It really still is better to look good than to feel good. Some would say that if you look good you probably feel good, too. But, what happens if you were left the choice of one or the other, which would you choose?
Good-looking people typically fare far better in life than their less attractive counterparts. When companies are faced with hiring someone among two candidates that appear equal on digital paper, the nod will pretty much always go to the more attractive person. This may not be fair, but it is just the way it has always been.
Can companies afford to hire less attractive people? They really cannot when their employees are the “faces” of their business. Really put together people have an edge on the job, in the job hunt, and in life, too, generally-speaking.
Upon deeper examination, all of this makes sense, even if it is unfair in a lot of respects. We are all left at the mercy of our genetics, but instead of embracing the way we look, we live life trying to improve how we look in order to get ahead. We end up striving to look the way others would have us look. In effect, we become incapable of utilizing our own strengths and even weaknesses, to our advantage.
There is an old saying that one should minimize their weaknesses and maximize their strengths. I would argue that in order to do this effectively, one has to learn to accept and tolerate more while demanding less. In order for everyone to have a chance and to bring people together from all manner of divides, acceptance and tolerance needs to be stressed not only in the working world, but also by our political leadership.
I have had older workers ask me if they should dye their hair from white or grey to a less white or grey. My answer is to keep it neatly cut and styled. Do you really want to play the game of artificial representation when everything about your chronology is so readily available online? I do feel the dates of your high school graduation does not have a place in your resume. Simply stating you have graduated should be sufficient if you want to make any mention of high school at all.
When it comes to appearance on the job, I have always been a proponent of uniforms. Students going to college for medical profession jobs sometimes get to wear scrubs all day long. When I was in the military we were able to wear a small set of uniforms depending on the occasion we needed them for.
No matter how good-looking someone may be, the good majority of us remain suspicious of suits and ties. As strange as it may be, women look better in executive roles (to me at least) if only by virtue of the fact they (most) are not wearing suits and ties. Suits and ties are uncomfortable, dumb and scream false senses of importance.
When Chief Executive Officers like Steve Jobs hit the scene it allowed for acceptance of business casual dress in the work scene. Of all the things we can credit to Jobs, the ability to dress down in the corporate workplace is not one we often remember. But that does not make it any less of an important contribution.
Many formal dress office environments have dress down Fridays. Participants get to wear jeans and polo shirts. I always wondered why Fridays were the days for this; seems silly it just was not every day. Could it be Fridays were deemed “casual” so we could assume our personal life roles that much quicker after work was done? It sure makes it easier to join the gang at the local watering hole when you do not have a suit and tie to lose first.
Suits and ties are still in the majority when it comes to investment banking. Investment bankers are some of the lone holdouts when it comes to being like everyone else. They are the 20th century throwback white collar workers who still dominate boardrooms everywhere unfortunately. Since there are no more blue collar workers does it not imply that everyone should be white collared? We are told over and over again we are a service economy. If that is so, why don’t we all wear white collars and forego the pretentiousness that white collars in the minority now represent? Suits and ties are not special so much as they just depict how the minority of men in the working world now dress.
We sometimes hear the saying, “he or she really cleans up nicely.” When I was little I used to think I could look to these kinds of people as role models for good behavior. “He cleans up nicely.” Well if the guy in the suit and tie is capable of cleaning up nicely, the least I can do is keep my room clean so mom and dad do not get on my back.
When women in the working world are referred to as “cleaning up nicely” is it a sexist comment? I am tired of double standards and political correctness. We need to stop having things mean the same thing for men and women. Men and women are different and different characterizations for appearance, ability and attitudes should be delivered for men and women.
“Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.” — George Carlin
Instead of adding to divides of all kinds, and especially if you are in a position of leadership in a company or government, why not talk about acceptance and tolerance as ways to bring us together.
No matter what you think about anything, being able to think, speak, write and articulate with impunity is to know you function in a world of compassion–not too shabby of a place to live.