Written by Caitlin Griffin, 23.
The thoughts I had starting 2020 seem a distant memory as I find myself three months into my working from home life. The past few months have impacted cities once filled with ambitious people; busy streets, expensive bars and restaurants are now adapting to a new normal. This new normal for those ‘ambitious, city loving’ people who have pushed themselves and worked hard to get the jobs they had, are either on furlough or living a new normal from their home working.
Looking back, as a young person, I always was drawn to cities and often looked up to women who worked in our cities within the business industry. At 18, my younger thoughts and planning caused me to make the big move ‘down south’, going to university, working on events and working near London as a graduate. Last summer, I started my ideal job in Birmingham within the event industry which felt like a great move to where I wanted to be. I’d consider myself a planner, and for the first time that has become difficult to do in the past few months.
The past few months have made me question my decisions
Throughout my early twenties, cities have surrounded my weekly life, from a business and personal perspective. I have immersed myself in a high pressure, work-hard graduate attitude. Though, the past few months have made me question my decisions. Is there more to business life than commuting each day? More to my money than using it on overpriced drinks? Could there be a solid graduate life for an event student outside of our metropolitan cities?
The weird thing is I realised cities have become a safety blanket, a place where I felt I could accomplish anything and where I genuinely felt at my most comfortable. On March 15th, I was told to work from home for the foreseeable future. I wasn’t sure what the foreseeable was but three months on, I’m still working from home. The concept of working from home was new for me and seemed more scary than working in a city… It sounds odd but routine causes this.
It is key to find your individual way of motivating yourself
The whole situation can feel quite isolating when you’re still working and many are furloughed or losing their jobs in the UK, and I’ve often had a sense of guilt when I do crave pre COVID life. I feel in a sense, lucky to be privileged to just be working, but still, it is a massive change to life as I knew it. I found myself reading a lot of articles on how to find motivation at home or how to keep structure in your life working from home. What I found was, it is key to find your individual way of motivating yourself and the ‘making a coffee early in the morning and putting makeup on’ just didn’t do anything for my motivation at all.
A few key things that I want to share to other people in their twenties which have kept me motivated working from home as a young, social and money-orientated person is:
Injecting more money than ever in my lifetime ISA. The growth has been significant and has given me a sense of control that I can still put my finance into something monthly even in lockdown. I find by working hard, I’d always reward myself putting my money towards travelling or a good cocktail perhaps. Since I lost that sense of social freedom, I have found investing my money to be of great value and to see it building up is motivating me to keep working harder every day.
Knowing that the job market whilst struggling now and for the near future, eventually will be of greater benefit for people in their 20’s as with a stronger WFH scheme in companies, we will be able to apply to jobs in Birmingham, London, Manchester or maybe even further afield to progress our careers- whilst living in another city or outside of cities, we will be able to work remote and use less disposable income.
Start creating an email inbox with good comments you’ve had from colleagues on accomplishments you’ve made since working remote- for me, reading positive comments from networking events and webinars I’ve organised have really kept me motivated whilst being at home.
Write different restaurants/ countries you’d like to visit down and put them in a box, know that once lockdown is over you can open this box and start to plan your version of normality again with whatever you put in this box.
Particularly for people on furlough, use Linked in to read, educate yourself and network with people in your sector- learn what companies are treating people well, what companies aren’t and what companies are implementing WFH schemes in the future- this may be good knowledge and save you time researching in your future when life is busy again and you’re commuting with less chance to learn about things out of your everyday work bubble.
For anyone who is struggling with financing during this situation, the one best tip I could give is to get outside each day, find new walks and explore. This is free to do whilst being great for your mental outcome. You might even find it a new hobby you want to continue after Coronavirus! Not to mention, it separates work life from personal life when WFH.
To conclude, we all know the world we will see post Covid-19 will be different to the one we knew before. Maybe this isn’t all such a scary thing though. If as young people, whether you just graduated, have graduated for a few years, are in a graduate job, are furloughed, are job hunting- we can all keep the same focus and ambitious that led us to our city job goals then we may find more opportunities to move up in our careers with the ability to work from home more.
Finally, to anyone who like me has spent months at home working, try and save your normal disposable income and invest it a little… you’d be surprised what benefit it could have eventually. Who knows, maybe you could buy that plane ticket, new car or house sooner than you think.