Thursday, January 27, 2011

The OUTLOOK for hiring

According to a story on CNN Money, the outlook for hiring is on a 12 year high. Now, I don't want to be a grump, but "outlook" is like looking into a crystal ball--it's not actual hires.

NBC blamed layoffs on the winter weather and last week's Business Week suggested that private enterprise won't start to hire until they are sure the recovery is real.

Women less interested in competitive pay structures

According to a study from the University of Chicago, women are less likely to apply for positions where the pay structure involves a competition with other employees--unless local wages were less than what the position offered as a base rate.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can you work in those shoes?

Another article devoted to women's attire in the workplace, complete with a cleavage appropriate measuring device and some requisite fat-ist, ageist hate from a Gen-Y mean girl:
"If I want to flaunt what I’ve got, I’ll do it, and I don’t care if some old-fashioned or overweight female employees can’t handle it."

Fashion advice for women in the workplace usually sounds like a soft audition for the Taliban: showing skin is not respectful so cover yourself from collar bones, writes and ankles--like Maggie on the Simpsons; the microwaves from your unbound mermaid hair will tempt men; and your boobs look like the slot from a credit card reader. Personally, I find this advice to be obnoxious and unrealistic:
  • Have you seen what they sell in clothing stores? What are my choices? It's belly button or nipples, even in some business attire. I guess they think we all work in banks.
  • Why don't men get this fashion and body control advice? How about: tuck in your pelvis when you're talking to clients, or I can see your nipple rings through that dress shirt, or quit touching yourself and buy some boxers that fit already?
  • Get your [figurative] hands off of my shirt--if I can work in what I wear and it is clean, unwrinkled and no holes, does it really matter?
So the real question is: can I work in what I wear? Honestly, if I need to climb under desks to fix the mouse, if I have to play Wii tennis with the seniors gaming group, or my car may break down in freezing winter weather while I visit all of the partner libraries in my district, why can't I wear jeans and a sweater? Why can't I wear flip flops if my feet are clean and well-groomed? When did wardrobe become short hand for how capable I am at my job, especially when I am dressing to deal with the job? Shouldn't I get points for pragmatism? Instead, the stereotype for my career is "dowdy" which according to this article is just as dangerous to a salary increase as "sexy".

And yes, whenever I read these articles I am extremely grateful to work in libraries where I have seen blue hair, pierced lips, permanent tattoos on necks, jeans and shirts that don't enclose collar bones--and they let us work with children! We haven't broken the flip flop barrier yet but I hold out hope.