailingly kind. So, my OSB came about when I went on a trip to England when I was 15 or 16 (and yes I know that I'm very privileged) it was a time when more people had Blackberrys than iPhones and data roaming was a fairly new thing. I sense that many of you will probably have guessed where I'm going with this. I got back to South Africa and promptly got a text message from my carrier at the time saying something along the lines of 'Your bill is now over R11 000' or something to that effect (that's about 600 quid by the way). I actually thought it was a joke, that's how little I knew about data and data roaming. Basically, I had forgotten to switch my data roaming off. I told my parents immediately and my Mum had a minor freak out about it but ultimately recovered quickly and my Dad said it was okay and this was my OSB and was not to be repeated. 

Worth mentioning is that I love nice things and would definitely buy a Bentley and only wear Gucci given half the chance. Liking nice things is no big deal as long as you have the money to pay for said nice things. Also worth mentioning is that my parents trust me, like they really trust me. They trust me so much that I have a credit card on their account which I've had now for a few years. It is also worth mentioning that I am an idiot who is easily confused by nice handbags. I should explain...I found myself invited to the opening of the very first H&M store in South Africa and the store was opening with the launch of H&M X Balmain. This was my very first blogging event invite and I was very excited. It turns out that I cant be trusted to make good decisions with a credit card which doesn't belong to me when there are lovely, expensive designer pieces around. I wanted everything but I settled for a R3000 handbag. I didn't have enough money because I wasn't working or earning any money but this was a one time opportunity so I just used my parents' credit card. 

Needless to say, they were not happy with said purchase of overpriced handbag but I insisted on keeping the bag. This time, as I had used up my one OSB, I paid them back with some of my savings but even writing this sorry story makes me cringe. I used the bag a couple of times and then became too concerned about it getting ruined (it is suede) to take it out. It remains in my wardrobe in South Africa. I don't want to sell it because I cant get my money back but I don't use it. I was warned of this when I insisted on keeping it. I am an idiot. 

I wanted to share some of the stories of my (many) monetary fuck ups. I am not perfect, I am in fact so far from perfect that it's laughable. IF you are making these kinds of mistakes, congratulations...you are growing up and part of growing up is failing epically. We're all allowed the occasional fuck up and it's totally okay to make mistakes. 

If you've done some crazy money spending or relate even a little bit to any of these stories, let me know in the comments below 

Love, Katie 

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.

LONG HAUL FLIGHT? SORTED

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Digital & Restricted Items 

Always store your laptop in an easy-to-reach place. We all know how difficult security can be and you don't want to add to your own stress and the stress of others by having to rummage around to find all your bits and pieces which need individually scanning through security. Keep them in your handbag and easy to reach and move things around post security. Stress = Avoided 

                                                                             

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Keep Warm

Always pack a blanket or if you're tight on space, pack a scarf which can double as a blanket on the plane. The blankets provided are always thin, flimsy and not very warm. Its much easier to survive if you're at least warm. 

 

 

 

 

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Airport Lounges

You can pre-book yourself into an airport lounge from around 30 quid and it's definitely worth the money! A peaceful and calm atmosphere away from the craziness of families and kids with the added bonus of free drinks and snacks. 

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Free WiFi?

Find it, seek it out and use it. Seriously, one of the most difficult things about long-haul flights is how long you are offline for. Use the time waiting for your flight to do some work, catch up on emails or just chat to your friends and family.

 

 

Bring Baby Wipes or Hand Sanitiser

Airports and aircrafts are damned dirty places. Millions and millions of people go through them each day and thus are touching the same surfaces and using the same things as you. 

 

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Netflix & Fly 

Download any programmes you might want to watch during your flight from Netflix. With Netflix, you can download and save series and movies to watch at a later date and when you're offline. Just download the app, and download your faves and you're all set.

 

 

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Books

As lovely as a good book is, they take up space and weight and it can be very hard on your eyes to focus for periods of time that are that long. I find an audiobook such a fabulous alternative as you can just sit back, relax and listen without needing any external source of light. It means you can listen for as long as you want and get deeply involved without bothering anyone at all! 

TRAVEL BUCKET LIST 2018

1. IRELAND

BELFAST:

  • Titanic museum; 
  • The Giants Causeway; 
  • The Old Bushmills Distillery; 
  • Botanic Gardens, 
  • Grand Opera House, 
  • Belfast Castle, 
  • The Golden Mile, 
  • St Georges Market, 
  • Carrickfergus Castle, 
  • Cavehill, 
  • Parliament Buildings.  

 

GALWAY:

  • Galway City Museum
  • Lynch Memorial Window
  • Dunguaire Castle
  • Galway Atlantaquaria 
  • Hall of the Red Earl
  • Galway Arts Centre
  • Oranmore Castle
  • Terryland Castle 

 

DUBLIN:

  • Guinness Storehouse
  • St Stephen's Green
  • Dublin Castle
  • Jameson Distillery
  • Ha'penny Bridge 
  • National Gallery of Ireland 
  • National Leprechaun Museum
  • Irish Whisky Museum

 

2. NEW YORK

 

  • Central Park
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • MOMA 
  • Empire State Building
  • Times Square 
  • Ground Zero 

3. PARIS

  • Eiffel Tower
  • The Lourve
  • Notre-Dame
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Le Marais
  • Montmartre

4. GREECE

  • Acropolis of Athens
  • Parthenon
  • Acropolis Museum
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Elafonisi
  • Myrtos Beach
  • Theatre of Dionysus

5. VENICE

  • Piazza San Marco
  • Saint Mark's Basilica
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Grand Canal
  • Venitian Lagoon
  • Lido di Venezia
  • Murano Glass Museum