Thursday, February 16, 2012

Small Town, (Big) City Dreams #8

What Not to Wear: SA Edition

There’s been a lot of discussion in my graduate program about professional dress, including convention attire. Its frustrating for me time and again to hear these questions, because I feel as though so much more of our time as a knowledge community in the remaining months could be spent on other aspects of the job search—and even “job one”.

The question about dress is link more largely to notions of private versus public versus professional identity. I’ll never wear something that is inauthentic to myself. This is part of the struggle with this question of dress. We need to strike a balance between who we are as professionals and our own personal flare. For example, I am someone who enjoys large rings and patterned pashminas (I wear them daily!). I really don’t care whether that is professional or not. When I take off my big ring, you can still see a large, noticeable indent left on my finger. I use this example as a metaphor to identify other personality traits/behaviors I possess, if I were to shed them, their mark would still be known in some way or another.

On a philosophical level, I believe I have an indent on my professional identity as it relates to unconventionality and my identity as an outlier. If I tried to hide this fact in an interview, I’m sure that potential employers can easily discern that from my resume and what not being said. If an employer is savvy enough, which he or she ought to be, he or she would be able to equally discern between what is and is not said.

Update from last week: The institution I had a skype interview with declined to pursue my candidacy further. You win some, you lose some. :)

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