Self-respect, self-worth and self-love, all start with self. Stop looking outside of yourself for your value.
Life is filled with helpful, kind, and positive people.
Well that’s what I believed all my life up until my graduation. I never thought that one day I’d be writing about people who we need to avoid.
Who can become a health risk to us. Emotionally, mentally and to a certain extent physically.
Because I’ve always been a peoples person.
I love people in every shape and form. I like to help when I’m needed. I like to make people smile and laugh. I like to motivate and inspire.
But there’s one problem…
Not everyone in your life will be an asset to you.
What I’ve seen after university from people from different roads of life was a shock for me.
It woke me up.
That life isn’t full of rainbows and positive people. That people can be mean. Can be nasty. And can be inconsiderate plonkers.
That’s why I wanted to share with you as young positive product design graduates the three main types of people. The people, who will break your hopes and stomp on your dreams if you’re not vigilant.
I was naïve and fooled but through my experience as a graduate I gradually spotted them.
At number one…
#1 UNSUPPORTIVE FRIENDS
We’ve all grown up with friends. Some more than others. And some closer than others. I’ve been one of the lucky ones. I had friends through school, university, and still got a few who are like sisters to me.
But after graduating the few became a couple.
I’d noticed that the ones who weren’t truly supportive towards me always distracted me from my work. Whether I was doing a task that was set by my mentor, Adam Taha. Whether I was working on a design project.
They’d always find a way to distract me.
And if they couldn’t. Well, I use to hear…
“Weaam you’re wasting your time…”
“Weaam be realistic…it doesn’t happen to people like us…”
“Weaam I’ve found a job for you…it’s a nice admin position…”
“It’s been three years all ready, when are you going to finish this website thing…”
When things were progressing within my mentorship, I had far less time to focus on people’s comments. But my so called ‘friends’ didn’t stop there.
They’d make me feel guilty. Guilty of not spending as much time with them…
“Weaam you’re always busy, busy, busy. Miss Busy. You don’t care about me…”
You see unsupportive friends need to be kicked out of your life. I know it may sound a little bit harsh, but it must happen.
Why? Because they aren’t your true friends.
True friends stand beside you through the fun times and harsh times. And want you to succeed. Not pulling you away from your dreams and make you feel uncomfortable.
At number two…
#2 MANIPULATIVE JOB CENTRE ADVISORS
After graduation, for months I had to meet an advisor recommended by the Job Centre. An advisor who should’ve helped me with my ‘job search’.
But it didn’t feel that way.
Every meeting felt like a battle.
She made me do all sorts of things that weren’t necessary. They didn’t even make a difference in my job search let alone my design career.
I constantly felt undermined and trapped. And found myself still jobless.
She told me to do things like create ten cover letters for jobs that I didn’t even want in the first place.
I was so afraid to say something, because I knew that the job centre would sanction me. So I had to obey her whether I liked it or not.
“Miss Hassan, I can’t believe you’re a graduate without a job… I believe that you’ve been lazy all this time with your job search…lower your expectations please…”
I know, I made the same face expression that you’re making right now.
This was after applying to thousands of job applications and attending numerous interviews whilst working on my website with Adam Taha and my web developer Wayne Hatter. Plus doing my mentorship with Adam, and working on a design project.
I told my mentor everything that had happened with this so called advisor…
You see when you are at places like the Job Centre; you need to go with the flow.
For example, if they want you to do 5 job applications. You do 10.
You need to be 10 steps ahead of them to avoid falling into their poverty mentally.
With the effort that I put in my job search and the complaint that I put through against this advisor. I was free at last.
Well at the time, I was referred to another advisor, who by the way felt like an angel compared to the old one.
The new advisor knew that I was building my design career and really helped me apply for part times jobs that I could do alongside my design work.
At number three…
#3 OPPRESSIVE MANAGERS
I got accepted in a junior recruiter role. (My first job yaaaaaaaaay).
