Effect of spending money on appearance in career

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dbr
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by dbr » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:03 pm

Tamarind wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:37 pm
samsoes wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:58 am
notmyhand wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:21 am
At the same time, I am sitting in meetings in which comments are made about needing to bring another women into the office so clients are more eager to stop by.
What?? Is this company stuck in the 1950's or 1960's? :oops:
If this their corporate culture, and it is genuinely affecting your career, it's time to move on. Seriously.
I feel this way. If you believe that appearance is the issue, then changing your appearance is unlikely to help, but a different workplace can do wonders.

There is nothing that fixes a company's reluctance to give timely promotions/raises except losing a productive employee because a promotions/raise was delayed unnecessarily.
A really cynical view of the whole thing is that the OP hasn't met the grade on making clients eager to stop by to see her and what is being discussed is finding a replacement. It would be pretty awful if that is the case, but this environment does not sound like a good one. Unfortunately as bad and worse goes on.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:00 pm

Never mind.
Last edited by TomatoTomahto on Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hillview
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by Hillview » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:18 pm

Female c-suite here (SVP run North America report into the CEO -- sales/client/external facing). Yes, you have to dress the part (heels and makeup). It sucks. It isn't my normal look. You work in a place where it sounds like it isn't going anywhere. Start to interview and wear the garb. No it isn't fair. It is unlikely it will be fair in my lifetime. But money is money and you make more when you dress the part, especially as a woman.

Beyond that ask for a raise. Get comfortable asking. Ask for a promotion. Be comfortable asking.

Unless you are often over inflated of your own worth you are likely being passed over due to gender. Sorry, it is just the most likely situation.

I spend (on looks)
200 a year on make up
150 every 6 weeks on hair
I have an invested wardrobe which I put together over years so annual expense on clothes is minimal but yes it does matter. I basically have 10 St John's suits I mix and match. I don't think you are currently in a position to do this but Ann Taylor has some good pieces as do other places (banana republic, macy's and Nordstroms) get a couple of good suits that you can mix and match scarves and jewelry with.

Loik098
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by Loik098 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:31 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:00 pm
notmyhand wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:21 am
Unfortunately it does matter especially if you want to be promoted. I retired from IT and we had women exec's in senior management. They were always impeccably dressed. They dressed conservatively but sometimes the events were streamed live and the company's image was at stake. They all wore heels - even if they were lower. I don't think it matters much for older worker bees such as me who did not want promotion. I did not wear heels as I did not want to trip and fall. Having said this, it is not the only criterion. Sometimes one has to accept that you are not on the management track in that particular organization. Maybe you should move laterally or if you are really ambitious look for another position.
Sorry, respectfully, nonsense. My wife has been in the C-suite for years in IT; makes a 7-digit annual income; presumably she counts as a woman exec in senior management. I have never seen her in makeup (full disclosure, she's never seen me in makeup either). She has not worn heels since she was in her 20s. She wears nice and well-tailored suits when she's presenting (town halls, for example), but mostly wears slacks and a blazer, sometimes jeans.

I am shocked to see how mainstream and accepted this nonsense is. Color me embarrassed.

The fact that your wife didn't feel the pressure of having to dress for success/promotion does not invalidate the mounds of research, anecdotes, and evidence that such pressure continues to exist for thousands of other women out there. While it may be nonsense, it nevertheless is the reality of the world (most of us) live in.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:00 pm

Never mind.
Last edited by TomatoTomahto on Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

raisinsaregrapes
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by raisinsaregrapes » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:02 pm

Never a bad idea to dress like the boss. If the whole company wears jeans and the leadership wears slacks guess what I am going to start wearing...

Are there women in leadership roles at your company?

notmyhand
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by notmyhand » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:15 pm

raisinsaregrapes wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:02 pm
Never a bad idea to dress like the boss. If the whole company wears jeans and the leadership wears slacks guess what I am going to start wearing...

Are there women in leadership roles at your company?
No. The only woman in a supervisory role is HR and then me in management. I dress as well as the VP in my office at least in my opinion.

And I completely agree that men and women both need to pay attention to appearance! Never doubted that. I just needed advice from how women achieve this goal as beard advice wasn't going to help me :D

Strummer
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by Strummer » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:43 pm

Notmyhand,

You mentioned that you've been offered other jobs in your industry at a higher level of responsibility. Are any of those offers open? If so, you might go back to your manager and explain that you have an offer that you're going to accept because you don't see room for advancement at your current job. I would think that would get them to put up or shut up.

