The Frumpy Professional
Feeling like a true professional when you work from home.
Working from home was supposed to be this luxurious adventure where I could bounce easily between caring for kids, housework and keeping up with my clients’ demands. As I type this, it’s 7am, my kids are still asleep and I’m standing at my treadmill desk while I walk, sip on a glass of apple juice and share my thoughts. My hair is piled on top of my head, I haven’t showered yet and I’m in my housecoat and slippers. Yup. This is every working woman’s dream, right? I am the epitome of “frumpy professional” this morning.
Believe it or not, when I write for Your Virtual Assistant (YVA), the company I work for, I tend to choose to stay in “frumpy-mode” because it keeps my writing honest. Writing is a very soulful experience for me and if I’m not in the right frame of mind when I sit down to do it, my words aren’t nearly as meaningful once they hit the page. The fact is, I am a work-at-home-mom (WAHM) who does my best to stay on top of my work, my extended family, my own husband and kids, housework, friends, birthday parties, BBQs … whatever life throws my way. And instead of the typical out-of-the-home 9-5 job, all of my work is woven in between everything else on my to-do list. When I write about this “virtual” lifestyle, surprisingly, it helps me to be in the midst of it – experiencing it.
There are clients who I write for that require me to do research so I can get my brain shifted into the right gear before tackling their writing assignments. I love these jobs because they stretch me in new directions and really force me out of my comfort zone. I emerge after one of these jobs a fountain of new information and feeling more confident about myself. However, when I write for some of these jobs, the ones that require research, I need to feel like a more polished, professional version of myself when I “go to work”. Some virtual assisting companies, YVA included, also require face-to-face time with clients, in person or over Skype. These are the times when a more professional look is required and when you work from home, that can be tricky to acquire!
Polish your LOOK:
As mentioned above, there are certainly times when the spit up on your shoulder, pyjamas and slippers are just fine to work in. In fact, as a WAHM, much of my work happens in the evening when I’m in my comfy clothes and my kids are in bed and the house is quiet. When I need to spruce up a bit for a job or phone call that require me to act more professional, I feel better and more self-confident when I look and feel the part. It’s as simple as that. Whether you shower every day, every other day, in the morning or at night, don’t skip that shower! It’s important to feel fresh and ready to tackle your work mountain!
CLOTHES: Your work-at-home professional look can include both comfort and style. It’s still casual, but a bit more polished. Choosing layers that can be added or removed to keep you comfortable are a good idea – perhaps an embellished t-shirt with a light cardigan or shrug. Light sweaters, jeans or leggings. You don’t need to be business casual, but you do need to dress to feel professional. That way, if you ended up with a random face-to-face appointment, at least you wouldn’t be left scrambling to give your “upper half” a professional style while wearing still your pajama pants and slippers below and worrying that your client might somehow discover your grand deception! Woman’s Day has a few great ideas for the woman who works from home and is looking for her comfortable, casual, professional look.
HAIR: While the droopy, wet pony-tail look is OK for evening or even early morning when you’re just getting a little bit of work done, if you’re looking to achieve that professional, all-day long look, you need to consider your hairstyle. There are many very simple, professional looks that can be achieved with minimal time and effort. YouQueen has a fantastic step-by-step for someone who is looking to achieve that classic, professional look. There are even a few video clips to help teach you a few basic tricks. Definitely my go-to site for simple, professional looks!
The bottom line here is that in order to feel confident in both your work and your decision to work from home, a professional look can help you get there. Simply put, if you spend a bit of time treating yourself as though you and what you do matter, you’ll feel like you and what you do matter. Being a WAHM means life is constantly happening around me while I try to be productive. I think since I sat down to write this I`ve helped my son use the bathroom twice, gotten two snacks for my kiddos, watched my son drive his car off the ottoman in the living room because his sister was ignoring him, broke up one fight between the two because big sister ate little brother’s grapes and also saved the dog from having to give my son a horsey ride. It’s not the most glamorous job, but I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to be able to be a part of all those crazy things I just listed for anything. ANYTHING.