Thursday, March 23, 2017

Should You Be Dressing Down?

In many of the schools of music that I've visited in the last while, there's a lot of dressing down going on. Has anyone else noticed this?

Tyler Cowan (of the highly influential Marginal Revolution) writes in Business Insider about the practice of marking status through countersignaling:
Countersignaling is when you go out of your way to show you don’t need to go out of your way. The boss doesn’t have to wear a tie or even dress up. 
If he did, that would suggest he had something to prove, which would be a negative rather than a positive impression 
The next step is that the vice presidents also don’t have to dress up, and soon enough most of the company doesn’t have to dress up.
This is all very groovy, but what do you do if you're a recent graduate working in the music profession and you want to get ahead? It's not so simple. Tyler continues:
If you’re 24 years old and looking to get ahead, it can be tougher.   
There isn’t such a simple way to visually demonstrate you are determined to join the ranks of the upwardly mobile. Looking smart on “casual Friday” may get you a better date, but the boss will not sit up and take notice. In other words, a culture of the casual is a culture of people who already have achieved something and who already can prove it. It is a culture of the static and the settled, the opposite of Tocqueville’s restless Americans....
...The young and ambitious really can set themselves apart from the slackers, even if doing so looks conformist and stifling when multiplied and observed on a larger scale. Societies of upward mobility, when based on large and growing business enterprises, look and feel somewhat oppressive. Much as many of us might not want to admit it, the casual and the egalitarian are closer to enemies than to allies.
But I suppose it never hurts to slightly overdress for a professional occasion, even if it marks you as being one of the over-ambitious ones.

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