BTW, I've never worn high heels because I'm a 6' 2" man, but I know career women with horror stories about the long-term effects of wearing those things. Step carefully! (pun intended)

Strummer

notmyhand
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by notmyhand » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:55 pm

Strummer wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:43 pm
Notmyhand,

You mentioned that you've been offered other jobs in your industry at a higher level of responsibility. Are any of those offers open? If so, you might go back to your manager and explain that you have an offer that you're going to accept because you don't see room for advancement at your current job. I would think that would get them to put up or shut up.

BTW, I've never worn high heels because I'm a 6' 2" man, but I know career women with horror stories about the long-term effects of wearing those things. Step carefully! (pun intended)

Strummer
They are not - I made the mistake of telling my company when they occurred and taking the increased comp that they offered instead. The main reason I am still here is because the income two levels above me here is unmatched compared to competitors and it seems silly to move companies when my income will never reach this potential anyways. I think if I was to make a move it would be into a slightly different space within the same industry.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:36 pm

OP,

In addition to evaluating your wardrobe and makeup, please consider other aspects of your appearance. Do you speak with authority? Are your posture and movement professional? Video record yourself to see if any aspects of your body language could be improved.

Good luck,
Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

notmyhand
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by notmyhand » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:42 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:36 pm
OP,

In addition to evaluating your wardrobe and makeup, please consider other aspects of your appearance. Do you speak with authority? Are your posture and movement professional? Video record yourself to see if any aspects of your body language could be improved.

Good luck,
Victoria
That is a great idea. Thank you!

Pigeon
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by Pigeon » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:17 pm

I would probably try to revamp my clothing and grooming a bit. I had to do this in my job when I wanted a promotion. In my organization, it's pretty casual in general, but the senior management dresses more professionally.

I'd see if you can get your hands on a few seasons of "What Not to Wear." I got a ton of good ideas about finding basic professional looking clothing and accessories. You don't need skirts and high heels if that's not comfortable. You probably need dress slacks, blazers and a few scarves or necklaces. Low heeled or wedge pumps are reasonably comfortable and professional.

Talk to a stylist about finding a low maintenance, professional cut. I can just shower, put a little gel in my hair and let it dry while I get ready. Then I brush it out before I leave for work. To be honest, I've never met a woman who didn't look at least 15 years older by going gray. Nobody wants to hear that, I understand. I color my hair myself. It's cheap, easy, looks great and takes an hour total every six weeks or so, with a ten minute root touch up kit in-between.

A little foundation, mascara, eyeliner pencil and neutral eye shadow and lipstick takes me about 5 minutes in the morning.

This all sucks because it has zero to do with how well you do your job.

gretah
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by gretah » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:17 pm

OP - Good on you for trying everything you can to maximize your job performance and compensation!

It sounds like your company has pigeonholed you and you won't be promoted. Time to look elsewhere.

A new job search calls for an upgrade of your professional appearance.

Lots of great tips have been listed above. Exception: don't go gray until you hit 65.

My makeup routine:
I mix moisturizer with just a touch of foundation in my palms then spread a thin layer all over face and neck to even complexion.
Brow pencil and mascara. (Not even brow color if your brows are dark.)
Lipstick is warm neutral with a bit of color.

When I was working in downtown San Francisco, I wore pant suits in natural fibers: wool, silk, wool-cotton blends. (No synthetics.)
I always replaced the plastic buttons with metal shank buttons on jackets, suits, and coats. This upgraded the look significantly. (You can find classy buttons online: google metal shank buttons.)

My shoes never had heels over 1". Not needed with pants.

I never purchased or wore blouses needing dry cleaning. Natural fibers only. That saved lots of money. Again, upgrading buttons added lots of perceived value.

Fiber content is important for top quality looks. No synthetic cloth. Shoes, purses, gloves, briefcases: all leather.

*Shoes can be purchased online. MarylandSquare.com is one of my favorites. I find a pair that looks great and fits then I buy 5 pairs.
*Buy cashmere-lined leather gloves in January and February on sale.
*Purses can be purchased at outlet malls. I have some nice ones from Coach and other top manufacturers.
*Lovely silk socks and other silk garments can be found at www.WinterSilks.com

Best of luck!

medinme
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by medinme » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:34 am

They are not - I made the mistake of telling my company when they occurred and taking the increased comp that they offered instead. The main reason I am still here is because the income two levels above me here is unmatched compared to competitors and it seems silly to move companies when my income will never reach this potential anyways. I think if I was to make a move it would be into a slightly different space within the same industry.

