Every job has a uniform or dress code of sorts, and most of the time it is not considered a perk of the job. When I started working at a place with a specific uniform, with logo shirt, name tag, and khakis, I thoroughly hated it. I didn't see the point of making the employees wear a specific color of shoes, or tuck in their shirts, or even wear their name tags every day. It all seemed excessive to say the least.
Now, I know that this uniform, little details and all, actually benefits my level of confidence, in my capabilities and my body image.
At first, uniforms feel unnecessary and somewhat degrading. "Really, I have to wear that? With my shirt tucked in, I look like a grandma!" I definitely thought these things. But, that was before I knew how important a unified team was, and how much authority a uniform gave.
Wearing something that not only sets you apart from customers but connects you with your co-workers and business, is oddly empowering.
I don't think about it generally, but when a guest or customer has a question while I'm at work, they don't just try and google it or figure it out themselves, they ask me. People see that combination of polo and khakis and think, "that's the person who'll know."
Yeah, that sounds a bit funny, but it's kind of true. That uniform represents your knowledge, your expertise, of what you do.
Once I realized that people cared more about how I did my job, rather than how I looked while doing it, I stopped thinking about it. I went from feeling awkward and unsure of myself and how I looked, to confidence in what I was doing, to the extent that I don't really give my outfit a second thought.
I even think that maybe by wearing a set uniform for my job, I've gained more confidence outside of work too.
With learning new things and gaining experience, I look forward to it instead of constantly worrying about it. Of course, I still have a healthy apprehension about new things, because anxiety doesn't just go away, but self-doubt can decrease by a lot. At work, I don't do things with second-thoughts or uncertainty, I feel sure and prepared. And if I don't feel prepared, I still feel ready to tackle it.
The same shift in tone and perspective has applied to my body image and confidence. I never used to want to appreciate my body or what I looked like, I only ever wanted to change it or hide it. Sure, a uniform kind of forced me to accept my body, but I'm really glad it did.
Now, I'm able to disassociate my abilities and potential from my body.
That's really messed-up to have to say, but it's true. Everything I did or could imagine doing was always tied down to my body and how I perceived it. A uniform changed that by making me realize that my job performance and overall worth is not dependent on "flattering" outfits or anything like that.
Now I'm much more comfortable in my polo and khakis than ever before, and I'm even more comfortable in my own skin.