- History & Philosophy -- Thursday, 8/21
- Culture with a focus on Work Environment -- Friday, 8/22 (YOU ARE HERE!)
- Activities, Location, and Body -- Saturday 8/23
Some jobs the dress code was loosely applied, but I always tried to choose outfits that best represented me and the company. At other jobs, the dress code was business casual with times when suits were required. The stricter companies tended toward grey, black, and navy blue colors only. Color and even prints were a rare occasion and often discouraged, ridiculed, or squelched by shock & fear, followed by the wearer avoiding color in future in favor of fitting in and conforming. It was strange to experience people fearing color, but it was very real.
When I left college and joined the working world, I knew some of my casual style and love of costumes would have to be put aside in favor of company dress codes. I consciously chose to abide. What I did not know was tightening and restricting my choices of what was the acceptable “work norm” attire caused a pendulum effect. I created an imbalance in my wardrobe. By disallowing or feeling disallowed to wear even bright colors, it was actually disallowing me to express myself.
Today I see that choice to tighten and restrict was always mine. But at the time I often fell into victim mentality and felt rebellious when I wore just an animal print top or bright colored socks. I tried to convince others to see my perspective, but my belief that I couldn’t really be me overshadowed everything.
I’ve changed jobs and now work in an office where most of our clientele is blue-collar. It’s an environment where casual is actually a necessity. I can wear jeans and polo shirts all the time. In fact, if I were to be too dressed up, we feel it would put our customers at a dis-ease, feeling uncomfortable. I wear dresses from time to time, and occasionally dress up in fun prints.
Having done the dredging and processing work of understanding my feelings, rather than continue to stuff them, I am amazed by how much more room there is in my thoughts and life when the fear no longer reigns. No one can release it but you. No one can make you happy. No one can change you. You only change when you decide to change.
Not all environments will suit your needs. If you find yourself among people who appear to have different values than you, be honest with yourself. Do not try to reason away their choices and beliefs over yours.
How to Identify a Mismatch Between You and Others
- Stop and think.
- If you journal, then write. If you externally process, then talk to a confidant. If you exercise, then go for a walk. Find some way to remove yourself from the situation.
- Restate your goals, dreams, desires, philosophies, needs.
- Then, list what you perceive to be theirs.
- Are you aligned at all?
- Are you aligned enough for you to thrive?
Be honest. For if you’re not and you ignore it, then you’ve a lesson to be learned. It could very well be that the people you're around are simply from a different tribe, as Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes so elloquently explains in Night Mother.
It is safe, and possible for you thrive. You are worthy. You are capable of finding and creating environments where you and those around you will thrive. The world needs you to create your joy. For when you start on yourself with an open, trusting, receptive mind, change occurs. Will you be the change you wish to see?