Are You What You Wear?
June may seem like an odd month to write about what we wear to work. But as we move into a new phase of the pandemic, more of us return to the office, and things settle into a new routine, the question of what to wear comes up. Now I am a middle-aged African American man working in a major metropolis, so I can only talk about this from my particular perspective.
The New Yorker Magazine recently posted an interesting podcast on the subject that had a good deal to say about why we wear what we wear to work - https://tinyurl.com/kdav7ya9. I highly recommend you listen to it.
Personally, I wear ties and sometimes suits. I like the convenience of reaching into the closet, pulling out a white shirt and pair of pants (or a suit), and grabbing a tie. It is just easy. Now I am also a big believer in having a "look." A way people see your outward self that you define.
Now I will freely admit that being from the south being "dressed" is cultural with me as well. When I was growing up, people just dressed up more than they do now. I also grew up feeling that as a person of color, I had to be cleaner, smarter, and more polite to truly achieve.
Then I decided to be a fundraiser. When I started, there were not that many people of color who were in the field. I was lucky enough to work for two experienced fundraisers of color early in my career. I learned a great deal from them about raising money and maneuvering my way through the society of those supporting the non-profits for which I was working.
Now I am an experienced fundraiser with over 25 years of working for all kinds of non-profits. I manage staff, work with the Board, help lead the organization, Do my ties and suits help? Well, I don't know for sure. I know I want people to be comfortable handing me a check or with my help in creating a planned gift. But what I can't be "visually" is a different person for everyone. I have to be the person I am. The one who is comfortable in his skin - as much as anyone ever is - who understands the dynamic between his position as a fundraiser and the people he works with to support the organization's work.
At the end of the day, I wear a tie and a suit sometimes because I like it. I look good wearing it, and I guess I hope people feel comfortable with me as I do my job.
Books of Note
No one knows it all, but you can keep reading, trying, and learning. These are a few of my favorite - go-to - books.
Remote Work - how to survive.
I found this video to be helpful in dealing with working from home. Now one could have ever guessed that we would be working remotely for so long. There are lots of good ideas in this video. I got a lot out of it and I hope you will also.
It Occurs To Me
It has been an amazing year, to say the least. I am part of a group of senior-level fundraisers who meet monthly to talk about the issues we face doing our jobs. We discuss everything from staff issues, board relationships, and managing up, down, and all around. This group has been very helpful to me. If you don't have a space like this maybe you should do the thoughtful thing and start one. Contact your peers even if you don't know them. You have a great deal in common and I bet they will appreciate the chance to meet. Give it a try.
Please leave a comment, thoughtfully.