I stopped at the gas station on the way into work the other day to grab a cup of coffee. As I was leaving, a guy about my age was entering. Together, we provided quite a contrast…
He was sporting a business (not-so) casual look. Polished black shoes – ironed trousers with a razor-sharp crease in them – an impeccably ironed snow-white shirt – one of the most boring ties it has ever been my displeasure to cast my orbs across – and some sort of security badge.
By comparison, I was in my usual working garb – cargo shorts with every pocket holding a paperback book or an electronic "something or other" – a resplendent Hawaiian shirt – and an old pair of leather sandals (of course it helps that I work in a one-man office and I don’t get to meet customers in the flesh – much like the mad professor in the film Independence Day: "They don’t let me out very often."). The advantage of my mode of dress is that I get to wear the same clothes for home, work, church, whatever … it makes life so much simpler … the only choice I have to make each morning is which Hawaiian shirt is the order of the day.
Then I started thinking back to when I got my first job in 1980 at International Computers Limited (ICL) in the UK. Everyone was obliged to wear a suit with shirt and tie ("Oh, the horror").
Later, when I moved to the USA in 1990 to work for Intergraph in Huntsville, Alabama, at least we weren't forced to wear suits. On Monday through Friday we wore casual pants (trousers in the UK), shirts and ties. On Friday it was "Casual Day" and we could wear denims (no shorts) and casual shirts without ties.
I left Intergraph in 2000 and I don’t know what the dress code is there now. Truth to tell, I hadn’t thought about this topic for many years – in fact, not until my chance encounter with the guy at the gas station. And that got me to wondering as to how many engineers are currently working for companies that have a strict (or otherwise) dress code.
How about you? What are the rules where you work (and do you like them or hate them)?
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