Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Man, I'm tired!

I've just got home from a five hour induction session, following on from yesterday's first shift at work.
It's late, I need to go to bed, but my head's buzzing so I'm having a cup of tea and doing a blog post, in the hope that I will unwind!

Thanks so much to all of you who have asked how it went; it's fine really, if you don't mind not having much of a clue what you're doing...

But I find that I do mind.

I have been thinking about the discomfort I am experiencing, and I have come to the conclusion that I am just not used to feeling so incompetent.

I know how to perform my usual roles; I can run the house, shop and cook, I can parent (to a variable standard, admittedly), I know how to source and date vintage clothes, edit photos and list items on Ebay. I have been writing this blog for over two years, and been a volunteer in school for four. I can organise a jumble sale, and turn my hand to any of the fundraising tasks required in the PTA.

My previous work role was one I had had for many years, and I was a senior team member. I knew what I was doing.

And everything I currently do is well within my capabiltity and experience.

But not so working in a shop, especially one as big and as busy as Debenhams. There is so much I need to learn, and I am slightly worried that I will just be getting to grips with it before I have to leave. Just finding my way round the warren of staff offices and store rooms, never mind remembering the shop layout and the stock, will be a challenge.

But I am telling myself repeatedly that if all the other staff who work there can do it, then so can I.

And I can fold jumpers, many many jumpers (I did it for an hour and a half yesterday!)

In honour of my new employer, I am wearing my Debroyal dress.

I have a maxi skirt from the 1960-70s with a Debroyal label, but didn't make the connection with Debenhams until I found this dress, of a similar vintage.

I had no idea it was their brand.

Needless to say, I couldn't wear this to work.  We are not required to wear a uniform, but there seems to be an unwritten rule that sales assistants wear black, black and more black. This, of course, is a problem for me.

I wore my interview dress...

...but needed a cardigan for warmth and flat shoes for comfort. I really don't want to buy anything just for work, so I might try and sneak in some pattern and/or vintage once I'm sure I won't get in trouble for doing so...

Remove the brightly coloured accessories and these might be OK.

(These pics also demonstrate how badly I need a haircut!)

1960-70s Debroyal maxi dress (sadly shortened a little too much for me) - charity vintage sale
Tie-front cardigan - charity shopped
1980s boots - Second to None
1970s apple pendant - flea market

I read a blog post last week in which the writer said she had worn fuchsia in the past, but concluded that she felt happier toning down the bright colours, as she was worried about looking a bit menopausal.

I don't seem to have received that memo. I am indeed increasingly (peri) menopausal, but while I may have to tone down for work, I reserve the right to let loose with bright shades and beautiful bold prints on my own time.

So there's something else I can add to my list of competencies - the unashamed and contented wearing of strong colours and pattern.
That much, I can manage very well! 




Angels have Red Hair said...

In a month's time you'll feel right at home … I'm certain.
If it's any consolation to you … which it probably isn't … you look really good in black :0)

Melanie said...

Gee whiz, now I know why I wear bright colours! Thanks. ??? Bwa-ha-ha. I love your peri-berry maxi. The pattern reminds me of your awesome trousers by that famous designer guy.
Sleep, my pretty. Before you know it you'll be showing up to work in maxis and rollerskates showing who's who. But I can well relate to the fatigue of the learning curve. Congratulations on getting through the first day!! It's always the hardest.

Tami Von Zalez said...

Colorful clothing equates with being menopausal? That's the first I've heard of that one.

I would die a thousand fashion deaths if all I could wear is BLACK!

You - can - do - it. You are a SUPERSTAR!

Helga said...

Clearly I am drawn to bright colours because I am peri menopausal. For FUCK'S sake!!!! What a tit, I am SO avoiding that blog.
Now, you look babacious in that yumcious frock! And I too LOATHE not feeling competent!!! I am very, VERY tough on myself, and expect to get the hang of things quickly, and sometimes that just isn't possible! Grrr. You will, however, be a STAR! The brightest Debenhams has ever seen!!!! Feck yes, pattern those feckers UP!
This job is just to get you confidence and get your foot in the door of the work world, remember!!!!Go hard, my darling, I adore you and KNOW you will go FAR!
Loving YOU more than patterns and menopausal colours!

Patti said...

This should be in the Constitution (it is, isn't it?): "I reserve the right to let loose with bright shades and beautiful bold prints." I feel you about the first few days at any new job. You'll soon be at ease, and showing others how it's done. Love your bright maxidress, btw, and xox.

