Professionalism: A Scary Halloween Tale
As Halloween approaches, elementary-school children are not the only ones thinking about costumes. Many workplaces encourage employees to dress up on October 31. While doing so can add a jolt of energy to the office, use caution when selecting your outfit. (The same goes for any work-related after-hours celebration.) Being creative and joining the fun is one thing; being offensive or inappropriate is another.
The number one thing experts warn against is being too revealing. The adult costume market is filled with “sexy” versions of everything from nurses to Snow White. Do your reputation a favor and avoid them. If you need more convincing, consider this cautionary tale from Roy Cohen, author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide:
“As a career coach, I occasionally work with clients who have made errors in good judgment. One particular individual, a senior Wall Street executive in a sales role, was invited to a Halloween party where she knew that many of her work colleagues would also be. Although it was hosted by a colleague from the office, it was not technically-speaking an office party but still one that required proper decorum and behavior. My client dressed up as a French maid and showed excessive cleavage and more leg than Angelina Jolie at an awards ceremony. Why was this damaging? As an attractive female in an industry and role dominated in large part by men, she fueled a work rumor that she rose through the ranks by flirting with clients and by taking that behavior even further. It was not at all true, but it was her colleagues' impression and now reinforced by her outlandish and inappropriate outfit.”
Every person, regardless of his or her position in the company, wants to be known as a professional. Don’t compromise your reputation and hard work through a single inappropriate gesture.
Be on the lookout throughout October for more Halloween-related posts, including ones on how to choose a great costume.