They say you can tell a lot about a person by looking at the shoes they wear to work. Shiny black loafers, for example, may indicate a person is meticulous and tidy; a soft, brown slip-on suggests someone who is comfortable in their role; and flip-flops, well, they tell us that your colleague is very confused and has come to work by mistake instead of going to the beach. I work in an academic library as a library assistant, and as many of you may have noticed, the shoes I wear to work are red sneakers, which apparently, indicates “confidence and personality”. I think it is safe to assume that, yes, I do have a personality (I’m not sure I would have survived without one), but the question remains: do I wear red shoes because I feel confident, or do I feel confident because I wear red shoes? Either way, confidence and personality are positive attributes to bring to any library.
My sons have recently discovered The Wizard of Oz and I think they are somewhat disappointed that my red shoes do not magically take me to Kansas or Munchkin Land. They have not yet been exposed to The Red Shoes fairy tale, in which a young woman buys a pair of magic red shoes from a mysterious shoemaker; when she puts them on, they force her to dance forever, until, finally exhausted, she pulls them off, only to die. Fortunately this has not happened to me. Coincidentally, my eldest son’s favourite pair of shoes are his red Converse All Stars. Now, he certainly has confidence and personality, but that’s a whole other story.