This question has been asked to me by quite a few of my peers, and I find it difficult to explain shortly. So here is the longer story, one explaining why I value opportunities I enjoy, even if they are unpaid and that I do appreciate and respect that some people have no choice but to work part time jobs such as in McDonald's to earn income, but even so, these enjoyable opportunities are available to workers too.
**update - I would like to state that I did not mean to bad mouth anyone who does work part time jobs in this post. I appreciate that I am in a privileged position to be able to afford an unpaid internship abroad and that many people cannot do this. Also, the question was posed to me when I mentioned I couldn't go out with friends because I didn't want to spend my money - but that was my choice to save that money and sacrifice some expenses. I really respect those who do work hard for their income, I respect any form of hard work whether paid or not and honestly do not think any less of those who do work part time jobs. I know lots of people who use this income to fund their hobbies and passions whilst working. I have been lucky enough to not need this extra income to fund mine and I am grateful for this but do respect others' situations. If you have any comments, please leave a comment or email me if you'd like to discuss further. I hope you can take the positive message from this post that I was aiming to get across which is to inspire others to strive for what you want, whether that means you do have to work a part time job or not. You can do it!**
From a young age I seem to have possessed an entrepreneurial mind, often creating weekly family newsletters costing 30p. These updated my parents about my mum's favourite cup of tea of the week or provided a fun quiz on what the scientific name of a possum is (p.s. it's Phalangeriformes - in case you were wondering). Sometimes I would even type up short rhyming poems and add pictures! Those 30ps went straight into my piggy bank and probably straight back out again for sweets and magazines.
My parents made me realise, perhaps subconsciously, that it is possible to live your life doing what you love and to be happy and successful. Something which I feel many people sadly view as delusional.
Then came the age where sweets and magazines were no longer what I desired. The age where you are not quite old enough for a part time job (even the ice cream stand wanted 15+) but old enough to want to buy that pretty dress and those sparkly tights. And unfortunately too old to scam my parents out of 30p anymore. But now they'll never know the scientific name of a platypus so the joke's on them really.
Luckily for me however, at this stage in life I was quite the tomboy who didn't really like clothes. Funny how times change eh (although to be fair I am currently typing this in my pyjamas and dressing gown at 3 in the afternoon). I was also lucky to receive pocket money from my parents - about £2 a week which for a 13 year old who didn't really like to spend money was more than enough. Shoutout to my dad for passing down his frugality.
I spent most of this period at school (obviously), playing Sims and writing for an online Sims 3 fashion magazine so I guess I sort of had a job then, although unpaid. But what I didn't gain in monetary value, I gained in skills. These articles formed a big part of my portfolio which earned me a place on my HNC Media & Communications course at college whilst still in 5th year at high school. You can read all my work under the pen name of Nuttychick(123) over here - you're in for a real treat.
And then... I got older. Old enough for... a real job. What I consider my first real job, although again unpaid, was working as a runner for Metropolitan Fashion Show and gaining such valuable experience relating to what I dream of as a career. Working with so many like-minded people in a creative industry boosted my confidence so much, I loved the responsibility and, in particular, Farah's belief in me allowed me to challenge myself and do better than I had ever imagined I could.
I then went back to school, studied hard, got my good grades and applied to my current university course of Fashion Management at Robert Gordon University. I really don't think I would have applied to this without experiencing Metropolitan Fashion Show and how confident and valuable the team of creatives made me feel.
Considering I had still never had a 'proper' or 'paid' job as some may say, I decided I would like to earn some income and since I wasn't raking it in with blogging, I bagged myself a Christmas temp job at Next. Not the best job ever, listening to the same 20 Christmas songs on repeat at 6am and constantly jabbing your finger with the de-tagging machine, but at least some of the people were nice. I guess I felt like I was doing a proper job, one respected and understood by my peers or something. I felt like an adult. A lot of people didn't understand Metropolitan or my blog, but a part time job at Next and earning a set amount of pay was safe and comforting.
And also boring. Temps aren't trusted with much. The most creative or exciting part of the job was when I was told I could arrange a Christmas shelf display so products wouldn't fall off the shelf. The monotonous part-time job just isn't for me when wanting to earn money - and that's okay. And if it is how you decide to earn your income, even if temporarily or permanently, then that's okay too. I did enjoy spending the cash I made on clothes, food and blogging materials, and I am glad I tried this sort of job out. But I definitely prefer less structured or restrictive types of work where I can be creative and feel more valued as an individual with unique skills to bring to the team.
Fast forward through the end of my sixth year at high school and an Unconditional for my chosen university course (get in there) and summer came again. I looked into internships but unfortunately most are Graduates only. Fortunately however, Metropolitan Fashion Show were hosting another show in Edinburgh. This time, I was promoted to Co-Head of Marketing which was amazing. I think I needed that boost of others who understood my creative thinking to believe in me in order for me to believe in myself and what I am capable of.
And now? After passing and enjoying my first year of university, I happened upon a social media and marketing internship in Barcelona, with a Glasgow-based fashion brand - Chouchou. And you may be surprised to hear this internship is unpaid. Then again, if you've had experience of internships and the industry yourself, you may not.
But what I don't gain in monetary value, I will gain in skills, experience, life lessons, culture, friendships, contacts, confidence, determination, enthusiasm and encouragement to never give up on my dreams, whatever they turn out to be. And eventually, for doing what I love, monetary value will come my way too.
And that's why I personally won't just work at McDonald's.
Surround yourself with those who are supportive no matter what, like my parents, and those who understand your passions, like the creatives at Metropolitan, and your encouraged confidence in your own skills will allow you that dream career and life, with success and happiness thrown in too, whether you choose to work at McDonald's for part of that or not.
What does your dream life and career look like?