The Pandemic Profile Pic
I changed my profile picture for Medium today. I just couldn’t stand to keep looking at the me from August 2019 with my professional looking dress and solid colored background. I was smiling with my arms folded in front of me as is typical of head shots. It was fine for then, but not for now. I think now calls for a level of honesty we are not accustomed to advertising on our LinkedIn page. A level of honesty not shared in a resume.
My new profile picture was taken on my cell phone in my car. I am not even looking at the camera, I am looking out the window contemplating the day ahead. Thinking about the deliveries I need to make to keep paying my bills while I home school my first-grader, try to keep writing, and look for a steady job. I am thinking about how hard life is as a single parent.
My hair is brushed but not styled. I am wearing a ten-year-old T-shirt, shorts and a sweater. In the morning light, you can see the bags under my eyes that come from getting six hours sleep for weeks on end. My lips are pursed in a almost scowl.
This is my pandemic look.
This is how I look in real life every single day, I’m not going to try and tell you any different. And I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one. I was on a Zoom interview with two of the top executives of a Fortune 500 company a few weeks ago — one was wearing a T-shirt and the other one appeared to have not brushed her hair within recent memory. During yet another interview, two of my three interviewers opted not to turn their cameras on at all.
At first I was annoyed that I had bothered to get dressed up, do my make-up, and flat-iron my hair when no one else seemed to give a crap about their appearance, but then I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. These untouchable top-tier executives were letting their hair down, literally. It made them more human and more approachable. It made me less nervous and more sure of myself. Despite the boost in self-confidence, I still didn’t get the job. Maybe I should have showed up in my jammies or with my hair pulled into a pandemic bun.
So I suggest that we all just lose the pretense about having our shit together on the regular and change our profile pictures to…