Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dress for Success

Lynn sent me an email this week. Lynn's a sorority sister, a commercial interior designer in Milwaukee. She writes that one of her colleagues walks around the office in just his socks and her firm has a dress code that does not allow employees to wear jeans in the office, even on Fridays. It also requires women to wear stockings, year round.

Oh wow. Her world is very different than mine.

I know some industries require dressing up. People who are client facing should dress nicely. It's professional and it shows respect.

I worked today. I'm fairly dressed up for a day working at home: jeans, black boots with a moderate heel, red sweater and makeup. Mostly though, I dress up when I see my clients. The Pinks call this Getting Fancy as in Mommy's Getting Fancy today so she must be going to play with the big people. In tech, where I work, people who aren't customer facing can wear shorts, t-shirts and flip flops year round. This is California.

I am currently working with a client that employs 80,000 people around the globe. Its corporate headquarters is in the Silly Valley and I go there about twice a month. It's an entire city within a city. There are more than 50 buildings on the campus and I am oddly fascinated by this. More than anything else, I love going there to eat. There are cafeteria-style restaurants with good, healthy, interesting food that I don't have to prepare myself. I also nerdily think it's cool that with a few keystrokes on my laptop, I can reserve a conference room in any of the buildings worldwide.

One of the best things about this client is that they make it easy to work anywhere, anytime. This means that I wear pajamas to work a lot. I have a phone and network connectivity. I have collaboration software. I walk downstairs into my home office and get to it.

This is my tenth year consulting. It would be hard for me to transition back to dressing up and going into an office every day.

I don't know what to tell Lynn, except that I'm sorry this is going on in her workplace.


Paige said...

Does your friend work in the dark ages?? Because I wouldn't even know where to buy nylons now that the 80's are over.

Kelly said...

One of the places I used to teach did not allow open toe shoes for women - even in the summer. I always wondered where in the world they came up with that as a non-professional item.