Unknown said...

gawd i remember feeling exactly the same in a new job and a friend said, give it a week and you will be doing stuff without even thinking about it! they were right! You will get there, just remember everybody went through the same learning curve around you as well. Hope you love it soon and use it as a fabulous excuse to buy more black...with sneaky pattern xxxx

Kylie said...

You can do it Curtise, and you will! I reckon you'll be strutting around Debenhams like you own the place in no time! Wearing what you want to wear! (although I must say I love your interview frock and those blue shoes - in my (sedate and probably boring) eyes you look a million bucks!) I get what you mean about feeling incomopetent and hating it. Totally. But don't let those feelings hold you back, you're a superstar in so many ways, and Debenhams are very lucky to have you. Take care Curtise, lots of love, Kylie x

Penny-Rose said...

I love your outfit today Curtise, yes the maxi is probably a smidge too short your for liking but it shows off your ankles in those lovely boots. All your skills in organising your family and the PTA and school activities about being an awesome mother, can easily be transferred to being an awesome sales assistant. Good luck!!
PS Thanks for sharing the link to the blog that says wearing bright colours is a sign of being menopausal, I'll have a look at it, but honestly, where do people get such silly ideas from????

Pam in Texas said...

You will do just fine, they are very lucky to have you!
It is a stepping stone for you, great things are coming.
We are all rooting for you, each day will get easier. I will be thinking of you and looking forward to hearing your news.

Love from Pam in TX.xx

Sheila said...

It will be fine after a week - just smile and do your best and it will all come together. I hate that feeling of knowing nothing!

You look lovely in fuscia - how on earth is that menopausal?

Anonymous said...

Oh Hun I know those feelings of frustrations with learning new things. You'll get there and you'll get there looking fabulous with your cheeky colour and vintage on. X

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Oh Curtise, I understand how you feel. But trust me, it won't be long before you wonder why you ever doubted that you would learn the ropes of the new job quickly. The knowledge might come in just bits at first, but one day, and soon, you will feel confident with your new role!

I hope you can transform Debenham's with an infusion of colour!

Unknown said...

Did I read you right? Fuchsia is (somehow) menopausal? Huh.
Just so all you peri-menopausal women out there get to hear at least one old broad say it: getting through menopause can be effortless. Some women grow a bit warm occasionally, gracefully cease menses, notice that their acne clears up at last and feel the sexiest they ever have. Not many, but some. And it's not all bad ...now that I'm over it, I'm thrilled! Never that bad, and I'm free of tampons and birth control forever!
My guess is that women who express extreme emotions during menopause had it in them to do so and just got hormonally kicked over the edge. In other words; crazy before, crazy after.
And I am positive that it doesn't make you suddenly wear bight colors.

On the other hand, Curtise ... I think you look insanely gorgeous in black. Very yummm with your hair.
Look at it as a new sartorial skill.
Black needs love, too!
Just sayin ... think on it.

Your Debenhams dress is gorgeous. Would they let you wear that? Maybe not.

You will run the company in 3 months, I just know it.

Debberoo said...

It is so much to get the hang of at the start and unlike some jobs you are learning in full view of the customers which adds an interesting element. You'll be amazed how much you have absorbed after the first week and by the second week it will be clear sailing, its just a lot at the start. xxxxxxxxxxx

Connie said...

You most certainly are royalty. Fashion royalty. Yeah, that learning curve. They say it's good for the brain..not so much for the ego. You'll get it and you'll be a superstar before you know it. I had to wear the black thing at work, too. Besides feeling like a hipster nun I actually really liked it. Black is slimming and it doesn't show dirt or wrinkles or nips. You look very chic en noir.

Goody said...

As someone that worked in department stores for many years I feel confident saying you'll do great. I wouldn't be shocked if they asked you to apply for full time work after the holiday season. I'd hire you.

The registers, codes, and inventory will become nearly automatic-and quickly too. It is quite a lot to absorb at first, but if you can get through the day without strangling the clientele, everything else will seem a breeze.

As for the menopause, which I am presently experiencing-of course I'm going to wear bright colours. I am having the very best years of my life, and no one, but no one is going to make me feel bad about it. That's for young people, overthinking their wardrobe, and what it says about them. I know some women have a terrible time of it, and I don't want to make light of their suffering, but I do reject the idea it is something we should hide, or be ashamed of.

Trees said...

