Take Off Your Pyjamas!

Actually, that’s a message to me; I promise I haven’t suddenly gone all weird on you (well, no weirder than normal!) Read on…

Last week a lovely researcher from BBC’s Women’s Hour contacted me about a comment I’d made on women changing their names after marriage. I didn’t change mine and frankly am always nonplussed that women do, (although I respect everyone’s right to do what they want!) It’s not a legal requirement in UK, more a convention that has its roots in women having no rights and belonging to their husbands, but I’ll step off my women and empowerment soap box and get on with the post!

Radio Star?

The plan was that if time permitted, I would be called to share my views with the panel on the Women’s Hour programme, hosted by Jane Garvey. It wouldn’t really be decided until the day but if I was wanted I’d get a call about 10.00. I had no qualms about what I might say but didn’t expect to be thinking about what I was wearing. This was radio after all!

Now this may come as a shock to you, (!) but when I am working from home I am more likely to be found in old joggers and outsize jumper than smart working gear. And sometimes (sit down now) I don’t even get dressed until I have written for an hour or three and suddenly realise it’s 10.30! I know, it’s totally shocking! I am not always immaculate! As you all are…all the time…I expect. (Although I never coach in my jimjams. I just can’t do it!)

Dressing UP

So, 9.00 a.m. found me at my pc having already responded to several emails and I suddenly realised I wasn’t properly dressed. There was no one in the house, I wasn’t coaching, had no meetings, and the postman’s seen it all before. But I knew I couldn’t stay like that. If Jane spoke to me I am sure she would have known I was dishabille!

So I had to go and get dressed as I do when I’m working, proper working you know, with people looking at me!

I made myself laugh out loud, but actually there is a slightly serious point to be made here. Looking like a scruffy old woman would have taken a little bit of my confidence away. Dressing like someone who knew what she was talking about actually boosted my confidence, even though no one could see me!

It’s fascinating isn’t it? I think most women feel better if they think they look good but I was surprised that it worked even when no one can hear you scream. I mean see you working.

How about you? Are you affected by what you wear even when alone? I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’re women who work from home!

PS All my dressing efforts were in vain as I never got the call! I was mentioned on the show, but no actual appearance. I’m really glad I didn’t go as far as eye-liner now!

PPS. If the knowledge that I always dress well when coaching has enticed you to work directly with me, click here now!

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Posted on February 7th, 2011 by

21 Responses to “Take Off Your Pyjamas!”

  1. Jim Connolly says:

    I always assumed you were in a full business suit all the time; you’re such a professional!

    Whilst the BBC wanted you for the content of your AMAZING mind, it certainly is true that the way we look impacts the way we feel.

    Great post – as usual!

  2. I love the way you write – very snappy with an ironic twist. Now to business – name changing. I married in the ’60s whilst still a teenager I didn’t give much thought to changing my name I just did & I guess with an element of pride – I was wanted. My sense of identity grew as I aged but that was about my inner self & not about what I was called? Would I change it now? No but not because I would lose my personal identity. I feel a bit like I do about wedding rings (I stopped wearing mine for a time)it’s a convention & you have a choice.

    As to the dressing up – my clients do not see me because of how I dress but because of who I am & the work I do. I think it could be the same for you?

    • Jane says:

      Thanks! Re clothes, I agree, one to one it doesn’t matter much, once people get to know you. However, it does have an impact when I’m training. I know people walk in and make a judgement on me, mainly in the first 30 seconds and they can only do that on way I look (and if I smile etc). If I turned up looking like I am when working at home I’d have a lot of work to do reassuring them that I actually do know what I’m on about! Sad but true, first impressions can be really important.
      By the way, I stopped wearing my wedding ring when my fingers ballooned in pregnancy! Somehow they never really recovered…

  3. Barbara Green says:

    It’s interesting isn’t it what we choose is important names, rings, clothes, outward appearance?

    Of course you’re right people do make assumptions about us based on how we look & it has happened to me. However, it does not take long before a reappraisal takes place!

    In my training we were asked to consider those assumptions. I feel a bit like Thomas the Tank ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’

  4. When we first started off we worked out of a back bedroom. One Sunday night I was sitting in my pj’s enjoying a wee glass of wine when the doorbell went .. 8 Polish staff wanting to drop off their CV’s .. first (and ONLY) time I conducted interviews in my pj’s!

  5. I generally work in my pjs cos I work from home. It gets you no respect! Recently I bumped into the postman as I made my way along the street to catch the afternoon mail collection. ‘Up are we?’ he grinned. I might not look as if I’m up and at ’em but I’m razor sharp and working hard. Honest.

  6. As I started working from home 2 years ago, I had a rule: get dressed, hair done, and everything before start the Mac. Reading this post reminds me that I have broke my own rule a couple of times ever since… but you are right. It somehow feels not professional enough otherwise. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  7. […] and not the cover making the book, but we totally agree with Jane C Woods and her post “Take Off Your Pyjamas“… So, 9.00 a.m. found me at my pc having already responded to several emails and I […]

  8. Mrs D says:

    I actually always dress as if I’m going out even thought I’m at home – it’s my armour and war paint so I can be professional about my work.
    I’m someone who needs huge amounts of structure to work so working for myself I have to build it in so I can function ….. I’m a nerd

    • Jane says:

      Ok Mrs D, I’m going to try that every day next week. Full warpaint by 8.30! You’ve all been warned!
      And Barbara, always good to hear from every viewpoint! Ultimately all the dressing up in the world won’t disguise a badly done piece of work. Thank you for your comments! 🙂

  9. well looks like I’m in a minority of one. I do get what you ladies are saying but for me it’s how I do the job & not what I wear. I also accept the way I dress could influence someone I meet. I also have the confidence to know the real me shines through. If the job calls for dressing in a particular way then so be it but that’s not my job!

  10. Angie says:

    Hi Jane. I’m a Life/Career Coach and have to admit I kinda cheat on this whole dressing thing!

    If I am coaching a client via Skype for example or making a promo video for my biz I have combed hair, light make up and a nice top with necklace. That’s the top half! Below the desk I am usually wearing sweat pants and slippers.

    So now you (and clients potential, new and old) know the Awful Truth! 😀

  11. Val Huxley says:

    I am laughing at your blog as only January 12th I was invited to speak on BBC Radio Wiltshire as it was a year on from the Haiti earthquake and they wanted to know what we had achieved in that year with our project. Great, promotion for our work – but they wanted to interview me just after the 0700 news. Not like you Jane, I sat in my cold conservatory (the heating had just gone on) with a cup of tea to try and wake me up, in my nightie and dressing gown on the radio trying to sound all together. My husband was upstairs in bed recording the interview on his iphone. What a sight. Makes you wonder though – these night shift workers on radio – what are they really wearing!

  12. Angie says:

    Re the name change thing. I did change my name but came a cropper soon after the wedding when I signed a cheque (yes it was a long time ago!) with my maiden name. The cheque book was printed with my married name. I immediately snatched the cheque back with a cry of “Oh wait! That’s not my real name! I need to put something else…”
    28 years on I still remember the look on the salesperson’s face.

  13. Barbara Green says:

    I’m just laughing & thinking aren’t women wonderful & so inventive!

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