Makeup: It Can Make or Break Your Career

A new co-worker of mine is from another country, one where makeup is a scarcity and most women don't wear it. He's at that stage where everything about this country is a visual feast of novelty - including me and my face.

Since he also doesn't have a filter, he's started commenting on my daily makeup choices: "What are those things you put on your eyes?" (fake lashes) "How come they're there one day and not the other?" (because they're fake). You get the point.

Getting regular commentary on my makeup choices is a little grating, but it's also made me think more about how much our makeup speaks to the world: It says something about who we are, who we think we are, and who we want to be.

There is a saying in Corporate America: Don't dress for the job you have; dress for the job you want. Though it's one of those sayings that has an Anthony Robbins punchline somewhere, it's true: The way we present ourselves tells the world how to treat us. Maybe it's not the way things should be, but it's the way of the world. You either will play or not, but your choices will affect a number of trajectories in your life.

When Carrie Underwood won American Idol, she underwent a physical transformation so stunning it should've won its own award. Already a pretty girl, Underwood was immediately put in the hands of a team of hair and makeup professionals to transform her into a Hollywood glamour girl. Though her singing talent would've spoken for itself, there is no doubt that had she stayed with her old makeup and hair, her career wouldn't have gone even close to the level it's reached. Susan Boyle, anyone?

Kim Kardashian is another one: The woman who's famous for being famous is really famous for having a look people covet. It's so well-crafted that it makes the people who create it famous.

Celebrity name-dropping aside, this speaks a truth about us everyday women in the workforce: Think about the industry you're in and if the makeup you wear suits it. Unfortunately, each morning isn't about dressing up your face to suit you. When you put on makeup for work, you're doing exactly that: It needs to be to be appropriate to the corporate culture.

My vocal (and arguably inappropriate) co-worker is a reminder of how much our makeup is seen at work.

Carrie Underwood: Pre- and Post-Hollywood Makeover


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