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"Personal appearance and image" now key competence for job

(73 Posts)
Floppityflop Wed 23-Dec-15 22:39:23

I feel a bit sick about this, found something on photocopier at work (shouldn't happen, you can secure print). Now the key competencies seem to include about 20 things of which I'd say about five are really important and the rest just rubbish. But the one stressing me out the most is personal appearance and image. I'm not the thinnest person and although I dress well and wear deodorant (roll-on and spray) and perfume I am one of those people that no matter how hard I try I look a bit unkempt with hair going left, right and centre even in a bun, I smell a bit when under pressure, plus I hate wearing makeup except for meetings with clients. I am also worried a double standard will be applied for men and women, and my age will count against me (the office is young). Should I start upping my game or focus on the other 19 competencies or just the 5 I think are important?

DancingDuck Wed 23-Dec-15 23:28:24

Up your game. Don't on the five that are important to you when you know the company has other priorities. You don't need to feel sick about it. You can use the knowledge to your benefit.

Get your hair cut really well, short if you need to, so that it stays in place. Make sure your nails are well cared for, eyebrows shaped etc. These are small things that signal making an effort for other people. If you shower and change clothes everyday and wear deo and perfume, you really won't be considered smelly. make sure your clothes fit well and are smart/fashionable in a way that fits your company profile and job.

Floppityflop Wed 23-Dec-15 23:39:36

Hmm, if I cut hair short it will stick out even worse... Eyebrows and shit like that is time consuming (colour hair every 8-10 weeks already bad enough!), but obviously I change clothes every day. I don't shower but I do have a bath - do you think that makes a difference? I feel I'm busy enough already without worrying about these trivialities as a woman of a certain age! I also am a bit surprised at the company. It sells itself on being good at the job, not on having supermodels as employees.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Wed 23-Dec-15 23:40:41

No one should have to wear makeup.

But you shouldn't smell and should be able to keep your hair under control in the main. Do you use hairspray when it's in a bun?

FishWithABicycle Wed 23-Dec-15 23:43:37

Find a job with a different company. A business that values such trivialities over competence and talent does not deserve competent and talented employees.

honeysucklejasmine Wed 23-Dec-15 23:43:55

Personally I would wait until my line manager raised my appearance as a problem before doing anything about it.

You shouldn't have to worry about what you look like beyond being clean and appropriately dressed. I mean, really, are they going to have to start allowing people to take "ugly days" leave when they have a spot or something?

Don't panic until its a rolled out policy that you are told you aren't meeting.

Passmethecrisps Wed 23-Dec-15 23:44:03

Personally I would change little or nothing. If you are highly effective already then how your hair is styled should make no difference.

If there are things which you know you could easily improve without any great changes then, certainly, do them (keep wipes in your desk drawer, use a serum or gel to make your hair sit still) but personally I would be a bit scornful of a company that felt that this was important

Floppityflop Thu 24-Dec-15 00:03:09

My hair is already a frizzy mess and I am usually sweaty by the time I get to work. I walk some of the way. I'm sure that doesn't help but I just run a bit hotter than a lots of people. Maybe eating less would help but I don't want to flake out either.

No amount of hairspray or deodorant will help once the process of degeneration from my morning bath has started!

EBearhug Thu 24-Dec-15 00:12:35

I would raise the question about how it will be reviewed, and how can they be sure they will judging men and women on the same standards and avoiding discrimination. (But I am often asking awkward questions like that.) This is slightly difficult, though, in that presumably you shouldn't really have seen this list. Are you sure it's official? No chance someone could have been looking at job details for elsewhere or anything?

Personally I wouldn't be that bothered about it, unless it's brought up in a performance review, and then I'd want to know how I can be expected to perform against competencies I know nothing about, and if I were marked down for things I didn't know about, I think that's unreasonable.

You should be able to stop smelling, though. You can probably tie back your hair or something to keep it better under control. (I am the last person who should be giving advice on this, mind you!)

flowery Thu 24-Dec-15 07:52:50

What job is it/what does the company do?

Scarydinosaurs Thu 24-Dec-15 07:58:17

Do you think you actually do smell to other people if you wear perfume, deodorant and have clean clothes?

Penfold007 Thu 24-Dec-15 08:09:18

You are describing yourself as a 'woman of a certain age' overweight smelly scruff. That can't be pleasant for co-workers or clients. Maybe you do need to up your personal grooming.

