"It was only when they were desperate that they turned to us... They have no use for someone who looks and dresses like me. Maybe this will be a lesson for them. Maybe that will change."
Posted by a friend of mine who works in a job where she would, traditionally, be expected to dress in stark suits, play a lot of golf and spend time networking the cocktail circuit.
She does none of these things. It doesn't matter; she is a unique personality, challenging because of the intensity of her intelligence but she gets a job done that needs done and few others have the cognitive bandwidth to handle.
Not dissimilar; there's a guy named Richard Pietro - worked until recently as a server at Swiss Chalet or some such, tends to dress in jeans and t-shirts and rarely shaves. Richard has led the organization of several inter-governmental events around Open Data, is a go-to consultant (for free) on various initiatives and is currently on a road trip across Canada discussing Open Government courtesy of the no-strings attached funding support of Microsoft.
This isn't how it used to be. Clothes and pastimes used to define "tribes", which was the definition that mattered most. I can remember the recent Ontario Liberal Leadership election where you could literally tell what team someone was on by how they were dressed - suits, hipster, scallywag, etc.
Of course, most people are still being judged on their appearance, their past times and their vocabulary, which is a tragedy.
It's all well and good to say "them folk, they need to conform if they expect to get on in society" but the truth is it's always the outliers, the people who think different and therefore, live differently that bring in the unthought-of solutions to problems no one mainstream can fix.
We're making progress in getting past judgment, but we still have a long way to go.