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A Twist on Aging & Interviewing

28 Nov

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I know some of you are young, young, young.  So young that the last thing you’re concerned about is being, oh, 35, 40, 56, even 60 years old.  So young that you’re not even yet concerned with sagging body parts that used to be up HERE and are now down there.

Oh, but the day will surely come when age will be “all” you think about. Especially when it comes to working and aging. Being downsized. Age discrimination, being overlooked while companies hire the younger, perkier, cheaper candidate. Even though you have years of experience. While I’m right in the middle–not fresh out of college and nowhere near retirement–I can grasp both sides of the fence. So the following story is interesting.

This is Randy Adams.

He’s 60 years old.  

He has A LOT of experience working in the tech field.  He spent months if not years trying to secure a CEO level job in Silicon Valley.  He went on gobs of interviews encountering all kinds of strange looks, “don’t call me, I’ll call you” exhaustion with great frustration.

Then he got an idea.

He noticed that all of the techies were not only young but dressed a certain way, regardless of their level of professionalism/expertise. Not to mention in the Valley there are CEO’s who are not yet 30 years old.  So Randy Adams went hard: He shaved his head, got an eye lift and started wearing Converse sneakers instead of stuffy loafers and t-shirts instead of button-downs.

This is Randy Adams now:

A funny thing happened next.   He got hired. Not only hired but hired at a booming tech company,  SocialDial, as their CEO.  He especially credits his shaved head as the hem that got him in the door.  In what he calls a “youth obsessed tech hub” (agreed) he’s now got a list of rules for any “geezer” attempting to break the age line.

  • Please don’t have an AOL e-mail. It reeks geriatrics.   G-mail is OK but even better is an address which incorporates your name in the domain is ‘cool.’
  • Nix the briefcase. What do you think this is, 1985? Instead get a backpack.
  • Avoid Blackberries and Dell laptops – Android phones and Apple products scream ‘youth!’

So I guess this means I should hold on to my backpack since I may need it in another 20 years or so.


What NOT To Wear…

15 Aug

…to an interview, that is.

Not that you don’t know this stuff but in a work-related blog you come across these subjects.

It is my duty to share this with you.

It’s amazing how many people still wear–ahem–questionable attire to an interview.

I once went to an interview with a temp service and a girl came in in the dead of winter with one of those cut-off shirts exposing her navel with a dangling belly button ring. 

The horror.

I couldn’t stop staring.

To make matters worse (as if it could get any worse) she was wearing chunky Steve Madden shoes and super tight polyester pants.

I couldn’t stop staring. It was like watching a car accident.

To make matters worse she was popping gum.

Earlier this year I went to another temp service interview in a big-player suburb of Washington, D.C., Tysons Corner, and I saw a girl with multi-colored braids in her hair with matching eye shadow and matching fingernails. I think her purse was the same color.

I felt pain in my eyeballs.

I could not believe the temp employees didn’t just tell girlfriend that she looked a mess and to please leave immediately “because there’s no way we can place you in an OFFICE ENVIRONMENT.”

What are people thinking?

Times sure have changed since I first entered the workforce many several years ago.  I mean, there was no such thing as tattoos. Plural. Or pink hair in the office environment. Or mohawks on anyone other than punk rocker kids who worked at the record store anyway. There were no nose rings and strikingly long fingernails with designs on them.

Why, we were modest and clean-cut and respectful of others’ retinas.

Sure, we looked like a business attire cult of some sort, but the point is we were modest. Most of us anyway.

Hey, I’m all about fabric freedom but if you’re gonna play the game, play it right. You should see me when I go in for interviews…They have no idea I loathe CubicleVille, that I write scathing reviews of it, that I’d rather be somewhere else wearing mix-matched clothing and staring into space. It’s OK to assimilate a tiny bit. Just a tiny bit.

Hope your job search is going smoother than mine. Nix those questionable outfits and get a regular paycheck. Make pretending–ahem–fun.

