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Style or Substance – Which do you prefer?

This is the question on the table!

I was recently asked to blog about what it was that got me so hot under the collar when I saw people trying to recruit a VA (Virtual Assistant) as a cheap employee. My view is that there is nothing wrong with recruiting an employee, if this is the sort of relationship you want, BUT a VA is a businessperson who owns and runs their own business, and has probably been doing so for some time. . A VA is an entirely different kettle of fish and is most definitely NOT an employee.

The link to the article is here:
I decided to update my LinkedIn profile following advice that it was too sales focussed. My update was criticised for being too harsh even though it represented the true me. Straight up no messing, either I can or can’t and that is me. If you want to know my hobbies, it is food, food, and more food, but as for the rest, my interests are so eclectic as to make you think I am a complete nutter!

What irritated me in both instances were people telling me to be me – but not liking it when I called it as I saw it.

Both these experiences got me wondering – what do people prefer? Style or substance?

My clients like my straight talking, no messing approach, but I appreciate such up-front honesty is not to everyone’s taste. I know I can’t be all things to all people all of the time, and I’m not trying to be. There are people who like a bit of cream with their coffee, or a complete smokescreen. It’s not that we don’t like flattery; I am just not sure it is warranted when it comes to work.

As I see it, old fashioned manners have gone out the window; these include respect, a simple please and thank you and polite requests to change this and that. Insincere flattery and hypocrisy have taken over along with the disingenuous behaviour that purports to be the way to proceed and can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings and disputes.

If someone really wants to do something, then there is nothing I can do to stop them – after all it is their business and their risk. However this not the approach I would select and therefore will watch and maybe I will learn something.

I like my feet firmly on the ground and I know there are people who think the same as I do. In which case they are likely to be the people I am going to work best with. Like attracts like…
I don’t judge, I don’t predict, but I do know when to shut up…

Written by Rachel Brett of @arborvs and Carole Meyrick of

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