When I was 29-years-old, I began my media career. Before then, I was a wedding planner, a photographer and worked in hospitality — a jack of all trades, I like to think of it.
After my sister was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, my world was turned upside down. I was working in a bar at the time and was the fittest I had ever been and just before her diagnosis, I had decided to quit weddings in the hope of being a TV presenter.
My sister and her husband live in the US and after living over there for a month or two, Mum and I came home and life wasn’t the same.
The experience opened my eyes, and I decided to enrol in a university course to study journalism and by the time my second year of the degree had rolled around, I was ready to enter the workplace.
According to my uni lecturer, I was “never going to get work in the industry” because I didn’t have an internship yet (true story) and it wasn’t until I was thrown a bone by an old high school friend, where I got my first gig.
After working there a few months, and being almost 30, I craved something that could be full-time, and so I could continue to study, I applied for another role that started at 2 pm. And this is where it got complicated.
Before I started, I remember talking to a friend who warned me about the role — in particular, that I might struggle with some of the people I would be working with. I brushed it off, and said, “it’s a foot in the door. I’ll be OK.”
But I wasn’t OK. What transpired was the hardest job of my entire life (and believe me, I’d had a lot of them in the quest to find myself).
Every single night (particularly towards the end of my tenure), I would cry my eyes out. I was openly belittled, felt uncomfortable, was bullied every which way and any semblance of a strong, independent woman had flown out the door.
I constantly got into trouble (yes, trouble) for “making excuses” when I was given “feedback” and for having any sort of opinion about anything. I would even be laughed at and mocked in front of other people — including my peers, celebrities and above all, to my face. It was vile, it was toxic and I hated every single second.
While it was truly one of the toughest periods in my life, looking back on it, there were actually a lot of positives to what I endured.
I was taught how to be resilient (even though I didn’t know it at the time), I learned how to take constructive criticism and learn from it; and I was taught how to edit, produce and be cutthroat with the making of videos — something that I would, later on, succeed with on my own. Above all, I was taught to stand up for myself, even though it was incredibly painful to do so.
During that time, there was one person in particular that made my life hell. However, fast forward five years and I have a lot to thank them for.
You see, without them, I would never be the Entertainment Editor of TheLatch—, I would never have moved states to try something different, and I would never have understood the importance of pain in personal growth.
Since then, the team has folded and everyone has moved on to something even bigger and better. Some struggled to find their feet after such a tumultuous time and others flourished. It was a learning curve for everyone involved.
It was the hardest, most brutal time in my life professionally, and even though there have been a few trying times since — I wouldn’t change the experience for anything.
It was a hard slog, but I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. It just goes to show that while a situation might be hard at the time, there’s always a lesson at the end — even if you need the benefit of hindsight to see it.