How many times have you heard the advice that you should get dressed for work even when you’re working from home? That it’s counterproductive to work in your pyjamas? Like many of us, I’ve been giving myself a pass on this during covid times. I have developed, what I call, my “Zoom uniform,” which is a plain coloured t-shirt, black leggings, and black cardigan. Comfy and casual but still tidy, conservative, and presentable on a zoom call.
Last week I went out to the city to look at some co-working spaces. For several reasons, I think it would be good for me to work one day a week from the CBD. I went to get dressed in business clothes, but because my weight has been up and down quite a bit since I last worked, I didn’t have any black pants that fit. No problem, I wore jeans. But I picked up a pair of black work pants the next time I was at the shops.
This afternoon I had arranged to meet with a colleague from a business networking group. I am starting a small process improvement project for her organisation. I was not quite over the last migraine attack and woke up feeling very tired and flat. I took my time getting started on my daily activities. While I was definitely going to the meeting, I wasn’t feeling like the best version of myself.
But then something amazing happened. I went and got changed, ready for my meeting. I put on my new black pants, a knit top and a nice pair of sensible black shoes. All of a sudden, I felt like I was going to work! My energy surged, my confidence surged, my spine straightened, my shoulders went back. All the things. I did my hair and my makeup. I felt like my old self, pre-illness Brenda. It was incredible.
I walked out to show my partner and literally sang: “I’m going to work, mother******!” (To the tune of “I’m on a Boat.”) Hey, I’m working class, and I swear. Don’t judge me. Language warning for the link. His face had already lit up at the sight of Professional Brenda in her work clothes for the first time in God knows how long.
I had a great meeting with my colleague. I had a nice 45-minute drive to her office, listening to my audiobook. I always have found driving by myself to be quite relaxing. We spent an interesting couple of hours going through the processes she wants to work on, and the time flew by. I came away with a list of things to research and a broad plan of how to move ahead. And I felt fantastic!
I still do. It feels great to have a new project to tackle. It looks like it will be a nice mix of things I understand well and new things to learn about and incorporate. I will be working in the tourism industry, which is new to me, and I’m looking forward to broadening my experience. And wearing work pants more often.