I can't believe that I've been in my new job for nearly two months- it feels as though I've always been there- especially now I've officially gotten into the swing of things by spending the night dancing and drinking with my new colleagues!
But...even though I was excited to get to know my new colleagues outside of the office arena, I did have a momentary panic involving glad rags. How do you do the whole work-to-play outfit switch-over when everyone is going out straight from work? Do I take clothes in? Do I dress up for work and just spruce myself up with a bit more make-up? What do I do with my clothes and shoes if I change them in work?
In the end I decided on the alternative...The AAA - Accessorise All Areas.
This is how I ended up solving my dilemma...
I've had this simple light weight New Look dress for a little while now, but the weather has either been too cold to venture out in it or it has been too plain to make a statement. For work I chose to wear the dress with a pair of velvet studded Topshop slippers (not the new canvas ones) and the obligatory H&M work cardigan...
So, to change my look without bogging myself down with unnecessary clutter on the night out, I changed my flats to a pair of velvet Carvela heels, added a pair of Thomas Sabo earrings and swapped my cardigan (that I left on the back of my office chair) with a warmer leopard print coat from my favourite retailer- Zara. Oh, and a bit of Tom Ford lippy in Crimson Noir was added just to make sure that I was definitely dressed for a night out!
So what do you think? How do you go from work-to-play?
Also...thank you to everyone who entered my Vivienne Westwood giveaway. I haven't forgetten about you...I will choose the winner this week :)
So I've already said that I would like to write about employment and use this blog to address work issues and help to spread my knowledge of the dark world of work...
Going to work can be scary when you first start out, but the majority of us have to start work somewhere, whether it be the local corner shop, a busy office or under the wing of a family member or friend, but what is the actual point of starting just somewhere, anywhere?
My reason to work was for money. Being a teenager in a city with no money to learn to drive or have a decent night out was awful! So I decided that searching for a job was essential if I wanted to keep my hair trimmed and purchase some posh slap.
Finding a job, however, was the easy part. A quick interview with a pleasant lady in a well-known department store, a lot a smiling and a firm handshake was all it took. Getting on with my future boss was not as straight forward...
After a few weeks of learning the ropes by cleaning, getting to know other girls at near concessions and selling overly priced garments to serial shoppers, I became aware that above the general boss behaviour, my boss had started to become...well...a little bit anal.
No one was allowed to use her stock-taking pencil (specially engraved with her name) and if a hanger looked out of place she would hit the roof!
As time went by I started to receive 'to do' notes at the start of every shift which became longer and longer detailing the simplest of tasks such as ensuring garments were in size order and that I had a 'decent face-full of make-up' on.
Now, I will defend myself here- these were tasks that I adjusted to within two-three shifts, but yet the notes started to make me feel belittled and insufficient for the job.
So after months of putting up with this I started to rebel...leaving items of clothes on the changing room rails, 'forgetting' to switch the lights off at the end of a shift and so on...
Eventually we both 'popped'.
In the middle of the shop floor we had a barney- a massive argument. We yelled at each other in full view of staff and customers (probably some managers too) and I even declared that the department 'looked stuffy and dirty and reflected the clothes we were selling'!
O gosh...I knew I was stuffed.
I walked out and never looked back.
Until recently that is.
I've often thought about why I am sometimes a little insecure about tasks that I undertake in work even if I have reassurance from colleague that I am doing just fine. After leaving the department store I buried my head in the sand and found another job relatively quickly. I didn't think about the incident in the department store and only started to re-tell my story when coaching school leavers and advising them to search for their first job.
Sometimes experiences (no matter how small or petty) can leave an imprint on our behaviour for years to come. Shouting at a boss to relieve my stress left a small chip on my shoulder for a long time and only after I bumped into her not so long ago did I forgive her for being so picky.
We spotted each other Christmas shopping this winter and we both quickly approached each other. For some reason we hugged and I immediately apologised for our argument. She laughed and said that she had often thought about it and still found herself going red at the thought of getting so angry!
We had a quick chat and I was sad to hear that she was made redundant at the start of the recession. Fortunately, due to her perfectionist traits and loyalty to the company, she managed to find work at another department store under a partner brand.
If I were able to talk to my former teenage self, I would urge myself to appreciate that small things can often mean big business for those with the responsibility. If I were the boss of that department now, I would make sure that everything down to the folds in the curtains were perfect!
How did you rate your first boss? Or do you dread starting your first job? Let me know!
Also...if you fancy getting your hands on the cutest Vivienne Westwood giveaway pin badge, don't forget to enter my giveaway below...Good Luck!
So...the gorgeous Through Chelsea's Eyes nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Chelsea's blog is such a fab read...she has recently tested the new Amy Child's tan and may have convinced me- a non-tanner- to try it!
I've felt awful for not responding to this sooner, but I've been so bogged down in work this week that evenings have been exclusive to Eastenders...