Oh man - I have clearly not been online enough lately!! CONGRATS on your new job!! Also I think most people feel the same way you do when they start a new job, I've been in my current job for nearly a year and I only just now feel like I'm getting the hang of it :) You do so many other things, you'll pick it up in no time. I love your comment that black is the "unofficial" uniform at your work! It's also the "Unofficial" colour of choice for most public servants in Wellington (or maybe the world over) - I always feel like I stick out, put then I always get so many lovely comments about how I look great in "X" colour :)

Unknown said...

Of Course you can do it! Im sure you can do it very well!!
Bright colours rules! Even for oldies' - why not!?

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Blimey I'm still reeling over the fuschia-menopause comment. Eh? I don't get it..... Anyway, you'll get there in the end, Curtise. Don't worry, you'll be a pro (er hem) in no time. Promise. Love your black interview dress. Xx

freckleface said...

Woohooo!! First day done! You lived to tell the tale. Of course it's all a bit foreign to begin with, but I know you. You're bright, you will know all about stock and shop layout in the twinkling of an eye. Before we know it, you'll be saying, 'I can do this, give me a bigger challenge'. In the meantime, just keep smiling. They'll all adore you.

Fancy having not one but two vintage Debs items. Debroyalty! How wonderful. And that's a great frock.

I must say I do love you in the modern Debs dress, it really does look amazing on you. I know what you mean about black. I'm so bored by my winter wardrobe, it's all a bit gloomy. Need More Colour.
Good luck over the next few days as you get settled in. How many hours are you working? xxxxxxx

freckleface said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vix said...

You'll soon get to grips with it. I bet. It is vile to be like a fish out of water but you do a brilliant job with everything else you turn your hand to so it'll come to you in no time.
That's brilliant that you don't have to wear a uniform. It's been so long since I last went into Debenograd I hadn't noticed that the staff didn't dress the same. If I were you I'd just keep pushing the boundaries more and more, starting in all black and sneaking in a pair of sparkly fishnets or a red belt as time progresses.
I love you in black, you look spectacular in anything. The Debroyal dress is a stunner, the length's ideal when it's wet.
Didn't you get the memo? You reach 40, stop having sex and a social life, cut your hair off, wear neutrals, embrace beige lipstick, flesh coloured tights and court shoes. I'm only 25, thats why I can still wear bright pink.
Love you! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Unknown said...

I think everyone feels like a fish out of water so to speak after a long period away from work, but I totally understand where you are coming from. Being a wife and mother is almost safe its comfortable we are strong and independent knowing what we need to do to provide for our families. I am pretty sure that in a couple of months time you will feel as confident there in your role as you do at home. You are such a lovely and approachable lady that you will soon fit right in. As for bright patterns and colours I am soooo with you there :-) I don't wear anything else even in the winter months I don't want to loon the same as everyone else in dark colours just because its winter. Hell no bring me colour any day :-) dee xxx

Kelly Jackson said...

SO glad you don't have to wear a uni! I worked in a department store in Canada coordinating fashion shows etc, and I had to wear black pants, a white blouse and this horrid polyester vest - can you imagine? So much for exuding the fashion-forward image the company wanted to put out there ....

Congrats on first day, Curtise. You'll be old hat at it soon,and learn some new things in the process. And if you wore a vintage Debenhams dress to work, how could the powers that be complain? You could help them tap I to their heritage - corporations love this kind of stuff as it's good PR. I can see you spearheading a heritage movement in store! Yes! Xoxo

Peaches McGinty said...

I get it, I really do! this job I do now has caused me so much blinking doubt over my ability, I'm not grasping it quick enough and I don't want to come across as a duffer, I find it all a little annoying! but I know for sure, we are a robust, conscientious lot and will make sure we get the job done properly! your maxi is divine and a gorgeous colour, necessary stuff! and definitely sneak some vivid colours and patterns in! I think they'd be delighted to see some personality in the store! and whats all this about fuschia, I look positively radiant in it, haha! x x x

Fiona said...

Fuck me! So bright colours are synonymous with the menopause are they? If that's the case Vix must have been going through the change for the last 20 years. Going to give that blog a wide berth I can tell you.
Darling, I felt just like you when I started my new job and I'd been in employment prior to it! I felt totally useless compared with (dare I say it) the youngsters who seem to absorb new information like a sponge, unlike me who had to make notes and go over it again and again. You are an intelligent woman, you will soon get to grips with it and I do hope you will be the Debenhams uniform rebel.
Love the vibrant print on your Debroyal maxi...who knew they had a brand name? xxxxxxx

Unknown said...

