Every morning, each one of us wakes up a ragged mess and eventually, presumably after cleaning up a bit, exits the house dressed in attire that expresses his or her inner feelings.
Don't believe me? It's true; ask a shrink. The way you dress is a window into the subconscious. Of course, it helps if you know how to interpret the data. Sometimes the conscious mind overrules the inner self, so what you get is the opposite of what the person is feeling. It's complicated.
Okay, enough psychobabble. The premise here is that the way you dress matters and it matters in the workplace. Over the course of my career, I've noticed a lot going on with clothes, but nobody talks about it. Case in point, people have been commenting on the way I dress for decades, and I have no idea why.
Way back in 1981 - when I was an engineer designing chips for Texas Instruments - my manager told me I might consider dressing differently if I wanted to get ahead. I was wearing torn overalls at the time. Hey, I was just an engineer ... and it was Texas!
Anyway, he did have a point. Years later I read Dress for Success and began taking this stuff a bit more seriously. When I became a sales executive calling on customers, I began wearing a jacket and tie or a suit.
However, when it comes to really working, i.e. in the office, I'm strictly a blue jeans, untucked shirt, and sneakers or other comfy shoes kind of guy. I guess that's what comforts my neurotic subconscious.
When I worked at microprocessor upstart Cyrix in the mid-90s, Jack Kemp - quarterback turned politician extraordinaire - sat on our board of directors. That didn't entirely make sense to me, but he was a great guy and really fun at dinner parties.… Read more