In this blog I bare all about how being bullied at work and how some chance encounters (literally) saved me and led me to create “Your Colour & Style”. I’m now the happiest I’ve ever been. Read on to discover why I’m so passionate about colour and its power over people.
In the beginning …
When I was just starting out in the world of work, I had a dream: I’d been drifting a bit as a secretary but knew I could do more. I landed in a position as Secretary in a big Personnel Department, where there were several specialist teams totaling about 80 people. I would sometimes over-hear the conversations of those HR practitioners and think “that’s just common sense, I could do that!”
So, for my personal development, I asked to do an HR qualification course (a four-year undertaking as I had to do a foundation year). I really enjoyed all that we were learning, even though I had to catch up with the afternoons’ work I’d missed going to college by working on Saturday mornings and doing my college work on Saturday afternoons.
As the months went on, I did well in my studies and managed to keep my busy job going too. However, I was finding it difficult to get my foot on the ladder in the department.
A random ‘phone call was the trigger …
One day I received a random phone call. The lady on the other end of the telephone asked “does anyone in your organisation give presentations?” (Obviously I replied “yes”.) “And, do they need to look good for those presentations?” (Obviously, “yes”). “So, can I come and give a presentation to show them how they can look good for their presentations?” (“OK, I’ll set it up.”) Well, her presentation was so impactful I realised that I needed to book with her and have my colour-analysis, to help me break into the world of HR.
Those few hours of colour analysis changed my life …
I’m not sure how soon it was after that colour analysis (where I realised I was making myself look much older than I actually was just by wearing the wrong colour clothes and make-up), but suddenly the HR door opened and I got my first opportunity.
At last …
I was moving into the career I now desired and I loved it. Still studying, I did not realise my happiness was to be short-lived.
My team leader announced he was leaving and I was to get a new boss. As it was really just us two, it would be important for me to like, or at least get on with, my new boss.
She didn’t join for several weeks so there was a halt in the section’s activities. When she did arrive, she worked from home a lot, which in those days was unusual and communication was more difficult than it would be today!
She wasn’t like other bosses I’d had, who were motivating and great leaders. She was not a “regular communicator” and more of a “thinker” who didn’t communicate her thoughts often, which I found difficult. After several months when the section still hadn’t “got going” I was struggling to know what my role was. On top of that she was actually hindering my studying and career progress at every opportunity, something I wasn’t used to.
Fortunately, many dark days were brightened up by my new colours! I was enjoying wearing my colourful new clothes. I’d say that my colour analysis was definitely the game changer for me. I’d learnt how to put colours together and look amazing, even if inside I was demoralised and underconfident due to what was happening at work. Getting compliments regularly about my appearance really helped lift me after a daily dose of mental crushing. The more I dazzled with my appearance, the more it seemed to annoy her and the more vicious she would be. (I didn’t realise until years later that this was bullying behaviour.)
Finally, after a painful year, I decided to request a meeting with her boss
To my relief…
She was brilliant and my training plan got back on track.
Eventually, I was sufficiently prepared, and newly qualified, for my first professional role. I secured it and didn’t look back.
Dreams do come true…
I now had my dream job and am qualified in a profession that I loved. At last, things are going well again.
Although I had been given a chance, I hadn’t actually had a lot of experience. Having been badly bullied, my confidence wasn’t high. But my new manager was excellent, and I was adapting quickly to my new circumstances and learning a lot very fast.
I also began studying again (the Financial Planning Certificate), to put my knowledge into context. After three happy years, there was cloud on the horizon.
A devastating day changed everything…
One Monday, we received the news that our department leader had died over the weekend. What a shock. He’d made me laugh so much: I was devastated. He was one of the founders of the business too, so the whole company mourned. This changed things radically.
After six months of keeping the show on the road, my line manager boss announced she was leaving. Unfortunately, it was a familiar story again; the next boss didn’t live up to the previous one, and gradually, one-by-one, the team jumped ship.
When I jumped, I made a mistake, and wound up at sea. It took me another nine months before my next lucky break. But, I wasn’t about to admit defeat after all I’d been through.
What goes around, comes acound…
Ever heard the saying “What goes around comes around”? Well, it seemed a cycle of fortune was about to come my way. The person who employed my first great boss (which led to the replacement bully) was to now ‘rescue’ and employ me! This chance was to be the absolute making of me, and I landed somewhere that I loved, back in financial services, and where I could move forward in my career. All was to be good for several very happy years.
Looking ahead to another dream…
I used to plan ahead five years at a time. I decided I wanted to work for myself, and to work from home. I thought that I couldn’t be an HR Consultant, as there was a lot of competition and I wasn’t sure it would really ‘play to my strengths’.
Another day that changed everything…
As a birthday present, a good friend paid for me to have a twenty-minute coaching session with a coach and image consultant. Well, within twenty minutes we were talking about working together! I embarked on the training to change others’ lives like the lady who’d changed mine, and that was to be the next chapter in my story.
I was still working in my HR role, and using all my holidays to attend conferences, training sessions, and working towards getting clients and helping them change their lives with colour, in all my “spare” time: evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
Five years on…
Five years flew by, and I was getting more and more exhausted, without realising, because I was enjoying my new life so much. The day had come to make a decision about whether I was ready to jump fully into self-employment or not. Scary, but liberating. Time to realise the second dream, and I do still pinch myself most days, thinking how lucky I am in so many ways.
Living a new dream…
So, here I am another six years on and absolutely living my second dream. It’s a brilliant job, literally “lighting people up”: giving them confidence that they didn’t know they could have, rebuilding their belief in themselves (especially if they’ve had some knocks) just by the way they dress, helping them get their dream jobs, and creating the wardrobe that’s perfect for them, loving getting dressed and often getting compliments.
I draw on all my previous paid and voluntary experience and training (HR, training, Victim Support counsellor, shopaholic, personal stylist) to help others avoid the wardrobe and shopping mistakes I’ve made.
My mantra is “every day’s a school day”, so I am making steps to improve myself, and my knowledge in all sorts of ways. Latterly it’s been about social media and technology, but I’m still learning my trade too, especially as things are changing there, like how people are shopping on-line more and the shops aren’t sustainable in their current form.
P.S. Some years later…
I connected through social media with the brilliant manager that rescued me from my bullying boss. I remember she used to wear black and white all the time. We had a long discussion and during that conversation she mentioned what a stir I had caused all those years ago – wearing colour in financial services. (I had just been using colour to boost my confidence and enjoyed wearing my new clothes. I hadn’t realised people were perceiving me as more confident than my boss because of this.) I would never have upstaged my boss on purpose, so that was another lesson for me about the power of colour – you do need to have more knowledge about what you’re doing than just wearing colour for the reasons I did then …
Ring me for your free discovery call. What might you learn that could save or change your life for the better?
Your Colour & Style Consultant
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