Felicia Ayodele started her journey with The Prince’s Trust as a young person, passionate about project management. Since completing her first Get Into programme, she began a new role earlier this year, working with our team. In today’s feature she gives us an honest and insightful view into her struggles of finding work and how she overcame them through help from The Prince’s Trust.
A Chinese proverb says:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step.”
For me, I started my journey to having a career, personal growth and a sustainable future when I applied for a Get Into Programme at The Prince’s Trust in July 2019. I had quit a job that I felt was not serving my vision and values and although I was uncertain of where this program would take me, I ventured into it with both feet. I started the Get Into Project Management and Business Analytics program. I was later introduced to a volunteering opportunity with the Innovation team at the Prince’s Trust, I applied for the opportunity and was selected amongst 5 other young people to assist the team in promoting the Get Hired initiative. As a volunteer, I engaged in data analysis, by cleaning and analysing a large data set to help better support young people into work.
I struggled with gaining entry-level employment for over a year, the period after graduation and volunteering. After attending the Get Hired live event in October and not being selected for any second stage interview, I felt lost, unsure of what I was still missing- I had a degree, was available to work full-time, had previous work experiences and was a volunteer which shows that I was determined, hardworking and driven. I could not pinpoint why I was not performing well at interviews to enable me to get a job. With the feedback I was given, I worked together with my mentor to assist me in improving my confidence when speaking at interviews. Imagine if every interviewer will provide feedbacks to their candidates to help them know their good, faults and where to develop themselves for the next interview or stage?
I was still doing something right and my ultimate goal was still in session
Down the line, there was an opening with the team I had been volunteering with, advertised on the Get Hired Jobs board. Again, my constant knockbacks and interview experiences made me feel unqualified for the role. After much consultation with my mentors, I sent in my application for the role of the Innovation Co-ordinator. Honestly, before the interview I had already made up my mind that I was not going to get the role, but I would still put in my best as I deemed fit. The next day, I got a call to provide me with the feedback from the interview, which was mostly positive and a few negative; this feedback redeemed my self-esteem. Then, I was told I got the role, I felt joy from within and got the assurance that I was still doing something right and my ultimate goal was still in session.
When I started in my new role, I had great help from the team settling down into a paid employment through the onboarding I was given. What I enjoy about working with my amazing team is their style of work, the understanding to helping each other achieve objectives, giving performance appraisals and the constant appreciation of each other’s efforts. My first 3 months in paid charity work was a major learning curve for me, I learnt the importance of intentionally planning and prioritising my workload, meeting deadlines, paying attention at meetings and expressing my opinion. The most important lesson I learnt is that communication with others is paramount.
At the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, I have had to solely work from home, initially it was very difficult adjusting to this new normal coupled with the fear of the virus out there and the fear of losing my job (at the worst). I have been able to manage this through the constant check-in with my teammates through calls and text. The highlight of the day are usually the morning icebreakers, having to adjust as a team online, we have had to incorporated games such as 3 truths and 1 lie, Guess the logo, Did you knows? to elevate our spirits during this period. This has helped me to liven my worries of the virus, it has given me hope to know that my wellbeing is still put into consideration even though we are all in different geographical location.
It has been nice knowing I can still be part of the greater good
During this lockdown, I also volunteer some of my time helping Local Helpers, a volunteering organisation created for the purpose of helping people who are in self-isolation to get their essential everyday supplies. It has been nice knowing I can still be part of the greater good. Coupled with the measure introduced by my team, I have had to take extra measure in caring for myself, I try to engage myself in exercise once a week (as I am really terrible at this), listen to motivational words and speech on the internet, read couple of pages in a book, take couple of clips from my online training, engage in some ‘circle of excellence’ to motivate myself and most especially I have had a lot of rest (sleep).
Having a job that still serves as a source of income during this period has been a blessing and I am grateful to my manager for making that happen. I see on the news and media daily, how people lose their jobs due to businesses closing down and having to lose their source of income as well and I can only imagine the devastation, I have been able to overcome the pandemic sadness because I still have a job to go back to when all this is over. I have had to intentionally make sure that I am still contributing my quota to helping young people who are still searching for jobs by ensuring that I source and post as much job vacancies that are available in the UK every week to the Get Hired jobs board. It has been an amazing experiencing seeing the jobs board go from local to national incorporating all the regions in the UK.
In the next six months, when this is over, I hope to have a get together with my team 😊, I will start to really enjoy the simple things of life- friendship, communication, joy and laughter. I will appreciate the key workers in the society who have put themselves at the forefront. I will continue to value the Prince’s Trust- how they have not relented in helping young people through their response plan.
Looking back at the struggle of scaling through an interview process, finally starting my career and suddenly being faced with a pandemic that shook the world, I have come to understand that I need to enjoy my 1000 miles journey, because that is the destination.
I hope you can relax and enjoy your journey too because you have already started.