Friday, 13 July 2018

Beach summer style: rainbow cami top + sunshine yellow shorts

Summer style is my forte and beach fashion my bliss, so I thought I'd bring you this bright outfit post between changing tides and shifting sands. Rocking rainbows is always a pleasure, so as soon as I set eyes on this Topshop rainbow striped camisole top I knew it was pure love. I also wanted a similar rainbow dress Topshop released recently but sadly it flew off the shelves before I could snap it up for myself. The Missguided yellow high waisted shorts beamed some sunshine into the look and I styled the finishing touches with sunset-orange Quay Australia shades and my trusty metallic gold wedges. A bright, colourful look is always my go-to, but summer makes a bright outfit all the more fun to style, right? 


I'm going to go ahead and mention something I've been musing for a while which is that I'm feeling like an old-fashioned girl in a modern day world. Why do I feel old-fashioned? Well, I don't need Netflix for a start. I've no interest whatsoever in getting gripped on all the TV shows everyone else goes on about; it makes for limited conversation when people ask you what you're currently watching... but I honestly have zero interest. And music! Don't get me started on the music on the radio these days. All I want to hear is the Isley Brothers on repeat, timeless talent; music with heart and soul. Slow jams that make memories. Music that brings sunshine and kindness. Lyrics that tell a tale instead of blurred beats that all sound the same and pump into nothingness. Failing that, Craig David's Rendezvous or Artful Dodger's twenty-four-seven. 

It breaks my heart a little to see kids playing with tablets instead of toys, the amount of people that walk into you in the street - all because they can't tear their gaze away from their phone screen. Dating apps terrify me, if I wasn't paired up in this day and age then I honestly think I wouldn't want to go near them - perhaps it's a bit blasé of me to say but what happened to meeting someone "in real life"? Books scrolled down a screen bear no meaning to me, it's a real novel in my hands or nothing. What I'm trying to say, is, that in this day and age I guess I'm a little out of touch with everything modern and new, but that's okay with me. 





I'll tell you what I love to watch the most - old Emmerdale episodes on VHS from 1999 - repeats I taped back in 2003 because my favourite character, Biff Fowler was soon to be leaving the show and I wanted to record as many of his episodes as I could before he left. Emmerdale was my favourite show back when Biff was in it, it had heart, humour and drama. Cutting comedy and classic characters. At school it was uncool to admit so much about my love for Emmerdale - even now it's not easy to explain to people that you still love a character that left a show almost 20 years ago and that you still watch VHS tapes of episodes back from '99!

I got teased for this whenever I admitted as much to people so I don't normally talk about it, but the show and the characters have a massive place in my heart, and I thought now was the time to finally mention it. My promise for 2018 is to stop saying sorry for living a life you love - and that includes my love for Emmerdale back in the 90s! As you know, I've decided to bloom into embracing all the things I used to apologise for - as you may have read about in my previous post "screw saying sorry for living the life you want to live". 

Almost 19 years on and Biff is still my favourite ever Emmerdale character, there was something special about him and the show was never the same for me after he left on his bike, riding off into the sunset.... my tapes often jump and the screen fizzes; my modern day heartache equivalent of someone reading the latest GOT spoiler, surely. Maybe it's not very forward thinking of me, but I'll be reminiscing about Biff Fowler and playing The Isley Brothers while the rest of the world tunes into 2018.... 


🏍

Friday, 29 June 2018

How to cope in an unhappy job

Does your job make you miserable? Do you spend the working week feeling drained and exhausted during the evenings because you're stuck in a working environment from hell? Dread going into the office the following day and spend all your weekends worrying about the forthcoming working week ahead? Maybe it's taking its toll on your enjoyment of life and ruining your relationships outside of your work.

