It’s 7pm Friday night and you’re still in the office finishing off a final tech pack that’s due for the Monday morning meeting. You’ve been doing two jobs since your boss went on mat. leave and the company didn’t find a replacement. Even if you get out at 8pm it’ll be the earliest you’ve left the office all week. You’re exhausted and both your social life and gym routine is suffering.
What do you do?

  1. Walk out exasperated and vow to never return.
  2. Spend the weekend applying for new jobs – it’s ok in the short term but you want your life back.
  3. Promise to ask your line manager for a meeting next week to explain that the situation you’re in isn’t sustainable.
  4. Nothing, except go home late and crash on the sofa watching Horrible Bosses with a tub of ice-cream.

It’s a tricky but very common situation to find yourself in. You don’t want to complain or suggest you can’t cope, but is this really what you signed yourself up for when you accepted the job? You deserve to have life outside of work, but its no secret that the fashion industry is notorious for long and unsociable working hours. Just because you have a ‘fun’ or glamorous job though, doesn’t mean you don’t need a break from it.
So when is enough, enough? And how do you know if the grass really is greener on the other side?

“The easiest thing to do is to just quit, walk out, or take a very long Kitkat break but where is the personal learning in doing that” Life is 10% of what happens to you 90% of how you deal with it.

Firstly, don’t make any brash decisions. In the situation above, take the weekend to relax and do something fun to take your mind off work. Talk to friends and family about your situation and take their advice on board. There are lots of bad reasons to change jobs and whether you feel overworked or don’t get on with your colleagues, how do you know the same won’t happen in a new role? That said, there are lots of good reasons to change jobs too but to get a clear picture of what they might be you need to sit down and reassess your career goals.
If you don’t have a mentor, now is a great time to get one. A mentor isn’t your current line manager or mum, a mentor should be someone you trust and admire, most likely working in the same industry as you but not necessarily. We provide mentoring at My Fashion Tutor if you’re looking to speak to someone impartial, with knowledge of the industry and your best interests at heart. A good mentor can help you to step back and see the broader picture.
If you’re looking for a new job to fix a problem, the first thing you should try and do is fix that problem. Arrange a meeting with your manager (answer C!) and be prepared with examples of what you’re unhappy with, explain how they might be negatively affecting the business and suggest steps to make the situation better for all. If you think you deserve a pay rise then go in with real reasons as to why.
Of course, it may just be time to make a move. A plant becomes stilted if left in the same pot after all; we all need space to grow. A long as you’re doing it for the right reasons, the grass may well be greener. Either way, give yourself the opportunity to blossom rather than wither into a dark hole of negativity.
So should you stay or should you go? Before making any decisions take the time to ask yourself these questions:

What are your short and long-term careers goals? If you want to be a womenswear designer and you’re currently assisting the garment technologist take a look at the job descriptions for design roles and write a list of the person requirements so you can create a strategy for how to get there.

What do you like and dislike about your current job? Once you identify the problem, whether it be the environment itself, a colleague, the workload or the hours, you can set about finding a solution. Thinking of your likes as well can encourage positive thinking!

Can you change roles in your current company? If you think your talents are being wasted in your current role, see if there is a way to move across to a different department. You’ll have the advantage of knowing how the company works while training for a new role.

What benefits do you get in your current role? Do you make use of discounts and memberships that you’d miss if you left?

Is there any further training you want or need to do to progress? There are plenty of opportunities for online learning, evening and weekend classes to brush up your skills on particular software, styling, photography and more. Or perhaps you want to take on a Masters degree?

What are your personal goals? Could you cope with a longer commute to work, or are you planning to move house? Could your family circumstance change in the next few years and how does your career fit into that?

Fashion can be a fickle industry, but it’s exciting and fast-paced too! It’s all too easy to make a snap decision, but taking the time to think more analytically about your next move can help you move up the career ladder and be satisfied in your role. Life on earth is too short to be regretting irrational decisions but a considered change can make all the difference to every minute that life brings.