Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Office Niggles Three

And what is it today? Vending machines? Office parties? Nope. Dress Down Friday.

Now, I have to confess, I'm generally in favour of DDF. You get to wear what you like. Not a bad thing. I just want to point out a few anomalies which become glaringly obvious on this particular occasion, a few character traits which become more obvious. In fact, I quite enjoy this aspect of the whole phenomenon. Yes, yes, I know it's supposed to be about things in the office I don't like, but do you want a post or not??!

Case One: The Uneasy Convert.
A rather formal guy, normally dapper in pinstripe suit and striped shirt. Nobody can quite imagine Ralph off-duty without summoning up Jerry from the Good Life. A nice Pringle sweater maybe...

You turn up in Chinos and a shirt with a button-down collar, ironed to within an inch of its life. Strangely, you seem oddly liberated by the fact that you're not actually wearing a tie. In fact, if we entice you for a Friday night drink in the pub, you might even tap your toe if a Simply Red song is played. There is help available, Ralph...

Case Two: Mr Inappropriate Image.
The shorts are colourful, the T-shirt is just as bright, with a message displayed across his ample chest.

Colin, you are seventeen stone, you work as a senior administrator in the accounts department, your main passion is your PlayStation, and you live in Hounslow. No matter what yout T-shirt says, you are not, and will never be, a "Surf Dude". Sorry. Unless a considerable number of whales start getting washed up in Cornwall.

Case Three: It doesn't make any difference.
You work in IT, or something creative. You get to wear what you want anyway. It's a strange feature of office life that people who work in sales; or accounts; or marketing; or management; or any other bloody dull category of work with which you can't impress people at dinner parties, get to wear boring stuff. That's because they need to impress clients.

Of course, once the contract is in the bag, your colleagues invite the clients in, your colleagues will dress formally, but when they introduce them to you, the person who will make sure that their data is secure, that their website will be hosted efficiently, that their data will be exported daily over a secure connection, because you're "IT" and wacky and nerdy, they will happily deal with somebody in a Homer Simpson T-Shirt and Jeans with more holes than David Icke's philosophy. It's allowed, you see. Everybody seems really happy to be participating in DDF, but it's a bit meaningless to you...

Case Four: The Confused Woman.
A woman who has perfected a wardrobe of light floaty clothes for Summer.

You see, it's a very hot day. What you really want to wear is that lovely, light, pink linen skirt, and a black silk T-shirt. The thing is, though, because women are allowed more options during the Summer months, you've worn a version of this throughout the week. You now need to acknowledge DDF by wearing something more casual, otherwise it means that you are not participating in DDF. That makes you look a) thick or b)sad. Nothing involving a skirt then. You wear all your floaty skirts on normal work days. Shorts are just wrong. That leaves a T-shirt with jeans. So less freedom than during the week then...


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