Pockets over Purses

I just did an inventory of my closet and realized that I have no less than 11 blazers. Granted, these have been collected over many years, but the finding still shocked me. Especially, considering my boyfriend’s humble wardrobe contained only 5 blazers, despite him wearing a suit to work basically every day.

However, what was even more shocking was the fact that only two of my blazers have – what I call – a “business pocket” (thank you, Massimo Dutti!). You know, that little pocket on the inside of the blazer.

I’ve always been fascinated by all the stuff men seem to fit in this little pocket. It’s like a male Mary Puppins bag, from where men pull the most random stuff. Once, I even witnessed a coworker pull out a bar of chocolate from his business pocket in a meeting. Although he was kind enough to offer me a piece, I was still bummed out by the fact that I did not have a chocola… sorry, business pocket myself.

After starting working full time and attending my fair share of business meetings with clients, I have come to miss the business pocket for other reasons than storing chocolate. You see, in the shipping industry (in which I work), we love business cards. Seriously, if you attend a meeting with someone without getting their business card, it’s like they weren’t even there. Business card, or it didn’t happen!

Which leads me to this question: Where should women keep their business cards, if not in the business pocket? Usually we keep our stuff in a purse, right, but we don’t really carry purses around in the office. Our pants pockets are too small, plus you don’t really want weird shapes and sharp edges down there(!). And carrying them around in your hand definitely seems too desperate.

You see, this is a serious (first) world problem, which has made me invisible in the memory of a lot of potential connections! Therefore I make the following plea to every designer out there, making female blazers: PLEASE give us business pockets so we can lean in and leave our physical mark on a meeting! Thank you.

P.S. Of course I declined the sweaty piece of pocket chocolate from my co-worker… or did I…

Home Office

I always used to think that I would have been a much more motivated student, if I had a nice place to study. In reality, I did the majority of studying in my bed, which often resulted in a lot of Netflix and really long power naps (OK, so technically I guess they were not power naps, just really long naps…).

Now I know that a beautifully furnished study place probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference. The problem was not my study surroundings, as much as the topic of my studies, which unfortunately did not interest me enough to spend time on them. Once this realisation occurred to me, I got very depressed. I felt like I had wasted a lot of good years, and maybe even missed the possibility to fulfill my true passion and potential.

Home office inspiration

It took me a long time and a lot of personal development to understand that this kind of thinking is not healthy nor useful. Instead, I now try to focus on all the positive things that wouldn’t have happened if I did not get my degree. For instance, if I did not get my degree, I would never have:

  1. Gotten my dream job
  2. Met my boyfriend
  3. Spent semesters abroad
  4. Had plenty of good times with a lot of great people

Every cloud has a silver lining.” Sometimes you just have to say (or write) your thinking out loud to realize it.

Fake it ‘til you become it

Amy Cuddy

“Our bodies change our minds, and our minds change our behaviour, and our behaviour changes our outcomes” – Amy Cuddy

If you haven’t already watched it, I urge you to watch Harvard Business School professor and social psychologist Amy Cuddy, author of the book Presence, TED talk on body language and how it changes our behaviour and, by extension, outcomes in life.

Presence bestselling book

Personally, I don’t do the Wonder Woman in the office bathroom, or lean back in the chair with my legs spread out in meetings (although I am sure the other meeting participants – mostly elderly men – certainly wouldn’t mind if I did…). I do, however, enjoy an occasional “star fish” pose, where you stretch yourself as big as possible, especially in the morning – to my boyfriend’s big frustration, as my power pose nearly kicks him out of bed.

Amy Cuddy - Power Pose

According to Amy Cuddy, a power pose such as the Wonder Woman directly affects testosterone, a dominance hormone, and cortisol, a stress hormone, making you more confident and resilient. Although I do not necessarily feel super risk tolerant following my morning pose, I must admit it feels really good to stretch myself biiig… And kicking my boyfriend out of the bed actually does make me feel stronger and more confident!

Anyways, I do believe we could all learn from Amy Cuddy and become more aware of our postures when attending meetings. Personally, I am very aware of and affected by how people – and myself – appear in meetings. Although I would not necessarily describe my posture as a power pose, I aim to appear engaged and confident – “leaning in” and sitting with my back straight. Whether it works or not, I am at least quite certain I appear professional – and with time I hopefully succeed in faking it ’til I become it!