Bringing the Attitude :-)

An Ikea security guard called Albert once told me that ‘you choose your attitude at work’, not randomly in passing, I was at my 1st day induction and he was saying the words that would stick with me to this very day; having no idea that 16 years later I’d still be hearing them loud and clear!

Very apt, as those queues stretched to the back of the warehouse; full of folk with their essential tealights, batteries and products that they could neither pronounce nor live without, coming through my checkout feeling exasperation but relief that they had finally made it and the well-deserved hot dogs were now so, so close.

Dealing with the customers who were always right, obviously, but also surprised at how much all those ‘bargains’ added up to, moaning about how long they had been waiting and then looking for their form of payment or spending just that little bit too long packing their shiny new Swedish belongings, you certainly need to choose the right attitude from the first customer to the last.

Of course, these days upon returning to those big blue walls to purchase my own tealights, batteries and products that I can pronounce because I once worked there, I am those customers; with gusto! Who am I to change the customer stereotype…I guess I just hope that Albert is still passing the message on.

I did eventually give up my bright yellow shirt (as they were back then), had a little go at dressing shop windows – although once you’ve ruffled one sleeve on one mannequin, you’ve really ruffled every sleeve on every mannequin – and I donned my first suit! It looked oh so much better on me in those days (you never appreciate your twenties so much as when you are heading straight towards your forties) but, the message still applies, maybe more so. We now have more ways to be in contact with our customer base than ever before which leads to there being more ways to misinterpret the written word. I expect this could be why the smiley face was not given a new lease of life and became professionally acceptable. Be curt, be straight get to the point – but pop a smiley face at the end so the recipient doesn’t hate you and knows that you are human too. 🙂 See?!

All suited and booted, which gives you a different kind of attitude to combat trousers and a lanyard, I became a Recruitment Consultant. I think these are next in line for most hated just below estate agents an parking wardens, although this is purely my opinion… and a dash of hearsay. I had no clue what it was that I was doing but I was delighted to have my very own desk.

Desk, the four-letter word that has become symbolic in my career and become my Ikea Checkout. My customers still have all the same irks and quirks and I still must choose my attitude as to how it is I deal with the business that greets me at that desk whether that be a colleague opposite, my inbox or the bleep of a phone. Because your attitude is your ticket in business, its whether you stay on the train or get off and are left behind at the station – and if the station is in Sweden then most likely you won’t be able to pronounce it!!

So, after a stint with mannequins, a career in recruitment and my longest role of helping to ‘solve youth unemployment one apprentice at a time’ I am now a mum also and I will have no hesitation to tell my girls to bring the attitude – but just make sure it’s the right kind of attitude.

However, never forget there is always a secluded space to run to and silently scream, stamp your feet and punch the air, applicable to both business and parenthood. Ahh, that feels better. 🙂


The Author of this blog is Elouise Smith, Business Manager at the Business Ignition Group. If you’d like a chat to find more about what she does, or how she copes with all her clients please contact her on or 01332 346141.