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Look (and Act) Like You Want to Keep the Job You Have. . .

This sort of traditional professional attire might no longer be considered necessary in most places, but it helps us in the long run to look like we give a darn in dressing for the workplace.  Even in 2021.


During my usual morning errands away from the house today (Friday), I stopped quickly at our local branch of a regional dry-cleaner's to drop off a few items.  The clerk who took my things was the same young person who has been there for the last two, or possibly three months.  

Either someone is mentoring her, or she has had an epiphany in that time.  Maybe both.  

In short, the facial piercings and Doc Martens were gone, the hair was fixed and out of her face, and the attire, while not strictly professional in the pre-business casual office sense, was markedly better than has been the case since May or early June when she first appeared.  Some sort of print dress and a fairly conservative cream cardigan over top.

Her general demeanor and interaction with customers seem to have improved too based on what I have observed with other customers ahead of me.  Hey, you can't help but notice these things when speaking to someone across a counter, verifying your credit card and contact information, and basically entrusting your belongings to that person.

Now, all of this is probably just coincidence.  Happenstance.  Dumb luck.  Apropos of nothing.  After all, lots of people never get it regardless of their age, station, or occupation.  Indeed, we seem stuck as a society in a downward spiral of myopic self-centeredness.  

However, I'd like to think that here is one more young adult who has gotten the message, decided to take a firmer grip on the reins of life, get with the program, and take concrete steps toward improving her situation.  We can only hope.

More generally though, here's the deal.  Most workplaces may be a lot more casual now than once was the case not that many years ago.  But on the job, you still want to look and act in a way that suggests you are not only serious about keeping that job, but also doing solid work, and perhaps even exceeding the expectations of the position.  In so doing, you both increase your work experience and create further opportunities for yourself. 

-- Heinz-Ulrich



  1. Excellent post. It is important for one's outward appearance to reflect one's job. I am a lawyer. During a visit to my local priest some years ago on a Saturday morning, I was dressed very casually. But as I entered the priest's office for my meeting, he was donning his cassock and began buttoning the many buttons. I told him it wasn't necessary for him to put that on for our meeting. He scolded me that he was at work, and he would be dressed for work. It made an impression on me.

    My second experience was on a Friday about 15 years ago. I was dressed in jeans because I didn't have court or client meetings. I encountered an acquaintance, whom I wanted to land as a client, on my way into the gym at lunchtime, and he asked: "Not working today?" Recalling my meeting with the priest, from that day forward I never wanted to leave the impression with anyone that I wasn't at work, or more importantly, had nothing important to do.

    Kudos to your blog. We all need to take better care of how we look when we go outside our house--and frankly, how we look just for the people we love.

  2. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, John!

    Best Regards,



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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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