I’m sat on the train heading towards Paddington enjoying one of my favourite hobbies…people watching. As usual the train is packed and people are forced into uncomfortable situations of having strangers invade their personal space, something most people dislike.
I catch the train at various times of the morning, depending on my day’s commitments, sometimes I start in the Ruscombe office and do a few hours work before heading into London, which tends to lead to a more relaxed and less packed journey. Other days I catch the fast commuter train between 6.00 – 7.00 am.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the early train tends to favour a better quality of grooming; the suits and fashion appear to have a better cut, a more expensive look and feel. The hair seems freshly cut and styled, the greys cleverly disguised with natural looking colour, for the women anyway. You get the feeling these people mean business, they walk with purpose, politely ignoring each other as they all prepare for their day.
The crowd on the later train tend to saunter a little more, it’s more of a stroll than a strut, the clothing is more varied, sometimes more colourful, but it lacks the crisp cut and clean lines of the early outfits. The hair is more unkempt, looks like it would benefit from a cut and the colour combinations are more vibrant and artificial.
I wonder what day my fellow commuters are heading into, where they will finish their journey, what job they will be doing and just how happy and fulfilled they are in their career.
Are they climbing the corporate ladder and hating every minute of it, or dragging their heels and wishing they could take the next step. Have they managed to find a job they love that also pays the bills or are they struggling to make ends meet and desperate for a lucky break.
I also wonder how much time and effort they put into their grooming and how that affects their chances in the workplace, at an interview…the type of company that will recruit them, train them and promote them.
How many people actually think about this on a daily basis, and what does it say about them and them career prospects. We can’t help make judgements on the way people dress, or the cleanliness of their hair, nails and shoes.
Things have changed
The workplace and interview outfits have dramatically changed over the years, as has weekend or out of work wear. Just where is the line between smart and casual, old fashioned or classic, current style or the latest trends?
Which jobs actually require you to now wear a suit, or can this formality be viewed as a disadvantage? How much time do you put into choosing what to wear and should we actually be paying far more attention to how we’re perceived by people we meet?
I bet if 100 people were to judge a variety of people and outfits they would all match their career quite closely. There are certain accessories that give clues, but the basic level of cleanliness and the overall look of an outfit, together with how comfortable and confident the person looks wearing it, would certainly guide that decision.
How varied is the dress in your office and company? Do you fit the norm, do you dress like your colleagues or the boss?
It might be time to take a long hard and critical look in the mirror:
- How do you want to be perceived in that interview or in the workplace?
- How do you look…are your clothes right for the job you are in or aspire to be in?
- What impression does your hair, your jewellery and your make-up give?
- What changes could you make to create the impression you want to give?
- How long is it since you had a good sort through and clear out of your wardrobe?
Take the time to think about your grooming, start with some simple changes and see what a difference it makes to your career.