Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MSN strikes up the workplace dress code wars; it is OK to wear shorts for work?

Workplace dress has the attention of MSN and Bing this morning.  I guess MSN's content editors got out of the right side of bed this Tuesday morning. How about Huffington Post? 

First, let’s get to the spiciest item, wearing shorts at work. After all, mail carriers wear them. So do a lot of delivery drivers. The Workplacebuzz weighs in on it here  as do some readers.   Remember the NY lifeguard who got fired at 61 for wearing too much when he said that older people should be seen “less of” in public?  I feel that way.  Remember how Ronald Reagan looks in “short shorts” in “John Loves Mary"?  The gay rag “Christopher Street” back in the 1980s said that his appearance this way demonstrated heterosexual carelessness.  You don’t want people to see you went down hill fast.  But, then again, maybe you enter bike races or swim meets.

I wouldn't want to be required to wear shorts to work, or remain shirtless.  So I wouldn't look good as a bartender or barback.  One time, at a seminar in Philadelphia in 1998 sponsored by Group-1 Software, at a concluding motivational session, some executives paraded in front of everyone in their shorts while the speaker said "You don't worry about what you can't do anything about." 

Career Builder also has its “10 Commandments of Workplace Dress”,  (website url) here including rules for “business casual” on Fridays.

Remember John Molloy’s notorious old handbook “Dress for Success”?  He actually wanted younger male business executives to add a touch of gray to their hair so they at least look like they’re in their 40s.  For TV host Anderson Cooper, genetics took care of that.  So it will for Prince William; early male pattern baldness may help him look more like an authority figure.   (I think William looks a lot better in casual jeans than in royal ware.)

Remember the dress code for EDS back in the early 70s?  Suits, white shirts, and coats kept on at work.  That help keep computers a “mystery” from the customer.  I actually saw a copy of their policy when I worked for Bradford National in New York City in the 1970s; a coworker had worked for them and had a copy of their policy. 

IBM, in fact, used to check male employees in parking lots for stocking garters, way back in the 60s, even before the 360 was introduced.  That sounds prudish.

By the way, Sept. 13, 2001, ten years ago today, I received an unsolicited call to join Prime Vest.  I was still working and my job at ING-Reliastar had exactly 90 days left to live.  

Picture: from my "Public Speaking Is Easy" experience, "lecturing" about my book at Hamline University, while on crutches in 1998. 

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