My God, I promise you - I've been there. Excluding a few happy jobs most of mine have been full of hell and unhappiness. They ruined my life, wrecked my self-esteem and held any happiness I had hostage. I've been bullied, isolated, unhappy, lonely and secluded in many of my previous jobs. From being treated like a total dogsbody; taking asos parcels to the post office for someone else's daughter all the time (why did I put up with that?!) To being ripped apart and judged. To being shouted at in front of the whole office and for being treated like a nuisance for reporting bullying. Even working at my favourite magazine ended in the same kind of unhappiness. I spent lunchtimes alone in London, and wanted to just walk out so badly. Safe to say, not the dream opportunity that I'd hoped it would be.

The job from hell
I'll use one previous job as my prime example - this job was a temporary role only lasting for three months, yet it may as well have been a jail sentence for the desperate unhappiness it brought. Things got off to a bad start from the very first day. Initially advertised and discussed as a three day a week position,  when I first arrived I was told huffily that I'd be working five days a week and hadn't the recruiter told me? No, she bloody well hadn't. This was somehow made out to be my fault, as I tried to explain that I needed the position to be three days a week - not only because I'd taken on the job being told this - but because I was writing my novel and blogging alongside it.

The manager was (I won't dress it up), an absolute bitch to be incredibly generous. On my first day I got a bad feeling about her, and I was proven right. She made an uninterested phone call to the recruiter in front of me (and the whole office) and after a while of me waiting, she told me "it's been agreed you can work four days instead of five". As if she was doing me some massive favour. Not wanting more trouble before I'd even begun, I agreed with reluctance that four days would be fine. "Can I do four days please, Miss?" Chirped another colleague - a pathetic middle-aged excuse for a man - loudly enough for everyone to hear. "No, you have to do five days like everyone else," hit back the manager - for my benefit I'm sure.

After being ticked off like a school child at the manager's desk for not doing an Excel spreadsheet to her satisfaction, I was ordered to do it again and I walked back to my own desk with shaky legs and feelings of panic already taking over. Another blow soon arrived - an annoying little pest from my high school days appeared in front of me, triumphant and smug. Turned out he was working in the same office, and would be overlooking some of my duties. I could tell he was loving the power of that already. Even though he wasn't all too bad in the end, I could tell he enjoyed coming over to me when I did some work for him - pointing out things I did wrong, criticising.




I was spoken to like dirt 
There were lots of occasions where the manager would speak to me like dirt, I remember once doing some photocopying and trying my hardest not to cry because she'd done it again. One lovely colleague passed by and I urged her inwardly not to say anything to me as I knew if she did I'd burst into tears then and there. Another colleague who I did some jobs for used to have a go at me - she hadn't explained something once yet decided to make it my fault. There were a lot of nice people at the job, but the manager was the one I had to deal with the most and it was miserable. She made it clear she didn't particularly like me. I tried my best, but, already feeling anxious and unhappy, I struggled. On one occasion when I asked to book some holiday (that I was owed) she decided to make things difficult for me and said, again, in front of the whole office "Do you have to take it?" In a tone that suggested she wasn't joking. 'Well, yes. I do. I'm owed it..." I replied in as strong a tone as I could. Rolling her eyes, she filled out the holiday form and handed it back to me as if I was doing her a major injustice.

The job ruined my life. I hated it...

My life was miserable in those three months - I had rows and arguments with those closest to me, no doubt set-off by all the hell I was going through at work. Lunchtimes were spent on the phone to my boyfriend, telling him how I was struggling to cope. Evenings were full of dread for the next working day and although I was lucky to only be working four days a week, I felt nothing but fear and suffocation for what might happen next at work. I look back and feel nothing but dread, upset, misery and angst during that period of my life. However short-term, that job ruined my life - every moment of it. 





A lucky escape 
When the job ended I was asked if I wanted to stay. The manager seemed keen for me to apply for a long-term position in that same office. I couldn't believe what I was hearing - she'd made my life so miserable and seemed to not like me very much, yet here she was, persuading me to work there on a permanent basis. I almost laughed. Thankfully I was going to be doing some travelling, so I had that as a ready excuse. At that time in my life I never would have dreamt of making a stand about the way I'd been treated. I just wanted to get the hell out - as soon as bloody possible.



