I’m open that it took me some time to find my professional way in the world. With the nobel careers of Librarian and Teacher not on my radar and feeling far too stolidly middle class to become a writer, I just said “anything not for profit”. Recently I got to talk with the ever-working, freelance guiding Matthew Knight from Leapers


Working as a ‘central’ staff didn’t bring the support of being on a research/academic pathway and I was bewildered (also I didn’t know I had ASD & ADHD). So I’m good as fossicking out support in the strangest of places…

Don Draper

What drew me to ‘Mad Men’ were the outfits, mid-Century desk lamps and Jon Hamm’s beautiful face.

As the first few seasons rolled through (and my impure thoughts about Jon Hamm continued to grow), I realised something ***: Pete. I was Pete! I was pouting and bored and just waiting for something to happen. Sure, I was a mum to two small people, and work facilitated working 3 days a week, near home, and a team who loved the fact of how motherhood played with the work (toddlers sitting in interview waiting rooms! Toddlers running into Professor Sir Michael Rutter’s office!).

But I was stymied and bored; I didn’t feel close enough to the action. But watching Pete Campbell sulk and pout and envy Don, a shiver ran through me. I listened to Don “Pete, do the work” (though, TBF I’d listen to almost anything Jon Hamm would say).

The result? Promotion. Harder work. Still a laughable salary, but I learned 

  • How to run £3M budgets
  • Writing and editing newsletter

Mark, Peep Show


I’m sure I first saw RuPaul on the Big Breakfast bed with Lilly Savage, because that’s how 1990s mornings rolled.

RuPaul’s Drag Race contains solid gold advice for anyone trying to succeed in complex, demanding work worlds. 12 drag queens compete to become the Next Drag Queen Superstar, having to excel in skills as disparate as dress making, improv, marketing, dancing, directing, personal branding and comedy roasting. 

I’m a devotee of 11 seasons + spin offs (no, not Canada – just let Miss Brook Lyne Heights own it, come on team), and you can never, ever spot the winner from episode one. Ever.

Because the final three queens (aside from wild card Derian Lake) all display one unique skills: the capacity to take critiques, harsh and *** as they are, and they incorporate them. When a queen who usually rides on harsh humour breaks through and shows a soft, sweet side; when someone who hates her legs builds an outfit that shows off her curves and swerves, or a fashion queen finds her inner idiot and lets herself be ridiculous, this is when these queens shine.

Watching, again and again, how some queens are able to transform their craft is humbling, because those who excel (in a field of such huge talent) are those who can absorb critique, who don’t just shootback with excuses

  • Happened upon a mentor and listened to every word she said, especially when it stung
  • Started wearing more bold clothes which helps at networking events
  • I have a fun story that interests public speaking hunters, podcast people and get them thinning about me and that I am a little ususual

When yu’re working for an SME or a start-up, you don’t have the luxury of corporate staff development. Your internal communications are an integral part of the puzzle. You business story should reflect where you are now, why you’re making Kent’s best pink fizz or the world’s most sustainable doll. 

Your story is the coathanger of your communications: once you have that, you can quickly tell new hires Why, How… you’re not flailing around 

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