This International Women’s Day, our team got together with questions we had asked when we were younger and now we’ve used our personal experiences to answer them…
If you’ve ever found yourself asking one of these questions then these videos might be able to help. We know that circumstances aren’t the same for everybody, but we know we wish that we had honest answers like these when we needed them.
Will I be able to start my own business?
I love recruitment, and I knew I was good at what I did, but just being good at something and having a passion for it doesn’t necessarily mean you can run your own business. There’s so much to consider; how will I plan cash flow? Will anyone buy what I’m selling? Am I credible enough?
I had mega imposter syndrome at the start, so much so that for a year I actually worked full time PAYE in role as well as running my own business, doing two full time jobs because I doubted I could manage without it. It came to a head, and I realised the thing I wanted was to run my business, fully, and be master of my own destiny. So, I jumped in and haven’t looked back.
Running a business is tough, especially during a global pandemic. I think a key thing that has carried me through is resilience, when things are tough you just have to put your head down and put one foot in front of the other, even if you can’t see any further ahead than your next step.
I have learned I can come across as credible, that I can sell my business and build a brand. Not because I have been a Managing Director before, but because I love my industry and I am good at what I do. I think often we feel we can’t say we are good at something, or we get filled with self-doubt. For me that little voice of imposter syndrome will never go, so I just hear what she has to say and think “well that may be so, but I am going to give it a go any way”.
Do I have to take a step back when I return from maternity leave?
Pregnancy is a rollercoaster of emotions as it is, but how are you supposed to feel when you return to work. The end of your maternity leave can cause more questions that you don’t know how to answer yet. I returned to work when my son was 4 month old.
Maternity leave was different then but the fears surrounding returning to work were as prominent as they are now. On my return, I decided to take on an NVQ qualification, I thought what have I got to lose, maybe it’ll help me get back into things.
As a new mother, negotiating a new life and discovering my completely new personality traits. I was over-the-moon to learn that not only did I pass my NVQ with flying colours, I had excelled as the company decided to showcase my answers and I became a sort of poster-girl to encourage uptake on the course, I was the example encouraging others like me that they could do it, and excel too.
Do you have to take a step back after maternity leave? Only if you want to. The transition from maternity leave to work is different for everyone and jumping straight back in was right for me, but it might not be right for you.
Make sure your open and honest and discuss your options with your employer, maybe a phased return would be better for you. Check in with your own life and career goals after a couple of months and make sure you’re putting yourself first.
Am I too young to be respected as an authority?
When I was 17 I was given the opportunity to take over the management of the main stage at a music festival. It’s commonly known that the music industry is male-dominated and the line-up for this particular year had less than 1% female representation.
Now imagine being still legally a child and trying to tell these bands, most of which were well known and recognisable, that you are in charge and they need to do what you say and when their time slot is up – you WILL pull the plug.
Outside of the festival site I was not a confident person, so my strength and attitude surprised me more than it did anybody else. I did my job and I did it well, but I also did it with some emotionally-charged, alcohol-induced, derogative comments being made when my authority was questioned.
After the event, I received an apology because the bands in question had pre-judged me, they had already decided when they arrived that they did not need to, nor were they going to listen to this “little girl”.
I received that apology because I stood my ground and I did my job well, and they recognised it. Was I too young to be respected as an authority? Absolutely not. I earned my respect as a young female by proving I was good at my duties and my age was irrelevant. If you believe in yourself, others will believe in you too – and if they don’t – just prove them wrong!
Can I work remotely full time and still be successful?
Having worked in people focused roles, including customer service and recruitment, I have always advocated the development of relationships in a face-to-face setting, if possible. I believed that body language, context and eye contact are all important factors in establishing positive connections, and that virtual meetings were never as “personal” or “sincere.”
Having worked in recruitment for some time, I recognised that a huge part of the success of these relationships was asserting my credibility and professionalism. When I was offered my first fully remote role, I worried that this could negatively affect client relationships, and in turn undermine one of my best skills.
Did I take a punt anyway? Of course I did! It certainly has presented its challenges, however I have adjusted and grew with the needs of my clients and stakeholders in developing new ways of working. I ensure that my clients know I’m at hand via phone, email or teams whenever they need me, and throw in the occasional on site visit. I can still be an expert whilst working from home. As for team relationships, I couldn’t feel more integrated or appreciated. We regularly catch up via team meeting and speak every day, supporting one another as we would in the office.
Can I work remotely full time and still be successful? 3 years down the line, I can confidently say YES.
How do I know I’m ready to take a promotion?
When I started at The Outsourced Recruitment Company as a Trainee Recruitment Coordinator, I was 23 years old and I had never been in the recruitment industry before, but what I did know was that I was ready for a new challenge, something that would help me grow as a person and take me outside of my comfort zone.
Little did I know that within my first year I would be told I was ready to be promoted, not once but twice and I was already working up the ‘ladder’. Of course, I didn’t believe that I was ready, the imposter syndrome started to kick in, making me double guess whether I was ready for the jump and making me doubt my position and whether I was good enough to do the role and even questioning how long it would take me to mess up or to do something wrong – but, so far so good and I continue to succeed.
I was lucky enough to have so many people believing in me and spurring me on.
So, how did I know that I was ready for a promotion? I didn’t, but if you’re being told by the people that surround you in and out of work that you are good at what you do, believe them, and start telling yourself that you are ready. Something I have learnt is that if you want something bad enough and put your mind and 100% effort into it then you can succeed in anything you want to.
Is it the right time to risk a career change?
My very first job was in hospitality, and I spent the next 10 years working my way through various roles, getting the most out of the experience as I could. But I never truly enjoyed it, it wasn’t fulfilling, and it came with a lot of negatives that I was desperate to be rid of.
I wanted a healthier work-life balance, a better social life and progression in something new, challenging, and exciting. There was always a fear surrounding taking that step though, I had to consider my personal situations and whether I could afford to make this leap.
I analysed whether my mental health could deal with the change of pace/ the step back in responsibility. I deliberated if it was worth it to start new again. I would lose all that I had built in that industry, my experience and skills, the confidence I had in myself to perform at the standard I was used to.
I didn’t know what I could gain from it and that was the scariest part. But I also knew that I wasn’t being challenged in the way I needed to be anymore. So, was it the right time for me to risk a career change? Yes. I may never have felt truly ready to experience what I have in the last 9 months, but I am grateful everyday that I took the plunge! I feel settled, accomplished, intent on proving myself and I have more opportunities than I have ever had before.