Is Bending the Rules Good for Your Career?

By, Nicole Crimaldi

A few weeks ago, I started receiving a stream of Facebook messages and wall posts congratulating me on my quote in Redbook magazine.    

“Huh?!  What quote?!”

Turns out it was true.  I laughed out loud when I finally read it myself!  It was in a section of July 2009’s Redbook about breaking the rules.  Ironically,  my quote said:

After a long week of work, I occasionally use a Friday to bend my company’s conservative dress code a little bit by wearing open-toed shoes or a leopard-print top!” — Nicole Crimaldi, 25, Chicago

A few things ran through my head. 

1.  Who knew that so many girls my age read Redbook!

2. When the heck did I give a journalist this quote?!

3. How ironic is it that I got quoted about breaking dress code when I write a career blog?!

4.  Is bending the rules good or bad for your career?

Of course the answer to the last question is quite subjective, and depends on what industry you are in and who you are talking to.  Either way, I’d like to believe that a little bending of the rules makes you more creative, and possibly more valuable to those around you at work.

Regardless of your industry, you are serving internal and external clients each day.  By relying solely on “policy, protocol and rules” you may come off a bit stiff, lackadaisical and perhaps even lazy.  Getting too comfortable with the rules can lead to complacency in your job and not pushing yourself to the next level of your career.

Getting out of your comfort zone (and perhaps getting those around you out of THEIR comfort zones) might open new doors.  Don’t be afraid to ask a question to someone you don’t usually talk to in your organization or to get more information for a project.  Don’t be afraid to get creative with a simple customer service request in order to make some one’s day.  Don’t be afraid to ask why your manager wants you to do something if you don’t understand why or feel it is unethical.

People may actually come to respect you for your ability to push the status quo for the benefit of your company, co-workers and clients. 

Now of course, bending the dress code is a whole different story but- in my opinion- my clients and co-workers see my passion, energy and personality through the way I express myself in my business wardrobe. 

Passion and enthusiasm are contagious, so why not do a little bending of the rules to cheer up those around you and get ahead in your career?

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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