(In)frequently Asked Questions: Jasmine Afia, Trainee Solicitor and Founder of AFIA AND JAY

(In)frequently Asked Questions: Jasmine Afia, Trainee Solicitor and Founder of AFIA AND JAY

Kicking off “Infrequently Asked Questions”: a new Q+A feature exploring the balancing acts of super inspiring multi-tasking young women by avoiding the cookie-cutter questions and going to the heart of the matter. 

First up: yours truly.

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you know that I do love to obsess over a female founder every now and again.

But one thing that I’m perhaps even more fascinated by is people who balance both their start-up inclinations with the realities of living in this modern day and age – bruh, I need to pay my bills!

But particularly for a lot of us young(ish) twenty and thirty somethings, it’s not just about finances: building toward the dream, whilst also maintaining a career which also appeals to their other skillsets, are of equal importance to us. We’re not one sided humans, so why should our working careers reflect that?

That’s why I’m starting up Infrequently Asked Questions – a dedicated feature exploring how we (you, me, all of us) balance the 9 to 5 with the 5 to 9.

If you want to be featured, drop me an email (jasmine@afiaandjay.com) and let’s get the ball rolling! In the interim, however: words and responses from yours truly.

***

On a scale of calm-breeze-in-a-floral-minidress-in-Paris to stranded-on-sand-dunes-in-a-puffer-jacket-in-Dubai, how intense was the process of getting from law school to training contract?

Bruh. The process of applying for a training contract (or any job, for that matter) is a job in and of itself. Balancing that with a highly intense year-long academic programme was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve been through, but thankfully the year sped by and at the end of my exams I was able to secure a training contract at a pretty fab firm. But I couldn’t do the GDL again if you paid me. *cries in Spanish*

We all know that it’s pretty tough to secure a training contract. What are some of the weird and wonderful things you experienced when you were studying?

I really can’t listen to the intro to Pour It Up by Rihanna without shivering a little because it was the song my alarm played every morning when I had to wake up at stupid o’clock to study for exams/make training contract applications.

But on a positive note, I made some great friends at law school and really developed as a young woman, which is always positive.

In true stick-figure-throwing table-meme style, was there ever a point when you thought taking up a job as [insert questionable/immoral job role here] might be more worth it?

I remember being on the LPC and starting Business Accounts class. I’ve never really been interested in maths and so what should otherwise have been a really basic class was a bit of a nightmare. Our teacher would always set us a task and allow students to leave once they’d finished, so at the beginning I’d always be one of the last people in the room. One day I just couldn’t get my accounts to match up and so I left the class in frustration (unfinished), went into the bathroom and burst into tears.

Luckily I got better at it over time, and passed my exams just fine. But even thinking about that memory gives me knots in my stomach. Moral of the story: don’t get put off at the first hurdle – it might just work out if you’re patient with yourself.

I want to feel better/worse about my snooze button habits. What time do you wake up in the morning for work? And what time do you put your phone away at night?

It’s weird answering this question having written it myself because it means I have to be honest and say that I haven’t always been the best at getting up. But right now I’m usually out of bed by 7-7.15 (made easier because I recently started in a new department and I genuinely like what I do now), with plenty of time to get dressed and apply some office-friendly makeup before getting to my desk at a respectable hour (and before my supervisor).

I like to work on my website straight after work, so that means I’m often at my laptop until 2am. One day not too long ago I thought midnight would be a good time to learn how to put some images together on photoshop for an upcoming blog post, so I didn’t go to bed until 4am. When I woke up and checked my work phone, I saw that one of our clients wanted to close on a deal that same day (THIS NEVER HAPPENS THERE IS USUALLY A WARNING). So I basically spent that entire day sprinting through the office drunk on coffee (which I hate), getting all of the documents together for shareholders and directors to sign. Which was thrilling to be honest, as it was my first ever completion and surprisingly kinda like Suits but IRL! But when I finally got home at around 9pm, I crashed and went straight to bed.*

So between working in corporate law and running this corner of the inter webs  where do you find the time to find “ozzband”**? Is it something you think about? Do you even care?

Two words: I don’t. This isn’t news though; a lot of girls (and guys) I know who are often strapped for time due to their career or other commitments regularly use dating apps or see spaces such as professional networks or church or even the workplace  as an extension of the dating pool. Which is also totally fair enough.

I’d like to say I don’t care, but whilst I’m totally content with where I’m at right now, I do want to be married and have children one day (one girl, then girl/boy twins.) But I think the world around me (read: my mother; Facebook) makes me care more than I should.

How the flip do you actually have enough hours in the day to do both your job and run your website?

The answer is here.

Do your parents/friends/S.O. know that you’re doing both? If so? do they understand what building a website actually involves? 

My mum and dad are aware and encouraging of my creativity but (especially – I think – due to my West African heritage) I ultimately get the sense that, despite this, becoming a lawyer and nothing else should be my focus. That said, my parents always taught my siblings and I that we should strive to be the best in whatever we choose to do, and so I’d like to think that that includes more creative pursuits, too.

My friends are awesome. And I don’t really have a “significant other” right now *cue staring eyes emoji*.

Where’s your go-to spot for unwinding / coming up with the wickedest insults for confrontations that have already happened after an intense day?

Surprisingly, I’ve really made fitness a priority this year. I aim to get to the gym three times a week, usually after work (or first thing in the morning if on Saturday or Sunday), and will always start a session with HIIT sprints for 15 minutes. My mind’s usually pretty clear by the end of that.

I also love a good bath. When I’m especially tired/stressed/all of the above, I’ll just run a hot bath and lie there for 30 minutes and let my mind wander. I come up with so many ideas when I’m in the bath.

If Afia and Jay was making enough money for you to be able to work on it full time, would you give up the law?

I don’t think so, you know. From as early as I can remember I’ve had three or four random life plates spinning, so as long as it’s doable, why not have both? And I’m kinda obsessed with women like Olivia Perez (brand partnerships at fashion app Spring / editor of Friend of a Friend), Mercedes Benson (culture at ASOS / DJ / Founder of SocialFIXT) and Kitty Cash (DJ / PR at G-Star) who are currently balancing or have previously balanced a full-time corporate role with an equally thriving business/vocation on the side. These days there’s just so much more to accomplish, as a lot of these vocations are helped with technology and the fact that you can essentially start an empire from your laptop in Starbucks. You don’t have to choose.

Who should feature on Infrequently Asked Questions next?

My dear friend Katie: she’s a doctor and founder of Mothers’ Pride, an events company for young mothers. Oh, and she’s a yummy mummy herself. She’s awesome.

*kind of. I removed my makeup, bathed, had dinner, watched a movie, and then crashed.

**husband (in thick West African accent)

Follow:
Share:
  • babs_e

    Love this post and looking forward to the series! I’m doing the LPC now and bruh, the struggle with Business Accounts is oh so real