We expect a certain appearance from clowns: make up, red nose, big shoes. Clean lines and smiles evoke happiness, a professional clown. Make that make up run and we’ve created something sinister. Scary clowns, well, scare people.
Look at a man in a Brooks Bros. suit and Prada shoes and you think business man. Put a big red nose on him and you get a whole different response. Maybe jokers on Wall St? The man was dressed impeccably. But change one thing—the red nose—and opinion changes.
Think about your job. What does changing one thing do for you? Does it gain you respect or downgrade your image? What’s your company’s dress code? What’s the implied conduct for your profession? I know times are changing with respect to appearances, especially in the realm of body piercing and tattooing. But these images have stereotypical ideas. A good tattoo artist will remind you to think before you ink. Why? Because businesses aren’t in it for their employees personal freedom of expression. They’re in it for the ones who bring in money, i.e. the customer. That’s why they have protocols for dress, language, and actions.
Stereotypes may not be fair, but they’re a fact of life. Consider your appearance at work. Does your personal statement overshadow perceived respect for your office and clientele? In your conversations do you consider those around you, especially those who might overhear? To customers perception is as powerful as reality.
What you do in private is your business. Do it in public and everyone has to experience it. Your actions are your personal right, but customers also have rights. They have the right to take their business elsewhere. Employers have rights. They can hire someone else who they feel would better suit their company’s image.
Clowns don’t want people to be afraid. They want clean makeup lines and smiles so people see them as fun and someone to come back to when they need a laugh. It’s just good business. In your job do you stand out as the professional to come back to over the competition when they need your service? Are you the one to keep when layoffs occur?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO, a clown, a health care provider, or barista at Starbucks. Your appearance matters to others whether you like it or not. That should matter to you.
Choose to be the professional clown.