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Commuting and promotions - any connection?

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Commuting and promotions - any connection?

Old 11-04-14, 12:16 PM
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Commuting and promotions - any connection?

This thread is going to sound like a troll thread, but I'm not trying to troll. We have had somewhat related threads before, but it is always good to get more points of view. With that disclaimer, let me proceed:

I read an article on Linkedin today - https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/...reer-sadly-yes

Made me think - as cyclists, we are highly non-conforming (assuming that is a word). I like to think that since I am a software engineer, how I dress and how much I conform to upper management style matters less, especially when I want to move up the technical track. But I cannot help wondering - is that really so? What is your experience? Has cycling in to work affected your chances of a promotion?
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Old 11-04-14, 12:43 PM
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Depends on where you work, I suppose. For those in the "rat race" conformity is key to succeeding.
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Old 11-04-14, 01:12 PM
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I actually got promoted several times since I started commuting; so the correlation isn't with cycling but how you look. It certainly has an impact on how others perceive you for sure. We're human after all. That said, cycling also makes you healthier and so can boost your "look". Being "in shape" is usually well perceived by others.

But now, if you don't take off the jersey/bike clothes while at work then you don't really look serious :-)

But even about that, it seems that cycling has started to become a way for businessman to do business now :-) Cycling is the new golf!
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Old 11-04-14, 01:45 PM
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As faculty/academic staff (UK speak), I am Environmental Champion of the department and it goes on the CV and is a talking point.

- Environmental Champion (>90% cyclocommutes year-round)
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Old 11-04-14, 01:51 PM
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It did not hurt me. At my prior office, I was the youngest principal for several years. At my current office, I am topped out and have no interest in a supervisory role.
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Old 11-04-14, 02:19 PM
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I've had several raises as a senior software engineer. I'm not interested in promotions, but if I did want to climb the ladder and cycling to work was an issue I suspect that it would also have to be the "right" car and not the old beater. Even interviewing, some of them actually sneak out to take a peek at the car you drive. Cycling cuts right across that nonsense.

Seriously, it probably depends on the specific corporate culture. Where I work I feel like it wouldn't be an issue.
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Old 11-04-14, 02:36 PM
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That's a really interesting question. Perception and appearance is important in corporate settings no surprise there. But does this same type of judgement apply to people who bike commute assuming that their appearance is similar and appropriate to others in their workplace? It'd be interesting to see if anyone ever does a study on that.

I'm an employer as a founding partner of the company I work for. We have about 50 people in our office and more than half of them ride to work at least a few times a year. Many daily riders and a few of us year round. We aren't in the cycling or sports business but we have created a culture that encourages cycling in our company. Plus our city is a great bike town. So if you worked for us your choice or ability to commute by bike would make no difference whatsoever in your chances of promotion. How you get to work is not a consideration. How you do your job is.

Last edited by modernjess; 11-04-14 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 11-04-14, 03:47 PM
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I work in a area where its kind of normal for the individuals to be just that -individuals. I draw/design for a living and look at technology as a leg up on the competition. So, being that todays slacks are blue jeans in the area, I like where I am at and would only like to stay in this kind of profession. (not necessarily here) Any others? Where besides a down town courier is it kind of a stereotype?
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Old 11-05-14, 12:39 PM
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Thanks everyone! @DunderXIII - you're right, cycling does make you look more fit. @modernjess - your company sounds like a good place to work
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Old 11-05-14, 02:30 PM
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I think there is a whole lot of truth in the article you linked. I'm sure there are positions at certain companies that would be very hard to get as a bike commuter. For me the truth is that I'd have a very difficult time working at a company like that anyway.

I'm a software guy at heart though most of my time is spent in management now. The profession has had its ups and downs, but luckily for me there have been no shortage of jobs available when I've been in the market for one. This has allowed me to choose a company with a mission and a culture that aligns with my values.

Cycling to work is an activity that's very much encouraged here now, - though aside from myself, there are no other director level people that do so consistently. It's become very common among everyone else. However, I was the only one for a number of years. I accept that I'm a little bit of an oddball in some ways and this allows to me to take risks that other don't. That's not always a bad thing. Nevertheless, I understand the importance of "looking the part" and I make an effort to have whatever quirkiness I exude to be seen in a positive light. And those quirks that aren't positive, I work on getting rid of.

A trend I see that is interesting is that Millennials as a group seem less interested in fancy cars than the generations before them. They're also less interested in things like golf, - which is (or at least was) a common way to network and schmooze. I see more people running, and yes, cycling. I'm definitely not a Millennial, but in another decade or so, they will be starting to move into upper management positions. More and more it will be their values that helps determine who gets promoted and who doesn't.

Last edited by tjspiel; 11-05-14 at 02:41 PM.
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