There is always information about how to dress for different situations. Some of us spend a great deal of time thinking about how we should dress for professional and personal situations.
One aspect I try to consider when I dress is to dress to connect. What will help me connect with the people around me?
I realized the importance of this many years ago when I was working as a consultant dietitian for a long-term care company. When I went into one of the company’s nursing homes it was usually to evaluate the operation of the food service department. To do this I had to be in the kitchen and in the dining rooms. If I was going to be able to do my job well, I had to be comfortable. I also needed to look professional to gain credibility. I dressed in slacks, a shirt or sweater, flats with a decent sole so I didn’t slip, and a lab coat.
Many of the consultant nurses I worked with had a different opinion. They dressed in short, tight skirts and high heels. I thought that was rather foolish; how can you work dressed like that? An aspect that I did not consider until I overheard some of the staff nurses talking was that the facility nurses did not respect the consultant nurses simply because of the way they dressed. The consultants did not look like they wanted to actually help, they looked like they just wanted to sit behind a desk and tell others what to do. It was very difficult for the consultants to get the facility nurses to even listen to what needed to be done.
Additionally, these consultant nurses (not all the nurses I worked with were like this) liked to wear jewelry; big, expensive jewelry. The facility nurses took this as the consultants were showing off how much more money they made. It caused resentment, which further eroded the credibility of these consultants. It never would have occurred to me that staff might feel resentment over what jewelry someone else wore, but I can see it now.
I think a good rule of thumb is to dress a level or two above those you will be working with to look professional and gain credibility, but not so far above that you lose respect.
Worry can get in the way of enjoying life. If we spend time worrying about the future, we cannot enjoy the present. Worry takes time and energy that we could use elsewhere. We can accomplish more if we worry less.
And yet sometimes I wonder if maybe a little bit of worry is good.
If we are a little worried about our future, won’t we plan a little better? Won’t we do a little more like get an education, work hard, put money away for emergencies, for retirement?
I know that I need to manage my worry. I spend too much time worrying about things that never happen, and are not likely to happen. But I think I will hang on to enough worry that I still feel a need to plan for the future.
I found this in a fortune cookie: “Be sensitive, but not overly sensitive.”
I think this is good advice. We do want to be sensitive enough that we are at least aware of how what we do affects others. This improves not only our personal relationships but our professional relationships as well.
We do not want to be so sensitive, however, that every little word and deed from others negatively affects us. This gives others a great deal of control and power over us. We need to be in control of our lives, and how we feel, not others.
Have you found the balance of being sensitive, but not overly sensitive?
This blog provides the background information to the attached video clip. The clip is from an assertiveness presentation I did for The Business Building Academy.
In my presentation on assertiveness, Don’t Act Like Prey!, I use wildlife metaphors to describe passive, aggressive, and assertive behaviors. This clip is the result of me explaining why I use the term mountain lions instead of cougars, even though scientifically “cougar” is the better term.