I am very picky about my jeans…some might say too picky, if we’re being honest. They can’t be too loose or too tight. They have to be tapered near the ankle, a solid color with a little fading, the back pocket can’t be too extravagant and they have to lend themselves to a nice cuff at the bottom.
However, I learned that not everybody else has the same opinion. Here’s how the story goes…My sister worked just two floors below me at the time, and as we get along very well, I’d pay her a couple visits a week when my workload wasn’t too busy. Keep in mind that her team only knew me as their coworker’s brother.
Yeah, we got along great and it was always a treat to bump into them in the cafeteria, but they knew nothing of my work ethic, my drive or my passion for our company. Well, it turns out that my jeans didn’t sit well with some of her coworkers. Some thought they were too tight, some didn’t like that I cuffed them, etc. I thought it was RIDICULOUS that people took time out of their day to talk about my jeans just because they didn’t look like theirs. (What do you expect? I’m a 21 year-old working in a corporate office of people in their mid-40s+. I don’t rock a boot cut. I’m sorry.)
I took this situation up with a mentor of mine, who, interestingly enough, was on my hiring panel. I wanted to know what to do because if people are going to talk about me, I want them to talk about how great of an employee I am or how I just killed it on a project. Did I need to be more conscious of what I wore? What else were people saying about me? My mind was flooded with questions. What she said has stuck the most out of any advice/mentorship/guidance I’ve received. She said, “Spencer, I didn’t hire you to conform.”
She didn’t hire me to conform. She didn’t hire me so I could throw away every pair of jeans I own and buy the typical “dad jeans” everyone else wears. What was made clear to me that day was that I was hired for several reasons, but also because as a 21 year-old in a relatively older company, I had something to teach the more senior people.
If you take anything from this story, I hope you take the fact that it’s okay to push the envelope a little. Of course, how much you push will vary depending on where you work. Heck, my jeans were a hot button issue for a bit, so maybe leave your clown costume at home. Know that you may be in your role for more than what is in the job description. Take your originality and positively influence the people around you, offering your own unique perspective and flair to impact the company.
Have a story to share about a time you didn’t conform? Comment below or send us a message!
(Please note that all thoughts and opinions are my own. In no way, shape, or form, do I speak for the Kellogg Company regarding their values, stances, etc.)
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