Appearance is everything right? When I style clients through my other business Styled By Bec, I always tell them that people judge them on their appearance in the first 10 seconds of meeting them. This information is alarming if you don’t look your best or haven’t put any thought into your appearance. But who cares right? Sadly, your appearance can have a negative impact on the decision that person makes when it comes to job interviews or maintaining or building business clients.
So it brought a smile to my face when I recently read an article in the October issue of the Master Plumber magazine produced by the Master Plumbers Association of QLD (MPAQ) about plumbers making first impressions. The article advised plumbers not to wear pants smeared with silicone because current and potential clients would assume that you were an untidy tradesperson. For me being a girl plumber though, I always wanted silicone to be smeared on my shirt or pants because I wanted clients and other plumbers/apprentices to know that I wasn’t afraid to get dirty to get work done.
In my first week at tafe, I had a male apprentice ask me why my shoes were so clean. I should have honestly answered that the buildings I worked in required clean shoes (inner city tenancy work) and that our company rarely worked in areas that would ‘cake our boots with mud and effluent’. But because I felt judged and wanted to ‘fit in’, I told him, I had two pairs of boots and these ones were my newer pair! From then on though, I made an effort to really scuff my boots, walk in mud (when I could) and put silicone on my pants to show that I was a true blue plumber. I shouldn’t have cared what other people thought of me and now, 6 years later and reading the Master Plumber article, I reflect on how important it was for me to ‘look like a plumber’ and yet, to be a marketable point of difference, my silicone smeared pants were giving the wrong impression!
I had the same judgement made a month ago where my dad and I had to run a 25mm copper gas main under a house. I could crawl to a certain point, but my dad had to do the rest of the work under the house because it required crawling on your belly and being 16 weeks pregnant, there was no way I was going to fit under there, let alone squash my bub!
When we both came out from under the house, Dad was covered in cob webs and dirt, and me, I just had a bit of dust and dirt on my knees and hands. The electrician onsite asked me “so why didn’t you get under there and save your dad from doing the hard work.” I should have replied that most electricians wouldn’t know what hard dirty work was but I refrained and explained that I was pregnant. I’m pretty sure he felt foolish for his quick judgement.
I still believe appearance is important for every trade and business. When you look good, you feel good and you do your best work. So no more silicone smeared pants for me. If truth be told, I hate the stuff – silicone I mean, not the pants!!
Have you ever had to deal with a plumber that has had little pride in their appearance?