Long Live Dress Code

August 3, 2007

big brother

You read that right, dress code lives long, never dies, right from our time in school, through our days in college to the work we do now. Got pulled up for dress code again this week. My supervisor told me that I wasnt’ wearing a wacky tacky tie on monday and said that it was a gross violation of their “make-mondays-even-more-pathetic” policy. Really, it just pisses me off totally everytime someone tells me I’m not dressed properly. Already I feel I’m becoming one of those 9-5 (or midnight sometimes) software guys who look forward to friday, those thank god its friday types. My mondays are always blue, with each monday bluer than the one before. Life just moves at the slowest pace on a monday and to top all this off, I’m required to wear a tie. I have to confess that I still don’t know how to knot one and that I never usually remove the knot if someone had done it for me. The only tie I have, had been knotted on october 9th, that was the day i joined the company. I cant even remember where it lies now, probably someone took it, my friends have this funny habbit of taking my belongings without my knowledge.  So as she was telling me about it, I was kinda burning with rage for a few seconds there, but quickly cooled myself off and told her how I really felt uncomfortable wearing a tie. She gave the usual reply that clients from abroad often visit the office and how they usually like it when people working for them (yes, indirectly we work for them)  wear a tie. There were two things I wanted to make it clear to her. First, “what clients?” During my work there I had never seen even one of their clients. The office has this big welcome board displayed in the reception once in 2 months or so, indicating that a client is coming that day, but rarely do we ever see him/her, unless ofcourse they’re invisible. That could explain everything, including why i feel like I’m being watched everytime I read blogs from office. But being a product of science I could never adhere to the theory of invisible clients. So it had to be that clients visit very infrequently and even if they ever come here, they rarely come to work area. Second, how did they arrive at this conclusion that clients like an employee who wears a tie? Questions, I could never actually ask her.  I dint want to be so direct, after all it actually wasn’t her intention to pull me out for dress code. The complaint, I heard came from HR. Those pathetic a*holes, they have the most easiest work in the world, but all they do is play big brother with the employees. Probably thats part of their job too, but its the part I despise. I told my supervisor that I would like to talk the to guy from where the complaint came (I’m pretty sure who it is) but she said that it was not part of the problem. The problem was that I was not adhering to that archaic policy called ‘dress code’. She told me that I was still stuck in my college days and that I should be more “professional”. ‘Hold on’, i thought, actually it was in college where all these dress codes applied right? Hmmm, now who’s still stuck in the college days? Finally I told her that I had read too many libertarian literature, that taught me about my basic birth rights, the right to freedom of expression and speech etc and that it is not in me to “take these rules”. I mean it, I really said that, come to think of it now I can’t stop laughing at myself. Now,  I could sense that she din’t really like my reply. I paused for sometime, then I thought, “why am I so mean to her?” She was indeed just a messenger, conveying whatever the HR people told her. So i told her that I’ll consider it and may be wear it from next monday. That was all that she wanted to hear, after that the conversation quickly moved into a more technical note, about the days work etc.
It irritates me a lot when I come to think of why schools, colleges, and even corporations insist on a dress code. I mean, we don’t usually come wearing threatening costumes. I have never seen anyone coming to my office wearing shorts or ultra casual clothing even on the so called “casual fridays”. Software people, especially the ones in big corporations, usually dress very conservatively. Casual to us is jeans and t-shirts not 18 pocketed cargos topped off with a wife-beater . Still people are always bent on implementing dress codes and I just don’t understand the basis for that. Why? Because it can somehow improve productivity? Bear with me please for those technical words. Are these foreign clients psychologically or for that matter culturally inclined towards outsourcing their work only to companies whose employees show with up ties? I guess not, they usually offshore the work to whichever company that can deliver the project at the cheapest rate with the optimum quality. Or even if thats the case, why only on mondays? Why have they chosen that god forsaken day and ignored the rest. Do clients usually turn up on mondays? I’m always left with nothing but unanswered questions. Whenever I wear a tie on a monday it feels like a tight noose around my neck. I could prove it to you that mondays are my worst productive days, the minutes I spend staring at the screen without doing any work is more than any other day. The tie would just add fuel to that raging monday fire because I’m not that relaxed or cozy wearing one. Boy if only I had my own company, I would gladly allow my employees to wear whatever they want. They could even turn up in bikini’s, probably they would get extra perks for that, you know. Sheesh I’m just dreaming too much these days. The point is, the more freedom you give to your employees the more productive they become. The whole of the austrian school talks nothing but freedom, liberty and how it encourages more production and in turn higher profits. I always wonder if I’m the only one bitching about dress code or if there are a whole bunch like me, except that they’re two time losers who don’t have a blog. When we were in school we had this uniform which took our self expression away, college was supposed to be like the way movies showed it to us, but the sad part was that there too, we had dress codes (more about my college dress codes in a later post) and finally when you thought work was going to be different, a very creative and a free environment, it ends up being no more different than the others. Hmmm, enough said, have to find my tie now, wonder who stole it!

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3 Responses to “Long Live Dress Code”

  1. mark iv Says:

    dress codes are an absolute necessity. it doesnt look too good with ppl coming down in shorts and leather elvis types pants. and hold ur breath- ppl DO WEAR THESE THINGS!
    but there must be a level of logic here- we r stuck with a sedentry lifestyle… heavy clothes don add… moreover a greater part of the IT workforce is of a younger mindset. dull, formal n suits don go well. and the weather! damn!!
    i guess a code that stipulates moderation and inculcates a sense of decent dressing more as an attitude than by the rule is the want of the day!

  2. swamygee Says:

    “I guess a code that stipulates moderation and inculcates a sense of decent dressing more as an attitude than by the rule is the want of the day!”
    I have a problem with the definition of the word moderate. What you may call as moderate would still be considered by me as conservative or uncomfortable. Dress codes are necessary for people who interact with clients directly, face to face, everyday, say like the guys at barista or coffeday or for sales people like the eureka forbes guys who stalk you night and day. Otherwise it is a utter denial of ones basic rights of expression. You can say that the company pays you for ones work and his/her appearance, but I rather feel like what I wear is part of me, and it is a big violation of my basic rights to ask me to dress someway unless it directly contributes to the loss (or low production) the the company. Going by the same argument, an university or a school has no rights to ask its students to come dressed in someway or ask them adhere to an uniform, after all the students are the ones who are paying to keep the school/university running. How would you feel if someone or someplace, to whom you are paying, does not provide you a service because you’re not dressed according to their wishes. Wait a minute, there are some places like that, they’re called night clubs, damn! those assholes.

  3. swamygee Says:

    also anyone reading this post, check out Mark Cuban’s post on why he hates the suit
    http://www.blogmaverick.com/2007/01/16/why-i-dont-wear-a-suit-and-cant-figure-out-why-anyone-does/
    Mark Cuban is the guy who made it big by selling out his web radio company broadcast.com


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