How A Marty McFly Costume Could Save Your Career
It was Halloween. The first Halloween with my new job at a startup in San Francisco. I was looking around the office and noticed that almost everyone was wearing a costume. I had never worked in such an open environment and could not believe that it was acceptable for everyone to dress up on Halloween, let alone any other day of the year. To me, this was a place where you came to work, not to have fun.
I began to think about how much things had changed since I took my first job at Microsoft six years earlier. In college, I wore shorts and t-shirts every day because I wanted to fit in with the cool students who were building the next big startup (this was before Facebook). At Microsoft, I wore suits and ties because it was important to look professional (to justify my high salary). Wearing a suit meant that you were serious about your career and would do whatever it took to get ahead.
Now here I was at 23 years old wearing jeans and a hoodie to work everyday. It felt strange but also liberating, like anything could happen.
How a Marty McFly Costume Could Save Your Career
It’s the first time in over 30 years that Halloween will fall on a Friday. But for many of us, the festivities won’t end once the kids have stopped ringing our doorbell. If you work in the tech industry, chances are you’ll be attending an office party or two. And if you’re like me, you’ve been trying to figure out how to stand out at these parties.
I didn’t even realize Halloween was on a Friday until I got an invitation to my company’s costume party. That gave me less than two weeks to think of something good. At first I thought about going as Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice, but my wife pointed out that I might offend some of our newer employees who may not recognize the reference. I considered going as Marty McFly from Back to the Future, but then realized that no one understands that reference anymore either. As a last resort, I considered going as Boba Fett from Star Wars, but my wife said she wouldn’t go with me because she didn’t want to be Princess Leia again.
The problem is that Halloween costumes just aren
I recently went back to the future. And I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t care about a cheap Halloween costume.” But it’s more than that, it’s about how you can use your Halloween costume to get an interview, build your network and improve your image.
Here’s my story:
I’m a software engineer in Silicon Valley who has been doing the startup thing for over a year now. And like any engineer, I’m always looking to code and create stuff. So last year I coded a Back To The Future app that would tell me if it was “Back To The Future Day” or not.
I’ve been trying to get into iOS development for awhile now and thought maybe this would be the perfect side project to showcase my skills:
• It was fun (and who doesn’t like Back To The Future)
• It was fast (did I mention, who doesn’t love Back To The Future)
• It had some neat animations that I could show off
• It had some cool quirks (like using the current date as the default search instead of 10/21/2015).
A Marty McFly Costume could save your career. No, really.
I’m going to give you a simple, 5-step formula for starting conversations that will help you build stronger relationships with people you don’t know very well.
But first, let me tell you about Marty McFly…
Marty is the main character in Back to the Future – one of my all-time favorite movies. He ends up accidentally traveling back in time and has to take his father on a wild adventure to ensure that his parents fall in love.
Back in the 1980s, when Back to the Future was filmed, Marty was considered one of the coolest guys around. In fact, he became so popular that people started wearing costumes in order to look like him!
The problem? Marty’s costume wasn’t very easy to replicate because it consisted of many different pieces: a jacket and vest, jeans, and a bright red puffy shirt (to name a few).
There’s a lot of great advice out there to help you get ahead in your career. You know, like “network”, “be nice”, and “show up on time”. It’s good stuff. I try to follow this advice myself. It’s been my experience that it pays off.
But sometimes I just don’t feel like networking, being nice, or showing up on time. Sometimes I just want to be like Marty McFly at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance and rock a fantastic outfit while sipping on a Tab and wasting quarters at the arcade.
So last week I did! It was Halloween, after all! My business partner, Jason Stauffacher, and I decided to dress as Marty McFly (from Back To The Future) and Doc Brown (from Back to the Future). We had an absolute blast going to parties and handing out candy at our office (you should really check out our Facebook page if you want to see more photos).
And that’s when it struck me: this is probably the best career advice ever!
This year I have had several career defining moments. One of them was wearing a Marty McFly Costume to work.
When you work in Silicon Valley, there is always a party! Every week the entire company gathers at someone’s house or bar to let loose and have fun. In the past I’ve worn costumes that varied from funny to punny to lazy (I just put on a pair of jeans). This year, however, I decided to take my costume to the next level.
I got the idea for my Marty McFly costume from this website: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Dress-Like-Marty-Mcfly/. It was so easy and cheap that I just had to do it!
The costume was perfect for me because besides being a huge Back To The Future fan, it also fit in perfectly with my personality. I’m a positive person who is always looking forward and trying new things. Plus, the costume was just plain fun!
Marty McFly Costume
By Mike Lewis
October 4, 2014
You probably don’t need an excuse to dress up as Marty McFly and walk around the office. (In fact, you should be doing that every day.) But if you need an excuse, I’ve got one: Marty is a great networker.
If you’re unfamiliar with Marty, let me give you a quick rundown of his character. He’s a teenager from the 1980s who travels back in time to 1955 and then forward to 2015. He meets a lot of people along the way. He makes friends with them, sort of by accident. But he does it so well that he’s able to save his family and his future self.
The movie is Back to the Future Part II, which came out in 1989. So what can we learn from a 25-year-old character? Quite a bit, actually. Here are five easy networking lessons from Marty McFly: