Why appearance isn’t everything

I think in today’s society we’re far too worried about what we look like. We fuss at ourselves in the mirror trying to achieve perfection. We feel self conscious if we don’t look our absolute best. We judge people based on their clothes, whether they have any makeup on, whether they’ve got their roots showing, or whether they’re covered in dirt. We often don’t know that person’s story. For all  we know, they might not be wearing any makeup because they’ve ran out and haven’t had chance to pick up anymore, they might be covered in dirt because they’ve been running around after their children in a park, and they might not have got their roots done because they’ve just paid for their son’s new school uniform.

I’m guilty of worrying about my appearance all the time. My job at Next often requires me to go to work in my scruffy clothes when I’m working in the stock room, and as soon as I get on the tram in my ripped jeans and oversized tops, I feel as if all eyes are on me, as if to say, why are you wearing that? When I’m on the shop floor, I have to wear smart clothes, and it’s only then that I feel like I blend in, and that’s not right.

I’m the type of woman who feels like they can’t leave the house without their lipstick, that their shoes have to be perfectly polished, that their hair has to be perfectly tamed. The thought of leaving the house in old clothes fills me with dread.I want to take pride in my appearance but then sometimes I think that I’m over worrying. As long as I’m happy and comfortable… does it really matter?

I think the real issue is that we’re too busy worrying about what everyone else thinks. Often they’re people that we don’t even know and probably will never see again. Even worse, sometimes it’s people we know, people who love us, and we’re worrying about what they’ll be thinking. The truth is, if they love us, then they’ll love us regardless of what we look like.

We’re also too busy worrying about what everyone is doing. If that woman on the bus looks tired and weary, and looks as if she’s forgot to brush her hair, and her makeup’s smudged, then leave her alone. Maybe there’s a reason that she looks like that. And if there’s not, then good for her. She probably doesn’t care about your appearance that much, so why should you be worrying about her’s?

It’s time we stopped mindlessly judging. We’re all adults here. Let’s behave like we are.

What do you think?

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Natural hair, no makeup, who cares?
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Where have I been?

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This summer is turning out to be a particularly busy one… and I’m loving it. I really feel as if I’m fulfilled, as if I’m getting something out of my life. I’m happy, I’m making the most of things, and yet I don’t stressed, I just feel excited for the future.

I’ve recently taken on a role as News Writer for Kettle magazine, which is an online magazine that promotes student journalism. I’ve been writing for them for the last year, tending to sway towards writing lifestyle pieces, but when an opportunity to write for their news team came up, I put myself forward, as I thought it would be a great opportunity to step away from the norm and to try something new. It’s actually really refreshing to write something different!

In terms of my personal life, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and Rich’s family. I’ve been catching up with my parents and my siblings, spending time exploring bits of Manchester and just generally having down time. I’ve also spent a few lovely days with friends, eating delicious foods and doing bits of holiday shopping.

Me and Rich have spent the last couple of weekends down in Birmingham which is where Rich’s parents live, and it’s been great to chill out and relax in the garden on sunny days. Not last weekend, but the weekend before, we went to see Mamma Mia the musical, which was absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure it was exactly Rich’s thing, but I loved it. Last night we went on a pub crawl and then clubbing in Birmingham with friends which was fun, though I feel like a bit of a grandma as I was craving my bed pretty early into the night!

In terms of my blog, I’m definitely going to have some new pieces up in the next two weeks. I’m off to Anglesey on Thursday night through till Sunday for some R and R, so I promise to document the trip and to hopefully take some pictures of the gorgeous scenery. For now, you can click here and check out my latest blog post which is a piece of prose poetry that I’ve been working on.

I hope that you’re all having a lovely summer, whatever it is that you’re doing. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments below 🙂

Love from Beth x

 

The City

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It inhales the early morning air, fresh, tangent with diesel, with petrol, with a sort of smog that fills your lungs. It’s a concrete jungle inhaling the smell of panic and thriving on the worry that seems to infect the rush hour crowd like a plague. It towers,  it’s waiting to conquer the urban wastelands on the outskirts that have not yet admitted that there’s no escaping the giant beating heart that is engulfing the core. At times it is deceitful, it offers an adrenaline rush to the susceptible, a feeling that at first is warm and inviting, that makes it seem like it is humming, buzzing with excitement. It poses as a metropolis of life, and you can become tricked by this mirage. It’s only as the clock ticks on, when darkness cloaks the skyline, that the cracks of society can be seen. There’s a sense of desolation in the midst of the morning before the city awakes and the cycle repeats itself.