WAYS TO COPE WHEN YOU'RE FEELING LONELY, ISOLATED & UNHAPPY IN YOUR JOB.... 

Writing everything down is really important. I did this at a job where I had an "exit interview" with HR. A few of us who were leaving had pages of writing full of all the horrible stuff we'd been put through by our manager. So many vital points would have been missed out if I hadn't taken the time to note it all down. HR were shocked at how we'd been treated but sadly it was too late for those of us that had taken all we could and were leaving the job unhappily. I just hope they made the relevant changes at this job that they needed for improvement. 

Don't beat yourself up for someone else's bad behaviour. If you're going through hell at work that doesn't mean it's your fault. We often tell ourselves how weak, pathetic, useless and foolish we are when things go wrong. But that's not true. You need to protect your energy by boosting yourself up. Remind yourself of all your talents, your skills and all the good qualities you have. 

Try and find the root of the problem. When did the unhappiness start? How did it start? When did it become a real issue? Is someone's toxic behaviour affecting your job? Maybe you're unhappy because the job role has changed, or it's not what you want to do for the rest of your life. Once you have the real root of the problem you can take the outward steps needed to improve your unhappy job situation and the happiness you're lacking in your life because of it. 




HOW TO CHANGE AN UNHAPPY WORKING SITUATION 

Make an "unhappiness exit strategy"
Think about your next logical steps - can you leave? What steps can you take towards getting a new job or finding a way out? This could provide you with a new direction and a fresh start. If you enjoy the job then you shouldn't have to be pushed out by someone else's behaviour, which leads on to my next steps. 

Confide in a colleague you trust 
Sometimes when another colleague you get on well with is aware of a situation it can really make all of the difference. At one particular job a friend of mine was well aware and just knowing she knew what I was going through was a comfort. They might even come up with a useful way of tackling the issues head on with management.

Speak up for yourself if possible 
Please, please, please stand up for yourself if you can. I never did this and how I regret it now. Even when one manager was aware that I was being bullied I was made to feel as though I was being a nuisance. I just wanted to escape from each job with as little trouble as possible, but, hang on, I wasn't the one causing trouble?! I was the one being made to leave a job because of someone else's bullying behaviour. We're often made to feel as though we're "making a fuss" or being "too sensitive" so a lot of bad behaviour in the workplace goes unreported. Additionally, we don't want more trouble or hassle from the culprit so we choose to keep quiet. But the trouble and hassle has long since been happening and will only get worse if it goes unreported. Not only that, but it'll only happen to other people in the future too.


Don't allow bullying to be brushed aside
My bullying in another job role wasn't treated or taken seriously - the manager actually told me to hurry up and talk to her in her office before the culprit got back to the office and saw us talking! She was scared the colleague who had been carrying out this behaviour would see and wonder what was up. I wish I'd been more firm about how unacceptable this was.

Talk to higher management
In another job when there wasn't bullying but there was a lot of draining, toxic behaviour (that saw three of us leaving the job in the space of a few short months), I wish I'd actually spoken to higher management about this. I could see how much higher management regretted this in my exit interview, and wished things had been done differently. Although supportive - there wasn't much they could do as so many of us were already leaving.

Explain it from your point of view
Try and make it clear that this unhappy working environment is ruining your life. Set out how it's been making you feel and explain this can't carry on. 

Speak to someone close to you
I understand how hard it is to confront issues at work. Sometimes confiding in someone who's got your back is a great release and I'm sure they'll be more than happy to provide help and support.

Respect
Lastly, and maybe most important of all, you deserve respect. Remember that. Just because someone is higher up the ladder than you, or your manager - it doesn't give them the right to disrespect you.


