Friday, November 16, 2012

Tom's Secret

When I was in law school, I worked in the research department of the law library.  One of my student co-workers was a student who I'll call  Tom (because that was his name, although I don't recall his last name.  Sorry, Tom).

At least in those days, it was typical for law firms to schedule interviews with the law schools.  A representative from the law firm would come to the school, and would interview second year law students for summer internships and third year law students for post-graduation positions.  The law students were expected to wear 'professional attire' to these interviews, which of course meant that the men had to wear suits.  Needless to say, this was not what people typically wore to class.  So when you would see someone dressed up, it was common courtesy to ask  who they were interviewing with, and to wish them good luck.

Tom was a year ahead of me in school, so during my second year he was very busy with interviews, trying to land a job for when he graduated in the spring.  And of course I always wished him good luck.

One day, Tom and I arrived at the library to work our assigned shifts, and I noticed he was wearing a suit.  As usual, I wished him good luck, and I asked who he was interviewing with.

"I don't have an interview today," he replied.

"But you're wearing a suit," I said.   (yes, I've always had an eye for the obvious.)

And that's when Tom shared his secret with me.  He'd been up quite late the night before, and felt pretty ragged, when he got up in the morning.  So he put on a suit.  He explained that the act of putting on a suit, forced him to focus more on what he was doing.  Then, throughout the rest of the day, wearing the suit made him feel obligated to pay attention, and stay alert, and present a positive attitude, because he felt he had to make his demeanor and attitude match what he was wearing.
"The worse I feel, the better I dress," he said.

Sounded like a bunch of mullarkey to me, but I nodded, and smiled pleasantly.

But the next time I got up in the morning, and felt like putting on my sweats and staying home,  I dressed up.  And you know what?  It worked.  Tom's secret truly worked!  I felt less tired, and better able to handle whatever the day was going to throw at me.

Now I'm not saying that getting dressed up will cure cancer, or even the common cold.  It won't even cure the hiccups, as far as I know.  But at least, sometimes, it can compensate for fatigue, or general malaise, or a late night.

Some days call for sweatpants and a cup of tea.  But some days - well, they call for dressing up.
And of course, a cup of tea.


  1. Nice post! I like it. And I ought to back link it to my "What to wear to an interview" post!LOL

  2. Very interesting and certainly something to consider. Good post.