The Desk

May 12, 2007

Making Your Statement

Filed under: Career Advancement,Delegation,Job Search,Management — Yvonne LaRose @ 9:10 PM

There are examples all over the landscape. It’s just that we don’t always pay attention to them because when we see them, they’re out of context in relation to their usual work environment. The examples of which I speak are the nonconformists. The ones who wear the long hair, have piercings or tattoos, wear corduroys jackets and faded blue jeans, or wear ethnic clothing to a Chamber of Commerce meeting.

These are the people who hear a different drum and march to it. But they also recognize that the preliminaries must be handled before they dive into making their personal statement. I’ve met several. In fact, I admire (as many as I can remember) all who I have met. The basis of my admiration for these people is that they are comfortable with their selves.

They know who and what they are and do not feel intimidated or ashamed any part of them. They are confident about what they know and are very aware that they have a great deal to share with others. They give freely. Their conversation is open, positive, and accepting. They listen carefully. They get rid of the baggage so that they can hear and comprehend. Perhaps these latter factors are part of the success they project.

So why am I not surprised at finding a dean at USC who is another of those who hears a different drum? Earlier today, I talked with a student who took a seminar from him. The excitement and enthusiasm he inspired several months ago is still evident. This person is interesting. I repeated and then wrote his name. Michael Quick, College Dean of Research in the School of Arts and Letters. Then I read an article written about him in the USC College News. The article captures the description that my acquaintance gives. It also captures the spirit of the man who inspires.

Those of you who know me realize one of my hallmarks is analysis. Going on the little information I had about him, there was a rapid parsing of Michael Quick. He succeeds by being able to communicate with students. He does not see himself as some pompous campus dignitary. He sees himself as a leader and a manager whose purpose is to inspire. And with that inspiration is a desire to stretch toward greater accomplishments.

But his comfortable persona was not an overnight statement. It evolved over time. It was earned. And that is the important point of today’s words. And the point being driven home is essentially the same as the one made on March 1, 2006 when I spoke of the Validity of Dress Codes (now on Career and Recruiting Entrances. It’s important to get rid of the clutter that distracts from learning the essentials of your art and craft, the discipline for your chosen path. In order to fit in, it is critical to know what the basic disciplines are and be accepted into the mainstream. Once you’ve succeeded in establishing your knowledge and expertise, it’s fine to begin, little by little, to begin expressing yourself within the bounds of your particular culture. But you need to start with the basics first.

This is not just me piping philosophy. During a recent business trip, I encountered a young black female bank representative. Expressing a desire to know different perspectives, I asked her about acceptance of dreadlocks and such in the conservative world of banking life. With her several years of experience in the industry, she confirmed that it is important to start off in the conservative mode. In fact, most banks will not allow dreadlocks (or most other ethnic looks) because they are too off-putting to customers focused on their security and wealth management.

The woman had some other words of advice with regard to types of individuals who will be accepted, certain body builds, and types of personalities. But we can explore that information on another occasion. The bottom line for today is, start by getting yourself grounded and know your profession. Prove yourself. Then let your personality blossom when you’ve been accepted as an outstanding professional.

Business Accessories now at Luggage Online

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