A few years ago, right when I first ventured into the scary waters of self-employment, I went to Kohl’s and bought several pairs of slacks and button-up shirts. I knew that the clothes I wore would make a statement about who I am and how I run my company. I wanted to be taken seriously and show my customers that I wasn’t just a young punk.
I did this for a while until a few customers made some comments about how I was always so serious. Which made me realize that I may be able to relax a little… sometimes. So when it was time to buy more business attire, I got online and bought several silly t-shirts. Here’s one of my favorites.
It says: “Free Tibet* (*With purchase of another Tibet of equal or greater value).“
Earlier this week, I went to a business event and everyone was told to bring their favorite t-shirt and explain to the group why it’s their favorite. I brought this one.
I like it because it’s my kind of humor… it’s subtle. And if you’re not paying attention, you may miss it. I like that it pokes fun at kids my age who “support” causes—such as concern for the well-being of Tibetans—by simply slapping a bumper sticker on the back of their cars. And I like that I can tell who’s reading it and who isn’t. Sometimes I’ll get a laughs and hear something like “that’s awesome,” or “that’s hilarious.” But every once in a while, I’ll get comments from people who don’t get it—like the guy behind the counter at Starbucks who said “I like your shirt! Do you work for a nonprofit or a political group?” I held back the sarcastic comment that I wanted to say (“umm, did you even read the shirt?“) and just smiled and told him I didn’t.
I also like it because it reminds me that supporting something you actually believe in is a lot more than just wearing a t-shirt or buying coffee from a company that donates a few cents to an organization. Getting involved means taking action—often with your own hands. Which is something I’m not very good at right now…. but I’m working on. In the meantime, I’ll just keep wearing random humorous shirts and hope you’re paying attention enough to read the whole thing—otherwise, you’re just proving my whole point.
By the way, if you want to buy the shirt yourself so you too can be cool, check it out here: www.bustedtees.com/freetibet