Student Guide: Why it’s important to think before you choose your university course

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I think a lot of seventeen year olds out there feel like they HAVE to go to university. As soon as you’re in year 12 you’re told you have to start filling out UCAS forms, that you need to start spending every weekend travelling up and down the country visiting universities, and that you need to decide what it is that you want to do for the rest of your life. You start to feel really pressured, and you lend up deciding something that you might lend up regretting two years later.

Sometimes that’s how I feel. As many of you know, I’m an undergraduate at the University of Chester and I study BA English Literature and Creative Writing. I chose to study my subject as I’ve always loved to read, ever since my dad read Harry Potter to me when I was a little girl. I spent the majority of my childhood scouring car boot sales for books, persuading my parents to just get me books for Christmas, and spending hours holed up in my bedroom devouring words. Therefore, when it got to the time where I had to decide what I wanted to study, I thought English Literature would be the perfect course for me.

Two years later, I wouldn’t neccessarily agree. Although I do enjoy the majority of my course, I don’t enjoy all of it. Sometimes I feel unmotivated by some of my modules, and I find reading to become tedious. This happened to me so much so in my first year of uni, that I no longer read for pleasure anymore. Luckily my second year modules excited me much more, and I now read ALL the time again. It’s rare you’ll find me going anywhere without a book in hand. My third year modules don’t excite me quite as much, but this year I’m determined that I’m not going to let it get me down.

I think the problem for me  is that I chose my course too soon. I don’t think I fully read up on what it would entail. Sometimes I sit in my lectures, and find that the majority of my peers seem so much more knowledgeable about English theory than myself. They know about Marxist theories, they’re strong feminists, and they really seem to relate to nineteenth century characters in a way that I just can’t. I do, however, really enjoy my Creative Writing modules. I love writing poetry, I’ve really enjoyed a module I took on an insight into the publishing world, and I’m excited to try out life writing in the upcoming year. I’ve also chosen my dissertation topic, which is to be an indepth discovery into folklore and legends, and their evolution through literature.

I think if I’d have been choosing my university course now, I would go down a different path. I know now that I want a career in marketing, and I think I would have chosen a marketing degree. At the time I was choosing, I really felt that I didn’t get much advice from my tutors at my college. I felt rushed and I felt I had to choose something that I’d studied before. I guess there’s nothing familiar in the unknown.

I think my advice to sixth form students getting ready to choose their university courses in the upcoming months is to find something that you enjoy, but also to look at possible career paths afterwards. Try and speak to people who have done similar degrees. And if you’ve already started your course and you’re already hating it, then think about making a switch. Don’t spend three years doing something that you don’t love.

Monday blues

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Hi all, I first of all want to address the issue of my infrequent posting the last two weeks, I feel as if I’ve really neglected my blog and of course all of you guys. I think my main reason has been simply down to lack of time, and also the fact that I seem to have hit a bit of a writer’s block. Do any of you out there ever feel like that?

Maybe it’s because it’s a Monday, which has always been my least favourite day of the week, and the fact that the skies outside my window are no longer blue, but I feel a bit of a case of hitting a slump. I’m feeling unmotivated to write, and unmotivated to express myself. I’m by no means unhappy, in fact I feel content… and I’m starting to think that’s why I’m feeling this way.

I’m starting to realise that my best posts, my posts which you guys enjoy, are when there’s genuine emotion behind them and excitement, and I’ve been reluctant to post anything which hasn’t been to that standard. I want my words to dance on the page, I want them to stick with you, to make you think, for them to challenge your train of thought. I don’t want you to get bored halfway through or to feel as if you’ve lost interest of the things I have to say.

I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel though, so don’t worry, I’ll be back to writing soon, but I just wanted to keep you all informed on the lack of recent posts.

As always, thank you for sticking with me, and I hope you enjoy the posts that I’m sure will spring to mind very soon. If you have any ideas of how I can get out of my slump quicker, or if there are any posts that you would  particularly like to see, then do let me know as it would be a great help!

