Working with college students, I tend to hear a lot of great, creative terms.
One such term is “schmedium.” It is used to describe shirts of students in denial they are still growing (this is usually men, but women can be guilty as well).
Photo Credit: Richard Ayers
As many college students often get free shirts, these maturing students continue to request size small shirts that, once worn a couple times, are well stretched to fit their now medium physiques.
Unfortunately, it is very obvious that they are wearing a shirt that is too small. It’s not a pretty sight.
This may be how you feel in your work. Perhaps you have grown professionally so that your current responsibilities no longer fit you well.
Or you have had to take on extra responsibilities over the years that never were a great fit, but you had the ability to do them and so they were assigned to you.
Only now that your organization has recovered (or maybe it hasn’t), so many extra duties have been piled on that you can no longer concentrate on those that use your strengths.
Either way, over time, that shirt that did not fit has become comfortable. It has become well stretched.
You realize by wearing it, you are no longer looking the best. Perhaps the gaps between the buttons are getting bigger or the extra rolls are beginning to show.
Either way, there is no denying that the shirt no longer fits.
There are a lot of studies that have found those ill-fitting day job are dangerous to your health.
They could also negatively affect your professional growth, relationships, income potential, and more.
For your health and your future, you need to get rid of the “schmediums” in your professional wardrobe.
How to move up a shirt size?
1. Change your mindset. Just like the college guys were in denial that the shirts no longer fit them, you may be in denial that a change is needed. At some point, as painful as it is, you will need to accept the fact that you no longer wear a size small. You are ready for a size medium. Don’t feel bad. Enjoy the fact that your skills and knowledge have increased!
2. Throw out what doesn’t fit. This is definitely the hardest thing to do. You have a lot of shirts that are very comfortable, even though they don’t really fit. You say you love them, but the truth is they have simply become comfortable and you are afraid you will never find another shirt as comfortable. Fear not! Soon enough, your new shirts that fit appropriately will be your favorites.
3. Find the right size. You may need to try on a few new things to find what really fits you now. Volunteer or seek out projects at work that will allow you to use new skills. Maybe you have jumped a couple shirt sizes. Regardless, don’t be afraid to try new things. Yes, it will be a little uncomfortable at first. In the long run you will be able to present yourself better. You will no longer be trying to squeeze into ill-fitting clothes.
4. Continue updating your wardrobe. Dan Miller of 48 Days fame encourages his listeners to cut 15% of their responsibilities each year. Why? To make room, in both time and mental capacity, for new ideas and opportunities. If you are still trying to squeeze into too-small shirts, you will stop growing professionally because your wardrobe won’t stretch anymore. Rejuvenate yourself by continuously clearing out the old to make room for the new.