"Nothing is worth sacrificing happiness for" 


🗝

Monday, 25 June 2018

Colourful hair/tattoos in the workplace: discrimination



Companies still discriminate in 2018... 
In 2018 how have companies still not learnt that people have every right to their individuality? That tattoos, piercings and colourful hair are what a lot of us see as our identity, or at the very least, a major part of what makes us "us". The freedom and symbolisation of getting a tattoo, colouring our hair or getting piercings is kind of the whole point.

Discrimination of tattoos and colourful hair is something I've experienced first hand and also via various other people in the workplace. If I'm honest, it's one of those things I feel passionate about, and it makes my blood boil that discrimination over tattoos, colourful hair and piercings is still prevalent in the working world. In 2018 it seems that many companies are still stiff and rigid about their employees having tattoos, piercings or colourful hair. We won't hold it against them (boring bastards). Some say in certain jobs it isn't "deemed appropriate" to have lots of tattoos or brightly coloured hair. But sadly my experience with being ticked off for having pink hair happened at quite a modern, loud, brash office that was very forward-thinking in most ways, yet unfairly dismissive in others. The worst part of all? I was actually complimented on having pink ombre in my hair at my interview for this job, and only later when new management took over did it then become a problem. 




My pink hair was a "problem" at work... 
I've got three small stars tattooed on my shoulder that can easily be covered up with a short sleeved top and in my hair I've only ever experimented with pink and purple ombre at the ends that can be washed out very easily. So far, so good for the corporate clone-head hiring me. When I first started this blog I decided I wanted to colour my hair; I only had pink and purple ombre in the ends. At the time I was working at a doctor's surgery and everyone complimented the colour in my hair, even a few of the doctors, which was lovely. Occasionally I worked on reception downstairs and having pink or purple in my hair was never deemed a problem. I never had any issues with colourful hair in other jobs until ironically, I was working in an office full of banter, modern-day acceptance and general forward thinking when it came down to passions like blogging, chasing your dreams and all that stuff I like. For the first time I was proud and happy to have found a job I really genuinely loved.

Unfortunately everything changed a year or so down the line when new management took over. Suddenly the pink hair I had at the time was a problem. I was encouraged not to do it anymore, as the "new boss might not like it". One girl working on reception was told to cover up a tattoo on her wrist - by putting on a cardigan. It was a scorching day in July. She refused, saying she was too hot. Her tattoo had never been deemed a problem before. Another was told not to wear low-cut tops as it didn't give out a "professional image". It smacked ridiculously of the "button up and behave" expectation that women were surely supposed to serve in the 1950s. All the while, male banter was encouraged - I often heard sexist remarks being thrown around the office for entertainment. There were so many "one rule for one" themes going on it got laughable. Employees that were hard working BUT just so happened to have tattoos, bright hair or piercings were being remonstrated all of a sudden - just to impress new management and make a sweeping statement. 

Companies need to respect our bodies and choices 
It didn't end there. Our boss started telling us to "dress smarter", "do this, do that". We got told off for every little thing and working life became hell. Emails were sent every minute of every day criticising us, pulling us apart. In a meeting with my boss and higher management I was ripped to shreds for my performance, everything I did was wrong and nothing I did was right. I decided enough was enough and quit soon after. I had to, the toxic environment was making me ill. We were spoken to like children, I was even texted on holiday reminding me to "come in on time next week, will you?". But one of the worst parts of the job for me remained having to pretend to be something I was not. My pink hair was a part of me, and washing it out made me miserable. Around the same time a girl working in Lush had complimented the colour in my hair and I'd told her grudgingly: "I have to wash it out for work". We started having a talk about how important it is for companies to acknowledge and respect our identities. It made me realise I didn't want to work in an environment that tried to make me a glossy, corporate clone. No thanks.

