18 Jan Work Flow
Imagine being in New York City with your girlfriends on vacation. It’s Labor Day weekend and Fashion Week, so the city is buzzing more than usual. You’ve just spent the weekend in Philly at The Made In America Festival, where you saw Coldplay and perform. You have tickets to Kanye West at Madison Square Gardens and Fashion Week after parties are on the agenda. It’s 3am, you’re half asleep and still a tiny a bit drunk but you’re sitting in a corner of your large hotel room at the Lotte New York Palace on your computer because it’s 10am in South Africa and your clients are awake.
I suppose we can pretend that you are awake because you are in Frank Sinatra’s New York the “city that doesn’t sleep.” But the truth is when you work for yourself and run your own business. Your mailbox never has an out of office response because the work never stops. Even when you are on a break. Unlike salaried individuals, the amount of money you make is directly proportional to the work you put in. So, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid and you can’t pay the people who work for you or your bills.
It was in that moment, that I made the considered decision to close a business I had been running for just over 2 years, with retainer clients such as Nike Sportswear and G-Star RAW and take up my new work place on their offer.
When I told people that I had gone back to a 9 to 5, the assumption was that my business wasn’t working. That wasn’t the case at all. In fact, some of the clients were looking to expand the scope of work we were doing for them. One or two people told me that I’m selling out. And my response to them, had I seen this interview on No Vacancy Inn, would have been something said at around 8 min 38 sec of the video… which is that “you can only sell out yourself.” You’re a sell out if you are doing something you don’t want to do.
And what I want to do is wake up every morning and build a team. I want to solve problems, mentor people and make executive decisions. More importantly, I want to contribute to and make changes in the work place. The leadership position I am in right now, not only allows me to have impactful conversations, but also allows me to put in place processes and systems that will move the needle. These are all the things that I actually like about running a business. Saying “I am the founder” of this and that, is something I realised I do not care for at all. And after this trip to New York, saying I never have to put in leave is not a real thing for me either.
The simple answer to “why did you go back to working a 9 to 5?” is…
I was made to lead… I have had bosses who have called me arrogant because of this. But all I know is that I wouldn’t have become the first female Culture Specialist and first female Regional Marketing Manager at Red Bull South Africa or took on the challenge of running the Nike Sportswear PR account for Styling Concepts during the 2010 World Cup with no PR experience, had I listened to them. More importantly, I wouldn’t be sitting where I am today, reporting to people who see that very thing that those saw as arrogant, as an asset.
How I dress for work now
I am lucky that my work place is quite casual because it is advertising after all. Transitioning from my self-employed wardrobe to a 9 to 5 wardrobe wasn’t hard because I have always been about versatility. When I shop I always buy garments that I can live in for all the parts of my life. A blazer, and well tailored trousers do this well. The thing about casual work environments, is that it can so very easily go too casual. Espadrilles worn with a dress, could look too “Saturday afternoon brunch with the girls”, but worn with a pair of black tailored trousers and blazer makes the more workplace friendly.
Clothing Credits: Black T-Shirt from Weekday | Blazer from Witchery at Woolworths | Paper Bag Pants & Belt from Witchery at Woolworths | Espadrilles from Witchery at Woolworths