10 red flags you should not ignore in your new workplace.

man in a suit, sitting at the table and having a phone conversation

Dear readers! My life has been kind of hectic for the past two or three weeks and the main concern of mine has been work. Before I was so worried about being unemployed that I did not realize that being employed but working in an emotionally abusive environment is worse that being unemployed. Today is the day I realize I can not tolerate it anymore and the things that have been happening to me are not normal. Why am I sharing this? Because I do not want you to go through the same unpleasant experience I went through. Learn from my mistakes. Let’s begin!

  1. You get promised unrealistic salary, comparing to average salary in the industry. In this case I am talking about waitressing. In Latvia average salary of a waitress is 590 euros, according to website algas.lv . When I saw the advertisement and went to interview, I was a little surprised that I got promised 1000 to 1500 euros monthly, if I do my job well, however, at that time some people told me that such salary might be realistic in a capital city, especially, if I work in an area which tourists visit quite often. Turns out I was wrong – most waitresses do not earn that much, especially, if they are working only 15 days a month or less. Life lesson – check average salary in the industry in your city or at least country, if possible.
  2. You start the job with no previous experience, get promised training but never receive it. It is still a mystery, why I have not received the training they promised me about two weeks ago but it is what it is. Just another shady thing in the mix.
  3. Your boss talks shit behind your and your coworkers’ back. Major red flag that I foolishly ignored at first. I thought that maybe someone is a really bad employee and deserves all the bad words that were said about them but… no. If your boss is badmouthing a certain person behind their back, she / he is probably doing the same to you.
  4. You get promised a certain work schedule that is never made or made without you having a say in it. Even though waitressing is the type of job that ignores your brother’s birthday, national celebration or something similar, schedule has to be made. If it says in the contract that next month’s schedule is made in the previous month with signed agreement of all employees and it is not, that is just another red flag. You deserve a boss, who respects your time. When you work, you are all in. When you visit your family or rest, you deserve to enjoy it instead of stressing out about being randomly called in to work.
  5. You have toxic colleagues. Waitressing is one of those jobs where teamwork is incredibly important. However, in a way it just like playing basketball – if someone in your own team sabotages or ignores you, successful teamwork is impossible. Besides – if your colleague is telling bad things about your to your boss, you are in trouble even more.
  6. Your boss is constantly criticizing you. This time I am not talking about constructive criticism which actually improves the quality of the work. I am talking about the type of critique that lowers your self-esteem, increases the level of stress and decreases your ability to work. In my case I was too stressed that I started to suffer from panic attacks again which made me incapable of doing my job as well as I could. (To know more about how it feels to live with a panic disorder, read this post.)
  7. There is no equality in workplace and rules constantly change. One day I was supposed to use the tray, another I was told not to use it. One day I was supposed to answer to phone calls, on another it was forbidden to do so. My colleague can do whatever she wants, break as many glasses as she wishes, be clumsy, slow and fuck up stuff, and get away with it but as soon as I make a mistake, I am repeatedly told, how much I suck at this job.
  8. Your boss and/or your colleagues do not want to help you, if you do not understand or can not find something. For fuck’s sake… Do you want me to succeed at this job or make a fool out of myself? Without any previous experience I am doing the last one because you deny your help whenever I need it. So what, if it is my fifth day at work and I can not find toothpicks? Be a decent person and help me, instead of looking down on me.
  9. Employees change often. If it is not even your second week yet and you have seen more than one person leaving and new, naive people coming in place, it is a bad sign. Even worse, if the place you work for a looking for employees for months but can not  find dedicated ones.
  10. Your boss is never open for new ideas. “We have always done it this way and that is it. Changing something is not necessary and will not work.” It does not matter that at some point you are excited to make improvements in your job, you are too young and dumb to offer valuable ideas.

I could probably dig up some more red flags that are quite common not only in my workplace but also in many others but I will not. Let’s stop here. The next thing that I have to do today is take a nap and then go to the city centre to quit the damn job. I have pride, I know my worth and I will not let anyone make me feel like I am less than. And neither should you. If you have noticed more than one of these red flags in your own workplace, I would suggest you to reconsider working there. If you are putting all your time, energy and effort into work and it still is quite bad, quit it. Your mental and physical health is something valuable and no amount of money can buy it back once it is damaged. Take care!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

Heartfelt advice for confused students on choosing the right career path.

Smiling brunette, holding a disposable cup.

Hello, dear readers! If you are a student just like me, you know what time of the year it is right now. An exam time. And for those of us, who are graduating this year it might be even more stressful, if we have no plans for the future. I was in the same boat just few months ago. Most of my life I thought that I will pursue music studies and there’s no way that could ever change but it did. I know, situations like these might be scary but I’m here to tell you – it’s okay. You don’t have to have it all figured out at the age of fifteen, eighteen or even soon after that. Some people get their Bachelor’s degree only in their thirties or forties and it’s fine. If you don’t want to continue your studies in current path or have no path at all, here’s what you can do.

