From my past work experience, self-presentation is vital for success. I have been on hiring panels and if an interviewee came in to the interview with poor self-presentation (flip-flops, wrinkled clothes, odor, or overall sluggish, ect) their qualifications did not matter. They were also immediately removed from consideration. We are no different than a product on a shelf at the local supermarket. Though the off-brand detergent may clean better, be more environmentally safe, and have crazy superpowers, it is less likely to move because the initial appeal from the visual brand presented. By this I mean, though you may be more qualified for a position, you are likely to be overlooked if your “brand” does not present a competitive element. This can be achieved by putting effort in self-presentation.
I feel pressure to conform to this idea because, as I stated before, in order to compete with others you much express you brand as the superior brand. This means presenting yourself as the most professional in respect to the job you are trying to attain. This is not to say that every employment opportunity requires the same type of brand. For example, when I worked for Johnson and Johnson the self-presentation was much different that at CNN, where my sister worked. We must adjust our self-branding to compliment the intended brand of our employer. Sometime a company may have several brands working together. For example, my sister currently works for Adult Swim. Her department, Adult Swim Sales, requires a different brand than, say, the Adult Swim Creative Dept.
I think that a connection between self-presentation and quality of work does not exist in truth; however, because standards are so strict in the work place, the two are falsely connected. The idea that how you present yourself and your quality of work are connected is ridiculous Unfortunately, the standards in place require the quality and brand to compliment each other in most cases.
One thought on “Self-Brand and the Workplace”
I love your metaphor: We are no different than a product on a shelf at the local supermarket. I love it because I love metaphors, but I also love it because it is absolutely true.
However, I must disagree that the idea that how you present yourself and your quality of work is connected is ridiculous. The sound of it definitely is, but if I really think about it, it is not as ridiculous as it may seem. I think that people’s ability to dress well can directly correlate to the quality of their work. I know that this is a very bold statement, but people should have the common sense to know that they should look sharp and well-groomed for an interview or for a job that they hold already. If they do not have the sense to do this, then how can you trust that they have the sense to produce quality work? Very bold (and a little mean), I know, but this is how I would think if I were a hiring manager. Also, I am talking about typical white-collar fields.
As you said, we need to adapt our images to mirror those with whom we want to work. It is the discourse convention, or culture, that we must keep in mind. I think that what you said about your sister’s department and how it differs to another although they are in the same company is interesting. I have seen similar situations as it relates to my boyfriend’s job at an investment bank. He works in a group where suits and ties are absolutely necessary, but his friend works for the same bank on the trading floor where nobody wears ties. He told me that that was their brand.