Good luck darling Curtise! I'm sure you can manage to be the best shop assistant in Sheffild, as you probabily know it's a hard work, I used to work in several shops and what we can't imagine seeing all those pretty ladies smiling in black, is how many things to do there are besides selling clothes!
But it's positive to be in touch with people and to have a salary!(Both things I really miss today!)
I really love your dress in these photos, the print is stunning, thank you for the close up, the colours are wonderful and I don't think there is any colour that couldn't be worn at any age!
Love xxxx

Anonymous said...

Your work thing will get better - everyone feels that way when they start a new job in a new place - and then there's that 'the new girl' thing. However, you are now probably a black belt in sweater folding so feck that lol

I read that blog post too and it felt like a bit of a slap in the face - I reserve the right to wear what-the-feck-I-like colourwise but even more I ABHOR the menopause-shaming sentiment implied.

I was quite shaken as to how much it did upset me actually and I'm far from being a shrinking violet or needing validation from the sisterhood.

Menopause is like puberty - a hormonal thing we go through - some folks have a dire and miserable time of it - I find it just to be a bit of a bloody nuisance sometimes but your mileage may vary.

The implication that it is compulsory to (as inferred) dress like a clown is offensive but then so is the wearing-griege-and-fading into-the-background-whilst-not making-a-fuss-as-a-sexless-old woman-thing. Surely we don't need to change anything if we don't want to?

Sorry for the essay - thank you fellow commenteers - I was thinking it was just me :)

Rose&Bird said...

I'm sure you'll get used to it soon and be the best assistant in the department! Although there isn't an official uniform, people often do seem to dress very similarly in large companies. Introducing colour by subterfuge is the way forward! You carry on wearing want you want, menopause or not.

Pennyblossoms said...

In the shortish time that I've followed you this must be my (uptown) top ranking outfit. Wow!
Oh yes, Debs had that effect on me by the time I left with full-blown clinical depression!! Ha Ha!
No, you'll get into the swing of things I'm sure. I'm a dab hand at folding jumpers now!
Z xx

Miss Magpie said...

I feel your pain, when I started this job I had never worked in an office before and couldn't even use half the equipment! I hated it too, and felt like I would never learn it all but it does sink in. Give it a week and you'll be a pro and sneaking in some lovely bits of colour too I hope. x

Tamera's Craft Palace said...

It will get better and you'll be fine on your job!!
Love the maxi--gorgeous!!
Even in black I'm sure you'll be the most fab person there!!

So Fuschia = Menopausal. Oh-Kay.

Tamera's Craft Palace said...

It will get better and you'll be fine on your job!!
Love the maxi--gorgeous!!
Even in black I'm sure you'll be the most fab person there!!

So Fuschia = Menopausal. Oh-Kay.

Krista said...

I have heard all sorts of ridiculous bullshit when it comes to wearing pink past a certain age, wtf I have Daddy issues people! I love this outfit Curtise all my favorite colors and you radiate confidence and beauty in it! Before my current job all I ever did was retail, it can be a pain at times but just wait soon you'll find your groove and things will get better and busier:). Don't be so hard on yourself, it's just a job not who you are.
Big hugs and much love xxoooo

The Style Crone said...

A new job can be overwhelming! I remember the days when I had the feelings that you describe. But knowing you, it won't take long for you to have it down and feelings of confidence will flow to the surface.

Your brightly colored maxi makes my morning. Before you know it you will be bringing color to your work environment. How could they resist?

Rachel said...

Stick with the not-knowing, it will improve. It's good that you are doing something you aren't used to / aren't practiced at, honest! Also, shop work is very complicated, I never felt this was appreciated when I was doing operations management. So it will take a while to sink in... Xxx

Forest City Fashionista said...

I have had probably over 30 different jobs in my lifetime, and each time, I felt at sea until I figured out what was going on, and what was expected of me. You will find your sea legs soon.

Hmmm, the black thing, yeah, so not you. I would start small and work little bits of colour and pattern into an outfit and see what the response is like.

Good luck!

Unknown said...

So glad your work is going well :-) It's only 'newness' at the moment, give it a few more days and I am sure you'll be well away, you seem very intelligent so i'm sure you'll be tickety boo!
And please DON'T change your colours or wardrobe for the 'menopause' lol. I'm 32 and already being told by women in the office to cut my shoulder length hair because i'm getting old now and old women don't have long hair LOL GOOD GRIEF!

Diane said...

Nothing makes you feel like a fish out of water than a new job. You feel like the stupid new girl who doesn't know where anything is or how anything works. But give it 2 weeks and you'll be a pro!! I'll pop in and see you some time - let me know your hours xxxx

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Hooray, you survived your first day! I'm sure you'll pick it all up in no time, don't worry yourself.
Go on, sneak your colour and vintage into your outfits. They'll appreciate you all the more.