Love from Beth x

Wanderlusting: I want to visit…

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Ahh, I’m absolutely loving the heatwave that seems to be hitting the UK this week. I just want to stretch out on a sunlounger, sip on something icy and cold, and read a massive pile of books (they should probably be the ones that I need to read for my dissertation!). Unfortunately I have to work, and on my days off I have silly bits and pieces to do, like make doctors appointments and do bits of shopping. That aside, I will still be dreaming about days on sandy beaches, relaxing with not a care in the world, and that inspired today’s short but sweet post, all about the places and countries around the world that I’d love to visit, especially as today is my one year anniversary on WordPress! Previously, I’ve been to France, Belgium and Italy, and I’m heading to Croatia in September. I’d love to travel more, but I’m definitely not the kind of person who’d enjoy living out of my rucksack and sleeping in hostels. I’m definitely the type of person who likes to spend a long time in one place, relaxing and sightseeing as I go rather than frantically globetrotting. 

I want to visit…. Barcelona, Gibraltar, Bordeaux, Cannes, Amsterdam, Newquay, Isle of Sky, Malta, Sardinia, Krakow, Vienna, Slovenia, Slovakia, Pompei, Naples, Rome, Algarve, Malaga, Madagascar, the Maldives, Dubai, Gold Coast, New Zealand, Swiss Alps, Santorini, LA, New York, Washington DC, Cape Cod, Bora Bora, Mexico, Las Vegas, Great Barrier Reef, Florence, Tokyo, Hawaii, Cape Town, Sydney, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Yellowstone, Budapest, Hong Kong, Cairo, Grand Canyon, British Virgin Islands, San Francisco, Prague, Salar de Uyini (Bolivia), Tianzi Mountains (China), Yosemite Valley, Turkey, Luxembourg, Rhodes, Canada, Chicago, Tanzania, Republic of Seychelles, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Madeira, Crete, Pisa, Puerto Rico, Seattle, Dublin, New Orleans, Boston, Miami, Florida, Easter Island, Havana, Victoria Falls, Igazu Falls, Perth, Norway, Finland, the Dead Sea (Israel), Fiji, Tibet, Buenos Aires, Machu Pichu, St Tropez, St Barts, Marrakech, Galapagos Islands, Reykjavik, Athens, Nuuk, Juneau, Moscow.

Where do you want to visit?

Any job is a real job: Social Media Servicing Advisor

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As many of you know, I recently decided I wanted to start a bit of a blogging series with the phrase ‘Any job is a real job’ in mind. I wanted to raise awareness of the different industries out there, and I asked for all of my readers help. I feel really lucky that some of you responded.If you missed my previous articles about this, then click here.

 First up is Cameron, from over at Cameron D Hamilton. He writes a great blog with an emphasis on poetry and self reflection, and I really love his work, so I was very pleased when he contacted me to tell me about his job as a Senior Social Media Servicing Advisor:

So, let’s begin with a few basic facts.  My name is Cameron, I’m 29 and I work in corporate Social Media for a major UK bank.  I’ve been in my current position for over a year.

Explain your job role (title, daily duties etc)

At this time I hold the title of Senior Social Media Servicing Advisor.  The job itself consists of moderating several social media and website channels for the bank.  My department moderates four Twitter handles, two Facebook accounts, the website ‘live webchat’ service and two customer enquiry email services.  I came into the department to handle Social Media so I tend to focus my attention on the Twitter and Facebook content.  It’s more a preference for me, it actually works out well with our team dynamic as some of my colleagues prefer the more formal nature of the email channels.

On a normal day I’ll spend my time responding to enquiries received and also post attention grabbing content, over the Twitter channel specifically, in order to grow the brand and attract attention.  As a team we’re also tasked with monitoring public relations through Social Media, logging and reporting positive and negative reports of the bank.  As a department we have little power to effect change the way the bank presents itself, essentially we’re information gathering.  It can get a bit frustrating when the same criticisms come up and nothing is done but I’m sure there must be a good reason, or at least I hope.  The vast majority of the time is spent moderating the channels making sure that all messages received are responded to, make sure we can avoid potential PR issues and make sure customers are protected.

(A funny story on making sure our customers as kept safe over social media.  I once had to deal with a customer of the bank who was a financial dominatrix and was posting her bank details over Twitter in order to get tributes from her admirers.  Her profile was certainly NSFW.  I got in touch with our information security team and they got a Fraud officer to get in touch.  We got told she was warned the following day but clearly didn’t listen as a few weeks later she done the exact same thing.  You can’t help everyone!)

