it’s like you got one patent leather pump on the corporate ladder and a really hot electric blue platform planted firmly on the old grey carpet. what does this business ‘casual’ mean anyway? can i wear my 6 inch heels, they’re louboutin’s you know. can i wear boyfriend jeans but with a blazer and pumps, hot right?! i totally can do silk harem pants right?, they’re totally in right now!
sometimes being in a business casual environ can cause confusion when it comes to appropriate office style. one thing i’ve learned, likely from watching what not to wear, is that you should dress for the environment you’re working in. so business casual may mean different things for someone who works in an small tech company, fashion mag, or downtown corporate office.
i really believe how you dress - for the cube - really impacts on your overall attitude and the message you convey about yourself to your coworkers and management. so if you’re dressed more “casual” that is appropriate the “business” it’s probably like you’re walking around with a big yellow post-it note on your forehead that reads: ”i so don’t give a crap, right now!”
tip: when in doubt, pay attention to those around you and senior management (unless everyone around you dresses terrible, then you have my permission to make your work-style set the bar and shows them how to be professional and stylish).
the way i see it is if you want to be taken seriously, maybe even to climb that corporate ladder, then aim for dressing professionally and avoid looking like you’re always ready for the weekend or trying to get photographed for a hipster street style blog *this last part is debatable, i do find inspiration from those blogs, but you know what i’m sayin’*.
i recently read an article, “i started at the bottom…now i’m the boss”, in the July issue of Marie Claire. the article featured four women who worked their way up from entry-level positions to holding top positions in their companies.
i wanted to share my 5 fav tips from the article:
- show - don’t tell - how great you are
- don’t whine - fix the problem
- work with people who are different (backgrounds and experiences) from you
- make sure the decision makers know your name and what you do
- [understand that] even the greatest job demands sacrifice
good advice for any level in one’s career; whether you’re in an entry-level position and trying to work your way up, somewhere in the middle, or senior level and looking for a change.
so back in december i made a number of style resolutions. i thought now that we are 4 months into the year maybe i should revisit these resolutions. you know, to see if i’ve managed to keep them or if i fell off the resolution wagon (and, in truth, to remind myself what that heck i resolved to do this year).
i had resolved to:
- go for color
- apply the 1-in-1-out rule (one new piece = get rid of one old one)
- consider quality over quantity
- look in the full-length mirror before leaving for work in the a.m.
- kick the boredom habit – let boredom lead me not into temptation
- look good and feel good – make every effort to look good every day
so how am i doing so far?
i have really embraced adding color into my wardrobe throughout the winter and now that its spring, i that much more more excited about the bold color options that will be available to me.
ahhh, i haven’t been so good with the 1-in-1 out rule. i’ve bought a few things (ok several items) in the past two months but they are spring/summer items and my winter wardrobe is still in my closet. i will have to undergo a spring purging once i transition over my wardrobe.
the other resolutions i have been better at. except for the the “boredom” one which isn’t really an issue for me as it’s not boredom that is currently driving my urge to splurge but the warm temps in March! sun is shining and i’m doin’ a happy dance all the way to mall *heavy sigh*
oh well, resolutions sometimes are a work in progress. i will continue to work on mine this year. oh, i may even get my exercise on for 2012 too.
dr. hunt: “hey, don’t you ever answer your texts!”
det. morris: “not when you write in all capitals. It’s like yelling. It’s rude.”
dr. hunt: “its emphatic.”
while watching ‘body of proof’ last week i heard this exchange and reminded me of how many times i’ve encountered the improper use of capital letters and exclamation marks in work emails.
you know that email you get from your supervisor or senior staff that has a sentence or two that ends in a bunch of exclamation marks, or is in all capital letters.
the ultimate offenders are the people who use all caps, double/triple exclamation marks, and yellow highlights to get some point across. OMG!!! THAT’S SO RUDE!!!!!!
- use overuse/abuse exclamation marks, bold font, and capitalization in your emails to make a point
- use capital letters with yellow highlights and/or exclamation marks. It really is just wrong
- engage in email wars - this happens when feel you were being ‘yelled’ at via email and you feel the need to yell back…in email. this usually results in unpleasantness for those involved (also you’ll be leaving a written record of an exchange that may cast you bad light in the eyes of management).
- check a style guide (or google) for rules around when to use capitalization and exclamation marks if you are confused. yes, there are rules
- engage in appropriate use exclamation marks in the cube (read: use only 1 when needing to show emphasis. we will get it. trust me)
- think before you write. if you are upset then step away from the email for a few minutes before you hit the ‘send’ button
- if you really want to get your point across and make sure the person receiving the email got the message, then speak to the person directly, either in person, or by picking up the phone and calling them - speaking directly to a person as a way to communicate effectively, really? huh
- If you are the lucky recipient of the 6 exclamation marks and it bugs the crap out of you, then (a) ignore it and chalk it up to the sender’s ignorance of the the rules of grammar and email etiquette; or (b) speak to the sender directly. It really could simply be “emphatic” and not intended to be rude.
you’ve seen us early mornings, on the train or walking to work. the “double-baggers”, “triple-baggers” and yes, even the rarely spotted “four-baggers”.
walking with a lopsided swagger, we haul our baggage: overstuffed handbag slung over the shoulder and a lunchbag in hand. yes, we march onward to the beat of our overburdened drum.
