On Monday 15th April I made the 203 mile journey down to the Vetting Expo in Bristol ready to dazzle the Exhibitors with my Military HR Administrative brilliance. On the day of the Expo I was hyped and was sure that there would be Companies falling over themselves to hire me – how wrong was I? The entire event was aimed at the IT/Engineering crowd and little old me with my Human Resources CV was suddenly feeling very despondant. Despondant and suddenly very intimidated by the fact that I was one of only about three women at the whole Expo of about 1500 men…
I trudged off to the refreshment area to devise a Plan B. After two cups of coffee and with a newly formed plan I decided to soldier on, put Plan B into action and impress them anyway….whether they wanted to be or not! I approached a few companies who were clearly not interested and fobbed me off with some literature and a ‘refer to the website’ but some were genuinely curious about my Military Service and were keen to learn more. I had a few good conversations, dished out a few CVs and left.
As I returned to my car reasonably happy with my performance I thought of the sea of male 40 somethings and wondered why I had felt so intimidated. I have worked in a male dominated environment my entire Career and never been worried about what they thought of me or how I was viewed. I put it down to the fact that these men were now my competitors in the jobs market and no longer my colleagues or my team-mates.
So the Expo wasnt necessarily what I expected it to be and I didnt get from it what I wanted but I did learn some vital lessons. I will need to be much more robust, always have a Plan B and that if I am going to be successful on Civvy Street I am going to need to work my socks off to get there!