The hardest things about it are waking up in the morning, getting out of bed, and getting over the FEAR of just.. the whole thing!
But once I get there?
I LOVE IT.
I’ve only just started there – and it’s an amazing place for me to spend my time. It is a boutique and a mentorship organisation, run mostly by volunteers. Clients are referred to us from many places – from employment agencies, from welfare agencies. From churches, health centres, etc. I don’t think there is any particular place that refers, just that most referrals do come from employment agencies.
The average client is a woman (we have just begun to have sessions for men, too) who has been out of work for a long time, and is from a disadvantaged background. Usually she has an interview for a job, often it’s the next day. She won’t have the same chances as the other candidates up for the job, and it’s our mission to even up those chances!
Each client has the entire boutique to herself when she comes to have her session. She’s outfitted from head to toe in top quality corporate-suitable clothing appropriate for whatever job she’s going for. Underwear, stockings, shoes, handbag, jewellry, everything is top quality and hers to keep – for free. She’s given tips on hair and makeup, and brand new cosmetics and toiletries to take home and keep. She’s given advice on her resume and mock interviews. Every possible aspect is covered, and she goes away feeling and looking like a million dollars!
And if she gets the job, she comes back for another entire outfit to keep, plus she joins the woman’s professional group for networking.
It’s an awesome organisation. Worldwide, with chapters in over 40 countries. The more I hear about what they do, the more impressed I am.
The other ladies there are just wonderful – warm, caring, kind. Today was fun – I chattered with the lady overseeing me while we sorted out donations of more makeup than I have ever seen in one place in my entire life. Brand new, top quality cosmetics. I feel like I could get quite friendly with these women if I was at this place for a while. And I hope I am. Even when I get a paid job, I intend to always volunteer here. It’s just that nice a place, with that nice a bunch of people there.
Well, today, I was made ‘Keeper Of The Cosmetics’. Ironic, because I never wear makeup these days. During my childhood and adolescence, always performing somewhere, I was always in stage makeup – dramatic and dark – BROWN as anything skin, Dr Spock-worthy eyebrows, ‘cats eyes’.. definitely not suitable for every day wear. At the ballet school, we even did makeup classes and learnt how to create different looks. You can age someone using just makeup, to look like an old crone, or an evil witch, or a troll! It looks terrible close up, but on stage, very convincing.
Of course, this sort of thing isn’t a good look for every day wear! Growing up, I never did the sort of thing I hear a lot of girls do with their mums – learn about make up (and other girly things) experiment, do it together etc. I was clueless when I left home. I could ‘sort of’ put on a face for a performance (I was always hindered despite the lessons, by a struggle to have the needed makeup) but I could not do a face for every day wear. It either ended up far too light, or so dark I scared everyone. I remember going on a date with a face so caked with makeup that when I got home and looked in the mirror I nearly passed out – it had settled into wrinkles! Arrgh. So I gave up.
So it’s rather hilarious that the makeup at work is now Fiona’s Province! Almost as hilarious as it is for someone completely lacking in self confidence themselves, and with utterly zero fashion sense, to be an assistant in a boutique and mentorship service!
But it’s a very good place for me to be to learn these things by osmosis.
My self confidence has had a boost already. I feel I can hold my head a bit higher because I’m contributing – it may not be much yet, but I’m doing my best. And just to be accepted and to be told how much my work is valued, that’s wonderful too. Very healing for someone who always believed that at best, she’d be in the way, at worst, she’d create more work than she managed to actually do.
Life works in funny ways, sometimes. I fully believe this was meant to be – this is the last place I’d ever have chosen to work – or imagined I’d end up – since I’d be far better suited in a library or as a vet assistant. And yet, here, I’m not only building up my capacity to work in hope of being able to actually be employed, I’m having a super-intensive self-esteem, grooming, deportment and confidence education!
Has life worked in funny ways for you – have you ever found events happening in a way you never would have imagined – and it turns out to be for the best?