Notmyhand,

It is likely that using an outside job offer to pressure your company to counter offer resulted in stunting your career growth. Never accept a counter offer from original employer without expecting that to impact your future career development. I would continue to interview for other positions outside your company.
Good luck!

notmyhand
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by notmyhand » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:33 am

gretah wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:17 pm
OP - Good on you for trying everything you can to maximize your job performance and compensation!

It sounds like your company has pigeonholed you and you won't be promoted. Time to look elsewhere.

A new job search calls for an upgrade of your professional appearance.

Lots of great tips have been listed above. Exception: don't go gray until you hit 65.

My makeup routine:
I mix moisturizer with just a touch of foundation in my palms then spread a thin layer all over face and neck to even complexion.
Brow pencil and mascara. (Not even brow color if your brows are dark.)
Lipstick is warm neutral with a bit of color.

When I was working in downtown San Francisco, I wore pant suits in natural fibers: wool, silk, wool-cotton blends. (No synthetics.)
I always replaced the plastic buttons with metal shank buttons on jackets, suits, and coats. This upgraded the look significantly. (You can find classy buttons online: google metal shank buttons.)

My shoes never had heels over 1". Not needed with pants.

I never purchased or wore blouses needing dry cleaning. Natural fibers only. That saved lots of money. Again, upgrading buttons added lots of perceived value.

Fiber content is important for top quality looks. No synthetic cloth. Shoes, purses, gloves, briefcases: all leather.

*Shoes can be purchased online. MarylandSquare.com is one of my favorites. I find a pair that looks great and fits then I buy 5 pairs.
*Buy cashmere-lined leather gloves in January and February on sale.
*Purses can be purchased at outlet malls. I have some nice ones from Coach and other top manufacturers.
*Lovely silk socks and other silk garments can be found at www.WinterSilks.com

Best of luck!
Very useful, thank you. How necessary is the bag? I currently carry in my laptop bag and a purse + laptop bag seems like overkill?

notmyhand
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by notmyhand » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:01 am

medinme wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:34 am
They are not - I made the mistake of telling my company when they occurred and taking the increased comp that they offered instead. The main reason I am still here is because the income two levels above me here is unmatched compared to competitors and it seems silly to move companies when my income will never reach this potential anyways. I think if I was to make a move it would be into a slightly different space within the same industry.

Notmyhand,

It is likely that using an outside job offer to pressure your company to counter offer resulted in stunting your career growth. Never accept a counter offer from original employer without expecting that to impact your future career development. I would continue to interview for other positions outside your company.
Good luck!
I don't disagree with you. And I had not put any pressure on my company - I had actually accepted another offer and turned my two weeks in when my CEO got involved and offered me the income of the next promotion (hence why there will be no change if I get promoted) and talked to me about his vision for me in the company so I got sucked back in. Poor choice by me and I'll be updating my resume today but likely need an appearance "facelift" anyways.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:37 am

notmyhand wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:01 am
... but likely need an appearance "facelift" anyways.
Objectively, you may or may not need a "facelift." But subjectively you need to make some changes that would make you feel confident in how you present yourself. Confidence and body language account for much more than static appearance in photos and magazines.

I recently watched a meeting between Theresa May and Angela Merkel. May is taller, objectively better looking, much better dressed and groomed. But Merkel has much more power and respect. Instead of trying to lose weight, makeup or wardrobe, Merkel is focused on her political skills and it pays off. In the U.S., I remember Barbara Bush being ridiculed for not coloring her gray hair, but she ignored these comments and developed a reputation of one of the wisest first ladies.

My point is not that you should emulate Merkel or Bush but that being confident in your own appearance, expertise, and goals accounts for much more than people give credit to.

Wishing you success,

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

fposte
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by fposte » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:00 am

notmyhand wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:01 am

I don't disagree with you. And I had not put any pressure on my company - I had actually accepted another offer and turned my two weeks in when my CEO got involved and offered me the income of the next promotion (hence why there will be no change if I get promoted) and talked to me about his vision for me in the company so I got sucked back in. Poor choice by me and I'll be updating my resume today but likely need an appearance "facelift" anyways.
There's a reason for the axiom that you never take a counteroffer for retention. There are plenty of exceptions to the rule, but too often it means there's the self-fulfilling prophecy where they then freeze you out as a perceived flight risk, so you leave. That may be where you are. So yeah, fly.

