Hoodieism is a new term I’ve coined to define a person who has prejudice or animosity against people who wear hoodies. Have you ever heard of or know anyone who is guilty of hoodieism?
I don’t know how else to bring up this frank subject other than to say right here and now that if you are too modest and delicate to read my comments that hit below the belt, this may be the moment to opt out. Once you start reading further, though, I’m sure you’ll agree that what may preclude you from reading initially will have you saying, “Yes, Joseph. Tell it like it is, Joseph!” I just want to be up front about where this is all headed.
A recent string of suicides by young people bullied by their peers has become a hot news topic. Each story is heartbreaking. It’s hard imagining a young person ending his or her life prematurely. Rather, this behavior is a cry out for help; only they can’t receive the help when it arrives. The kids have taken their lives, all because they were bullied.
Despite occasional groans by corporate drones, the annual holiday party is generally considered a morale booster. After all, when else would you (and your entire company) discover that your accounting auditor may be diffident by day but be Disco Dan by night?
Don’t dismiss first impressions. Right or wrong, they are how we all make snap judgments about each other.
To help you along the sometimes-scary path of making the right impression, I’ve put together a few easy, common sense steps that you may want to follow so that others won’t “snap” you away.
The Association of Image Consultants International, the organization through which I am credentialed as a Certified Image Professional, has made something of a campaign to encourage civility in others. A chief campaigner of this civility movement contacted me, and asked for my comment on why civility is needed for an upcoming article she is writing for an image industry publication.
I have to admit; being an image consultant is not about living up to a standard of unattainable perfection. Nor is it my thing to encourage others behave in a way beyond the scope of their lifestyles. My lifestyle just isn’t so formal. I live in Silicon Valley and when I’m not working I’m most often in William Rast jeans and a bamboo T-shirt I bought at Kitson in Los Angeles.
Have you heard me swear? I do it very well in Yiddish, too, by the way. My eye contact is not always spot on, and I don’t always have my body turned squarely at someone during conversation. Even my laugh is loud. Absolutely, I’m very skilled at helping clients improve their image for whatever circumstance is of importance to them; but sometimes even I want to turn off the personal impression maker that I am. Don’t you want to turn off too, at times? But this doesn’t mean I’ll not make a genuine effort to remain polite and respectful of others – and of myself.
The challenge with encouraging ourselves to behave in a manner of formal politeness based on social conventions – that is civility – is that it’s like asking ourselves to become less informal. In some way it feels like trying to turn back time to the 1940s when social conventions were more formal and the average person behaved as such. In today’s world, you have to ask if one’s behavior matches the attitude and matches the appearance? All are so closely linked.
Casualness is a current attitude our society has found comfort in for an increasing number of decades. Why show emotional commitment, loyalty, thoroughness, or seriousness, when one can just be ‘casual’ and live life by chance? With all the problems in the world, it seems like a breath of fresh air to throw caution to the wind sometimes, doesn’t it?
Nonetheless, civility, from a modern man’s perspective is very simple and I think it’s important to accept some form of it into your everyday life. Why, you ask? You never know what a great gift a polite smile and the words “please” and “thank you” can bring to someone’s day. Karen, the concierge in my building is always bursting with smiles. And when she was in a car wreck a few months ago, just down the block from our building right after her work day ended, my partner and I raced to the hospital to make sure she was okay. Now that’s civility – that’s caring.
Civility is also the gift that keeps on giving back to you. When you politely address another person, it shows great personal character as much as it shows care for that person. You should note how you feel by treating another person with respect. It feels good to be considerate of others.
You don’t need to address people as “sir” or “madam” to behave politely. That’s the stuff you expect of the upper crust somewhere else. But even when you’re laid-back and in jeans and a T-shirt you can still be kind to others and say “excuse me, please” and “thank you” and “you’re welcome” and “have a great day.” Swear if you must around those who know you best [I sure as hell do]. But be kind and respectful. Make it a personal mission, not a movement.
Designing and managing your image is the secret science of your success.
Joseph Rosenfeld helps professional men and corporate workgroups create effective visual brands. Visit JosephRosenfeld.com for details.