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Don’t judge a shoe by its color: The importance of looking at situations from different perspectives

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In PR (and in life), we’re always trying to look at issues and events from different perspectives to better understand them. Before I interviewed for my position at Red Shoes PR, I had obviously heard the story behind the company and the famous red shoes. That being said, it took looking at the company from a different angle just to get my foot in the door for the interview. My issue? Interview footwear.

On the one hand, the obvious choice was to wear red shoes. It’s what the company is named after, for crying out loud, and the employees wear red shoes every day. I had several friends familiar with the company passionately argue that I had to wear red shoes, or I might not get the job. “I would hate to see you lose the opportunity over something as easy as wearing red shoes,” one of them said.

The problem was that, for me, wearing red shoes wasn’t easy. I liked and understood that it was a part of the RSPR brand, but I felt like because of that everyone who interviewed there would wear red shoes. I pride myself on questioning the status quo, and it’s important to me to not only be my best self, but to be that best self authentically. Even though I wanted this job (badly), I didn’t want them to hire me if they thought I was something or someone I wasn’t. Besides, if EVERYONE thought they should wear red shoes, wouldn’t I stand out more if I didn’t?

The deciding voice came from a mentor/friend/style inspiration of mine who has worked closely with RSPR. “I understand what you’re saying,” she said. “But I also know that they’ve worked really hard to build their brand and, in a way, the red shoes represent that.”

Boom. Framed as a gesture of respect to a company that I admired instead of a “you have to do this because it’s the thing to do,” rocking the red shoes made so much more sense for me. Just by looking at the issue from a different angle, I was able to get behind it while still being true to myself. Overall it was a small mindset change, but it made a big difference in how I approached the situation. Now, every time I put on my red shoes and go into the office, I’m not just reminded to be confident, but to be mindful of how knee-jerk reactions can limit your potential. I think it’s a reminder everyone can use from time to time, no matter what color shoes you’re wearing.

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