In recent times, now that many places are reopening, including many workplaces, I’ve seen a number of questions about what to wear for work and for job interviews. We know that we need to present the right image and make sure that we make the right impression from moment one.
Elul is my birthday month and so I celebrated by getting myself a small present and by making Duncan Hines brownies (fudgy, of course). There are those who think that birthdays are just a reminder of the date of birth and that there are more important days to celebrate that involve accomplishments. I don’t entirely agree. We all know someone who was affected health-wise by COVID-19, and so we’re much more aware of the importance of life and health and thanking Hashem for it.
What do these two ideas have to do with each other?
From me, you get the truth.
Elul is a time of reflection for all Jews now that the Yamim Nora’im are coming. We’re supposed to consider who we are, who we want to be, how far we’ve come, and how far there is still to go. There’s no better time than a birthday to do that kind of reflection, as long as we focus on learning and growing. Who says we can’t have it both ways? We can celebrate life and reflect on who we are.
Of course, part of reflecting on who we are is facing it head-on. We need to see ourselves and not hide. As the saying goes, “you can run but you can’t hide.” We cannot hide from Hashem, nor should we. Quite the opposite: We’re supposed to make sure that our voices are heard and our faces are seen the way that we want them seen. “But it’s not tznius to show your face.” Wrong! What’s truly not tznius is to think that we can hide. In fact, we need to present our best faces and then live up to that.
This is where the ideas about the workplace come in. All fashion gurus agree that the cardinal rule of dressing for work is that you must dress for the job you want and not for the job you have. If your employers can see you in a higher-level position, they are much more likely to help you get there.
Our “position” in this world is to serve HaKadosh Baruch Hu and be a light unto the nations. We need to present ourselves in ways that accurately reflect that position. We’re also much more likely to do a better job if we look and feel the part. When we’re dressed professionally, we feel more professional, and we’re more motivated to do the best job we can. When we’re dressed festively for Yom Tov, we feel much more like celebrating the Yom Tov. And when we present ourselves as Torah Jews and put our best faces forward - literally and figuratively - we feel that much more proud of who we are and we’re much more likely to make a Kiddush Hashem.
Now that the Yamim Noraim are upon us, let’s make sure that we put our best faces forward, and remember that we represent true Torah and mitzvos.
K’Sivah V’Chasimah Tovah to all.