To introduce myself, I’m El, a 22 year old first class law graduate from Warrington. I run a little insta blog (@ElsGradLife) and also a small business (@SmileAndStitch_), which I fit in between my part time job in retail.
During university, I always had great grades, was running my law blog, Vice-President of my university law society, attending lots of different law firm networking events and had my sights set on a career in law. This was something that was (and still is) achievable for me. Everyone thought I was nailed on for a successful law career, the careers advisors supported me in my applications, and everyone knew that it was something I was determined to achieve.
Shortly after graduating, I secured my first role in the legal sector. I’d been knocked back from some training contract applications, which I had expected in my first round of applications. However, I now had the paralegal role that would get me the experience that I needed for next years application season.
When I started working as a paralegal, it wasn’t long before I realised that I wasn’t enjoying the role. The area of law was interesting to me, but in practice was very different. The law firm environment was also very different to what I expected. I put my feelings down to inexperience, and expected that I’d soon be settled and my initial feeling about the job that I’d worked so hard for would soon disappear.
Fast forward 9 months, and I was even more miserable. My initial feelings about the role were still with me, and the excitement for a legal career had drained from within me, I felt no enjoyment at all in what I was doing. This overspilled into my blog, as I had no passion for the career that I had dreamed of, and I knew that things had to change.
Whilst working from home, I had some time to set up my own business hand stitching embroidery hoops and tote bags, and this is something that I really enjoyed doing and managed to fit in around my schedule. My stitching ignited a passion in me that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and it highlighted to me just how miserable my job was making me.
So, I made the decision to leave and return to retail. It was a difficult decision, it meant a drop in pay, a drop in hours and it was scary admitting that the job that I’d worked so hard at university for just wasn’t working out for me. I was so nervous what my friends would think, what the people I went to uni would think, and how it would look on my CV if I decided to return to law in the future. However, I took the step, and now work part time in retail whilst running Smile & Stitch.
Fast forward to now, I’ve spent three months back in retail and despite the absolute craziness of working through a pandemic, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I’m so grateful to the people in my life who supported me to make this decision, and now I have the time to build my little business and spend time with the people that I love.
My biggest piece of advice to anyone who’s reading this is to do what makes you happy, whatever that is. Whether it’s doing the job you’ve been to uni for, or doing the job that you were in when you left school at 16. If it makes you happy, do it.