Sunday, May 15, 2011

What do you do?

I was walking down the street today in the lovely metropolis that is NYC and saw a woman sporting a shirt that read "Dog walker. $10 an hour."At first I was amused by the shirt. Then, I thought to myself, this woman is on to something.

In our superficial society where looks are everything and our professions define who we are, we are all doing what this dog walker is doing, just being more subtle about it. Brands and labels are status symbols to tell those around us how much we make and therefore how much we are worth. We dress the way we want people to view us.

A wealthy banker strutting an Armani suit might as well just wear a shirt that reads "Banker. More than you.". The guy in the big glasses, paint stained shirt and ripped jeans might as well wear "Struggling artist. Broke but happy". The twenty something with gelled hair and the button down shirt might read "Assistant Regional Manager. Enough. (facebook me)." Or the girl in the tight black dress and four inch heels, "Desperate. Whatever you'll give me."

We spend our entire lives working to get the job we want. We study for years, go on countless interviews and pay our dues at unpaid internships to build up our resumes to get our dream jobs. We're all dying for everybody to know who we are and what we do. In this country, our profession is the culmination of everything we've done in our life up to that point. When you meet someone, one of the first things they'll ask is, "What do you do?". This, apparently, defines us. We want the world to know what who we are and what we do.

That's what style is after all, isn't it? A way to categorize ourselves; brand ourselves. Even the hipsters out there who are 'misunderstood' want the world to know they are misunderstood. Everybody wants to be noticed.

So this woman's idea of putting her business card on her shirt is really just a bluntly honest way of doing what we all do every day: selling ourselves through what we wear.

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