How To Be Taken Seriously…

Shoes

I’m facing a conundrum this week. I know I’ve touched on clothing choices in a previous blog but it came up in my life and I’m really baffled!

So, I had a team ‘away day’ with work and we got on to talking about whether we were taken seriously in our field of work and what we can do to combat that. We discussed something called ‘imposter syndrome’ which is apparently very common throughout all seniority levels in a work place. It’s the feeling of ‘am I really qualified for this?! When will they discover that I can’t actually do this?!’

I’m 28 years old and have been fulfilling a relatively serious management role for the past year in a Local Authority – within a Children’s Services department. Pretty important stuff – sure. Majority of my work is office based at my desk or in meetings with other professionals i.e. not customer facing.

Now, I hate work clothes. I’ve always struggled with looking smart. I feel like a total fraud and it genuinely does affect my performance and comfort levels at work. I just feel like everyone is looking at me thinking ‘who on earth does she think she is?!’ (Imposter syndrome) But I also really struggle to find a work look that I feel comfortable in. Most other females at work wear skirts or dresses when they want to look smart and I sure as hell won’t be doing that. I also won’t be seen in heels or ‘pumps’ or whatever they are called. I wear my maroon converse, black jeans and shirt/jumper and I feel very happy about it. I have a multitude of rings, a tight necklace, a nose piercing and lots of earrings shimmying up both ears… it’s what makes me, me.

However, at this away day my boss starting talking about how we need to present ourselves in a certain way if we want to be taken seriously. She spoke about dressing smart, wearing more makeup and not “looking like a child”. It’s a well-known and frequently discussed topic within my team that I am not the most professionally dressed worker. My colleague framed it nicely by saying I ‘do casual well’. I took it as a compliment of course!

Anyway – when my boss made these remarks, I felt my blood starting to boil. My face went red and my voice got a bit louder… very out of character for me, may I add. I told the rest of them that if they want me to present well and work to the best of my ability, I need to be feeling confident in myself and not feel like I’m trying to be something I’m not. The debate went on for a while. The older members of the team agreed that you need to dress a certain way in order to be taken seriously. The younger crew in the room argued that people’s views of us should be based on our actions and what comes out of our mouths, not what shoes we are wearing! I’m typing really fast coz I’m angry again!!

I’ve reflected on this a lot since that meeting on Wednesday. I can understand it to some extent. I obviously wouldn’t walk in to an important Board meeting with rips in the knees of my jeans or in a zip up hoody (umm… I may have done that once but it was cold…). But if I want to have my ears and nose pierced and wear my converse, what possible difference does it make to my ability to do my job well? Why should it matter?

Growing up, my Mum always told me to wear more eye liner or wear different clothes so I clearly have some innate issues to work through here. But I’m also going to make a stand! I’ll wear what makes me comfortable while remaining respectful of my colleagues. I will also continue to work to the best of my ability. The two are not related!

Spraggers talks about it a bit in this interview which I enjoyed reading this morning.

My shoe choice hasn’t hindered me so far. So I say keep feeling comfortable in what you wear and keep working hard and to a high standard. Better to be in trainers and know what you’re talking about than in heels and talking rubbish! 🙂

 

 

A Real Page Turner

Juno who I think is a really great LGBT role model? I just want to whip it in to context for you, right form the inception of this blog …

Ok ok, you guessed – I wanna talk about Ellen Page. We often hail LGBT heroes who have been around for a while and really paved the way for the younger generation (Ellen DeGeneres, Ian McKellen, Elton John etc… the list goes on). What I love about Ellen P is that we have seen her journey. I am a similar age to Ellen and I feel as though we’ve travelled through this queer journey in similar stages. We all remember being strangely drawn to her in Juno but not reaaally understanding why… 😊

Since then, we have seen her awkwardly date men (fair play, we all tried it), come out extremely bravely and publicly and then develop in to a comfortable, open LGBT activist. She has also recently married a lady who she often simply refers to as ‘my love’. Nice!

Back to that coming out speech in 2014 – “I’m tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My sprit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered”. I reckon lots of us could say that sentence and know it to be true of ourselves. I also know I couldn’t have said it for the first time in front of the world in Las Vegas! She was so brave. The fear and shakiness in her voice speaks volumes.

That nervous and brave human has gone on in the last four years to present a series called ‘Gaycation’ – where she and her best friend explore LGBT cultures in different locations around the world. They went to Brazil (the country with the highest LGBT murder rate!!) and to Jamaica (another extremely homophobic nation) amongst other less intimidating places. I remember seeing one episode where she sat with someone holding their hand while they came out to their own parents. Amazing!

Anyway – I sound like I’m trying to sell her next film or something! I’m not. And to be honest, I didn’t know just how much admiration I had for her until I started writing this. I’m pleased and proud to have been able to watch the journey of one of our best LGBT advocates. It’s pretty cool stuff an I bet she goes on to do some pretty awesome things.

