Q. The dress code where I work is pretty casual. Nobody really cares what I wear. My mom keeps telling me that I should dress up though. I keep telling her that nobody cares, but she won't let it drop. What can I tell her to get her off my back?
A. Well, first, you should always listen to your mother. And, in this case your mother isn't entirely wrong. The way you present yourself is important. Even if it seems as if people aren't paying attention, on some level they are. You want to always be sure that you're projecting a sense of competence and self-worth, and your clothing can go a long way towards laying the ground work for that. You should be especially careful about what you wear if this is a job where you might want to get a promotion or where you might want to get recommendations that will allow you to get a better job one day. The general rule is that to get ahead, you should dress for the job you want rather than the job you have. Of course, you should also dress appropriately for the job. It doesn't make sense to wear a suit if you're going to be planting bushes, but taking your wardrobe up a notch or two can only help.