Work Like Your Nail Color, Even if It's Nude

office attireWith all the negativity and depression clouding the working world these days, author/radio host Mary Foley thinks it's time to lighten up a little -- or at least to add a little color. She's been through all the ups and downs the economy has had to offer, and she chooses to look on the bright side, which is an inspiration to us all.

Freshly graduated from Virginia with a degree in engineering, Foley took an $8 an hour customer service rep job, "just to pay the bills." That was with the then-unknown AOL, and she moved up, up, up with the company, eventually heading up corporate training, then getting out of the company back when the getting was good.

Since then she's earned a master's degree in organization development from Pepperdine University and authored two books, including Bodacious! Woman: Outrageously in Charge of Your Life and Lovin' It, and Live Like Your Nail Color. She currently is the co-host of the fabulously friendly "Girlfriend We Gotta Talk" radio show, which is broadcast live in Richmond, VA, and can be found online at

For AOL Jobs, Mary applied her colorful concepts to the working world:

What does your favorite nail color – or naked nails – reveal about you?

Your fingers (or toes) are really mini-indicators into your personality!

  • If you usually have a French manicure, you are one classy, sophisticated and incredibly practical gal. Your nails are neatly manicured, without going to extremes, and the look goes with every outfit.
  • Are you wearing mocha or a shade of brown? These earth tones mean you're a woman who is grounded, approachable and someone we can share our deepest thoughts with.
  • How about pink? Pink is the quintessential girlie color, and one of the most popular colors for nails. If you choose a light to medium pink, you are friendly, happy and lighthearted. For those who prefer the wilder side of pink – aka, the hot pink and fuchsia tones – then you are known to be on the talkative, fun, and exciting side.
  • Wild about red? Considered to be the wildest nail color of all, women who love red nails are usually leading the "Passionate About Life Parade" with their energy, enthusiasm, and confidence.
  • And if your nails are naked? According to a recent survey, only about 35 percent of women paint both their fingers and toes, which means most women paint only one or the other, the most popular being their toes. There are a lot of reasons why women don't paint their nails; but one thing is true: having naked nails means you're willing to be your true, authentic self and show it to the world.

office style

What does your nail color say about your career?

Because fingernails are always visible, they communicate more about your career than do toenails. Sixty-one percent of women surveyed have naked fingernails. It's considered by many that well-manicured naked nails are the mark of a confident, modern woman. However, naked does not mean neglected! Far too many women in business have ragged, bitten, unkempt nails that can communicate to co-workers or a potential employer nervousness, incompetence, and lack of confidence.

Then there are the gals who take the time to color their fingernails. Gals who wear a French manicure or mild nail color usually like their career and feel comfortable with how it's going. They literally look and feel polished! Gals who sport a brighter nail color are usually excited about their career and have found a personal sweet spot of success. Their confidence is high and they are willing to take more career risks because of it!

You've said that becoming more comfortable with job change is "just a nail color away." How so?

Especially in today's nail-biting, roller coaster times, many women are gripped by fear. Questions such as 'What is going happen?', 'What will I do?', 'Will I be OK?' paralyze our hearts and minds. Stop biting your nails and give them a paint job! And when you do, use the following two rules for picking a polish to help you take the fear out of change, one nail color at a time.

Rule No. 1: Always Pick a Different Nail Color

Don't reach for your favorite color. That's too safe and it's too easy to get stuck in a rut. You can make a slight color change or really go for it. For example, if you usually wear a French manicure, how about going fora light pink the next time? Or, perhaps a hot pink! You could really avoid the rut and go with a bright red or sparkling blue. If you love the new color, fabulous! If you can't stand it, take it off! Either way you took a risk and you lived through it. Trying on new nail colors is a warm-up for trying on bigger changes in your life

Rule No. 2: Always Make Sure Your Nail Color Has an Inspiring Name:

There are so many great nail color names today that there's just no excuse for a name that's boring or that you don't love. The name of your nail color should make you laugh or inspire you. When you glance at your fingernails with Make Mamma Happy or know that your toes are poking out from your sandals with Wine Not, your nail color name is egging you on to crack a smile. A nail color name like Networking Queen can inspire you to keep meeting new people who may help you with your job search.

What do you do when you love the nail polish color, but the name is booooring? Make up a new one! It's only a sticker, for goodness sake. In fact, change it several times if you want. Always remember, these are your nails and this is your experience. Be in the driver's seat and enjoy the ride.

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