You may not know this or even believe this but someone is always watching you. Not in the weird or scary sense of being stalked but in the sense that you are being watched to see what type of example you are setting for yourself and those around you. For instance, I worked at a company where I was hired to supervise a team of seven to twenty-one counselors who were tasked with assisting hurricane victims. When I first arrived, the culture was a bit more relaxed than I was used to. Most of the employees wore jeans and dressed down. I had a choice; I could either conform to my surroundings or serve as an example of professionalism. The choice was not as easy as you may think; after all, who wouldn’t want to wear jeans to work every day?
I made the conscious decision to wear a suit daily although my job description and the environment did not necessarily warrant it. Each day I would show up in a suit and tie and never once encouraged others to dress professionally. I simply served as an example. Amazingly enough, after a short while, the people there started to change their dress code without me saying anything. The gentlemen began to wear slacks and tuck in their shirts and the ladies started dressing more businesslike. Gandhi’s quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world” never rang more true. It made perfect sense to me; if I wanted to change my environment, I had to be that change and my environment would follow.
Well, it didn’t stop there. Our program was a pilot program so we were constantly visited by senior officials in the organization. Unbeknownst to me, there was one official who was watching me because I “stood out” from the rest of the people who weren’t necessarily dressing professionally. I subscribe to the notion that you don’t dress for the job you have, you dress for the job you want. About seven months into my assignment I was called down for a meeting with one of the vice presidents who noticed me and they asked me if I was interested in a position with them because they were so impressed with me. This new opportunity would not only be a promotion but it would double my salary and it turned out that it was something that I was passionate about, so I graciously accepted.
You never know who is watching you so always do your very best to be the very best. It was not my intention to look for a promotion or a raise; I simply dressed and acted the way I thought a consummate professional should dress and act and was rewarded for it. There is no need to look over your shoulder if you are doing the right thing. Maintain the understanding that if you want to advance professionally, it is imperative that you start emulating those at the top of your organizational structure. If you want to be a CEO, start looking like a CEO.
To The Top!
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