Sunday, April 1, 2012

A: Appear as the Professional Clown

Clowns are iconic.  You don’t even have to know the clown to form an opinion.  For some it’s happy memories with grandparents at the circus.  For others their palms sweat and their hearts race.  John Wayne Gacy and Pennywise come to mind. In our culture we expect it and even have a disorder for it: coulrophobia. 
 True clowns are professionals complete with a code of ethics and conduct.  They’re all about making people laugh and feel better about themselves.  They go to hospitals to help in healing through laughter.  They hang out at circuses and entertain us.  They make animal balloons to cheer kids at birthday parties.  There’s always those that will make the clown something to be feared.  It makes it difficult for those who use the clown profession to help people.  I’m sure they don’t appreciate their job being made harder, having to overcome the negative connotations.

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.


  1. Good explanations of clowns and how it's a profession and that there is a code of conduct. It's too bad that some people, movies, shows, etc., have turned clowns into something scary.

  2. I used to date a clown who did a lot of his performing in a tuxedo. He always looked dashing, and then he put on his nose and looked dashing and silly. :)
    Thanks for stopping by earlier!

    1. I always like the way a tuxedo can make a man look incredible, even with the red nose. That must have been great, dating a clown.

  3. No matter how serious the occasion my inner clown tends to demand an airing! Thanks for popping by Gonna Eat Worms and good luck with the challenge!

  4. Hi Beth, thanks for popping in. I haven't seen you in a very long time. I'm one of those people who think of Gacy when I see a clown. Sorry about that but Chaney did a research paper on John Wayne Gacy and it sunk into my brain. :) Another thing that creeps me out is the music from an ice cream truck but I LOVE ice cream! Can't wait to see what you'll blog about tomorrow.

  5. Hey Beth, thank you for your lovely comment on my post! This was a really great post! I actually love clowns but I know a lot of people who really fear them. It's sad that they have been portrayed so horribly in films etc, since it has really changed people's view on them. I like what you said about a business man putting on a red nose, appearance really does make all the difference!

    Wonderful post, have a lovely Monday :)

    Nikki – inspire nordic