As an award-winning beauty journalist with more than 25 years experience, Anna-Marie Solowij has written for almost every big name in the business - from Marie Claire and Elle to Vogue and Harvey Nichols magazine, you name it she's published it. These days she can be found writing for the Financial Times ‘How to Spend It’ section as well as working as the contributing editor at The Gentlewoman, that is, when she’s not busy being the co-founder of BeautyMART .
This week, we sat down with Anna-Marie to see what pearls of wisdom she’s picked up throughout her illustrious career on how to make the most out of yourself and get ahead in the game - here are her top five top tips.
You vs you
Compete with yourself, not other people; constantly looking at what others are doing only makes for paranoia and dissatisfaction - and ultimately is the fast track to unhappiness, a lack of self-worth and fulfilment. Who's to say they're doing it right anyway? And besides, they might be looking at what you're doing!
Kindness is key
Be nice - it's not hard and makes for a better night's sleep than being the office bitch. You can always lean more heavily on good behaviour than justify bad behaviour. I'm always surprised at how often people push blame away, refuse to acknowledge someone else's view, behave with a lack of consideration for others and downright lie about stuff. Whether it's a sign of weakness, aggression or just a poor upbringing, you'll never know but ultimately, office karma will win out and you can be sure they'll get their comeuppance.
Get your head down
Someone's paying you (at least, I hope they are). It's ultimately satisfying and it shows that you're keen, so that when your boss is considering promotions or when you ask for a pay rise, you can honestly justify that you have worked for it. As an employer, there's nothing worse than watching someone laze around and waste time and money. It affects everyone, causing resentment and makes for a really poor working environment.
Shake it off
Try to keep your home life and work life separate. It makes it easier to avoid taking work stress home and keeps private matters out of work - no-one wants to hear about your babysitter/dentist/builder dramas - they have problems of their own and it's not the time and place for it. Also ultimately, it may devalue you in your colleagues' eyes. At work behave as if you're representing brand 'you' - act professionally; do what you're paid to do. At home, offload quickly and allow your partner/housemates to do the same, then move on. Don't let work moans eat into your precious free time.
Poised to perfection
Think things through before acting - i.e. don't do anything in haste or anger. Read emails before sending them, especially ones that could be misconstrued or that tackle difficult subjects. Think about what the other person will think when they receive your communique and adjust the wording accordingly. When faced with aggression, highlight negative behaviour by remaining composed. Equally when in a noisy meeting, when everyone is shouting to be heard, take control by speaking at a normal volume. If that doesn't work, stand up and walk out - that'll shut 'em up.