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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:57 am

^^^ A very important point and it may be the reason you are getting this flack. Appearance is something that can be used against a woman.

The best advice I ever received on clothing and appearance did not come from an internet forum. It came from a personal shopper service at a local department store. This was a few years ago, the local store has closed.

The service is free (at least it was for me). Google "personal shopper department store" to find one local to you.

These people are simply amazing. All I had to do was tell the shopper what I was looking for (something for work, engineering environment). In 5 minutes, she came back with an armful of clothes. I couldn't find anything in 20 minutes and she was just getting started. In addition to the clothes, she guided me on my appearance. It simply worked. We went for the "timeless classic" clothing style. Years later, her advice still applies.

A personal shopper is there to ensure you buy your clothing from that store. It wasn't the cheapest, but the quality was good and any difference I may have saved by doing this myself was simply not worth it.
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dbr
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by dbr » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:11 am

I wonder how much of this conversation is about how other people perceive a person and how much of it is about how a person perceives themselves. It is never a mistake to refresh for confidence. The suggestion above might be very helpful. Also, ask one's friends. Otherwise, it is usually a positive move to start on a good foot somewhere else rather than moil around in what has obviously become a muck pit.

lynneny
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by lynneny » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:15 pm

OP, you've gotten some good advice here, and I'd suggest you also ask your question on the Corporette site, which offers fashion, lifestyle and career advice for professional women. Your question is one that posters there discuss often, and many of them are in, or have been in, a similar position.

gretah
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by gretah » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:10 pm

OP

To answer your question -

I think you should have one purse in your desk in the event you go out to a lunch meeting or interview. You won't want to bring your laptop bag everywhere.

Purse is only to keep a few necessities: wallet, keys, phone set to off or vibrate, etc.

Best of luck!

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by LiterallyIronic » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:40 pm

notmyhand wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:21 am
I spend absolutely no time in making myself look pretty. I dress professionally but I don't wear heels, I don't get my hair done, and I do minimal makeup.
If you're gonna have long hair, you've gotta pay the price. I'm a dude, but I keep my hair around sixteen inches long. And it sounds like I spend way more time making myself look pretty than you do. Shower, shave face, shampoo, conditioner, heat protecting spray, blow-dry, flat-iron. Every day. Pimple breaks out? Concealer.

Like it or not, better-looking people have an advantage over worse-looking people. And since I start pretty far down the scale, I have to put in effort to get to "decent-looking." :annoyed
notmyhand wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:21 am
being that I am in a male dominated industry
So am I. Software development. But I literally could not care less whether a person identifies as a man or a woman, the above still applies - you'll gain an advantage by looking your best (whether or not you should).

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Pajamas
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by Pajamas » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:41 pm

No one there would care at all about your appearance (as long as it were not too extreme) if you were a man, would they? Realize that this has nothing to do with you personally, just the fact that you are a woman. From your description of your clothing and makeup, it sounds very appropriate for a workplace. It sounds above average from what I have seen from younger employees of any gender.

My advice would be to look for another job where, at least, men don't feel comfortable sitting around a table in a meeting discussing female employees' appearance as bait for clients in the presence of a female employee. That is an admittedly low bar, and you will never find a perfect work environment, but that behavior is so highly offensive on every level that I don't see how you can tolerate it.

I can certainly understand you not speaking up as it must have been very disorienting to hear that sort of thing, at least the first time. If it happens again, you should definitely consider saying something, if for no other reason than to see if anyone in the room will also speak up in support for what is right.

It is obvious that you are not respected there and never will be. It has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you, personally. Changing your appearance won't change the underlying problem.

As a separate issue, if you have put on 20 pounds, change your diet, not for appearance, but for health. It is a lot easier to maintain a healthy weight than it is to regain it. It's not so hard to lose 20 pounds as it is 50. If you have gained 20 pounds within a year or two and continue eating the same as you have been, you will continue to gain weight.

bengt
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by bengt » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:58 pm

Research has found a beauty/appearance premium AND a beauty/appearance penalty if you too good looking...seriously.
I can vouch for that as a male. Being too handsome and smart has frequently prevented me from being promoted.