Top 10 Reasons I Run From Cubicle Life

11 Jun

1.  There are no couches there. There should be couches there. Nap time is underestimated.

2.  Lunchtime is too short. Even an hour-long lunch break, you figure you spend 15 minutes fetching lunch (corner deli, microwave blues, etc.) and 15 minutes returning to your cubicle walls. While I certainly don’t expect an employer to increase a lunch HOUR, I’m just sayin’.

3.  Paper cuts.

4.  Loud talkers in nearby cubicles.

5.  There’s no grass under my feet.

6.  I have to get up from my swivel chair and FIND a window to even see daylight.

7.  I feel trapped, tethered, stuck. I dunno, I just like freedom five days a week.

8.  There are other people there. Annoying people.

9.  I can’t read my favorite book on company time without getting written up. Have you ever been caught with an open novel tucked inconspicuously under company files? I HAVE.

10. Low pay. Need I say more?

Ok, 11 reasons:

11.  Protocol attire.  I really like jeans and comfy clothing, something with an elastic waist so I can let out my spill-over after gluttonously woofing down lunch. This is the part where the aforementioned couch would come in handy, too.

The least boring job I’ve ever had was when I worked at a closed captions house.  There were televisions everywhere and Breaking News! at every turn. And we got to wear jeans and shorts and t-shirts and tennis shoes and flip-flops and…well, you get the picture. The pay was low but the entertainment was high.

I watched Oprah and corny soap operas all day long while editing television scripts for on-air captions. I had a cool boss, too.

What was your favorite (office) job?

Sneakers in the Cubicle

28 Feb

Dress code policy.

Professional attire.

Business casual.

Casual Fridays.

Blah, blah, blah.

All of this is rhetoric. Rhetoric, I say!

Today I’m referring to what adorns our feet. Our walkers. Our stroll enablers. Our toes. Our heels. Our dawgs. I’ll rant about clothing another day but today it is the workplace rules of our feet that concerns me.

Tell me, why is it considered unprofessional to wear clean, neat, newish looking tennis shoes slash sneakers while perched in a cubicle typing, filing, fiddling with Excel charts, answering telephones, walking up and down hallways??

Why, I ask?

You mean to tell me that THESE

are more comfortable/sensible/practical/kinder than–than these:

Ok, ok. Those are a big much but…than these?!:

I mean, c’mon, at least the lattermost match my corporate slacks or suit or pencil skirt.

If we hadn’t been brainwashed  led to think that sneakers with skirts are professionally atrocious then maybe our dawgs wouldn’t hurt at the end of such days.

God knows I’ve put in my time in heels. I don’t want to be 80 with feet like tree branches, corn callouses the size of mountains or bunions that resemble whole onions.

And don’t even get me started on this information. Perish the thought.

[Click to enlarge]

Once I had plantar fasciitis, a painful bottom-of-foot issue. I got so tired of wearing heels, even low heels to work, that I scoured through the employee manual (you should try it sometime, it may work in your favor) and somewhere tucked in there in a really tiny font size I discovered that if I brought in an official physician’s note that I could ROCK the tennis shoes five days/week to the slight horror of The Evil H.R. Lady whose eyes zoomed in on my big, clunky, comfy tennis shoes each time I bee-bopped up the hall.

I love upsetting authority figures.


Cubicle Rebel

Proper Attire

4 Dec

Tell me, do these women look happy to you? Or do they look like they’re faking it?

I mean, gabardine is not exactly denim.

Pumps are not exactly Nikes.

Nylons are not exactly fuzzy socks.

And desk stances are not exactly armchair leans.

I think women are amazing. They can fake anything.

We type reports that bore the diggins out of us.

We drive to work with our maxi pads in our purses.

We answer nonstop ringing phones like smiling, satisfied robots.

We take our paychecks and stretch them from here to Nova Scotia.

We’re Superwomen.