I once had a boss tell me that I was too pretty for the job. Being that I was 5’2 and 135 pounds, the supermodel career track was just slightly out of reach.
There are perceptions about “pretty” women at work, and they can be dangerous to you and your career if they are not managed appropriately.
Here are five perceptions about pretty women and work, and how to overcome them:
1. You are the office hostess.
There is a difference between being considerate and placating. Consider others always, but know that everyone in the room is capable of taking care of themselves. You are there to work, not play hostess.
2. You are just a pretty face.
You know what I’m talking about; that collective face that the conference room makes when you say something that no one else has thought of or something that makes the room LOL. Keep showing up. Keep being brave and smart and bold. Keep knocking their socks off. Don’t let their surprise stop you, let it fuel you.
3. You should dress like your grandmother.
You should not. You should dress like you. You should however consider your audience and the brand you are building. Common advice is to dress for the job you want. Chances are the job you want is held by a man twice your age. A blue button down shirt and black slacks may not be your thing. Dress as smart as you are. Every. Damn. Day. Don’t give them a reason.
4. You aren’t serious about your career.
But, you are – so they are wrong. Just because you are pretty, doesn’t mean you are waiting to be rescued or taken care of. You can be pretty and fierce, determined, focused, and ambitious. Be serious and pretty and awesome. Prove you’re there for the long-haul. Show up like every day is an interview.
Dress as smart as you are. Every. Damn. Day. Don’t give them a reason
5. You have a relentlessly high self-regard.
By golly, I hope you do. I hope you see yourself for the whole person that you are: Kind, loving, generous, whole, and full of life. I hope you wake up every day and know that you are enough, just the way you are. I hope you carry yourself like you are worthy.
What I know though is that you have insecurities and you are self-conscious. I know you worry about what people think of you and how you are perceived. I know you question your nose and your hips and your ideas and your essence. Smile. Be open. Be honest. Share your authentic self. Let people in to see all of who you are…not just a pretty face.
Tara is a change expert and master coach who is excited about helping women live the lives they have imagined, and inspiring them to imagine big, bold, brave, beautiful lives. She has over ten years of experience in learning and development in both private and public sectors. She’s equal parts psychology, pom-poms, pixie dust, and possibly umbrella drinks. Connect with Tara at www.mimosamojo.com or www.facebook.com/mimosamojo