Scarydinosaurs Thu 24-Dec-15 08:10:28

Pen, no she didn't- that's completely misreading the OP's posts.

Scarydinosaurs Thu 24-Dec-15 08:11:13

And how is her being overweight unpleasant for her ℅-workers?? She's not an ornament!

msrisotto Thu 24-Dec-15 08:15:39

You can't just accept being smelly all day at work! And having messy hair? Bun, bobby pins and hairspray? Do you think they've added this amendment with you in mind? No offence, it's just the way you're describing yourself.

TheBestChocolateIsFree Thu 24-Dec-15 08:19:55

And she can hardly get younger.

I agree that smell is not something that you should dismiss as unchangeable. Make sure your clothes are 100% smell free when you put them on (Good Housekeeping section has endless tips on what to do if they're not). Scrub rigorously under your armpits in the morning and apply a full-on anti-perspirant deodorant, like Mitchum. If that still doesn't work then there are stronger more medical alternatives. Sweating is probably unavoidable, some people just do, but smell is normally treatable.

On the other stuff, which is not objectively important, unfortunately your employers have all the power, so while you shouldn't go OTT, just bear it in mind and don't ignore it as irrelevant. Serum or argan oil is worth a try for the hair - it's quick and cheap.

BrandNewAndImproved Thu 24-Dec-15 08:22:59

Take baby wipes with you and wipes under your arms if you think the morning walk is making you smell.

Instead of trying to sort out your flyaway hair why don't you scrunch it up or curl it then tie it back low and loosely. My hairs a mess sometimes and I do the above so it doesn't look out of place if it's messy.

Penfold007 Thu 24-Dec-15 08:26:57

Well that's honestly how I read it but accepting that I am wrong I apologise for the the body shape comment, of course OP isn't an ornament. However, I stand by the body odour comment OP made, there are previous threads on MN about how difficult it is to cope with BO at work.

Floppityflop Thu 24-Dec-15 08:31:00

Okay, Wind it in a bit! Jeez, this isn't AIBU. I don't want to out myself, but it's a professional job in which slightly overweight middle-aged / old men tend to dominate.

I don't set out to be a sweaty mess but by the time I get to work and certainly by the end of the day bits of hair come out of the bun and it goes a bit kinky, my ironed clothes have got rumpled by the journey in and I might have got a bit of a sweat on which of course you can smell even through deodorant. I can't have another shower when I get to work or in the middle of the day!

SecretBondGirl Thu 24-Dec-15 08:40:04

Is there someone you trust to give you an absolutely honest unbiased opinion of your personal appearance to see if there is an actual problem?

lorelei9 Thu 24-Dec-15 08:41:16

Are you sure you smell or are you paranoid? If you really do smell you must find a way to deal with it. A bath is wallowing in your own dirt to some extent. Also how often do you wash your hair, I can smell people's hair sometimes.

Now I'm wondering about the policy generally, has anything else happened there, not to do with you? One place I worked, we had a guy who was great at his job but took the low slung jeans thing so far, even with undies, that senior management had a word. He complained that nothing in the dress code prevented this, so hey presto, altered code.

Agree with pp that you should not have to wear makeup. Also you should not have to worry about frizzy hair unless they are going after men with frizzy or straggly hair.

TheBestChocolateIsFree Thu 24-Dec-15 08:43:51

You shouldn't be able to smell fresh sweat through deodorant within a couple of hours. Either you're imagining it, or something about your routine needs tweaking. And you may not be able to shower but you can use pit wipes and reapply antiperspirant-deodorant. Your co-workers really shouldn't care about you looking scruffy, but they have a legitimate cause for complaint if you actually do smell bad - it really grinds you down on a day to day basis.

Floppityflop Thu 24-Dec-15 08:46:35

And to those who made helpful comments about how to deal with sweating, thank you.

Floppityflop Thu 24-Dec-15 08:53:20

Maybe I will try a shower instead of a bath. I don't smell when I get out but I suppose if I am not properly clean I will smell later.

I'm not sure there's anyone I can ask. DH says I don't smell but I don't trust his view. He sometimes smells bad and doesnt notice.

I only wash hair every other day otherwise it's even more uncontrollable but at least if I do that (wash it every day) I can use mega hold hairspray.

TattieHowkerz Thu 24-Dec-15 08:57:57

Have you tried frizz ease, or other frizzy hair products? Might help if your hair is unmanageable and you are bothered.

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