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Articles & Press Releases > Article 20

Gen Y Hurts Their Own Personal Brand By Dressing Inappropriately at the Workplace

If you landed on this page after a search on the search-engine-of-your-choice, welcome! This article was written by Glory Borgeson, an executive coach, author, and speaker. Schedule her to speak at your organization's next event:
Personal Branding Speaker; Emerging Leadership Speaker; Entrepreneurial Speaker

Here is another article about how the major media is writing about the problems with Gen-Y people in the workplace. Are you Gen-Y? Then you need to read this and possibly change how you are doing business -- for the better!

Occasionally, people wonder where I get stories about Gen-Y and the things they're doing in the workplace that could keep them from being taken seriously, keep them from promotions, or worse, get them fired.

A recent piece in the Chicago Tribune highlights what I often tell Gen-Y-ers about their workplace choices. This piece was actually in the Tribune's advice column, Ask Amy. Now, keep in mind that some of the most conservative businesses in which to work are accounting firms, banks, and financial services companies. When I say conservative, I mean the way that people dress, behave, talk, and work is not loud, brash, or "out there." These places are more subdued and very business-like in all manners of the word. The reader wrote in to say this:

Dear Amy,

I was hoping you could put something in your column about office attire. I work for a major accounting firm, and the new college (graduates) coming in need to go to a class to learn what office casual really means.

Where I work, it is disgusting in here -- all boobs and butts. The young women wear skintight clothes, low-cut blouses (and I mean low-cut), low-riding pants, with their butts showing, and see-through blouses and dresses without the proper undergarments.

One dress was so sheer, I could see the moles on this woman's skin. She had on thong underwear and a dress that had the consistency of a nylon nightgown. And let's just not even go into the nasty tattoos.

If I was an employer and someone came to an interview dressed like some of these kids, they would never get hired.


Tired of B and B's

In the words of Bill Cosby: Come on, people! This newspaper not only covers an entire metropolitan area; it is sold around the world with the advice column in it. (And it is accessible via the Web.) Managers across the U.S. are reading about working with 20-something people and getting this in their minds.

If you are in Gen-Y and you want to be different and stand out in a good way, you've got to learn how to dress for the workplace. Ladies, when you go to work, don't dress like you're going out on a date (or worse, going to walk the streets). Men, when you go to work, don't dress like you're going on a picnic. The attire is not called "picnic casual"! It's called business casual.

If you're in your 20's and you don't believe this story fits who you are, that's great.

Now it's your job to convince others that you are different.

How are you going to do that?

Start by figuring out your own personal brand. Get a plan together. Think about what you want your brand to say about you to your boss and to the other people you come into contact with throughout the workday.

And please dress appropriately before you step foot into that place you call "work."

I appreciate your thoughts in response.

Glory Borgeson, President
2008 Borgeson Consulting, Inc.

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