In my previous post a lovely lady made the following comment giving me some props for wearing pink but expressing her own concern with it:
I must confess I've been phasing it out of my wardrobe because as an administrative person at my job and pretty new in my career I worry that I won't be taken as seriously. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. When I get to be an executive I'll wear pink all I want.
This made me kind of sad because it is something that I've seen being beaten into the employees in a number of companies over the years. It's the incorrect assumption that the workplace cannot be both fun and productive. That anything but neutral cannot be tolerated and that you come off as unprofessional if you do branch out.
I've been in business for a while now. But it still surprises me how unimaginative companies can be. I understand the cost efficiencies that can come from buying the pre-packaged "cube farm" but geez! Talk about a lack of vision. How can you expect innovation from such a sterile environment.
I actually worked as a Senior Advertising Account Manager for 5 years at what is probably considered one of the world's most creative and innovative companies. So there I was in a creative department in a creative company and guess what it looked like.
Yeah, pretty much like that (except my walls were higher and I had a door, such luxury). And we were "encouraged" to not do anything externally to our offices or office doors. I was pretty much appalled. It was stifling.
So instead of trying to spend 10 hours a day in a big grey box, I decided I needed a little color. And you know what, pink goes perfectly with grey. Luckily, I was already a Hello Kitty fan, and once all that started coming in there was all kinds of pink and Princess Poochie accessories to be incorporated.
The two that I used the most were my Hello Kitty clipboard, which was used in every meeting and presentation, and my Hello Kitty calculator, used to add up many a multi-million dollar budget. And you know what, they functioned just as well as boring, bland, generic clipboards and calculators.
Now, you may be thinking that, I work in a "creative" industry and can get away with such things. And to some degree, that's true. Especially when you're in an independent agency. But actually many agencies can be kind of stuffy and corporate themselves, for fear of pushing clients outside of their comfort zone. And at this particular company we were given, day 1, a "Look Book" telling us how to look, dress, act, etc. Even if we were solely working internally.
But, this is why it's so important to wear that pink if you want to. I like the fun and sometimes quirky shoes. Shoes 99% of the people in my office would never even consider wearing. And sometimes I think they just didn't get me. But it soon became my trademark. And they loved it. That's actually one of the reason I started this blog, because I had people from my old job still asking what shoes I was wearing now that I've moved.
I always was a professional. I always worked my butt off. But I had some fun doing it too.
And actually would you rather work with someone all boring and stuffy or someone who enjoys being there? Who knows how to make the job fun for them and fun for their team?
"Who has more fun than me under pressure???? NO ONE!"
So I say, find what you have fun with and incorporate it into your work life too. You may not even have an office but you could have a fun screensaver. And share the Cute with some folks to get them to crack a smile.
And the most important thing is to be comfortable with it. Own it. If you are office-appropriate and don't think it's crazy no else will think it is either. They'll think it's just "so you".
Photo credits to Flickr:
DrHaggis, The Marmot, LiquidBlaque, Clockwork Panda, Ntisocl