On my very last day working for Burberry, I stayed in the building passed my usual 5.30pm finish as I gathered all my belongings. Thinking back, I laugh as I remember how my colleagues had called dibs on who would get my mouse mat and chair. I must admit, I was lucky to have a nice mat with a gel cushion designed to take the pressure off your wrist and my semi-reclining chair was so cozy. Office comforts ay!
Once I’d gotten everything together it was well after office hours, even those notorious for working late were nowhere to be seen. Almost everyone had left for the day, but I still had one last round of goodbyes to make before it was all officially over.
Making my way through reception, a small flight of stairs took me to the canteen where I placed my bags down and made sure to give our cafe staff a huge hug! I’d miss them too.
My first experience in the fashion industry was as a very recent graduate. I had no game plan and no idea how I was going to climb the ladder. I simply wanted to feel good whilst figuring it all out. To me, it didn’t matter which department someone worked in or how important they were within their team, I’d smile and hold a conversation with anyone that would do the same to me. Meaning I made friends with everyone and often overstayed my hour lunch break having a chat with someone random in the corridor.
I have never understood the concept of reserving the best part of yourself: Your smile, warm greeting, a lovely compliment, for those deemed ‘important’ enough to receive it! That, my friends, should be the side of you that everyone has the pleasure of experiencing.
Further to that and speaking on the issue of people saving their time exclusively for those they feel could ‘do something for them’, a friend at a highly coveted fashion company once told me,
“After I’ve interviewed someone, I immediately ask the receptionist what they were ‘really’ like. Did they smile? Were they polite? How did they come across to you?”
She simply underlined what I had already highlighted, which is how important it is to treat absolutely everyone the same. You can’t be a grumpy old fart with one person, turn around and morph into a grinning Cheshire cat for someone else because he or she is important to you or your plan.
The advice I always hear at events is the same – BE NICE AND WORK HARD! Hard work produces results and that’s easy to track in the work place. But if there were to be a measure for how many people you made smile in a day, would you even scrape above average?
Another instance I can call on, was when I was put in touch with a videographer through a friend. I asked if he’d worked on fashion projects previously, to which he answered no, but he went on to explain that he knew Sarah Harris, the Fashion Features Director at British Vogue.
“Oh wow, that’s sooooo cool. Tell me more about that?” This was exciting and I wanted to know the connection!
“I used to work in the coffee shop opposite Vogue House and she’d come in every morning. She’d always say hello and was always very pleasant. Always”
…And BOOM, there you have it ladies and gentlemen… It costs less than a cup of coffee to be nice! Actually you won’t have to part with any of your great British pounds because there is no fee for friendliness. Therefore if the standards to which we hold ourselves are that of the key fashion players, then take a leaf out of Sarah’s book. If the industry elite, who are stereotypically known for being ‘not so nice’, are exercising good manners, don’t be fooled into believing the hype about choosing respect over being liked.
Being nice to everyone, excludes no-one!
Unless you have a ‘personal’ experiences says otherwise, tell us below…