MathWizard
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by MathWizard » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:17 pm

Don't burn bridges, but I would contact a recruiter, looking to move up.

At the very least, you may get pointers on presenting yourself.
And no, I am not talking about heels etc., I am talking about how you
talk to people, and how you sell yourself, not your clothes.

Maybe another company will find you more valuable.
I wouldn't worry about the company you are at, they sound like they will
end up at the bottom of the scrap heap if they do not fix their culture.

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Cycle
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by Cycle » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:56 pm

It is really pathetic there is so much discrimination based on appearance, and I'm sure a lot of productivity is lost on people dressing up for work.

BUT you want to look as good as you naturally can regardless of your career. Eat well and fast regularly. Exercise daily in an impactful way. Measure your results, fat calipers / chart your progress. None of this takes much time if done efficiently, 4hr Body has some good tips.

I'm not going to comment on clothing or hair since I cut my own hair and since my wardrobe is very minimalist.

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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by HIinvestor » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:32 pm

I’d agree that it’s a good idea to meet with personal shopper at your favorite upscale store about updating your classic work wardrobe and seriously looking for a new job where you will be properly valued. Depending on the pieces you already have, the financial cost can be fairly low to freshen and update s few key pieces.

It sounds like they won’t promote you and are stalling for whatever reasons. It doesn’t sound like a culture where you will be given your due. I’d quietly start looking around and give your skills and resume. Good luck!

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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by MnyGrl » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:36 pm

samsoes wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:58 am
notmyhand wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:21 am
At the same time, I am sitting in meetings in which comments are made about needing to bring another women into the office so clients are more eager to stop by.
What?? Is this company stuck in the 1950's or 1960's? :oops:
If this their corporate culture, and it is genuinely affecting your career, it's time to move on. Seriously.
I agree. I have worked in offices where it was like Mad Men, and this was only a few years ago. I got out as soon as I could. I wondered when I arrived why there were so few women working there, and I quickly found out why. :shock:

If you feel like you need to stay, I certainly wouldn't glam up, because doing so will make you even more of a target in a sexist environment.

an_asker
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by an_asker » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:54 pm

OP:

I'll just repeat the advice I gave to others who were unsatisfied with their work environment for whatever reason - move on.

Each company thinks that it pays what each employee is worth (whether the employee agrees or not) and each employee thinks that he/she is being paid less than what he/she should be paid.

This works both ways. If the company is really sure it is right, it results in layoffs. If the employee is really sure he/she is right, time to move on.

[edited to add]: If you get a better offer, do not waste time in negotiations with current employer. Act nice, but be firm. Look at it a different way: if the company lays off someone, would they renegotiate a lower salary to keep the laid off employee?!!

notmyhand
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by notmyhand » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:33 am

Just a quick update. Not sure why it happened but I did get a more professional hair cut and wore suits since I posted this. Got my promotion effective the 1st. No one mentioned appearance as being a determining factor and I suspect it was a combination of feeling more confident that helped but figured I would chime back in. Once again, thank you for all of the feedback.

Hillview
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by Hillview » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:42 pm

notmyhand wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:33 am
Just a quick update. Not sure why it happened but I did get a more professional hair cut and wore suits since I posted this. Got my promotion effective the 1st. No one mentioned appearance as being a determining factor and I suspect it was a combination of feeling more confident that helped but figured I would chime back in. Once again, thank you for all of the feedback.
Congrats! Where did you shop?

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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by Colorado13 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:05 pm

notmyhand wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:33 am
Just a quick update. Not sure why it happened but I did get a more professional hair cut and wore suits since I posted this. Got my promotion effective the 1st. No one mentioned appearance as being a determining factor and I suspect it was a combination of feeling more confident that helped but figured I would chime back in. Once again, thank you for all of the feedback.
Congratulations!

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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by staythecourse » Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:11 pm

notmyhand wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:21 am
I just came away from a meeting in which I asked for a promotion and was told likely another six months. No there was nothing I could do extra - my clients love me, my manager loves me, I'm bringing in work, I am out performing. This is driving me crazy as every other person in my position was promoted within six months, not a year +.
This doesn't jive. Two possibilities off the top of my head... Either you are NOT performing as great as you think OR there is some possible discrimination especially if you are the only female at this current level. Either way the only way to know is to ask your contact at a superior position then you have at your company. I am not in business, but is pretty obvious the best way to advance is to have someone being your advocate from a superior position, i.e. the country club effect as I call it. It is much easier to climb a mountain when someone is helping pull you up then you doing all the grunt work of trying to climb the mountain yourself.

