Impressive Impressions

Tatiana Gutierrez

Before my one-on-one interview for a volunteer job at a medical clinic, I was worried my future boss would not take me seriously since I was younger than most of the volunteers, so I wore glasses hoping I would come off as smart and put together.

After I got the job, I kept wearing my glasses even though everything an arms-length away was extremely blurry, hoping people would think I belonged in a professional environment.

I doubt wearing glasses had any factor in determining whether or not I got the job, rather it was my Dad’s advice to make eye contact, have a firm handshake and avoid using the words “like,” “um” and ending responses with “so yeah” that allowed me to make a good first impression.

First impressions usually stick with people more than the brief conversations at the watercooler or making photocopies for them.

Working in an office where the average employee is around 30 years old forces me to be more mindful of my actions and what I say because I never know who’s listening in or glancing over.

It can be hard when I’m sitting at my desk to control urges to check Snapchat, Instagram and texts, but I don’t want to give the impression I’m the stereotypical teenage girl engrossed in my phone and completely disconnected from the world around me.

It can be a little unsettling to feel like I’m being judged at work, but realistically wherever I go, whether or not I am formally introduced, I am making an impression on people.

From what I say, to how I act to what I wear all convey who I am to random strangers, people who might have connections that would give me an advantage in the future when applying to a school or job.

Simply saying “I don’t care what people think about me,” shows a certain comfortableness with self expression, but this phrase doesn’t serve as an excuse to do whatever we please.

It can be difficult to constantly monitor what I say especially when I am joking around with my friends, but I would rather refrain from saying something which can be misinterpreted than get a couple of laughs.

Manners aren’t only meant for the dinner table. The little things like making eye contact and giving people your undivided attention can leave a positive lasting impression in any circumstance.