I was thrilled yesterday to see that HRH The Duchess of Sussex has been announced as the royal patron of the charity Smart Works.
Last year was full of changes for me personally, one of those was going back into the work place after 9 years out of it, after being at home bringing up my daughters.
Back in August whilst on a weekend residential business training course which I went on as I had just started my business The Sweetest Gift Box . I got chatting to a lovely lady who has a fabulous business running classes to make your own silver jewellery called Fraoch Jewellery Designs ,she told me all about this amazing charity Smart Works which had opened its doors in Newcastle. One evening over that weekend, as we enjoyed the hotel garden in the evening sun , after an intense day of training I had explained how just a week or two earlier I’d decided to apply for a job that came up. One that would fit perfectly around my children and enable me to keep going with the business too. As my business was in such early stages, I knew I could and should do both.
She asked what I wore for the interview an odd question I thought at first but this kind, thoughtful lady just knew from how anxious I had been about attending the weekends, that some parts of life where a struggle. She explained about the charity and how they help you with interview coaching and an outfit to wear for your interview, then if successful you would go back and get some more to help when you start work.
See as it happens, I had went for the interview in clothing that I wore quite often and did feel uncomfortable in the interview, I remember in the run up to my interview alongside the nerves and the self doubt feeing really annoyed at myself that I didn’t have the funds to buy a new outfit or even a new top for the interview.
I didn’t feel confident and had awful anxiety leading up to the interview and even after accepting the job which I was thrilled to get, it heightened again as I had no idea what I would wear for work or how I would afford some smart clothing and footwear for work. This on top of the whole will I be able to do the job worries it was all a bit much.
Once I got home I decided to look up the Charity and contacted them explaining my situation, whom I had been referred from and how I’d been offered a job and would be back in a work place for the first time in 9 years. I also explained a little about my financial situation at the time and my worries for starting work, I explained how I lived in Darlington and wondered if they knew of anything similar that helped people who had a job starting soon.
The ladies at Smart Works got back in touch, they would love to help me out. I just had to arrange a time and date to go to the Newcastle office and they would provide me with some clothing to help once I start work.
I arrived up at the Newcastle office and the volunteers who were on that day were brilliant they put me at ease, I had a form or two if I recall correctly to fill in with sizes and a bit of information on the job role. We chatted and they made me feel so at ease, praising me on getting the job, asking me lots of details and taking an interest and I knew if I’d have been there for a pre interview appointment with them, they would have filled me with so much confidence and made the process much less daunting than it was. This is just what you need after being out of a workplace for so long.
I got to try on various styles that the ladies picked out for me from the rails of clothing, I came away with two large bags which consisted of clothing I felt confident in and that would compliment what I had at home. I also got a handbag, shoes and some cosmetics too. I left smiling, feeling valued and confident about my new workplace now I had some staple pieces I could wear for work. It made such a huge difference to me and I can see how this amazing charity will be helping so many women back into the workplace and giving that confidence boost.
Please help spread the word about this fantastic Charity, such a wonderful experience and it really helped me.
I want to finish the blog post on this quote, what Smart Works do for women and the kindness the women who are volunteering, makes it so special.
Iyanla Vanzant, speaker
“The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.”