If you don't like the answer when you get the answer you have to decide is it something that can be improved or is it time to move on and find a better opportunity to advance elsewhere or just live with it. As I say to my own patients you will always get an answer, but it might not be the one you want to hear.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

michaeljc70
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:11 pm

notmyhand wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:21 am
I just came away from a meeting in which I asked for a promotion and was told likely another six months. No there was nothing I could do extra - my clients love me, my manager loves me, I'm bringing in work, I am out performing. This is driving me crazy as every other person in my position was promoted within six months, not a year +.

At the same time, I am sitting in meetings in which comments are made about needing to bring another women into the office so clients are more eager to stop by. I am the only woman in management in the company, happily married, and spend absolutely no time in making myself look pretty. I dress professionally but I don't wear heels, I don't get my hair done, and I do minimal makeup. My theory was always that I wanted to get promoted on my merits and not my looks but now it looks like it may actually be getting in my way? I really like my personal time and considering the hours I work, I do not look forward to having to wake up an hour or two early in order to do my hair or spend hours at a salon.

However, being that I am in a male dominated industry, maybe there would be some payback in putting some effort into my appearance? What is the best bank for the buck? I can get my hair cut and colored if it means I don't have to spend extra time messing with it in the mornings. Any good links on capsule wardrobes? I only ever wear slacks and a blouse and jacket - maybe I need to look into skirts and dresses? Additionally, any good links to makeup regimes that won't take forever? My eyeliner and mascara doesn't seem to be enough.

What was worth spending money on your appearance in your career? I make 110k a year with ~15k in bonus, next level does not increase my salary or bonus structure at all but the level above that puts me at executive level making 200k+. While I am not technically in sales, I am responsible for bringing in my own work so there is a lot of sales to go with it - does that mean I go all out? Frustrated and don't know what to do. Any help or stories would be appreciated?
It seems like stepping it up a little might help. You say there are no other women at this level. How do the men at your level look? Do they wear old suits and shave infrequently? Or do they wear expensive suits and get manicures and have well groomed hair? I think looking at the men at your level should give some clues. Granted, you might be (unfairly) being held to a different standard. Take that into account too.

I can tell you one thing. I've done mostly consulting over 25 years. Women vastly under dress men in the business environment is what I have seen over the many companies I have worked. While men often are wearing a dress shirt and dress pants, women are much more casual and it is much more open to "interpretation".

cs412a
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by cs412a » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:50 pm

notmyhand wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:33 am
Just a quick update. Not sure why it happened but I did get a more professional hair cut and wore suits since I posted this. Got my promotion effective the 1st. No one mentioned appearance as being a determining factor and I suspect it was a combination of feeling more confident that helped but figured I would chime back in. Once again, thank you for all of the feedback.
Thanks for the update.

I suspect they did notice your new appearance, figured you had made the changes because you were thinking of going on the market, and decided if they wanted to keep you they had better promote you. In any case, whether or not my suspicion is correct, congratulations!

bayview
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by bayview » Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:21 pm

cs412a wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:50 pm
notmyhand wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:33 am
Just a quick update. Not sure why it happened but I did get a more professional hair cut and wore suits since I posted this. Got my promotion effective the 1st. No one mentioned appearance as being a determining factor and I suspect it was a combination of feeling more confident that helped but figured I would chime back in. Once again, thank you for all of the feedback.
Thanks for the update.

I suspect they did notice your new appearance, figured you had made the changes because you were thinking of going on the market, and decided if they wanted to keep you they had better promote you. In any case, whether or not my suspicion is correct, congratulations!
Or they're completely oblivious to the specific changes that you've made, but something about you - appearance, self-confidence, or both - dimly set off an awareness that you fit whatever they think a female employee should look like. Am I the only woman in the world who got a new haircut or highlighting, and a week or so, husband said "Honey, did you do something different?" :D

Congratulations on the promotion, and keep fighting the good fight. :beer
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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cfs
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by cfs » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:28 pm

Based on the information provided this company is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Good luck y gracias por leer / cfs
~ Member of the Active Retired Force since 2014 ~

deikel
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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by deikel » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:33 pm

From your post a couple of things stick out to me:

- you sound overeager and that might put people off
- why on earth would you want to change who you are, just to please folks at your current workplace ? Sure its nice to have eye candy in the workplace and it might help with sales too, but if that's not you, don't even try...nothing worse than artificial optics...IMHO
- Go out and check around what other options at other companies you have, this might be a great reality check as to your value. If you find something better, you have good cause to demand the promotion you want, if you don't, you might find some peace of mind and perception correction

Build the reputation you want and match it with a company that values it, not the other way round.
Everything you read in this post is my personal opinion. If you disagree with this disclaimer, please un-read the text immidiatly and destroy any copy or remembrance of it.

