I once said to my sister: “we’ve had some times” and you could say by that I meant we’ve had some good times, some bad times, and just plain old times! I think that whole experience being a working could most readily be described as just that. I’ve certainly had some times this summer and I really wouldn’t have had it any other way. Anyway, as promised I’ve written a little recap of my summer including, the good, the bad, and everything else. Enjoy!
There’s so much good stuff that I want to share, my only thing is that I might forget to mention anything.
Firstly, the people. I really didn’t think I’d meet and interact with so many different people. I’m happy that I’ve been able to get to know people and it really was fun chatting and laughing with both customers and colleagues alike. I’d also like to take this chance to shout out to my temp buddies: Zoe, Teniola, Charlene and Ismael.
The experience. I don’t really think anything could have prepared me for this crazy experience. It was good, bad, fantastic, horrific and just plain fabulous! I love how I was thrown into the deep end (in my opinion anyway as everything I learnt was picked up along the way), even right from the start and I’m happy to say that I feel as though I swam and made it to the sunny dry shore. I know I had some crazy ideal in my head (although I can’t quite remember what it was) but this experience was nothing like I imagined. I laughed, I cried, I loved and I loathed, and I’d do it all over again.
Me. I feel as though I know myself a hell of a lot better now and that I’m 1/10000000th bit more comfortable with myself. I think I also proved to myself, once again, that I always underestimate myself and that I should learn to really believe in me as much as everybody else does. I can feel I’ve come out of my shell a little bit more and I’m glad.
The week from hell. I’m not going to lie; this whole experience has NOT been plain sailing. During the week from hell I think I got the biggest wake-up call ever and I’m strangely glad for it, otherwise I couldn’t have properly gotten everything out of these past months. The week from hell happened in July when nothing seemed to be going right in my life. I was really pushed to the brink and there came a time I thought I would crack. Customers were so beyond rude and demanding (nothing new, but still), I was adjusting to being the last temp left, I still felt awkward and like a spare part, and I just could not for the life of me connect. The bottom line was that I was sad, grumpy and wanted to stop working. It’s weird because now I’m feeling like Nanny McPhee; you know when she says: “when you need me and do not want me, I’ll stay; but when you want me and no longer need me, then I’ll leave”. This really is how I feel now. The way I see that bad period is like this: I wasn’t ready to leave just yet, even though I desperately wanted to and would have done almost anything to. I think I still had more learning and growing to do, and more people to meet and get to know. Now that more time has passed I can that I’ve taken all that I can and it’s finally time for me to piss off back to Winchester to start the next academic year ahaha.
Answering the phone. I know this is kind of bad but I fucking hate answering telephones and having to make phone calls (on my blackberry it’s fine… well kind of, but not on an actual phone). I don’t answer the phone at home and I tried my best not to at work. Obviously most of my colleagues thought it was weird of me, but then again I’m sure they thought I was kind of insane (talking out loud to myself, laughing, never speaking, saying WEIRD things, dropping things, walking into things, always looking like a mess, endless wardrobe malfunctions etc), but I think not answering the phone was the main thing. Every time the phone would ring, I’d walk as far away as possible (sometimes I’d run) and just let the phone ring out or let someone else have to deal with it.
Travel and money. I wish I had done my research beforehand and really just sat down to think things through properly. For the first month and a half, I was travelling by tube, and while it was fast and fabulous, it really did hit my purse strings hard! I remember one week putting £50 onto my oyster card and two days later it was all gone. It wasn’t until the Olympics that I was forced to find a new way of travelling and I haven’t looked back since. Since then I started walking and getting a great workout instead of spending most of the time sitting and waiting in traffic. I found it much more fulfilling than taking the tube. I was also spending a lot of money on food and work wear, and it really didn’t help that I lost my bank card (which I realise now that I still haven’t found) so there were a few days of literally being penniless. Now I’ve saved money on food my bringing my own lunch and leaving my card and/or purse at home, unless I need to top up my oyster card.
Uniform. If you read some of the earlier posts in the Working Girl series you’ll know that I had issues with my footwear and I was left perpetually crippled by my shoes. I wish I had taken a chill pill and not been so neurotic about what to wear. Obviously now I’m more relaxed and not thinking twice about rocking up to the shop floor in a pair of ballet flats. Another issue I had with uniform happened when I started walking half way to work then getting the bus the rest of the way. I wish I had worn different tops in the morning then changed. But again, I’ve learnt from that for the past few weeks, the first thing I did when I got to work was to change into my black on black.
The things I’ve learnt from being a working girl? You can really be anybody: chatty and extroversive, or quiet and introverted. I’m glad I’ve done it. I was essentially paid to swim around luxury leisurewear and hangout in an historic building all day long. Sure there were some bad days (so maybe I could use some of that money on therapy sessions…?) but that helped me appreciate the good and I think it somehow bumped up my experience because it meant that I was able to go through so much in such a short amount of time. In the beginning I could feel myself outwardly progressing, talking to people, but then after the week from hell and after my temp friends left (I really did miss you guys), I shrank back inside myself, not really talking much. That was until I realised that I had stopped shrinking, and was now growing inside (yes I know how dumb and corny that sounds, but it’s true), and I was starting to show it on the outside again too.
Standing on fitting room duty today, I realised how far I had actually come being the girl who recoiled whenever a customer came near her, to the girl who now readily helps customers as well as staff, pointing them in the right direction. What I found was that I loved the invaluable experience and knowledge I had gained. You really do learn so much when you don’t think you are! Hearing one of my colleagues rattle off loads of details about denim to a customer, I saw that knowledge is the most beautiful thing ever. I guess that in conclusion, I’m still the same girl, only I’ve seen a different part of me and I like it.
Here are my working girl best bits (please try not to laugh as it’s my first vid and I had NO IDEA how to make one). Be sure to reread the Working Girl series and let me know what you think.