while fashionistas across the globe are busy coveting the latest ‘it’ bag, we yearn for a stylish yet functional carryall that really does carry “all” - especially our lunches. you see, brown baggin’ it is part of the cube-dwelling workstyle. that’s how we roll.
we need an extra-large tote to haul our wares (tupperware that is), small bags won’t cut it. And those thermal floral print lunchbags *shudder*. it’s gotta have more style than that for sure. here’s what i’m dwelling on:
trench coat - mango, turquoise travel tote - michael kors, studded shopper - zara, tangerine gia tote - michael kors
cube-dweller 1: “so , how far along are you?”
cube-dweller 2: “ahhh, i’m not pregnant.” *even longer awkward pause*
you’ve undoubtedly heard this scenario before but have you heard it on flip-side? This is what happened to me recently:
her:”omg, you’re soooo skinny, why are you soooo skinny?! you lost weight. Are you not well?”
me:”nope. haven’t lost any weight. i’m well. thanks.” *annoyed face*
honestly, if someone had issues with their weight, especially if it’s due to illness, do you really think it’s something one wishes to discuss with one’s co-workers?! it’s not. *eye-roll*
keep comments regarding your fellow cube-dweller’s weight to yourself, even if you mean it in a good way! its much safer that way - for everyone.
i recently read kelly cutrone’s, ”if you have to cry go outside”, for the 2nd time. it’s an insightful read for those entering the fashion biz as interns or new employees.
i wanted to share 3 of her top 10 career don’ts (or how not to get a career in fashion) with you as these ones resonnated with me the most and i think can apply to any job, not just in fashion:
1. don’t recreate your family at work
2. don’t think your boss owes you anything but a paycheck; and
3. don’t cry in the office. ever. if you have to cry go outside.
that is some solid career advice right there! i’ve known people who have broken all these rules (and some) and believe me when i say it’s never pretty - it’s really downright painful to watch.
always remember while at work, whether in fashion or whereever your career happens to find you, you’re in a place of ‘business’ and you should not only dress but also act accordingly.
me: so, what are your resolutions for 2012?
niece: i make resolutions and end up breakin’ them, what’s the point?! i’m not making any.
me: well, they don’t have to be resolutions resolutions, you can just do a to-do-list, you know, write down a list of things you’d like to get done over the year.
niece: i already have my forever growing to-do-list, right here *taps her index finger to her head*
me: *eye roll*
i don’t know but there’s something to be said for writing things/goals down. guess, i’m just ol’ skool like that.
if 2012 is the year you want to shake things up in your cube-dwelling life, then try setting some goals, writing them down, attaching a few timelines and not stressing about it.
you don’t have to make a big deal about it, seriously. work-related goals can be something as simple as:
or something more ambitious like:
so go ahead jot down a few ‘things-to-do” for your career in 2012. do it on a post-it note or your smartphone’s memo pad; keep it simple but make it count.
happy ‘new’ year!
“i’m really sorry that i offended you. i didn’t mean to but…”
but? but what?! any apology that includes the word “but” is a non-apology, an excuse disguised to look like an apology.
“sorry” is all that you should say: don’t let words like “but” get in the way.
apologize in private: if you’re in the office use a boardroom or take the person out for a coffee when making your apology. making an apology can be uncomfortable enough, you don’t need an audience.
did you miss anyone?: if the offending behaviour took place amongst other coworkers, they too may have been affected. think about apologizing to that group as well.
office party + alcohol + the funky chicken = career suicide
‘tis the season and the holiday office party is around the corner. You and your co-workers got plans to get dolled up and party like it’s your birthday or like it’s 1999 depending on how old you are.
- try to bring sexy back. there’s no need to let it all hang-out just ‘cause you want to you look hawt. it’s still a “work” function so dress appropriately. keep it tasteful
- drink if it’s been known to result in you puking your guts out. having your co-worker hold your hair while you’re head is in the toilet is just wrong
- are you a loud drunk? maybe set a two drink limit then switch to virgin drinks ‘cause the entire office doesn’t need to know what you really think of your boss… including your boss
- drink if it often results in the urge to unleash your inner dancin’ machine on unsuspecting co-workers (read: don’t attempt to bust ol’ skool moves like the funky chicken, robot, worm, and vogue that is youtube or funniest home video worthy)
go ahead, look your best, have a drink or two, hit the dance floor and shake-what-your-mama-gave-ya. It’s the holidays and it’s a party! but keep in mind that just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean that you’ve left the office behind - it’s still a ‘work’ function.
remember, the impression you leave on your co-workers and boss in a social setting may be a lasting one - it can end up being career limiting. so while you’re planing what to wear, what time to leave, you should plan to party and drink responsibly.
Look great, have fun and be safe.
dear high school,
remember how I didn’t like it the first time around? Remember how we’re grown ups now?
my friend wrote that and it reminded me that the cube dweller’s experience can sometimes feel like being in high school all over again.
and why not?, you’ve got all the players: the principal (the boss whose office you never want to be sent to), teachers (supervisors who are there to teach you stuff), and the kids (the overachievers, underachievers, cool kids, mean girls, geeks and everything in between).
what’s also reminiscent of high school is the bullying, gossiping, and cattiness that can happen in the workplace because people forget that they’re not kids in the hall anymore - think of workplace email slandering, fb misuse, cyber-bullying.
in the workplace we should remember to behave like the grown ups and professionals we are. seriously, who really wants to re-live high school (especially if you went during the ‘80s)?
leave the high school antics on the playground or save it for when you get your own reality tv show. always stay classy in the cube.