So here is what you have to do:
1.Nominate fellow bloggers who may be new to blogging 2. Let them know you have nominated them. 3. Share 7 random facts about yourself. 4. Thank the bloggers who have nominated you. 5. Add the versatile blogger picture to your post.
Here are some great blogs that I have been reading lately:
I've only been officially blogging for a few weeks and I've had some truly lovely comments off you gorgeous bloggers, so in honour of this I'm already starting to plan a giveaway! I'll be organising this soon, hopefully towards the end of this week, so keep posted!
I also have a few ideas up my sleeve concerning the employment side of this blog which may take a little longer to develop, but will hopefully involve lots of participation from you guys...
There are always going to be days in work where getting through the day is tough. As long as I am smart and tidy, I can pretty much wear what I like to meet clients, so I decided to buy one item that is always going to make me smile.
Yes, I know I champion Zara way too much, but I really do love their shirts for work! I promise that I will post about other brands in the future, but they have so many nice items in store that I can't walk away from...including this little gem...
I originally spoke about the skirt above in my First Impressions post. I love the skirt so much that I will probably wear it a lot to meetings and away days and can always change the belt when it's starting to look a little same old-same old.
The watch is by Nixon, and I always borrow it from my boyfriend when I'm having an accessory crisis day! He bought this one from Harvey Nichols, but I'm pretty sure that you can get them on Net-a-Porter too.
And finally, the shoes. These cute brogues are from Deena & Ozzy at Urban Outfitters. They are so comfy to wear and look good on days where heels are a no-go!
Let me know if you think this shirt is a little loud...I'll save it for the weekends!
Before I start going all serious and start blogging about employment, I need to get two work outfit posts out of the way!
As I stated in my last post, I can't shop online (unless it's exclusive) but I can definitely shop till I drop! I won't come home unless I have EVERYTHING I need, so I thought I'd share some new buys with you. Feel free to comment and let me know if I have made some bad choices...I still have the tags!
I love jewel colours! This winter was pretty amazing for emerald and ruby tones, so I'm happy that these colours are still trickling through spring wear for those of us who can't quite let go and do pastel!
Above is a classic fitted lace shirt from Zara which I found for an amazing £25. I will have to wear a vest underneath for work, but if I wore this to a restaurant I would wear it as Zara intended!
The skirt was also £25, but from Topshop. I always find that pencil skirts are flattering, even though I am only 5ft tall as they nip in my waist and make me look more hour-glass than dumpy!
An outfit is not complete without accessories... M&S are fab for work shoes, and these leopard print kitten heels were only £30, but could pass for KG easily because they are so comfortable. I am also lost without a watch. I'm known for my sporadic time-keeping, so wearing a watch that is ten minutes fast usually does the trick. For outfits that are fitted and 'lady-like', I prefer to wear a chunky man watch like the Casio above. I bought it around two years ago, but I still get people asking me where I got it from, even though it's just a battered old hispter watch!
Finally, I don't tend to wear a lot of make-up in work, but I do like to carry a lippy around with me in case I need to spruce myself up for a midday meeting. Tom Ford do super lipsticks from £36 in colours that are sophisticated, rather than on-trend. The one below is called Casablanca and suits my pale complexion. You can get the full make-up range from House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols. One day when I'm brave enough, I may do a tutorial...
So I'm starting my new job next week, so that must mean that shopping is mandatory! I need a few bits and bobs to update my summer work wardrobe, but nothing is as challenging as picking a bag to go with it...oh, and it must be practical too!
I don't shop online and when I do, it's only to browse posh sites to add to my mental 'if I won the lottery' wish list. I prefer to spend a day shopping, 9-5, and buy everything I need rather than lust over something online only to find that the real-life version is flimsy and made in China.
So at approximately 9:34- only half an hour into my shopping pursuit, I find the One. Oh Yes, it's practical, it's big, it's leather and fits perfectly into my jewel-colour bag fantasy!
Behold! The perfect work bag...
This green monster is from Zara and will become the love of my life for a while (until I find the next beaut for my wardrobe!)
It has a front and inside pocket, (for storing many receipts and wrappers) sturdy straps, side zips for extra room and is well made- No odd bits of cotton or unfinished panels.
It's a fantastic feeling to be told that you have the opportunity to start something new, even though making changes may be hard. I have a sneaky suspicion that my new role will be pretty challenging, but I'm happy to start something that will give me the chance to start changing lives again and connect with local communities.
Below are a bunch of gorgeous flowers that the director of my current employer sent to congratulate me! Being sent flowers always make me feel emotional, but having flowers from an employer was particularly eye-watering!
I'm always looking for new challenges, so when I spotted a job opportunity online last week I decided to go for it! I haven't been to an interview in two and a half years (despite coaching others on how to get their place in the hot seat) so I was delighted to hear that my application had been selected from over fifty other applicants.