More than any other department we liaise with several different areas of the business on a daily basis, sometimes it can be simply feeding back praise, looking for more in depth info or a certain subject (mortgages, urgh) or getting complaints handled.  This is quite common as you can imagine, everyone love to moan over Twitter and we try to help.  Often it’s really easy people are being lazy wont visit the bank or call in, ‘help us to help you’ doesn’t enter into their minds.  Sometimes it take a little more to handle but it’s our job monitoring Social Media to make sure that voice gets heard and helped.

As a senior advisor I also research and create reports for the leadership team of the bank.  The most frequent is a weekly feedback presentation that is made for the weekly leadership meeting.  Takes about three to four hours and I usually do it if I’m working on a Sunday, it’s monotonous but I quite like it.

Also due to the main office site being a contact centre the team has been lumbered with some irritating telephone lines.  These are low call volume, maybe four calls over a shift max.  In addition to this in order to keep product knowledge fresh there are weeks where I will take general customer service phone calls or work the Internet Banking Helpdesk while another member of the team assumes moderation duties on Social Media.  It’s you’re standard shift rotation deal.

How  did you got into your job? (e.g qualifications, experience etc)

I’m a Media graduate, I spent five years studying through various college courses and university.  I went from wanting to work in film production, with an eye to direct, but found that I enjoyed writing more.  I put a lot of that down to my social anxiety, being able to create a barrier means I can work more effectively.  Its why I like working in Social Media.

The academics didn’t get me exactly where I wanted to go and I drifted through mostly Customer Service positions while trying to write.  Before I took my current position I was working as a general Customer Service Rep in the same bank at the same centre.  Due to my qualifications, my vast experience from working in the bank for so long and my eccentric passion the job was mine.

At the time I applied I was leaving the company, I had reached my glass ceiling and had been applying for writing and Social Media vacancies so when one came up from my current employer it just made sense.  The company thought so too.

What do you like about your job?

I like the ability to write and be creative.  That’s what sold me on the job, to try and engage with customers differently than I had been over phone calls.

Using my experiences as a writer to give some personality to the Social Media accounts, show we care, we want to help but that we’re real.

I really like the people in my team, it’s a great group of personalities and you need that in Social Media.  Of course I win the award for most eccentric but I set a very high bar.

Honestly it’s an easy job.  With the knowledge I gained working telephone customer service the job of moderating is ridiculously easy.  That lack of stress makes my life a lot easier with all the other stresses I have

The Social Media team itself is very young, its only in its second year.  I love being able to shape the voice and make a mark on the landscape.  Not to denigrate my colleagues but you can tell the difference in language and passion when I’ve sent a message compared to someone else.  It’s a great feeling to see that your voice is the one that people like.

What do you hate about your job?

The pay (hahahaha!!!) Serious though, its horrific.

The politics of the office are very annoying, as a contact centre the focus is on phone calls so my team gets treated horribly as if it’s our fault that calls are queuing because we’re not on the phone.  My employer doesn’t know how to handle digital operations and doesn’t understand the job we do.  This means arguments with management figures trying to assert authority when they have none and acting like children when they don’t get their way.

I don’t drive so the commute is pretty bad at times.  I take three buses and as much as it gives me time to listen to my favourite podcasts it does give me a little less free time.

Due to working in the banking industry, it’s a secure paperless environment which is murder or a writer who likes to have a note pad if they’re inspired by something…or maybe just wants to colour in on a slow day.

To be honest the job is great.  It’s the office I hate.  If I could do the same job somewhere else I’d be a lot happier.  I think if there’s any lesson I could impart it’s don’t give up on something you want to do because the people you work for are idiots.

Where do you want to be in five years time?

There’s two answers to this.

Answer one is writing professionally, taking what I do on WordPress and making money off my words.  I want to write like a lot of people here so If I can I’d like to get published and make my living from literature

Answer two is Social Media Project Management.  I’m not keen on actually managing staff, its just not interesting, I want to create and run projects.  Move out of the moderation and more into  the marketing the brand growth.  I do a little of this right now but I really want to advance into building content to get people talking and make the best use of Social Media.  It won’t be with my current employer, I have way too many issues with them and their ineptitude in the digital world.  I find this hard to answer because I’ve never been one for planning ahead.  Probably why I’m so far behind.

I want to say a big thank you to Cameron for this, as I found it really interesting. I’m looking to go into a similar career myself, so it was great to get an in depth view of what to expect. Does anyone else work in this industry? What do you think? Or do any of you want to go into this industry too?