I know a woman who works as a researcher /analyst for the government. Despite being frequently praised for the quality of her work, she has been stalled at the same career-level for many years now without being a promoted. The next step up would put her in a much more visible role to senior executives, department heads and political staffers.
That visibility seems to be the problem. Despite being a forty-year-old woman who is brilliant and well-qualified, she still boasts about how little time she needs to spend grooming between climbing out of bed and arriving at work. “I can get up and be out the door in eight minutes!” (I mention her age because this attitude seems more like that of a student than a seasoned professional.)
If you just roll out of bed, pull on whatever clothes are within grabbing reach and split for work, you’re not going to look your best. But it’s not even how you look that is the issue. The problem is that you’re not going to look like you care about how you present yourself. It pays to care. It’s part of your personal brand.
And that’s how it comes down to attitude. Showing up in track pants and sneakers might be easy and comfortable (well for some, I wouldn’t be comfortable – but I wear an Oxford shirt on the beach.) However, it can also indicate that you aren’t ready to move up to higher, more visible roles. It’s true that what you wear or how you appear doesn’t impact how good a researcher or analyst you are, but your boss may just as easily think that having a senior team member presenting an unprofessional appearance can affect how credible or savvy the whole department seems.
If you want to move up, iron your shirt. Shower and (for men) shave before heading to work. You don’t need to be a fashion model, but you should at least appear professional and well-groomed.
So, who spends the most time getting ready for work in the morning? It turns out that it’s government and public administration workers (42 minutes). This is followed by people in the education sector (41 minutes).
Who takes the least amount of time? Technology workers as well as people in transportation and warehousing (33 minutes).
This data comes from a survey conducted by Best Mattress Brand this summer. They surveyed over 1,000 people across demographics and industries about their sleeping and waking habits.
How long people take to get ready for work in the morning (by sector)
- Government and Public Administration (42 minutes)
- Education (41 minutes)
- Construction (38 minutes)
- Hotel, Food Services, and Hospitality (38 minutes)
- Medical and healthcare (37 minutes)
- Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (37 minutes)
- Wholesale and Retail (36 minutes)
- Finance and Insurance (35 minutes)
- Information Services and Data Processing (34 minutes)
- Manufacturing (34 minutes)
- Technology (33 minutes)
Transportation and Warehousing (33 minutes)
It turns out that it doesn’t pay to hit the ‘snooze’ button. Those respondents who say that they feel the most successful in their work and personal lives say that they usually get out of bed within ten minutes of the alarm going off.
That is significantly less time than those respondents who rate themselves as somewhat or not at all successful – who take twice as long to start the day.
You can read the full survey results from Best Mattress here.