Making an impression is key to positive results- whether you get the job or not. I once attended an interview where I completely fluffed up all my answers, but my rapport and overall impression resulted in the interviewer calling me back to express that he would like me to apply for the company again when they re-advertise later in the year.
Based on my experiences and those of others, I know how important it is to prepare, prepare and prepare some more before hand, but how can you control your first impression?
In work I tend to dress down (trousers, Breton tops and flats), but dressing for an interview is different and can often make interviewees feel out of their comfort zone and add to the stress of the day. It can be hard to fake feeling at ease, so don't fake it! Don't wear the awkward suit or the sky high power heels if it compromises your confidence, just wear the smart version of your everyday self.
So here is my head-to-toe outfit battle plan for next week...
I've opted to wear a loose silk shirt that doesn't cling or show sweat patches (we all get them!). I have a few fantastic Zara shirts and usually wear them with skinny jeans and sunglasses, but this navy collar-tipped shirt is perfect for looking smart too. It looks expensive, even though I only paid £39, and wearing it makes me feel 'grown up'- you know, those clothes that make you stand straight and feel alert.
Deciding between trousers or skirts for interviews can be tricky. I usually feel more comfortable in trousers, but wearing a well fitted skirt (with bottom-hugging M&S tights) will never fail to make me feel more confident. Most of my skirts are either leather or short, but a quick spend of £30 at Topshop sorted this out. I chose this knee-length black skirt with fake-croc belt and slit at the back for avoiding that pencil skirt penguin walk. The last thing I want to do is make an unwanted memorable impression by waddling into the interview room!
I went for simple.black.heels. I wear flats everyday, so wearing the below Dorothy Perkins heels will make me feel a little more put-together and will help me to get my 'interview head' on. It has also been super sunny this week, so I'll make sure to take some sunnies with me so I don't look all squinty by the time I've driven to my interview. The ones below are by Whistles.
My plan is to keep on smiling! I want the interview panel to like me, so no matter what happens on the day, at least I'll feel great! I'm sure that way, way back in time my psychology tutor told me that smiling releases endorphins and that the receiver usually reciprocates, so I'll give it a go :)
My last post got me thinking about how I perceive work at the moment. It's certainly more than a chore- it pays for my bills, mortgage and handbags...but I genuinely feel quite indifferent to my place of work right now. I'm lucky that my boss allows me creative freedom at times and I don't lose sleep at night worrying about the day ahead, but I do feel a little less part of the furniture than I should.
Maybe the problem is down to keeping my desk tidy...
Cutting off that messy part of my personality is like cutting off a limb (I know, so cliche). So whilst looking back at the snap-shot I took last week I noticed something pretty interesting. Amongst all the bits and bobs, I saw my mug. A bright orange Penguin Classics mug.
I love reading, especially dystopian novels, and Nineteen Eighty-Four is the Daddy of such novels. So when these mugs made by Art Meets Matter started flying off the shelves a few years ago, I snapped one up too. Up until six months ago I had this little beauty neatly placed on top of my kitchen cupboard with a few other Penguin mugs gathering dust. So when I started my new job, I decided to take this one with me to save it from its tea-less existence.
Now I bet you're thinking that a mug is a mug right? Wrong. This mug perfectly sums up how I feel about work at the moment. I'm in a battle (just like Winston) to fight for my freedom. Although my battle consists of the freedom to clutter my desk without being told off by the boss (Big Brother) and it also makes me feel a little rebellious too- being the only one to deviate away from the generic company mug. Oh yes.
So sometimes, when work seems a little boring, a little stressful or draining, always remember that 2+2=4 not 5 and work is just work. You still have your personality, so don't let your desk get you down!
It's a nice desk- plain with curves in all the right places, but it doesn't really get me going. As an organised-mess type of person, I would truly love to be neat and tidy, but I just can't get it quite right.
Above is a snap-shot of the desk I sit at in work. I would say that on a scale of 1-bombsite, today was a fairly good day, maybe a 5-6. But on a bad day...well, I've had comments from my boss who happens to be pretty anal about all things looking shiny and new.
But lately, my problem seems to be spiraling out of control...first there were the post-it notes that appeared wherever I turned, then the empty note pads that landed on my desk and then the mugs...THE MUGS! Empty coffee and hot squash mugs that have become lost between the drinks station and the sink!
So I've come up with a plan to help me with this problem. I've enlisted a partner in crime to help me with my tidiness woes- the humble drawer.
So I have that typical 9-5 day job - eight hours a day, five days a week. Sometimes it can be fun or boring, challenging or tenuous, but mostly it flies by week after week with little recollection of how I got here and why I'm still sat at the same desk day in, day out.
My working life has always consisted of offering some sort of advice to those who are trying to change their own working lives, so I started writing employment tips at work (to fill the time). Hopefully this blog will consist of helpful tips for those who are looking for employment advice or maybe you will just check in every now and again to see how my own work life is progressing and changing!