Working in an industry that is predominantly male can present many challenges. There are very few women that are able to rise in the ranks of upper management in the construction industry. It’s extremely hard to be taken seriously by your peers, especially if they are male. And there is a fair share of what most people would consider sexual harassment.
There are days, though, that I use being a female to my advantage. Those are the days that I break out the Bad Day Clothes.
I first discovered the usefulness of Bad Day Clothes last fall when I came back to the office from the jobsite. At that point, I had already begun to shed a significant amount of weight and started dressing in “girly” clothes versus the khaki pants and polo shirts that I had worn out in the field. Most of my cohorts from the project were still stuck out on the jobsite, but one evening we all agreed to get together for a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant. Since our client was one of the invited guests and we also had quite a few members of our company’s ownership group attending, I decided to dress up a little bit. I bought a really cute blouse from JJill along with a camisole and some bootcut pants.
My biggest mistake – not trying the outfit on before we went to the dinner. When I changed into my evening outfit at the office (I had been cleaning out files all day and was a filthy mess), I discovered an ample amount of cleavage was showing. And by ample, I’m talking Grand Canyon proportions. But since my work clothes were trashed, I shrugged it off and proceeded on to the restaurant hoping for the best.
As the night went on, I noticed that my two best guy friends had decided to sit across from me at the table and both of them would sort of glance at me and look away. After the dinner was over, they walked me to my car in the dimly lit parking lot, and one of them said, “Sorry about how I was acting at dinner, but I couldn’t stop staring at your boobs.”
Now, most normal people would have been totally mortified…but if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I am anything but normal and most of the time I have zero shame. So it was at that moment that inspired the creation of Bad Day Clothes. Meeting with the boss to get your ass chewed for making a mistake? Wear a low-cut blouse. Need some of the guys to help move a bunch of filing cabinets to another building? Short skirts do the trick. And heels…whoo boy, do they love heels.
Yeah, I know it’s bad. I know I’ve probably set the women’s movement back at least a hundred years. But let me tell you – when I’m staring into the furious eyes of Eeyore, any diversionary tactic that I can use might make things a whole lot less painful. And it’s working miracles with the auditor that’s here all week…today he complimented me at least four times on my outfit, which was carefully selected just for the occasion. No cleavage, but a tight-fitting sweater, pants, and heels. I pulled out all the stops today.
So far, the audit is going well. I just hope that things don’t start going poorly, or I may just have to go commando.