Beyond Casual Friday
The Pitfalls of the Casual Working Environment
I will start this article off with a disclaimer. The office where I work is casual. I am talking beyond casual Friday. Pretty much anything goes in terms of the way a person wants to dress. I work for a nonprofit community organization so we spend our time writing grants, making phone calls, hosting community meetings, passing out flyers and doing other related activities. So, your normal t-shirt and jeans is the standard uniform. In fact, your typical pantsuit and high heels would make you extremely uncomfortable in this environment.
In such a casual environment, the danger exists that people will take advantage. Too much freedom gives the appearance of a loose structure. Usually, people just think they can slack off and not get fired. Simple mistake. The person gets fired and life goes on.
Work No Sleep Yes
What Had Happened Was . . .
Today, something happened to make me rethink the entire concept of casual wear in the workplace. What happened today wins the prize, if such a prize were given out for the most offensive wear. I can’t go into all the details. I don’t want to embarrass anyone. I will say that it takes a lot to offend me with the clothes you wear. I can take just about anything. We have had people come to work in low cut blouses a time or two. Usually, a few days in the neighborhoods causes them to rethink this attire – too much unwanted attention by strangers. I am not offended by their mistake. The women are wearing bras, and there is really nothing to see. A few guys have had to be talked to about their body odor and lack of deodorant – simply because the odor from their bodies was so strong that it could not be ignored. For today, just imagine too much flesh down below (not talking about the plumbers crack but even lower), and you get the idea. I think I have said too much. Wipe the image from your mind.
I am a free speech and "free to be you" type of person. I always have championed against dress codes of all kinds. I figure grown people know how to dress themselves and will actively choose to be mostly fully clothed - at least at work. So, it pains me to make this statement. I now believe that even the most casual workplaces need some type of dress code in writing. Oh, the horror. It is the price we have to pay for the fact that all adults are not so grown.
Here is a list of just a few basic rules for the extremely challenged:
- Be sure to wear clothes, a bottom and a top
- All private parts need to be covered
- No shorts that are short enough to reveal your butt cheeks
- Perhaps no t-shirts with cuss words, Nazi symbols, or the marijuana leaf ~ save that for the weekends
- Wear a shirt over your wife beater
- Shoes are a good idea
- Bellies are best covered
I am sure that there are a lot more to add to this list. But, you get the idea.
Who knows really why I saw what I saw today. What motivates someone to dress a certain way is probably a pretty complex issue that would require deep analysis that we just simply do not have the time for while at work. Maybe they have low self-esteem and are trying to get sexual attention. Maybe they are going for the shock factor - pushing the boundaries to see how far they can go before someone makes a comment. Maybe they just want attention - to be noticed and stand out in the crowd. Maybe they don't have enough money to buy a full outfit. Maybe they are wearing their clothes from third grade and have not had time to go shopping. Whatever the reason, some decorum is needed in even the most casual of workplaces to save the eyeballs from viewing certain things that should not be viewed. If I am going to see all you own, please take me out for a meal first.