How to work your inner geek for a comfy corner office


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By Erica Davidson
Guest Blogger, [GAS]

We all know that non-verbal cues are key for landing the new IT director position or scoring a coveted promotion. But did you know that the way you dress could be the most important non-verbal communication of all?

It’s true. Dressing for success extends beyond the initial interview, or even the final offer. Your personal appearance is a critical part of the impression you leave on others throughout your career. Dressing like a “nerd” (wearing WOW t-shirts, taped glasses and black socks with tennis shoes) is a no-no that could leave you pigeon holed in the data center until retirement.

Not sure what to change? Not to worry. Follow these simple tips to boost your earning potential. They’re easier than developing IP-routing proficiency, and can strategically influence your workplace status.

1- Communicate your commitment

Practice the professional image you want to project. Dressing nicely will give you a sense of confidence, and self-assurance is a pretty hefty leverage tool when it comes to climbing the geek’s corporate ladder. In addition, your coworkers may measure your attention to detail by your personal grooming habits. No one wants a support staff member with dog breath and sweat stains.

2- Play your personality

No one’s asking you to be someone you’re not. If you’re happy being relegated to the cubicle in the corner, by all means wear the shirt you slept in the night before. But if you want to project yourself as a credible, knowledgeable source of information, step it up a notch. My guess is that if you’re reading this article, you’re in the latter category.

If you’re looking to communicate power and authority, adopt nonverbal signals of masculinity. Choose somber clothing shapes and color, like dark shades and tailored items. Stay away from pink, purple and bright green and blue dress shirts.

Want to paint yourself as fun, cooperative and team-oriented? Go more feminine. Light colors, patterns and loose shapes will signal relaxation and tolerance.

If you want to showcase technical knowledge and experience, build your wardrobe with black and white pieces. Black signals commitment, expertise and book smarts. White is a sign of purity, compassion and wisdom (look at the Pope!).

3- Silently scream confidence and competence

Use proven and trusted non-verbal clues to interact with power players. Look interviewers, coworkers and superiors in the eye. Don’t act nervous—tapping your foot, chewing your pencil, clipping your nails and picking your teeth are all on the how-to-get-demoted list.Shake hands firmly, but don’t be intimidating. You shouldn’t cut off blood flow with your grip.

4- For goodness sake, listen!

Open minds and receptive ears are an important part of your non-verbal persona. When someone else is talking, pay attention and make eye contact. Nod your head when appropriate. Repeat concepts back to the speaker to communicate acceptance and understanding.

In short, just because you’re in a technical field doesn’t mean you can’t use the techniques executives are known for employing. Working the non-verbal game is a surefire way to help you get noticed, and to help your paychecks start increasing.







8 Responses to How to work your inner geek for a comfy corner office

  1. NO NO NO NO. Dressing nicely does NOT ever give me or anyone I know a sense of confidence. In fact, for myself and many web developers I work with it is the main hindrance of creativity and comfort in an office setting. I hate it. Rethink that, because you’ll lose a lot of people with that notion.

    I’ll give you a greater example. We had an opening in our office for a level 1 tech, and when people showed up “dressed up” we laughed so hard after they finished interviewing.

    We went with a guy that showed up not dressed up and full of confidence. He got the job and that’s what we look for constantly.

    The geeks in our office are NOT dressing up, they are NOT salesman, and they are NOT talking to CEO’s. If you want to be a geek, know your craft, dress comfortably.

    Sure, I agree with no sweat stains, but I don’t feel that cleanliness is the same as “dressing up” as you are implying in the onset.

    • Well, it all depends on where you work at I guess… 90% of workplaces are like that and will accord importance to the way you dress and act.

      If you aspire to do something else than being a web designer, and one day, doing some management job, you’ll have to abandon your t-shirt. As I said.. 90% of corporations (or more) will require this of you.

    • I so argree with you that dressing up is not the way to go for geeks. I mean there are lots of other non verbal cues that can help a person get ahead in the workplace. I also agree with the should dress comfortably, as I find it does promote creativity, and the flow of outside the box thinking. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with cleanliness and looking presentable butthere is a definite limit. I mean sorry Mrs. Davidson but if I wanted to dress and act like a ceo or business proffesional then I would work in a normal office. Besides if your like most geeks like me you have better things to spend your money on than clothes that you hate wearing and you look like a dork in anyway, like gadgets and videogames, and cool stuff with lots of buttons..lol, so reading your article sort of made me lose my cool from the very onset of it.

  2. NO NO NO NO. Dressing nicely does NOT ever give me or anyone I know a sense of confidence. In fact, for myself and many web developers I work with it is the main hindrance of creativity and comfort in an office setting. I hate it. Rethink that, because you'll lose a lot of people with that notion.

    I'll give you a greater example. We had an opening in our office for a level 1 tech, and when people showed up "dressed up" we laughed so hard after they finished interviewing.

    We went with a guy that showed up not dressed up and full of confidence. He got the job and that's what we look for constantly.

    The geeks in our office are NOT dressing up, they are NOT salesman, and they are NOT talking to CEO's. If you want to be a geek, know your craft, dress comfortably.

    Sure, I agree with no sweat stains, but I don't feel that cleanliness is the same as "dressing up" as you are implying in the onset.

    • Well, it all depends on where you work at I guess… 90% of workplaces are like that and will accord importance to the way you dress and act.

      If you aspire to do something else than being a web designer, and one day, doing some management job, you'll have to abandon your t-shirt. As I said.. 90% of corporations (or more) will require this of you.

    • I so argree with you that dressing up is not the way to go for geeks. I mean there are lots of other non verbal cues that can help a person get ahead in the workplace. I also agree with the should dress comfortably, as I find it does promote creativity, and the flow of outside the box thinking. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with cleanliness and looking presentable butthere is a definite limit. I mean sorry Mrs. Davidson but if I wanted to dress and act like a ceo or business proffesional then I would work in a normal office. Besides if your like most geeks like me you have better things to spend your money on than clothes that you hate wearing and you look like a dork in anyway, like gadgets and videogames, and cool stuff with lots of buttons..lol, so reading your article sort of made me lose my cool from the very onset of it.

  3. This sort of career advice always gives me the hives. Basically this article, like thousands of others, means give up your personality for a promotion. Hell, no! That’s no way to be content with your life. There is no point in lying – radiate fun team-playership when you are geek who hates people, or radiate authority when you are scared by even a kitten? That’s a horrible idea.

    I say dress the way you want, talk the way you want, behave the way you want as long as it’s not bad enough to get you fired. As long as you have that job you can pay your bills and that’s the important thing, a promotion isn’t so important to make such sacrifices for it.

  4. This sort of career advice always gives me the hives. Basically this article, like thousands of others, means give up your personality for a promotion. Hell, no! That's no way to be content with your life. There is no point in lying – radiate fun team-playership when you are geek who hates people, or radiate authority when you are scared by even a kitten? That's a horrible idea.

    I say dress the way you want, talk the way you want, behave the way you want as long as it's not bad enough to get you fired. As long as you have that job you can pay your bills and that's the important thing, a promotion isn't so important to make such sacrifices for it.