Anonymous said...

Curtise, I can't believe how great you look in those colors! Just fabulous!

Congrats on your new position. I think the best advice I can give to fellow competent one is to allow yourself yourself to be a beginner and try to enjoy it. You have the right attitude and that's what matters. Best of luck to you.


silvergirl said...

All of that pink is just calling out to me
I am sure things will get easier as you go along
It is always hard at first until you feel comfortable with you surroundings

Jean at www.drossintogold.com said...

Oh Curtise!! Just because you don't know all their silly rules or routines yet doesn't mean you're in the least bit lacking. It just means you're learning, but I know you know that. I folded many a sweater in my day when I worked retail. There's nothing bad or good about it so long as it works for you. I'm guessing you'll meet lots of folks, both irritating and amusing. Charm them, my dear. You are a gem and they're lucky to have you around.

You look gorgeous in black, so don't fret. You can always don more color off duty. And yes, sleep. It works wonders. LOVE YOU!!!!! Can't wait to hear some of the stories. :-)

Vintage Bird Girl said...

It's funny how something new can feel so scary at first. So much to learn, & you wonder how you will ever remember it all. I am sure that in time you will be an old pro at Debenhams. Invaluable to the team. I think those black frocks would be fab for work. Toned down accessory wise of course. But beautiful you will never blend in with the crowd. Xx

Max said...

You will have to get some crazy patterned retro undies to wear under your black exterior so you feel yourself at work. Its only a matter of time until you convert them to colour and print though! Xxx

Unknown said...

I don't care what anyone says -new jobs suck! Even when you are competent, experienced, enthusiastic I find a new job makes me feel a bumbling fool. And I hate feeling like a fool! I usually want to quit after about two days, but then find that after 2 weeks it feels like I have always been there and can't remember anything else! Rebel against the "uniform" - please wear rainbow hues and brighten everyone up (just like you brighten us all up!)XXX

Señora Allnut said...

glad your new job is going well, everybody need an adaptation period!, and I love that you can manage strong colors and pattern, oh yes, and bright pink is a pretty color to play with!, you look gorgeous.
And I'm admiring your black dresses collection, dear lady, they're cute!!
besos & suerte

Rachel said...

Give it a couple of weeks and you will soon know your way around. I felt like this as I had not worked for years when the girls were little. Just remember that they are lucky to have you! Big hugs Curtise xxxx

Unknown said...

Congrats for the first day! Give your self a chance- It takes a while to be comfortable in a new job and if your employer have any sense in their heads, the perfectly know that!
Don't you get some kind of probation? We get 3 months of probation here and they expect you know everything after 3 months -

Black and black, Ouh! that's a challenge, but you are right give yourself a little time and sneak in bit of pattern and bit of color, they will get use to it -

Bright colours and menopausal, well it seem that have been menopausal all my life then:)

Take it easy all will be fine!


Olga Rani said...

First days at new job are always hard: you don't feel confident enough, you get tired and you have doubts about your ability to do the task. But in a short time everything becomes normal and fine and I am sure you too will be at ease there soon. Love your bright colourful dress!(in spite that it reveals your peri-menopausal phase :) man! what a crap!)

CityScape Skybaby said...

Like everyone else here says Curtise, it's normal to feel a bit lost at first in a new situation, but you're a very intelligent capable woman so I've no doubt at all that you'll get the hang of it all really quickly. My sister in law just started work on a make up counter in a swanky store recently and she felt exactly like you do now, despite her being one of the most confident people I know. Now I'm looking forward to seeing how you manage to start sneaking some colour into your work outfits. xx

Mrs. D said...

Lovely dress, as always. You have to show your amazing closet one of these days - I wonder how many maxi dresses you own? If you've already done it never mind m, I may have missed it :(
Toning down for work is the worst. I found myself doing that when I started in my new job but I am slowly going back to my old ways - people are getting used to me and I'm the one developing the fashion blog project in the end of the day, so I'm allowed :)

Unknown said...

I am also peri-peri mentalpausal, and I want to wear only colours that can be seen from space.

You look gorgeous in that fuschia maxi - isn't it a shame when they chop a little bit too much off the length? I have always hacked them to mini length if they are an awkward length, but have recently experimented with adding a big ruffle at the hem (with mixed results, mostly successful).

It sucks being the new girl. And sometimes it sucks a bit being the returning-after-a-hiatus-girl too. It can be just as off-putting.

Love yer guts,

Sarah xxx