June 17, 2014 10:52 AM Subscribe
People tend to think of me as cute, sweet, and other infantilising adjectives. I feel that this is a problem at work. How can I amend my behaviour and appearance to be less cute and more serious?
posted by sockandawe to Human Relations (37 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
I am generally used to people who don't know me very well to describe me as adorable, sweet, and other bland and infantile descriptors but while annoying it isn't really a problem. However, increasingly at work I am finding this to be a problem. For example, I feel that senior members of staff occasionally act quite condescending to me and dismissive of my opinions. I also find that certain colleagues act a little inappropriate with me because they feel like, it's just Sockandawe, you can say what you like to her. Today for example a colleague patted me on the head! - which I found really inappropriate and said so. But I find it really problematic that he ever should have gotten the impression that it was OK to do that to me in the first place. People interrupt me a lot, and they chat to me a lot even when I'm busy and I feel like I am making it quite obvious with my body language that I am busy.
Although I have many less cuddly personality traits when you get to know me better, I know I come across as a non-threatening person. I am friendly, chubby and non-confrontational, so it is not surprising that people react to me this way. I work in a casual office environment, and dress appropriately for the workplace, so definitely on the casual side of workwear.
I'm good at my job, and work hard, and long hours. I am a mid-level office worker with ambitions to progress upward and I really think it would help if people didn't think of me as sweet and obliging - those traits don't exactly scream 'promote me'. At the same time, I am friendly and social, and I want to believe it is possible to continue to be these things.
What can I do to project more of a "Don't fuck with me" attitude at work, without turning into a jerk? Wear darker colours? Smile less? Be mean to people?!
I am not bad at being assertive via email and in formal work situations like meetings, etc. I am talking more about casual office behaviour like how you behave with your cubicle neighbours or in the communal areas.