My name is Kemi and I am the queen of overthinking.
Seriously. I could have a night where I drink too much and I spend 2 days afterwards wondering what I might have said to someone. Or it could be that someone implies something to me (or I come to the conclusion that they did), and I spend a few days wondering what exactly they might have meant. I’ve even spent the past few days not worrying about myself catching Coronavirus, but worrying about catching it, not knowing it (my immune system tends to be pretty strong), and giving it to someone vulnerable (this has really been playing on my mind). Being an overthinker is exhausting – but, I’m aware of it, so I’m really good these days at taking a step back and looking at ‘the bigger picture’ (i.e. my “is it that deep?” radar is pretty sharp).
In the last year since I made associate at work, I’ve started going to a lot more external meetings. I’m travelling quite a lot these days (well, not anymore given Coronavirus), and having to present meeting materials and quite frankly myself to clients. When I first started going to all these meetings, I felt wary about wearing heels to them. I know that sounds crazy – but this is my overthinking. I was clearly ~10+ years younger than my colleagues and maybe even clients, clearly I was a no0b in this work game (I thought) and I felt that me wearing heels would have people secretly laughing under their breath and thinking “sorry, who does she think she is? A Director?” Very quickly I took a step back and realised how irrational I was being, I dusted off some heels and started wearing them to all my meetings. The first time I wore them MY BOSS SAID SOMETHING… she said, “your heels are like mine! :)” …and I laughed inside at my prior overthinking.
Call it power dressing. Quite honestly, since I’ve been whacking out my heels, I’ve felt more bossy and actually having much better meetings. The more meetings I have, the more my confidence grows, and the past 8 or so months my confidence has literally been sky rocketing at the pace COVID-19 seems to be spreading. The photos shared here are part of Frankie Bridge’s new range at Oasis. Two examples/inspo for anything entering the working world on how you can power dress for the occasion and present to people how you want them to see you. I love how versatile the range is – whilst I have chosen some work bits, these items could also be styled in such a way that they can be used more casually.
Wondering how people would perceive me going from number crunching analyst to a power dressing associate was one of the little qualms I’ve had in this wheel of work we run along for 40+ years. On the one hand, you can say it’s a good time to be a woman in the working world. More firms are trying to increase their diversity and show that they can not only bring women on board, but retain them even past the baby-popping stage. The first short internship I ever did was actually exclusively for women, and quite honestly I applied to it because I knew there would be less people to compete with and I knew it’d still allow me to break into the door of a global investment bank.
On the other hand, I’ve learned very quickly over the years that whilst in the job, the sorts of skills that lead you to excel and usually those categorised as being more “male”. For example, I am not one to show off AT ALL. If somebody even compliments me I sometimes have to stop myself from saying “oh yeah, but…”, which used to be my classic response. So it’s never been part of my DNA for example to show off about what I’m doing, something I feel that in general males are better at doing. But in an intense and competitive workplace, this is near essential.
I also have never needed to have my voice heard. By this I mean, I would contribute if I feel that I had something genuinely valuable to say. And also, part of my overthinking tendencies has meant that even in the past I’d wait until I was 100% sure that what I was saying in this context was actually valuable before I said it. We’ve all heard the quote that often those shouting the loudest and saying the most don’t even always know what they’re talking about (and I definitely have thought “what you just said what absolutely useless and invaluable” in a work context before). But the truth is that a lot of life is about perception, and sometimes you really do just have to freestyle it and be the one that is talking when you’re not really sure what you’re even saying (trust me, nobody will know…)
As it is International Women’s Day, this is a post I wanted to dedicate not only to women, but to women on, or entering, the 9-5 grind. To power dressing “beyond your level”, speaking when you have nothing to say and shouting loud about your achievements. More showing off and going off in 2020 please, it’s time.
Happy International Women’s Day ♥
Photos: Jodie DC Mithcell