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How to Dress to Impress During Your Summer Internship

How to Dress to Impress During Your Summer Internship

You’ve got the job and you’re ready to take on your new role as a summer intern at a cool company. Although proving your ability to learn and highlight your skills while achieving your goals will be the most important part of your time there, what you wear will also leave a lasting impression of you that can be hard to shake.

Fortunately, dressing for a summer internship can be easy and fun if you stick to a few guidelines for appropriate office attire while also expressing your personal style with accessories and cool summer styles. Check out these five tips to rock your summer internship in style.

1. Know your industry

One of the most important workplace fashion tips available is to get a feel for how your industry dresses before your first day. If you’re working for a law firm, clearly, you’ll need to dress more formally and conservatively. If you’re working for a digital agency or an arts space, you’ll have a little more wiggle room.  Just remember to always dress for the job you want.

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After a few days, you might notice that other employees are wearing t-shirts and hoodies, but that doesn’t mean you should. Keep it classy with a pair of nice jeans and a button up or blazer. This will set you apart from others in a positive way by establishing you as someone who is fresh on the scene and full of enthusiasm for your new role.

2. Choose fashionable yet functional shoes

Dress shoes can be tricky. Sure, you want to wear the pair that will match best with your professional clothing, but you’ll also need to keep in mind that you will need to walk and stand in them all day. In other words, leave the clubbing shoes and church/wedding shoes at home. Invest in a nice pair of flats or lower heels or opt for dressier shoes that would still look good with slacks but won’t leave your feet with blisters for the next three months.

Pop Sugar offers up a guide with examples of shoes every woman should own for work. You can check it out here. Men’s Health Magazine has also created an excellent list of examples of shoes that every man should have for work.

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Naturally, if your style tends to be more masculine or feminine, don’t let the genders mentioned limit your options! Check out both guides to see what fits best with your personal style.

3. Invest in statement accessories

Professional dress can get a bit boring if you don’t spice it up here and there. Rather than opting to spice up your attire with an obnoxiously glittery shirt or Hawaiian print shorts, why not invest in a few nice statement accessories? Anything from a beautiful necklace to earrings, bags, watches, and bracelets can be used to add some oomph to your outfit without making you cross the line of professionalism.

If you’re investing in a fun watch, maybe take some time to pick one that really speaks to your personality. Chrono24 has created a fun infographic to help readers select the best watch for their intended use and personality. If you’d rather wear earrings, a bracelet, or a statement necklace, Business Insider has created a solid guide to help you choose what pieces you should wear and when.

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4. Don’t be afraid to wear summer clothing

Although it may seem like the chances of wearing a fun summer wardrobe are out the window, that’s not necessarily true. Sure, old cut offs and tanks might not be in the picture, but there are plenty of other summer clothing items made to fit a professional wardrobe.

Teen Vogue editors say your hemline should run according to the weight of your fabric. If you plan to wear a pair of shorts, be sure that they are made of quality, heavy fabrics that portray professionalism even with a shorter hemline. They also provided some additional tips and examples here.  If you’re looking for a more masculine take on appropriate summer office attire, check out AskMen’s guide.

When in doubt of whether or not a pair of shorts or a skirt is too short or simply not professional enough, opt for another outfit. It’s always better to over dress for a day at the office than to undress when you’re new.

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Hopefully these tips will help you as you complete your shopping for the best dress clothes to accompany you as you embark on a new chapter in your life. If you’re still looking for ideas, I recommend checking out Pinterest for men’s and women’s internship fashion.

Featured photo credit: iStock via i.istockimg.com

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Published on November 12, 2020

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

  • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
  • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
  • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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Final Thoughts

If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

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