Category Archives: work

First Day of Work

In honour of my new temp job…

first day of work


Shy Batman

I’ve been AWOL for a few days as I’m starting up a new business which is taking up most of my time. It’s an odd experience as it depends entirely on people joining, so I have to go out of my way to convince them it’s a good idea.

On the one hand, I’m essentially the face of the company and I have to be happy-smiley-confident-I’ll talk to anyone.

On the other hand, I’m painfully shy so there are a lot of moments when I wonder why I ever thought this was a good idea.

first impressions

I’ve got a business meeting this week with someone I’ve never met before but who could be hugely important, and yet again my social awkwardness has arrived to trip me up at the most inopportune time. I’ve spent years reading studies on human behavioural interaction to try and understand what seems to come naturally to other people, the kind of subconscious social cues that I feel I should have learnt by immersion rather than second hand.

I think it’s nerves more than anything make me second guess my behaviour now.

I remember being so conscious of everything I did or said when I had to talk to people in my teens – don’t fidget, don’t cross your arms, speak slowly and clearly, don’t avoid eye contact but don’t stare, mirror the person you’re speaking to but not too obviously, discuss the weather because it’s an inoffensive topic and not because you have any particular meteorological feelings, don’t tell people they’re stupid just because it takes them 3 times longer to reach your conclusion – but in the last few years much of that has become automatic.

I forget sometimes, when I’m around the people I’m used to, and then that uncertainty sneaks up on me out of nowhere. It can still sometimes seem like a lot all at once, trying to remember all the social cues as well as keeping up the flow of conversation. It’s become a lot easier to manage in recent years, and I think that is mainly down to my acceptance of it. With age comes perspective, and I realise now that stuttering through the odd sentence or forgetting the odd word or even having to explain something that seems remarkably simple to me (but not to the entire rest of the world, it seems) is not the disaster I once imagined.

That said, I have no idea how this meeting will go. It’s a genuine business meeting which is really important, so I have to make a good impression. I have to leave this man thinking that I’m capable, intelligent and responsible, and splitting my focus between explaining my business plan and remembering to make the appropriate amount of eye contact may be difficult.

This is why I hate first impressions – the physical image of a person will stay in your mind for years and could potentially taint your entire relationship. Not only that, but conversation in person is spontaneous. Emails, texts or even Facebook chat can offer a little time for contemplation, for the beloved edit and rewrite, but speaking is immediate. The words are out with little to no time for planning and if something goes wrong, the only option to correct the error is to continue talking. You must push the poor little conversational canary further into the condemned mineshaft of misunderstanding, at the same time hoping for the fresh air of mutual perspective while also dreading the moment the bird croaks on its own confusion and silence falls.

See what I mean? I could never have come up with that metaphor without time to think.


“And now I’m sad.”

I’ve got enough work to do this week that I’m pretty much running on sugar & caffeine and have developed a very short fuse.

My neighbours have also been fighting it out over who can provide the  loudest and most annoying soundtrack for the evening (previous winner S Club 7 from the man in his 40’s downstairs has just been ousted by the National Lottery show from the couple in their 50’s next door) and I’m seriously considering one-upping both of them by finding the X Factor rerun and turning the volume up full blast.

In regard to fuelling my weekend with diet coke…

Rinse & repeat as necessary.


interviews & new job

I’m looking for a new job at the moment and so far I’ve been on 4 interviews, 3 with employment agencies which took less than half an hour combined and 1 for a specific job which took almost an hour. The search has been made more difficult by the fact that I left an average, finance office job to find “something more creative” but I’m still not entirely sure what that will be.

I haven’t been on an interview for 5 or 6 years so it feels like a new experience to try and package myself in a way that will come across appropriately hard-working and conservative but also creative and personable.

Strangely enough, I think running a choir over the last few months has helped with this. Every week I’ve had to stand up in front of a group of people who I (mostly) don’t know and teach them music that I’ve written. The first week was terrifying but I’m slowly getting used to it. It’s a strange feeling when 10 years ago even talking to a new person made me feel physically ill.

Back to the job interviews, and I think I’ve found a company I could work for.

English National Ballet

I haven’t learnt much in the last couple of days. In fact, I didn’t learn anything yesterday which was why there was no entry. I’ve been crazy-busy at work as we’re understaffed at the moment but I keep telling myself to look on the bright side, at least I have a job. I know from experience that watching daytime tv while all your friends are at work gets pretty old pretty quick.

This evening, I went looking for something new to learn and I figured something artistic might fill the void that stressing over a job I don’t really enjoy seems to create, so here goes…

In the wake of Black Swan and fashion’s sudden interest in dance costumes, the English National Ballet will stage a catwalk show of tutus created by leading fashion designers to raise funds and revamp the company’s image. They’ve released some gorgeous publicity shots of the dresses and this one’s my favourite:

English National Ballet - costume by Beatrix Ong

English National Ballet - costume by Beatrix Ong

TT week

You know what I learnt today? I learnt that people will sit outside a bar at 8.30 in the morning, drinking beer with no shirts on, just because they’re on holiday.

Not what I expected to see on the way to the office.