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On The Job

I’ll get straight to the point……What do you wear to an interview today and does your choice of attire have to be relevant to the occupation? I am one of a rare breed, I love interviews. I also love going to the dentist, airline food and writing online dating profiles. The latter being a thing of the past now that I’m GeordiesGirl, but I am still called upon by the odd close friend to help ‘advertise their assets’ Wow that sounds totally seedy! I’m just good at viewing the profile as a self-advertisement where as when you write your own your maybe a little more conservative?

Back to interviews…..A good friend of mine went to an interview a couple of weeks ago,  he was hoping to secure the role of Assistant Manager in a retail store and text me for advice on what to wear. It’s been over 18 months since I had an interview but I have attended meetings and open days in that time and so kept my hand in with professional etiquette. Back in the day you could spot an interviewee at 100 paces, proudly carrying their record of achievement in one arm and sweating profusely in an awkward fitting Burton suit. Fast forward ten years and the goal posts have most definitely moved. As office attire has grown more casual with men not being forced to wear ties, and women narrowly getting away with sandals/platforms in some work places it becomes a real nightmare to know what is acceptable and to whom?

Computer

Too Casual? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s say your going for an interview to be a swimming instructor, what would you wear? A tracksuit…too casual? Is a formal suit, shirt and tie a little over the top? Your best Speedo‘s and goggles? What about if you were the manager of the Leisure Centre, what would you expect an interviewee to wear for such a meeting? From my friend’s quandry I can appreciate that it is more difficult to judge the situation when the role you’re applying for does not conform to the traditional office dress code. The last resort is to call the prospective new employer (and show lack of initiative) and ask ‘What should I wear’.

After three or four text pictures of suitable smart shirts and trousers combo’s we finally settled on a light blue Paul Smith Oxford shirt, Ralph Lauren navy blue chino-type trousers and Lanvin shoes, exactly what I would consider to be a smart casual look to work in management at a high street fashion store. We agreed that the outfit suggested that he was familiar with high street designers and knew what was currently on-trend in menswear. His choice of footwear was carefully selected to reflect the stores product lines, in my humble opinion it ticked all the boxes.

On the day of interview I don’t know who was more nervous me or him, but when the text came through a long, agonising week later to say he had got the job, I was ecstatic. As I write this my friend is preparing to begin his new job on Monday and probably enjoying his last Saturday lie in for a long time, at least he would have been had I not text him at 7:30am to check he definitely did wear the Paul Smith shirt?

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Moving On Up

Anyone who has read my author bio on the site will know that I’ve managed to fit a lot of life into my short 29 years. Without wanting to put too finer point on the negatives, there have been a fair few low moments for one so young and inexperienced, however my love of Psychologies Magazine and a good cathartic natter with my fiancé has helped me to focus on the positives, and never more so than now. Putting a failed marriage behind you aged 26 is a pretty soul-destroying process, as is learning the rules of being a single parent, living with your folks again and accepting the fact that online dating is an addictive pastime, nevertheless life does indeed go on and surely it can only get better….or more complicated.

I have regrets about my past, I think everyone does whether you believe in all the sayings about never having them or not. Mine lay mainly in putting myself out to my detriment; I am a terrible people pleaser and yet I often feel annoyed that I’m walked over, my own worst enemy! As a parent you might expect to hear of this selflessness, but my remit of being a door mat often extends to my family, friends, colleagues and even a few drunks over the years.

Penguin Book Covers

Penguin Book Covers (Photo credit: Paul Watson)

March 2012  poses a new chapter in life in two ways; first a humongous financial decision I made 12 months ago will finally come to fruition and I will gain the freedom and wisdom I lacked with money in the past.  Secondly, I have decided to use my young family as inspiration to go all out and meet my personal goals, instead of berating myself for another 29 years for making the wrong choices and always putting others first. Going through with my plan has taken some guts believe it or not, and the continued support of my husband who despite his apprehension of being left by the wayside due to my renewed determination and drive, has helped to make my plans a reality. So 15 years after leaving school I have finally worked out what I want to do with myself professionally and I’m about to embark on a writing course with Penguin Books.

I’ve never been so eager to learn something new! My husband has bought and assembled a new home office for me to work from, as well as arranged time off to look after our girls so I can study, and even sharpened my Cath Kidston pencils ready for action.

I’m still amazed that a little support can make these seemingly huge decisions so easy to put into practise. For the next few months I’ll be spending evenings researching, attending conferences and writing up reports while my husband making bottles, helping with reading books and ironing school uniforms. I know he won’t complain about it, he knows how much it means to me to succeed. I have a new goal to add to my list for 2012, and that’s to find a middle ground between door mat and assertiveness. I’ll let you know how I get on. ….

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