Hard work and haberdasher create success

Uniforms lend a certain ease and image to students at the start of the new school season. Much like military uniforms, they eliminate the need for a supply of daily clothing and the time to choose and coordinate them.

“We like them, mom,” declared my kids after their first day at a middle school with mandatory uniforms. “Everyone is equal.” I was grateful for the reduction in at least one element of morning chaos and welcomed the break to the household budget.

Uniforms, however, have another big benefit. They credit the wearer with an instant image of success, of professional standing.

Perhaps it’s subtle, when it comes to school kids, but for service members  it gives an unmistakable impression.

The military uniform’s counterpart in the corporate world is the suit. It, by the way, has been around, bestowing assurance and encouraging opportunity ‘uniformly’ in some way or another for 150 years. It’s been called the battlegarb of the business world.

Man in business suit

Suit as uniform

Military garb represents its culture, its regulations and signifies seniority, tradition and honor. And, like the business suit, it can relay a kind of instant success to the casual observer.

When the average person looks at a confident service member they don’t see the journey between the recruit at the moment of enlisting to the fine, finished and fit member of the military they have in front of them.

They don’t see all the hard work that went into building that service member’s mind and body.

Popular culture is serving up some new ways for ‘regular, civilian folks’ to see behind the scenes. It’s evident in a new reality show about stars (celebrities) earning their stripes, cartoon strips and even motivational business skills or fitness programs that brand   themselves with the easy addition of  “warrior” to their marketing message.

Anyone on ‘the inside’ of an organization knows how much effort and time goes into making what the public sees as “an overnight success.”

You’ve got to go through steps, and climb a couple of prescribed ladders to get to where you want to go. In the civilian business world now, there are short cuts. Success is based on profit and on performance.

Entrepreneurs can be made, as the saying goes, flying by the seat of their pants, and applying street smarts. (In American English, one partner in such pant ventures is the haberdasher, a term for a men’s clothing outfitter). 

Military Success Network’s upcoming stories note when the established sequence must be followed in the business world and those cases where success comes, not as identifiable by its attire,    from the new, fast paced creativity and communication.

For now, and in this week of Neil Armstrong’s passing,  MilSuccessNet honors the traditional, and sometimes very thrilling way to build towards success.

Armstrong, was an aerospace engineer, U.S. Navy pilot and officer who served in the Korean War, a test pilot who logged more than 900 flights and a university professor. All this before becoming an astronaut.

He worked for decades before his magical moon walk moment that made him an overnight celebrity and success story.

For fun and as an homage to Armstrong the pilot, see this show of the 10 coolest aircraft he flew, before he took up walking.

Read how this message reminded the writer of some basics of good  communication.





  1. Erin Kohler says:

    I agree with your opinions on school uniforms…they make every child equal at school and make students realize that school is important; it’s their job. They are dressing for their work day just like their mom and dad. Also, uniforms remove the distraction of clothing choices from the classroom and give the teacher one less thing to manage during the day. I wish that more schools would require uniforms!

    • Helena Kaufman says:

      You are so right. Beyond being the great equalizer, it can also focus our energies and open opportunity by simply limiting wardrobe choice. Morning chaos and fretting about ‘coolness’ was reduced in my home with uniforms.

      Looking forward to reading more from you, Erin.

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