Monday, May 23, 2011

The Dress Requirements

I have a job interview coming up this week and because I just read a fellow bloggers post on  dressing to impress it prompted me to take a trip down memory lane about some of the jobs I have had... and had trouble with, because of dress requirements...

I have had more than a few jobs in my lifetime that had fussy dress requirements. And for a rebel like me that should have been the first clue that this wasn't going to be a good fit. (Still searching for the elusive sweet spot in the world of working women) Because of this I have had my share of troubles.

For example... there was the job in the grocery store that required the black pants, white shirt-- with tie-- and black dress shoes. It wasn't long before I was bored with the outfit and noticing that the men who worked there had the option, at least, of a different tie each day. Ties that showed their personality while us ladies seemed destined to these silly little black bow ties.  I decided that I should wear ties with personality too. And thanks to my mother, who is a 'creative' sewer, I was soon in possession of several colorful bow ties. While my boss raised his eyebrows the first day I wore one, there was little he could say as I was with in the dress requirements.

Summer came and with it the warm weather. I looked carefully over the employees handbook to see if there was any rule against shorts. Alas, there was, but what caught my eye was the notation that black pants or skirts must be worn. I had never seen anyone in a skirt at work, but it was the perfect solution for those hot summer days. I wore my black skirt to work and this time, the boss not only raised his eyebrows, he also shook his head. I felt obliged to show him the page in the handbook about the mention of pants and skirts.  He muttered something about 'there's always one of those..." but I didn't get sent home.

One really really hot day, as I came to work in my white shirt, my screaming-with-personality tie, cute black just-above-the-knee skirt and... birkenstocks. Black of course.

boss; (indignantly) "hold it right there! what are those on your feet?"
me; (innocently) dress shoes.
him: (snort) those are not dress shoes. those are sandals.
me: (sweetly) Mmm, they go perfectly with my dress-- err-- skirt-- so that makes em dress shoes in my book.

You can see why I wasn't cut out for a long term career in the grocery store industry.

The other job that jumps out in my memory was a very short stint I did with a name brand coffee place. Again with the white shirt and black pants and again with the black dress shoes. I lasted 2 days in my black slip on dress shoes before both my feet and my back were screaming for relief. I came to work the next day wearing my black n white tennis shoes. And got called out for it...

"Tennis shoes belong in the gym." I was told firmly. Never mind that no one could see my feet behind the counter or that I could run faster and jump higher with them on... that job wasn't a good fit for me either.

I have matured since then and learned how to play along with the rules of upper management but still the best jobs I have had, have been where the dress code is relaxed and the people are real. I have wasted too much time in jobs where things are done a certain way "BECAUSE".   I just have too much creativity to be bound by too many rules just for the sake of rules.

This job interview-- and if I get the job-- will require me to 'dress to impress' but I think all this really means is no jeans.  I think I can handle that.

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