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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by MP173 » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:44 pm

Congratulations on the promotion.

I am a newcomer to this discussion and have quickly skimmed thru it.

Appearance matters....be it female or male. Old (62), white male here in sales. Been doing it a long time. Started out in suits and white starched shirts 28 years ago because that was what was expected. The "business casual" trend caught on (Fridays) then to 5 days a week. My wardrobe changed dramatically and I heard the comments from my boss. I dressed primarily to my clients and my results were always top level.

A couple of years ago I made a comment out of the blue to my wife " I miss wearing suits"...so I started trending back. Not all the way but starched shirt, tie, slacks and quite frankly, I feel much better about my appearance.

BTW, the top producers in our company walked into the building looking like they owned the company.

The business world is changing dramatically, particularly with the younger people (under 35). I will not go into deep detail, but the manner in which that group communicates, socializes, meets (business and social), etc is dramatically changing. I see it. That doesnt even factor in communication tools and technology advances.

Here is what I am getting at....if you have skills, you will succeed. Perhaps not the company you are at, but somewhere you will. It is inevitable. Find the company and culture which meets your skillset and ideals (and pays well). As for me, I have only had 2 career jobs...today the "kids" usually have at least 4 moves by age 30. Always searching for that ideal.

Good luck and if you are as good as you sound, you will do just fine!

Ed

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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:27 am

bayview wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:21 pm
cs412a wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:50 pm
notmyhand wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:33 am
Just a quick update. Not sure why it happened but I did get a more professional hair cut and wore suits since I posted this. Got my promotion effective the 1st. No one mentioned appearance as being a determining factor and I suspect it was a combination of feeling more confident that helped but figured I would chime back in. Once again, thank you for all of the feedback.
Thanks for the update.

I suspect they did notice your new appearance, figured you had made the changes because you were thinking of going on the market, and decided if they wanted to keep you they had better promote you. In any case, whether or not my suspicion is correct, congratulations!
Or they're completely oblivious to the specific changes that you've made, but something about you - appearance, self-confidence, or both - dimly set off an awareness that you fit whatever they think a female employee should look like. Am I the only woman in the world who got a new haircut or highlighting, and a week or so, husband said "Honey, did you do something different?" :D

Congratulations on the promotion, and keep fighting the good fight. :beer
Congratulations, OP!

Hi bayview ,

You could be right that the acknowledgement of the "new notmyhand" was subconscious. But it may have also been a subject of men-only discussions. Some men go to great lengths analyzing women's looks and keeping track of changes. I first came across this phenomenon when reading male bloggers who were discussing various body parameters of women they knew. Later I was quite surprised when a colleague has complimented me on a weight loss when I lost only 2-3 pounds and did not think it was noticeable.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Effect of spending money on appearance in career

Post by brandy » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:52 pm

fposte wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:43 am
Honestly, notmyhand, before I went and revamped myself I would have a heart-to-heart with my manager. "Usually people in my position are promoted after six months. Can we talk about what metrics for promotion I've fallen short on and what targets I'd have to meet for promotion?" I think at this point it's worth being polite but pretty assertive on this if it's a repeated thing (it sounds like you may have heard "maybe 6 months from now" a couple of times, and that is *not* a good sign); why make it easy for people to sideline you? Up to you whether you want to bring in the fact that the only woman seems to be getting the promotion runaround; in some situations it'll poison the room, but in others it'll be a useful wakeup call.

It wouldn't hurt to do some window-shopping for jobs rather than clothing just to get an idea of what other possibilities might exist. Whether for discriminatory reasons or not, you may have gotten mentally slotted as a non-progresser there, and your manager may love you but love you as somebody who can be reliably contributing at a lower-paid level.
+100
and your manager may love you but love you as somebody who can be reliably contributing at a lower-paid level.

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