Last week I had an interview, so it was time to break out the “interview suit”. Basic black pants, fitted black blazer, dressy sleeveless top underneath, moderate height black heels. At some point after graduating college, nearly everyone gets some variation of the interview suit (with obvious adjustments for the guys).
So I’m standing in front of the bathroom mirror getting ready, and: gulp.! Major moment of insecurity! I totally felt like a little kid playing dress up. I’ll be twenty-five in about a month, and still, every single time I have to wear a suit I feel like a five-year old clomping around in their mother’s high heels and seven-sizes –too-big blazer. You know, the one that has shoulder pads sizeable enough to block an incoming linebacker. A fevered little voice in my head wondered what the hell I was doing and whom I possibly expected to fool into thinking I was the sort of competent, experienced businesswoman who would wear such an outfit.
Does that feeling ever go away?
I guess that part of my discomfort goes back to my basic preconceptions about the business world versus the quote on quote “creative professions”. I always knew that I wanted a job outside of the business community, away from offices and cubicles and meetings and those ubiquitous signs over the microwave in every single office break room requiring you clean up after yourself, because, by God, “Your Mother Doesn’t Work Here!!!” I knew I wanted to do something creative, something stimulating and intellectually fulfilling, and based on what I could gather, going to work at an office every day seemed as soul-sucking and dull as a squat grey cubicle.
“I’ll never sit behind a desk all day!” I breezily proclaimed back in high school, before I was ever faced with the vomit-inducing reality of paying bills on minimum wage.
I guess this is all a part of growing up, and becoming comfortable in your own skin, whether you’re wearing jeans and a faded t-shirt or a Prada suit. It’s also about what you’re willing to become comfortable with, what you’re willing to adapt to, in terms of attire and perhaps more importantly in terms of your profession and your life.
I read something really hilarious today that I think perfectly encapsulates this dilemma. It’s a quote from Tina’s Fey’s “The Mother’s Prayer For Her Daughter”, which appears in her new book “Bossypants”:
“Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.
Something where she can make her own hours but still feel
intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes
And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design?
I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it.”
I knew I loved Tina Fey for a reason.