Sunday, August 17, 2014

Unemployment Uniform (or, saving shoes until a puppy destroys them?)

At first, I thought it would be GREAT to not dress up for work every morning. Being “reasonable”, I decided to limit my wearing of yoga pants all day to Tuesdays, which is my yoga class day. For a while, I was annoyed when I had another meeting on a Tuesday, preventing me from wearing sweat pants. But the remaining days I pledged to wear jeans and a decent t-shirt. No more dry cleaning bills for me, except job interview suits and blouses!
How did my thinking about that change? One of my former colleagues had joined Toastmasters International at the insistence of her boss at the time. She was terrified of public speaking but became proficient and much more confident. I decided to attend a Toastmasters meeting with someone from my church who was giving a speech, though I confess at the time, I believed I would benefit more from networking than learning speaking skills. I got dressed up for the meeting, and was amazed to hear some compliments on my outfit, which I hadn’t received in MONTHS. I also said “ah” more than five times that day at the meeting, and realized that I needed to join Toastmasters.
I concluded that my jeans and sweatpants days were not good for my self-esteem. I also learned that I’m excellent at public speaking when it’s a topic I’m comfortable around in front of an audience I feel connected with (but could strengthen my impromptu speaking skills). I wore a nice outfit today when I gave a speech at Toastmasters, and after the meeting, the staff at my hair salon commented on my better-than-usual apparel. One of them said she saved her nice shoes to wear on special occasions, but a puppy recently chewed on 3 pairs!
I’m not going to wear “dry clean” clothes every day, but I’ve decided to look at what I can wear next that I haven’t put on for months. At least now I can see what I have because I cleaned out my bureau and closet shelves since I have time! I’m also going to dig into the china cabinet and use special glasses and plates more often than just on holidays, even if they can’t go into the dishwasher!

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