Days 7, 8 and 9 – Inspirational Icecream
I must admit falling behind a little here – partly because I couldn’t think of anyone I would really think of as a mentor, and partly because I wasn’t feeling very inspired (and maybe also a little bit Miss Thing. But you get that.) So, when Day 9’s topic of icecream came up, I was all “you little ripper, something I can get my teeth into” (Bazinga! Mum joke. Icecream and teeth, geddit.) Then, while I was visualising a deliciously creamy home made vanilla icecream, or a light and tangy lemon sorbet (or a pineapple and strawberry gelato). I remembered Bill and Jude. Now, how could I forget Bill or Jude…
Jude was my first Good Boss. I’d experienced the joys of a not so good boss while working in the bank (which bank?) and the whole “heh heh heh little girl” shenanigans of the middle aged man in a male dominated environment. Anyway, Jude was ex-army, take no nonsense and very practical. What she thought, taking on the rag tag bunch I worked with, I don’t know. There was a mixture of 24 hour partay people (ahem) and the obligatory spinster in sensible shoes, a couple of middle aged housewives working for pin money. We were Odd. Anyway, Jude taught me so much – most of which I didn’t realise until much later, and most of which I adhere to today. Like – she had a dress code.
Now, this was the 80’s – the decade that fashion forgot – so, actually abiding by a dress code was a little strange (however, after working at the bank, where I needed to wear pantyhose EVERY SINGLE DAY EVEN IF IT WAS 40C, it was reasonable) She expected us to dress appropriately for the work that we did. No open toed shoes, no shoe string strappy dresses or halternecks. She didn’t care about pantyhose, and she said trousers were in fact quite appropriate. We worked in a book shop, and seriously, open toes were a recipe for disaster, as were straps and flaps and frills. So yeah, she taught me that if there is a sensible reason behind a decision someone makes, then it is a sensible decision. And she may well have convinced me that hangovers are not suitable work attire. To this day, I wear closed toe shoes at work, and my personal style is definitely simple and classic and practical – I can pull down a heap of files without being in fear of the Flash. While I do wear sleeveless shirts and dresses, I certainly wouldn’t go for straps or halters. Not. Appropriate.
Fast forward several years – and Bill was my boss (different job, actually I think it was five jobs later – I was flighty in my youth). He was my boss when my dad died, and took it upon himself to give me the odd parental nudge whenever he thought I needed it. He encouraged me to apply for university at the semi-mature age of 31, he wrote my referee report for my application. He was never the “rah rah you can do it yay you” kind of cheer leader. More the “come on, pull your socks up and get on with it” type. He made sure I was challenged, made sure that I had the support I needed to balance university and working full time, filled in the forms and ticked all the boxes so that I could do both. I bumped into him a couple of years ago, post graduation, and post changing jobs (again) and he told me he was proud of me. That was pretty cool.