How Do You Know What Kind Of An Impression You’re Making?


Wednesday, 8.52pm

Sheffield, U.K.

Even if the sun were to rise from the west, the Bodhisattva has only one way. – Shunryu Suzuki

It is difficult, sometimes, to know who you really are.

We lay down layers of personality over time, layers that we use to tell ourselves who we are. Layers that we use to show others what we think we are.

Take jobs, for example.

Most people don’t start off knowing exactly what they want to do. They’re steered by people they trust, when young, and gravitate towards things they are good at, when older.

The chances are that you are where you are right now because of certain choices. Ones you remember clearly, even now. Choices that could just have easily gone another way.

Let’s say you started as an intern, or someone looking for your first role and stumbled into an industry and stayed.

Did you choose the job? Or did the job choose you?

I wonder about things like this because I wonder what’s the point of it all.

There aren’t that many routes people take. Some move from job to job, rising quickly. Other stay in place for a long time, decaying quietly. Yet others stay, learning and growing and turn into bedrock, into people the organisation depends on.

I read a line in a book, now 29 years old, about hiring people. Look around, it said, for people wearing brand new suits. More experienced people wear jeans.

You’ve heard many times, I’m sure, about how clothes matter. How people judge you by what you wear.

So, if you’re in a situation where you’re being judged what kind of position do you want to be in?

If you’re in a suit and you’re trying to impress the other person then they have the upper hand.

If you’re wearing jeans, however, perhaps you’re comfortable that you have something to offer that is more than the clothes you have on display. In that case. do you have the upper hand?

Or does it really have nothing to do with who has what hand at all?

In an ideal world you’ll work with people who value what you do. Not how you look or where you come from.

The thing is that experience will out.

You can tell when someone knows something regardless of what they’re wearing. Just because of the way they talk. The kind of questions they ask, and how quickly they come to a view on what your options are.

It just seems like it would be nice to get to a point where you can dig through those layers and find yourself.

Get to a point where you’re just comfortable in your own jeans.

And to a point where the impression you make is of just who you are.

Where your way is the way.


Karthik Suresh

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