I attended my first Professional Development committee meeting earlier this week. Since I was new, we went around the room and introduced ourselves and said where we worked. When I got done, one of the women said she didn’t expect me to be an academic librarian. I thought, oh well, maybe she knows me from my previous work in the legal world. And she said no, she thought I would say I was a school librarian. I brushed it off at the time thinking maybe she had confused me with someone else or I reminded her of someone she knew who worked in the schools.
It wasn’t until the next day, as I was getting dressed, I realized why she probably thought that about me. I was wearing knee socks with hearts on them. I cracked up at the idea, but I immediately thought, oh gosh, was I inappropriately dressed for being a librarian? I told my boss the story later, and she cracked up. She doesn’t think I’m inappropriately dressed so I suspect I’m ok.
I was reminded of that moment again today when I read over Hiring Librarian’s survey results on what candidates should wear to an interview. I have been following all summer as they posts survey results regarding what people think is appropriate when interviewing for a job. What I find interesting is the inconsistency in answers. Those who insist that hosiery must be worn were some of the same people who thought pink hair was acceptable. The majority agreed that bare arms (GASP) were unacceptable, yet plugs in your ears were fine. The line does not makes sense to me at all.
What I took away from the survey results was this: BE YOURSELF. You can’t please anyone and everyone. I would generally air on the side of caution because you don’t know what kind of culture is already established there. But ultimately, do what you want to do and if the people at the place you are interviewing do not think it is appropriate, perhaps it is not the kind of place you want to be working.