At the end of the day, isn't life short enough without having to feel restricted? Getting a tattoo or a piercing is often something personal we want on our body - why shouldn't we be able to do it for fear of missing out on a job opportunity? What right does a company have to disrespect OUR body, OUR choice? It should be our decision to make, not theirs. I remember having a similar discussion about tattoos in the workplace with someone once and they said to me: "I don't care, I'll get whatever tattoo I want. I'm not letting anyone tell me I can't". I lived for this attitude. Unfortunately in the past I've always stopped short of getting more tattoos because of the worry that it could affect work. And I HATE myself for that. In the present moment I don't particularly want any more tattoos until I finish my novel, then I've promised myself a shimmery colourful butterfly tattoo to celebrate. I want it to be a tattoo I can cover up if I like, but that's my choice, not down to a company. Likewise I'd love to dye my hair bright pink, but the time has never felt quite right yet. Again, if and when I do decide to go for full-blown colourful pink hair then it'll be my decision to make, not down to someone in head office. 

A disgusting attitude towards tattoos... 
One of the worst conversations about tattoos I've ever had was with a recruiter who phoned me up a few years ago about an administrative position. She told me the job would be working as a receptionist in a morgue. Wtf? I thought. No bloody way. Before I could jump in and politely tell her I wasn't interested in being a receptionist in a morgue, she made a point of asking if I had any tattoos. Interested in why she was asking, I told her I had three small stars on my shoulder. Can they be covered up easily? Yes, they can. Not like your awful attitude, I thought. She then started to launch into a whole crusade on how "tattoos aren't appropriate for this kind of job, it's a very sensitive environment and we don't want to cause grieving clients upset...." Now I know how upsetting this kind of thing can be from when we sadly lost my Nana and Grandad. But this woman's insinuation that tattoos would be causing more offence and upset to grieving people than them actually grieving? Come on, what the fuck?

I cut off the call as soon as I could and it started a whole raging debate in my head about how having tattoos could still be so frowned upon in this day and age. It made me paranoid about getting more tattoos in the future, would it affect a job opportunity? But what if I wanted to get a tattoo that couldn't be covered up? Why should a job make or break me getting more tattoos if I wanted them? How ridiculous, really, that in this modern day the debate still rages on.... 



Fired from her job for having blue hair 
I was dismayed to see a tweet that had gone viral a while back - it was about a girl with blue hair who had been sacked from her job that day because her hair colour made her "unprofessional". Apparently her employers had never had a problem with it before and then they decided on a whim, to sack her. It was her father who started the tweet, asking if anyone had a job opportunity for a hard working girl looking for a new opportunity. It was uplifting to see just how many people felt the same way as me about the whole thing - it was discrimination and pretty disgusting at that. I can't remember who this tweet was about, but I hope to God this girl found a fabulous new job opportunity out of such a bad experience - let's face it - she was much too good for a narrow minded, clapped-out company like that in the first place. Isn't it about time companies moved into the twenty-first century FGS? YKWIM? 

Come on companies, it's 2018! Be more forward-thinking because.... 
  • Your employees won't be happy if they feel restricted, having to "hide" an important part of who they are. Surely they'll be happier if they can have the freedom to express themselves? 
  • You make yourself look pretty old-fashioned, verging on victorian with a "no tattoos, piercings or colourful hair" rule to rival Henry VI. The majority of people these days have tattoos and want the choice to express themselves through colours in their hair or piercings if they decide. 
  • Pretty obvious, but you know it's 2018 right? You're kind of living in the dark ages. 
  • You might lose out on someone special just because you're not keen on a tattoo on their wrist or their pretty purple hair. And do you know what? It'll be your loss, not theirs. 
  • Never mind turning away a potential employee because of a tattoo, a lot of interested employees might actually be put-off by your old fashioned approach to this modern-day world. Discrimination is not cool, period! Need I say more? 

Has a company ever discriminated against you for having a tattoo? Colourful hair? Piercings? I'd be interested to hear your experiences! Do you ever worry about any of the above affecting a potential job opportunity - even in 2018?!