I have found that I put a TON of pressure on myself to move upward and forward on the corporate ladder. That’s what I want though. In my current job as a Training Manager, I tend to spend less time sitting at my desk and spend more time talking to those I communicate with in different departments. Email is handy, of course, and a phone call to someone two cubicle rows over is obviously easier, but I like face to face interaction, I feel like more was accomplished. I run around all day and I tend to dress on the more comfortable, maybe younger, side of business casual. I wouldn’t say I look sloppy but I definitely rock the just got out of college look more often than not.
Here’s what I decided. I am going on 30. Granted, I still have 11 months to go, but none the less, I want to be taken seriously. I want to move up the ladder, at this company or the next. The questions I asked myself were: “What high position woman in the company can you emulate their wardrobe? ” and “What are your goals?” The answers: Since there are a total of five women, I decided to look for a pattern. They do each have their own style, so what it comes down to is a polished, well-put-together, daily outfit. I imagine that it may be difficult to have problems picking out an outfit when shopping isn’t a luxury. Also, the answer about my goals were simple: In 3-5 years I want to be a Director. In 5-8 years, I want to be a Vice President. Period.
Instead, I wanted to make a couple of adjustments to just my daily outfit so I can make the point that I’m not a 24-year-old young woman, but that I am an almost 30-year-old woman wanting to make a name for myself in the corporate world.
I shop mostly at The Gap, Banana Republic and occasionally at Ann Taylor. There is a section on their website that takes you to “Work Styles”. I don’t own half of the clothes they post, but I definitely own similar styles and the goal is: to produce similar outfits that still remain close to my style in the most professional manner possible.
I create a monthly newsletter filled with training content to the training restaurants around the country that I manage and one of the memo’s reminded the franchise owners to “Dress for Success”. Customers don’t want to come into their stores and see the staff not wearing hats or wearing sandals around food. So, as I reminded them, it was a great reminder for myself to up the ante of my own dress code so I that I can be successful. The VP of Operations won’t take my opinion seriously if I go into his office with a untucked shirt, skinny pants and a pair of flats, even if my opinion is valid.
“I want, therefore, I am.” I don’t want to be treated like the girl popping around everywhere chatting it up with people anymore. I want each conversation to have the feel of a mission. Words, in our society, are not the only way to do this. Appearance plays a large part.
I don’t want to take myself too seriously, I mean, I don’t live to work, but I do have goals and aspirations and I am fortunate enough to love my job. My best bet is to get out of the rut of wearing comfortable business casual clothes and step into the polished arena!
Dress for your success!