How Zainab picked a job she enjoys

“I rejected the job offer. I will give myself another 4 weeks to find a job in media I’m excited about”

Zainab was currently working in a temporary job paid by the hour. The well-paid, 6-month contract, she was just offered, would have given her the financial stability she needed after graduating university. It would mean that she could rent a nice place in town and have some extra cash to travel with friends.

I was pleasantly surprised she had said no. I was also super proud of her. It takes guts to pursue what you are passionate about, especially when good cash was being promised.

What drives you

I brought the croissant and drinks to the table where Zainab was sitting. She was looking through the window, following the reflection of the sea along the Clontarf coast.

I had printed out the 5 pages of her resume, underlined various sections, and left notes here and there.

She trusted my expertise. Even prior to joining Enhancv, a resume-building platform, I was obsessed about the quality of resumes. Throughout my life In my whole life I had probably spent 10,000 hours working on the way my resume read and looked and would regularly help friends with theirs.

The layout of Zainab’s resume wasn’t ideal and the wording didn’t capture her skills. It needed a lot of improvements. However, I was impressed by the amount of awards she had won and articles she had published with various national and local media.

This girl was unstoppable! I wanted to help her create a resume where her grit and passion unquestionably stood out. I had to. I couldn’t imagine someone with such a drive just settling for any job. I always found it difficult to understand how people I met years ago were still in the same jobs they aren’t particularly passionate about. It’s hard to shake off the golden handcuffs once you get used to it, they become the default.

I sipped some coffee and typed a few things on my phone. I was figuring out how to structure the conversation with Zainab.

“Before we look at your resume, I need to understand better what matters to you.”

I drew an ‘ikigai’ image” and explained the concept to her.

“This will help me understand what kind of job you would enjoy.” She was still looking puzzled as it looked complex and didn’t seem related to her resume.

Despite that she nodded and was ready to answer my questions.

We probably spoke for a couple of hours that Sunday, until I could help her figure out

  • what kind of stories she’s most passionate about
  • what media formats she enjoys
  • how strong her drive to become a journalist is
  • what practical skills and experience she has
  • which media is more likely to consider her because of her existing skills and experience
  • what kind of jobs she could apply for within media companies — journalist, editor, what else
  • what kind of jobs she could go for outside of traditional media companies
  • why she cares about sharing stories

“Telling extraordinary stories about ordinary people”

She smiled looking at that one-liner summarising her objective. Now it was easy for her to put it on the top of her resume. It was to set the tone and help the reader focus on her attitude.

Then, we went through the resume and it was easy to fix the formatting and the wording. In about 30 minutes she had a resume created on Enhancv that looked amazing and she was proud of.

“Before this resume I felt like I had so much to offer but it wasn’t coming across”, said Zainab with a glow in her eyes.

The following day was a Monday and she was back working as an intern at The Irish Independent. It was a two-month program in the newsroom. She was there when the news for the Manchester attacked came in and saw the chaos it caused. Everyone running around, preparing the stories which had to be published within minutes.

Paying the bills

The internship soon came to an end. She hadn’t secured another job in the Irish media industry. She took one that would pay the bills, while she was interviewing for roles that she would enjoy.

That’s when she was offered the well-paid, 6-month contract that could give her more financial stability and freedom, even some money for trips with her girls abroad for a long weekend. But it wasn’t in media.

She tashed that offer. I loved it!

When the moment comes

Two weeks later she called me. Her voice was jumpy and high pitch.

“Vessy, do you remember the casting I went for a while ago? The one with RTE, the Irish national television? They want to meet me on Tuesday!”

Although she was trying not to get overly excited as it could just be a talk for some other position, she was thrilled like I had never seen her before.

She went to meet them. They offered her the job.

Zainab Boladale became the first Nigerian woman to work in the RTÉ newsroom and made the headlines across the country.

You can watch her live on RTÉ2 every day of the week at 4.20pm.

Here’s one of Zainab’s reports.

When you know what you enjoy

It left me thinking, what if she had given up and had stopped trying?

It’s important to take the time to have that coffee and croissant to reflect on why you are passionate about something and what the alternatives are.

It gives you confidence that the wait is worth it.

If that’s you, I think you would find the books

  • Sir Ken Robinson’s “The Element”
  • Simon Sinek’s “Find Your Why”

quite inspirational and will help you stay focused on your objective.

When you don’t know what you enjoy

If you have some hobbies, but you haven’t quite figured out what you enjoy professionally, I’d recommend the following

  • create your Ikigai (use the diagram above)
  • do the exercises from Bill Burnett and Dave Evans’ book “Designing Your Life”

I can also help you with those, it’s something I do in my free time.

When your friend is stuck and unhappy

Okay, if you read this article because of your friend, send them this article and ask them to read it.

If you need help to create your resume or find a job you’d enjoy, I can help you out — reach out to me 💚 is a new initiative

I’d appreciate your feedback and clap.

I am writing articles with practical advice on how to overcome your daily struggles, reconnect with yourself, and create a meaningful life.

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