I’d be interested to hear from you lot on who your favourite or most influential LGBT current advocates are. Are we entering in to a new generation with people like Olly Alexander, Mhairi Black, Adam Rippon and hey – maybe even Harry Styles?! Let me know yours! Does an LGBT influencer event need to be LGBT themselves? So many questions…

ellenpage1

Sunshine Blogger Award!

Brrr it’s so cold this week. I hope that those of you reading this in England kept safe and warm. I’ve just had a plumber round to fix my bathroom drainage pipe which was totally frozen inside and out and therefore not letting any water through. That’s excessively cold, even for this country!

Anyway, all this talk of cold weather makes me think about the summer and the sunshine. Speaking of which, I was kindly nominated by a fellow blogger this week for the Sunshine Blogger Award! (Seamless link, right?!)

So, the rules are, I am to answer eleven questions as set out by my nominator. I can write my own set of new questions and nominate others for the same award. They then have to answer my questions!

Such fun I tell you! I must say, I haven’t been blogging for very long so for someone to think of me is extremely kind. Thank you very much to @StoryofI – and make sure you check that blog out too!

So here are my answers:

  • Why do you blog about your specific topic? 

I’ve always wanted to feel like I’m doing something to offer support and/or advice to young LGBT people. My own experience was hard at times and I think anyone who has had an experience of any kind should offer support to others who may be going through a similar thing. My paid work is in child welfare and it’s something I feel pretty damn strongly about!

  • What is your best life advice? 

Hmmm… good one. My favourite phrase is ‘optimism is the key!’. It’s not always easy but a positive outlook and attitude can go a long way.

  • What is the best advice you have ever gotten from someone else? 

My Grandma once told me that you get out of life what you put in to it. I’ve found this to be accurate. If you want reward and happiness, you should work for it and seek it. A good life doesn’t just fall at your feet.

  • What is the lifehack you can’t live without? 

It’s basic but sticking paperclips at the end of tape – you never lose the end! Sweet. I don’t know if this is a lifehack but I recently realised that the chocolate finger trays float in the bath. Now THAT is worth knowing!

  • Favourite quote? 

“I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You are not scared. You are an asshole” – Morgan Freeman

  • What do you do to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling down? 

If I’m feeling down or stressed, I love to take a long shower. Something about the warmth and the water helps to me feel like I’m ‘washing away the stress’. That sounds lame – I’m aware. (Obviously that’s in addition to a cuddle from the FeyonceYAY 😊)

  • To live by the beach, city or in a small town?  

Definitely the beach! Sea makes me very happy. It’s my lifelong dream to have a bedroom where the double doors open up to a seaview. Maybe one day…

  • What is your ideal day? 

My ideal day is spent with my fiancé (obviously!) but we are really happy relaxing together. Today, we had a nice lazy morning followed by lunch out in Hove and then an afternoon/evening of relaxation and watching our favourite shows together on the sofa. It’s simple but it’s perfect. As long as we are together and chore free, it’s pretty awesome!

  • How do you keep yourself motivated to keep blogging? 

I’m still pretty new to blogging so the novelty hasn’t worn off. I enjoy thinking of topics from my life to discuss that I think might resonate with some others. It’s not too hard for me as I enjoy writing and I enjoy thinking back to my past and remember odd little memories that I may have supressed until now.

  • What food can someone wake you up for in the middle of the night?  

MINI EGGS. Always mini eggs. I have a worrying obsession.

  • What blog post are your most proud of? 

Well – I’ve only written four so far but I think I am most proud of the first one I wrote called ‘Howd’ya do?’. It was my first plunge in to the blogging experience and I didn’t really know if/how well it would be received. It’s been a great journey so far and I’m glad I went for it.

So, I now need to nominate 11 bloggers to answer my set of questions. I’m not entirely sure if any of these have been nominated already so apologies for duplication if so!

I nominate:

@HunniB_Rose

@HonestlyKourt

@transphilosophr

@njabuloMbutho

@Amelia_blogger

@BeckyBedbug

@ThatAnxiousTraveller

@Laurenrach_s

@TheLesbianMafia

@MsMegan91

@ManicGrant

And now, here are some questions for my nominated bloggers:

  1. What’s your favourite song of all time?
  2. If you could tell your 14-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
  3. Is there something you kept to yourself a child that you wish you’d shared sooner?
  4. What was the single best day of your life and why?
  5. What is the one thing you want most in this life?
  6. What’s your favourite flavour of ice cream? (had to get less serious…)
  7. What’s the best holiday you’ve ever been on?
  8. If you could have dinner with three famous people, who would they be? (Dead or alive)
  9. What is your dream job?
  10. What is the kindest thing anybody has done for you?
  11. Finally, would you rather be a human with a mermaids tail, or a human with a fish head? Hmm?

Over n out x