Monday, May 16, 2016

Pick a Fight #My500Words #230

Day 17 of the 500 word challenge is to "Pick a fight" - this is getting harder! In essence it is a short statement of purpose that represents what I believe in. As Jeff Goins puts it this "needs to be a hill worth dying on".

Image source: Meme Generator.
I'm picking a fight with dress codes!

Recently The Guardian newspaper reported that a receptionist was "sent home from PwC for not wearing high heels" - what's wrong with the world that this sort of shite can happen? I don't wear a suit and tie (nor heels!) to work, though I did for a short time in the two jobs I have had. In my early days in CBT Systems I wore a proper shirt and tie - almost everyone did in the office and it seemed the done thing. This was the early 1990s and most of the company's business was in the UK. We started to lose the ties when CBT turned west to America where there have always been more relaxed attitudes to dress codes. Our British colleagues continued to wear suits, but did relax on Fridays. On one occasion I visited the UK office (near Heathrow) and spotted at Reception a sign explaining that while the staff were "dressing down" on Fridays that it was not a sign that they valued their customers any less. Why explain? For most of my time in CBT Systems/SmartForce it was casual all the way.

When I came to NCI - ties were back on the agenda again. Feck! All the other male lecturers seemed to be wearing ties, so I decided to do so to "fit in" even though I hated it. Some even wore suits, not me. Then one day a new German colleague did not wear a tie, the world did not collapse, our teaching did not get any worse, in fact I don't think anyone really noticed that we were dressing down every day. Dress down Friday came to the College - this is now my excuse to wear jeans and my Harley-Davidson themed t-shirts. Every day I see suits around the IFSC - they do not make people work any better. Every time I see a suit I see someone trying to look important (even though I know not everyone is). Every time I see a suit I see someone spending a lot of money trying to look good, and a lot of effort to iron shirts. Every time I see a suit I see someone trying to differentiate themselves from others. I do not think any differently of anyone just because they are wearing a suit - nor do I think differently if they are not. 

What about in class I hear you say? I really think it is just stupid to be the only person in a classroom wearing a suit or tie. I've never had a student fill out a feedback form with "Eugene would have been a better lecturer in a suit", or "my learning experience was diminished when Eugene stopped wearing a tie".

Feck suits! Feck ties! 

Just because I do not wear them to work does not mean that I do not take my work or my colleagues less seriously. I've often been told that you should "dress to impress" - I do not insist on this when students are making presentations, it is entirely their own choice what they wear.

I do have one suit - strictly for weddings, funerals, and Christmas. For when I actually want to wear one for family occasions.

Pin-striped suits are the worst - I never see one on Michael O'Leary, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, or the guys in Status Quo. Check out what happens at 2 minutes and 20 seconds into the video below after Quo received a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution in 1991. Love it!

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