Settling into my new junior role nicely, I have really enjoyed letting my various contacts know of my success. In reply to a feeble (and imminently fruitless) offer of employment from a recruitment agent, I really have reveled in the fact I can tell them "I'm alright, thanks" - and that I didn't need their help because I did it all myself... na na nana na. This is an incredible feeling.
Feeling settled and mostly secure, I have felt I can offer advice (and some of my secrets) to a friend just starting out on the placement scene. As a late starter, I feel that she does need my help in knowing where to/not to go and how it is etc. I would direct her to this site, but she knows me so well, I'd be spotted for sure. I have divulged secrets and contacts, with her, I never would have done before.
Previously, contacts were my only profit from doing internships; they are what I worked hard for. I worked for someone for next to nothing in order to be able to call them up and ask for a job later on. I have refused flatly to many friends/fellow graduates to give away important email addresses. I would really be kicking myself if they got a job before I did and I had helped them achieve it. I had to put number 1 first. But she is a very close friend, and I am feeling more secure where I am working and so it seems only right I should give her a helping hand.
Whilst listening to her woes over coffee, (I paid; she's working for free) I had an epiphany. A moment of clarity; of realisation - placements can be awful, long and tedious and often completely pointless, but now sat on my junior role pedastool - I realise; I could not have got this job any other way.
Recruitment agents seemed interested and keen, but gave up quickly and rarely found me anything at all, let alone anything suitable. Trawling through popular blogs and national newspapers led me to apply for jobs willy nilly, knowing thousands more suitable candidates would have applied, my sparse cv piled in amongst theirs. Freelance work was good and often enjoyable, but for every few weeks work I gained, I endured months of unemployment (which is not good for anyone's psyche).
My job was given to me without much fuss. I had come to this particular agency and worked hard. I had got along with them and somehow impressed them with my attitude and my work ethic, along with small evidence of my creative talent/style. I came back and did it all again a few months later. When it came to them needing a junior, I was remembered; simple as that. No trawling through job boards, no cover letter, no cv, no stressful interview with a scrutinising creative director and awkward, scary questions. Placement = job. Simple.
It couldn't have happened any other way, for me at least. But it's hard to believe this when you are 7 months into doing pointless placements and rarely enjoying yourself. That was placement 7 (ish) and the truth is it could have been any placement, really. I could have done that placement at any time and would have had a similar result. It is timing.
My advice to her was simple. It might take what seems like forever, and it will be hard, but hang in there, because one day someone will notice you and someone will remember you - and when the timing is right, you'll see that there was no other way it could have happened, and there is no where else you would want it to have happened. It is, without wanting to sound too philosophical, like finding which puzzle your piece fits in to. You have to open a few boxes, but eventually, you'll get there.