  1. Take a risk and apply for that study programme that caught your eye, even though you might have very little or no experience with it at all. When I started looking for new opportunities, I stumbled across writing. In January I applied through several similar study programmes in different UK schools though UCAS: Creative & professional writing, Screenwriting and Creative writing. I had no idea, which one of those is the right one for me, I just knew that writing is what interests me the most. Three months later I had received offers, made my choices and now everything is in process. If you want to apply for university in UK, too, it’s not too late. There will still be a chance to do it this summer when UCAS opens “Clearing”. Read more about it here: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/apply-and-track/results/no-offers-learn-how-clearing-works
  2. Take a year off to gain some work experience. If you are too confused about your future right now and scared to make the wrong choice career-wise, there is also an opportunity to take a year or few off to work.
  3. Volunteer abroad. Do you want to see the world while doing something useful and gain valuable experience? If so, volunteering abroad might be the right choice for you. There are a lot of options to work with elderly people, wildlife, animals and much more. Some volunteer  programs costs nothing but some do. Find more about it here: https://www.projectsabroad.org and https://www.gooverseas.com/volunteer-abroad
  4. Travel the world for free or cheap. If you have an adventurous spirit, you might want to travel the world. “But how?” You may ask. “That is too expensive!” The truth is – it doesn’t have to be. The internet is full of resources about how to travel the world for free or cheap. You really don’t have to break the bank to see your favorite places. Here are some resources about that: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/the-ultimate-guide-to-traveling-when-you-have-no-money/ , https://www.skyscanner.net/news/20-money-saving-travel-tips-and-secrets

That’s all that I have to share with you today. Yes, my blog posts are kind of short because of the lack of time to spend writing but I’m still happy that I’m doing so well with being devoted to Dolls Have Hearts even with a small amount of time. I will see you next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

5 big fiction writing mistakes I made as a beginner.

coffee-2306471_960_7201.jpg

Hello, dear readers! As I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, I used to write some cheesy and, honestly, a little obscene fiction and the fact that I did it makes me cringe until this very day. Just imagine thirteen, fourteen year old girl, who barely had her first kiss, trying to write about romance she had never experienced in real life. However, when I discovered Wattpad, I was amazed that so many teenagers like to write and what amazed me even more was the fact that they published their work and actually got positive reviews. At that time I didn’t think about it enough to realize that most comments were probably from their peers, who had as little knowledge about writing and romance as young authors their own. Nevertheless, I quickly joined the crowd of teenagers, publishing their writing on Wattpad because that made me feel like a cool kid and I made lots of new friends while keeping up with this teenage writer trend. For few years I found the whole process exciting and actually thought my content was good. How could I not? Today, when I log in on my Wattpad profile that, for some unknown reason I haven’t deleted yet, my most popular story, called “She’s trouble”, has 69 614 reads, 1 077 votes and has been added to 26 reading lists. I guess, quite a lot teenage girls found my content interesting. However, I won’t share links to my cringe worthy “masterpieces” because they are not worth reading. What I will do is share the most common mistakes beginners, especially teenage beginners make when they start writing fiction.

  1. Plot of the book wasn’t planned out. I kind of knew what my characters were but I had no idea where are they going, what is their goal, their purpose. If plot of a book is roughly like “going from point A to point B”, my heroes were staying at point A the whole time and occasionally making trouble because without trouble the book would be way too boring.
  2. Publishing the chapter right after writing it. My so-called book wasn’t already written when I published the first chapter. I was just kind of winging it and barely had any idea what is going to happen in the next chapter. After some time writing on Wattpad started to make me nervous because as soon as I found out that some people actually enjoyed reading the crap I published, I felt like they’re constantly waiting for more and that I should publish regularly. I tried my best to still “wing it” and stick to some kind of schedule but the more time passed, the more I started to perceive writing as a chore. Which is why I quit writing regularly and occasionally published several updates until I quit using Wattpad completely.
  3. Following clichés and copying ideas of others. People often say that copying others is the right thing to do when you are just starting out. Maybe it would have been like that but the thing is – those other people did not have much more knowledge about writing, planning out a great plot, making character seem realistic than I did. So I got inspired from poor writing of others and adapter clichés like being underage and falling in love with young, hot teacher, bad boy or stepfather, being the most popular girl in school etc. Now the idea of those story scenarios happening in real life makes me frown because no stepfather or teacher should seduce someone who’s underage and it’s all kinds of wrong. But in teenage years, I guess, a lot of people, especially girls had those twisted fantasies  about forbidden love in their heads and I still don’t know where did they got them.
  4. Writing about unrealistic characters with unrealistic lives. Just because I copied others, I did not include realistic characters in my books but invented a mix of everything I have read about instead. Right now the thought that I did that makes me want to slam my head against the wall but at the time it seemed like a good idea. Side note: I have learned that readers don’t want to read about characters that aren’t realistic because it is not possible to relate to them. Thanks to Jenna Moreci for this brilliant grain of thought because I was not ingenious enough to figure out that by myself.
  5. Writing terrible sex scenes. It’s no secret that almost everyone in their early teens is a walking and breathing set of raging hormones and at that part of out lives we think about sex quite often. Maybe that was the reason because 99% of teen written fiction had several sex scenes in it. What makes this fact cringe worthy is that these scenes were poorly written. No wonder – some of us had zero action at that time and it’s not possible to write believable scene about something you have never experienced yourself. If I could ever give advice to teenage writers, I’d suggest them to wait until they are older and more experienced. Of course, you might figure out how it’s done technically from movies (or porn, which I don’t suggest) but you will never catch the emotional side of it and most people don’t want to read dry description of sex with several serious mistakes in it.

These are 5 of the most popular mistakes young writers including me, especially on Wattpad, have made while trying to write fiction. It was an exciting time in my life when I first tried to get my content out there, even before creating my very first blog and even though I feel a little ashamed about it, I can definitely learn a lot from my first attempts. Since then I have found my own voice and the topics I feel passionate about, and learned a lot of tips and tricks on how to improve my writing. However, I’m still learning every day and I have decided to create new Wattpad profile to publish my writing on in the future. This time I definetly won’t make the mistakes I mentioned in this post.

Have you ever tried writing fiction and what were the mistakes you made?

Love, Porcelain Doll.