I am sure you are familiar with the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” While I try to refrain from snap judgments when meeting new people, what I have grown to learn is that others will not always show us this same courtesy.
Let me explain.
I worked hard the past 6 years growing Digital 24 as well as being involved in 2 other businesses. And to reward myself I wanted to get a new Porsche. I had the money in the bank and went in to look. I dress in casual clothes pretty much all the time now (thanks to the joy that working from home brings) unless I am going out. I went in to a car showroom that sells new Porsche in Belfast in gym gear and a baseball cap to get a test drive. The sales guy came to me and when I said I liked the Cayenne Turbo GT the first thing he asked was what I worked at. “What is it you do yourself”. I knew straight away what he was questioning – could someone – not dressed in a suit – actually afford this. I don’t blame the car sales guy. He comes from a culture of the importance of ‘dressing to impress’.
Next up was at the Self Build Show. I was interested in a kitchen that was high end. I recently started renovations on a house we purchased 6 months ago. I was in my casual gear once again but minus the baseball cap! The sales guy wasn’t interested until I hung around for long enough to get his attention. He was explaining the price of the hot water taps and didn’t talk about the higher priced ones. When I asked about the more expensive looking ones, he asked where I lived. When I said Cultra I have never witnessed such a change in tone and helpfulness. It was so fricking blatant I was embarrassed for him. I even caught him looking at my engagement ring whilst he tried desperately for me to book a design consultation.
And most recently my dad give me a large amount of money to purchase a watch for my 45th birthday. I went to a high-end jewellery store in Belfast to get myself a watch – and yep… I experienced the same judgement.
People who interact with you should be thinking about your words, not your clothes. At Digital 24 our culture is modern. My team work extremely hard but what they wear does not define them nor their work.
There needs to an overhaul of culture and environment and judgement in the workplace. What on earth does your clothing choices have to do with anything? Plenty as it turns out. What you wear can have a powerful impact on how people treat you, your progress, and trust. It’s all a load of crap tbh.
I feel happy. Confident. Content. Blissed out. Backed by my team who love our approach to dressing in the workplace. Happier wearing chilled out clothes.
And all of that? … it’s having significantly big impacts on everything, in ways I couldn’t explain.