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On The Road

Your car used to be a sign of your personality

Jean on the Job

Your car used to be identified with you. A Volkswagen beetle or a red Cadillac meant something about you. Your car reflected your personality, your values, your risk quotient. Now it simply determines whether you have children, a ski habit or are building your own home. There are still some amazing Porsches or Beamers around, which spell the distinguished guy or gal of good taste. But for the most part, it is hard to guess your persona by the Jeep you drive.

Mercedes, Audis, Volvos and Lexus are the Fords and Chevys of yesteryear - at least around Silicon Valley. Gas station attendants and bag boys are pretty blasé about the cars we drive. Only now and then does one gorgeous-looking Jaguar strike their fancy.

Your personality may show itself in the clothes you wear or the jobs you take. Other clues around you can determine you. Those clues may be the pens you write with, the movies you see or the computer games you play. Your car just doesn't name you anymore. Speaking of names, the personalized license plate is not as popular anymore, either.

What will it take to stand out? Maybe just you. Maybe your principles, your values, your working style, your enthusiasm or your tolerance. I still love my car.

Jean A. Hollands, CEO, Growth & Leadership Center, author, "Silicon Syndrome: How to Survive a High-Tech Relationship," "Optimistic Organizations" and "Red Ink Behavior: Measure the High Cost of Problem Employees," was voted Business Woman of the Year in 1986 and 1996. Write to GLC, 1451 Grant Road, Mountain View, 94040.

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