Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Business Casual

I am still not sure what factors matter most in determining whether a workplace will be hellish or heavenly. I’ve had my share of both in my short career. As best I can tell, at least one major factor is what I bring into the office each day. I certainly don’t imply that my wishing the jerks away or simply ignoring them is the same as working with best friends. But I am noticing that the less I react to the jerkiness the more likely new coworkers (or entire offices) will become friendly.

For my part, about two months ago I started wearing Jackets, slacks and a button down shirt nearly every day to the office. I had to purchase some new pants anyways (given my return to fighting weight), so I went with grey and black dress pants from, of all places, Target ($20). I added a brown jacked to the mix (H&M, $69). I dry cleaned ($15) my Thai tailored shirts (that Rishi brought back last year for me as a Christmas present) and upgraded my hangers (The home Depot, 5 for $5). I finally broke down and purchased a silver-colored watch by Swiss Army (Nordstom Rack, $200). I bought lots of new black, brown and grey dress socks (Target, $4-$8 a pair). I didn’t buy a Burberry blue/grey jacket that I fell in love with (Nordstrom Rack, $399 down from $799), which in my mind financed the whole shopping spree.

I still have some holes in the wardrobe (new brown pants, brown leather gloves, anything for the summer season) but generally speaking, when I wake up groggy to select my attire for the day, there are enough combinations to make dressing up a mundane task.

What does any of this have to do with an enjoyable workplace environment? I’m not certain. I know that it’s easier for me to act professionally, to separate my self with my work product, when I’m rocking the business casual. Also, it gives everyone an opportunity to kid with me; excluding (most days) The Company’s Supreme Leader, I’m the best dressed guy in the office. This is a radical departure from most test managers (who report to work with holes in their shirts or coffee stains on their sweatpants).

Lately, I’ve enjoyed coming to work a lot more. I waste 30 minutes a day at the dart board with a few folks. I chat with the receptionist. I go for coffee when asked. Today Attenex gave me (and 7 others) a wonderful recognition in the form of an award. It’s the first time that I’ve been singled out (even with 7 others) for my work in general (and not tied to just putting in long hours in the course of a software release). Honestly, I’m barely productive here – I certainly have yet to do my best. Still, attitude accounts for so much.

I hope the new year finds each of you in a fulfilling workplace.

1 comment:

-m said...

I think you are absolutely right about the outfit giving you a mental space in which to create your work persona. As much as I dislike the commute in office clothes, it does help me to FEEL more like a consultant when I'm DRESSED like one. That whole halloween costume / saturnalia swap your personality thing actually works.

congrats on your award!!!! :)