As I grew up, my career ambitions changed. I wanted to be a dancer, and went to stage school. A parent made a comment about nobody hiring fat ballerinas after I got a better role in a show than her child. Then, I wanted to be a marine-biologist, which was a combination of my love for Sabrina Goes Down Under (all hail Sabrina the Teenage Witch), aquariums, Finding Nemo and a trip I took to Australia when I was young. My Year 8 science teacher told me I'd never be able to do it, because I'd never be good enough. Turns out she just hated me, but it knocked enough confidence out of me to drop it. The only thing I ever wanted to be other than that was a writer, and my interest in fashion from the day I got my first Vogue when I was ten later directed me to a degree in fashion journalism and on to working for top high fashion publications.
Despite being offered roles in companies that held prestige within the fashion industry, my dream to be a writer was rarely made a reality, with writing being put on the back-burner whilst I worked 115 hour weeks for photo shoots, advertising campaigns, fittings and fashion shows. There was the odd writing job to throw in when the magazine needed extra text, or something to feature last-minute on the website. I wouldn't consider myself dissatisfied, but the phrase overworked and underpaid had never rang so true before. I always missed writing - writing properly - and I wondered what life would be like if I worked in a position where I could finally put my true ambitions first.
I was lucky I guess. Due to the calibre of the people I was working with, my career was on track for great things. I could've become a senior fashion editor, or a fashion director, or a fashion consultant, and been someone with real clout. After all, that's what my first boss - who I looked up to as a mentor in many ways - was, so there was no real reason why one day that couldn't have been me. When I bowed out, admittedly due to serious illness, I was flooded with a weird relief that gave me hope that when I was allowed to step foot back into the workplace, the chances of me being in a writing position could actually be a reality.
It hasn't been until launching The Unedit that I realised how job satisfaction is supposed to feel. It's that feeling where work doesn't feel like work, and where you wake up every morning looking forward to starting your day. Nothing is too much, and you don't care if you find yourself wrapping up work five hours later than anticipated.
Others aren't so lucky.
A recent survey at Greenwich School of Management discussed careers with 1,000 people, which showed how women experience alarmingly less job satisfaction than men. 92% of women say that they aren't putting their professional ambitions into practice in the role that they're in, which is something I truly resonate with and can't describe the frustration that that can cause. The survey tapped into reasons for this, with 26% of women claiming that it was family commitments that got in the way of their dream career, whilst another 24% of women citing their lack of confidence for the reason why they're yet to get to where they want to be. Sadder still, a tiny 8% felt that their career was heading somewhere, with only a quarter of the women surveyed describing their role as a career rather than a job.
“All evidence suggest that people who feel they have fulfilling careers and have high levels of job satisfaction are the most productive employees, so it's a real concern that so many people appear to be unhappy at work,” said Alex Reid, Greenwich School of Management's career advisor.
Gender inequality and stereotyping in working industries have caused many women to avoid setting their sights on their dream jobs and has often kept women in lower roles, even those brimming with talent and potential. Sexism in the workplace is an issue that - despite progress being made - still requires attention and change. Perhaps when more companies work towards actively encouraging more female participation in more prominent positions, more women will garner that extra confidence that will give them that extra push in their careers.