You Wear What You Are (Maybe You Shouldn't)
Fitting Clothes to the Job
Teens say, "People should judge for who I am, not for how I dress." But people make
judgments about others in the first 5 seconds. How you dress can make or break you in
Companies, like people, have a particular range of clothes preferences. Start-ups
are more likely to have fewer "norms" about clothes. Large, established companies are
more likely to have a more conservative "norm." Artsy businesses want more personal
flair in clothing. Some organizations have a preference for uniforms. Are you dressing
within your company's preferred range? Do you really want that promotion or raise?
Most Guardians are already well aware of company and/or occupation "norms." However,
even Guardians can have trouble if the dress code that worked in one situation doesn't
work in another. Crystal, a software manager who dressed in an up-scale East coast style,
accepted a job at a casual West coast engineering company. She stood out, causing others
to wonder if she was selected for her looks, not her qualifications. Her direct employees
felt uncomfortable around her. She was out within a year.
Artisans tend to either follow the latest trends or push the envelope to show a sense
of independence and freedom. Joe knew that he was smarter and faster than any of his
co-workers, but was never considered for a supervisor position. Why? The top brass
thought he looked like "trailer trash."
Most Rationals wear dark colors and don't want to fuss much about what they wear.
They can get stuck in a rut and become too "geeky-looking." It's good if they come out
of their intellectual dark room every few years to see if their clothes send the message
they want others to hear. Marina upgraded to blazers and more tailored slacks and found
her opinions had more impact.
Most Idealists want to wear clothes that show their unique character. Those working
in creative fields are often appreciated for their flair. Jose was a great networker,
but learned that in some circles he had to tone down his style in order to make points.
Your clothing is the easiest way to identify yourself. You don't have to become a
clone to show membership in a group, but if you refuse to show any sense of membership,
you're not likely to get the spot you want. Remember, there are more Guardians than any
other temperament and they are very sensitive to "norms."