Tuesday, 27 March 2012

First impressions.

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...

The shirt.

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.

The skirt.

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!

The shoes.

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.

The smile.

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 :)

What a mug.

Penguin Mug - Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
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!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The desk.

This desk and I have issues.

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. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Let's talk about work baby!

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!