NC mom’s LinkedIn headshot ignites debate over workplace norms during COVID-19

NC mom’s LinkedIn headshot ignites debate over workplace norms during COVID-19
Lauren Griffiths LinkedIn profile (WTVD)

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — A Wake County mother, who is working from home, changed her LinkedIn headshot, sparking discussions about workplace norms during the pandemic, WTVD reported.

Lauren Griffiths works in human resources and decided to change her profile picture on LinkedIn and wrote a post explaining why she did it. It then went viral being viewed 23 million times and gaining more than half a million reactions and more than 17,500 comments.

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“At that time (I took the initial picture), I wanted to portray and represent something that maybe I thought was powerful or thought that I meant I was driven and capable. And sort of conform to some of the other things that I had been seeing. But with age, with pandemic, with all of these things happening in your life, it turns out that that stuff’s not important, and everyone needs to do what’s best for them," Griffiths told WTVD.

Griffiths said she was surprised by the reaction from so many people but thinks she knows why it connected with other users.

“I think many people feel the same way. And that’s one of the comments I’ve received repeatedly," she said.

Griffiths said she hopes the post and corresponding reaction start a bigger conversation about professional standards.

“It’s not about me. It’s about who makes the rules and what those rules should be. And I’m so grateful that we’re debating this. We’re challenging the norms. We’re asking the right questions. All the good questions -- what does it even mean to be professional? Are there different standards for different genders and ethnicities? I don’t have the answers, but what I’m encouraging people to do via this post is to ask those questions. I challenge everyone to have these courageous conversations with their teams and their leaders and their companies,” she said.

Lauren Griffiths
Lauren Griffiths (WTVD)

Griffiths' post on LinkedIn about why she changed her profile picture:

Why I Changed my LinkedIn Profile Pic

Recently, I took a long hard look at my LinkedIn profile photo - the woman staring back at me had newly highlighted hair and a fresh cut, a pressed blazer, a hint of a smile that showed just the right amount of teeth to let you know she was serious but could be lighthearted when needed. I remember standing in my power pose as my husband snapped the photos. We poured through about 80 shots before we found the one that looked perfectly polished. But the person I was exuding then is not always who I am, and certainly, not who I am right now.

Today’s remote world has blurred the lines between my professional and personal selves, so I’ve chosen to represent that in my photo. Barely dried hair, comfy pullover, ripped jeans - slightly frazzled from having just gotten 3 kids ready for “school” - but smiling and ready for work.

I’ve witnessed and read enough on authentic leadership to know that being genuine and vulnerable will get you a lot farther in your career than a glossy headshot.

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