Exciting times right? I finally landed a job that allowed me to leave the depressing Job Centre.
No more signing on. No more advisors. No more fear of being sanctioned.
Well, what was waiting for me around the corner was much worse.
Three months in my new role and I began feeling low, depressed, and confused. But most importantly I was shocked. Shocked by my manager’s actions and attitude.
Things went so bad that I wished upon returning to the Job Centre (yes I know, I couldn’t believe it myself as well).
By the fourth month, all I wanted was to escape from this job.
Things that my manager did…
She contradicted herself many times. For example, she told me to use my initiative. To use my creativeness to help obtain new staff for the company.
Which I did. But then I was told (shouted at) to not use my initiative and to follow the rules.
But the outrageous moment for me was…
I was shouted at in front of my interviewees. I looked up only to find the whole room pitying me.
I felt so embarrassed.
You see mangers like this love the authority that they have over people like us.
They believe that they’ve got the rights to do whatever they want. They think that they are good leaders but sadly they’re not.
If you are in a design job or a 9 til 5 job and feel afraid to go to work every morning, because you don’t know what’s going to come your way.
All I can say is you need to quit as soon as possible!
Why? Because the negativity and fear will turn into a health risk.
A health risk that may distress you forever. I know most of you will be thinking… “Who’s going to pay the bills if I quit?”. Well you need to prioritise.
Your health comes before everything!
And that’s what I did in the end. I stood up for myself, left the company, and returned to the Job Centre.
Yes it was hard at first. But with a bit of patience, persistence in my job search, and self-belief I eventually found a job.
A job that I’m doing alongside my mentorship. A job where the manager values my contribution. A job that makes me feel positive and good about myself and still gives me time to work on my design career.
At number four…
#4 DYSLEXIC SCREENING ASSESSORS
After completing the dyslexic test in my second year of university (assuming that I was dyslexic with many of the challenges I had in school and university) I had one of the most hurtful conversations in my entire life.
This was what my assessor said to me…
“Miss Hassan, are you telling me the truth that you achieved a ‘B’ for your GCSE MATHS And did English Language for your A Level? Mmmmmm It doesn’t make sense… what do you study again? Oh product design there’s no surprise there…
I’m surprised that you’re even in university miss Hassan, and I’m really shocked that Hallam university have accepted you with your level of reading, writing, spelling etc… listen miss Hassan the truth is you’re going to be slower than others and you need to accept this… I truly don’t know how your going to succeed…”– Dyslexic Assessor
I was fuming but really hurt. I stormed out of the room straight to the design workshop in university only to find one of my tutors asking me why I was in such a state.
I told him what had happen and he laughed and said “Weaam if you were ‘slow’ and ‘dumb’ or whatever that woman said about you, you wouldn’t be standing in front of me, in your second your of university.
Don’t you dare believe a word she has said to you!
Remember there were thousands of applicants who wanted the opportunity to study product design here but only 50 got in. So don’t believe a word that assessor has said to you… she wants to pull you down.
Her words did hurt me, but they didn’t break me.
I worked day and night and in the end, well, I achieved a 1st class honours degree. I wanted to shove it in front of her face to prove her wrong.
But she left the campus.
#5 LIVE A HEALTHIER DESIGN CAREER AND LIFESTYLE
You see, there will be people in your life who will emotionally hurt you, devalue you, and break you, but all you need to make sure is that you gradually slip them out of your life.
But for some, you have to kick them out of your life immediately.
Sometimes its hard to identify those kind of people. But you need to be cautious.
Because if you don’t your design career will be at risk, and above all your health will be at risk as well.
Don’t allow these kinds of people to pull you down. Ask yourself this “why waste such a talent?”
You’re already living your dream and that is doing what you love for a living. Yes you still have goals to achieve along the way but you love what you do and many people don’t have the courage to do this, but you do!
So… for those people who have said “you can’t make it…” this is your reply from today to them:
Just you watch me!!! 😉
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