Yellow shoes and work

13Jun09
MIA wedges: zappos.com

MIA wedges: zappos.com

When I was in my early 20’s, I was already a mother and I was working while my husband went to law school.  We were definitely in a different place than the other law school students – many of whom were single or if married, were not yet parents.   We lived on a tight budget with day care, tuition, and all of life’s other expenses bearing down on us.

One Spring evening , we went to a party where I had the chance to meet other law school wives.  One was wearing yellow shoes to match her new sundress.  I remember thinking with envy, “wow, what must it be like to be able to afford shoes that you can only wear with one or two outfits?!”  I know I will have made it,  I thought, when I can buy yellow shoes.   

Years later, yellow shoes became possible for me.   But, as you may have guessed, I never could bring myself to buy any.  My values, who I am, were established long before I met the woman with yellow shoes.  Yellow shoes aren’t me.  As it turns out, that husband wasn’t “me” either.  But I digress.

Have you ever tried on a suit or taken a test drive in a car but then said to the salesperson, “it’s very nice, but it’s just not me.”?  It’s not necessarily a matter of money, its that we know what is us and what is not.  The brands we choose are one way we signal our personal brand to the world.

We can readily identify and walk away from products that are not right for us.  But we remain in jobs for years, decades even, that are not who we are.  I know that “in these economic times” (aren’t you tired of that preamble to every sentence?) it is virtually impossible to walk away from a job.  But, we can listen more carefully to who we are. 

Each of us is one person.  We may be complex, but we are not one person at work and another person in “real life”.   We spend more waking time at work than anywhere else.  Work is real life.  Shouldn’t we go for fit?

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2 Responses to “Yellow shoes and work”

  1. Wonderful post, Margaret. And a gently powerful argument to consider the whole person whether you’re at work or at home.


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