OMG I’d luv to work 4 ur company!

I can’t tell if this is an example of office culture evolving or devolving…

After interviewing a college student in June, Tory Johnson thought she had found the qualified and enthusiastic intern she craved for her small recruiting firm. Then she received the candidate’s thank-you note, laced with words like “hiya” and “thanx,” along with three exclamation points and a smiley-face emoticon.

“That email just ruined it for me,” says Ms. Johnson, president of New York-based Women For Hire Inc. “This looks like a text message.”

I can understand the occasional online slips in e-mails as mentioned in the article. I get more than my fair share of U or R from time to time. But the applicant adding their interviewer as a friend on Facebook? Insanity.

I think the biggest issue I have, out of all the unprofessional behavior taking place around me, is the dress code. Our local big boss sends out the Dress Code Reminder e-mail every other season because things keep sliding backwards. We’re on-site federal contractors, even if our clients come to work looking tore up or all set to hit da club, it doesn’t matter. We don’t have to wear suits or anything, but it seems like if you turn your back for a minute that employees keep showing up to work looking like they’re headed to a barbecue. I will grudgingly accept the short-sleeved as well as the buttoned-down collar shirts… but at least tuck them in!

I don’t necessarily like taking stuff to the dry cleaners on a regular basis, or doing the occasional spot-ironing in the morning, but it’s called business casual for a reason. People are more than welcome to find gigs that don’t require much from them aside from showing up. Plus, men and women look good when they’re a little dressed up, and it is possible to do so and be comfortable at the same time. Besides, as much fun as it might be to show up in suit and tie to the office and have people gasp and wonder what’s up? Sometimes those gasps aren’t thinking, “I wonder where s/he’s interviewing,” as much as “I didn’t think s/he had any clothes that nice.”

And speaking of clothes, like for Ben Folds at Wolf Trap, I’ve got the “private box” dilemma tonight. Been invited to a private box at the Nationals Ballpark and I can’t help but think it suggests a level above standard baseball game fare. (Like I own standard baseball game fare in the first place)

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9 Responses

  1. Fredo says:

    Tory Johnson grates on my nerves. She contributes regularly to Good Morning America, and I find myself turning on the TV in the morning to catch the weather report only to hear her annoying voice go on at length about something.

    As for the work-attire thing, I’m still a little bitter about not being able to wear shorts to work during the summer anymore. But at the very least they haven’t started requiring us to wear ties, which I hate even more than long pants in hot weather.

  2. brian says:

    @Fredo: It’s pretty safe to say that if anyone is on the big 3 (6?) broadcast networks on a morning, afternoon or early evening show… I have no idea who they are. Though I could do with checking the weather in the morning from time to time.

  3. kyle says:

    Sometimes in the mornings I tune in to watch Robin Meade on Headline News. I’m ashamed to admit it, but she has a certain perkiness-tinged-with-sarcasm and some other je ne sais quois that makes me think I might secretly be bi. 😯

  4. Chris says:

    I vote devolving. I had a potential student apply to a program I was running whose cover letter (e-mail) began with “Hi there!!” and included so many smiley faces that I lost count. It makes it hard to take someone seriously when they do that sort of thing. I’m going to be your supervisor, not your Beffin’F …

    I’m pro-dress code when it comes, to say, forbidding people to show up in ill-fitting polyester sweat pants and a T-shirt with no bra as, say, someone I work with is inclined to do.

    However, I’m with Fredo: ties are an instrument of torture. I’m definitely pro-choice on the issue of neckties, and my choice is no.

  5. I completely agree with so much that you’ve written. So many of the new graduates don’t get that the workplace isn’t an “IRL” version of facebook or myspace, and that they can’t do whatever they want whenever they want, wearing whatever they want.

    I don’t get what’s so hard about the dress code thing. Get a nice pair of slacks and a blouse. You don’t even need to get heels. You can get comfortable flats. It’s work. We all have to wear the same thing. Get over it.

    I also agree ties can be a bit torturous and I’m thankful I’m not a guy.

  6. shindo says:

    I have to second, third, and fourth the comments about the ties. Bloody awful invention, even if I’ve invested in a few good ones. It’s such a hassle to tie (and I’m pretty good at it, especially the knot) and it doesn’t improve a man’s appearance that much unless he’s in a decent suit. I have to wear them when I teach at the language school from time to time, but not at the community college level. Although, CC and university students seem to respond better when a prof takes time to dress up a bit (and tie’s not even needed). The prof in shorts doesn’t get much respect.

    I have to agree with Liz: What’s so hard about adhering to a dress code?

    Colleges and universities should have a class on letter writing. It seems like such a basic skill, but I’ve learned to never ASSUME!

  7. Norman says:

    I agree about the communication skills of today’s young adults entering the workforce. It is atrocious. At my last job we would hire girls either on summer break from high school or from college to work in the customer service department handling calls about the cheer camps and competitions. They had absolutely no idea how to communicate effectively. It bordered on frightening

    As for the dress code issue, I have never had a job where it was mandatory to dress up. All of my jobs as an adult have either been slightly below business casual to wear whatever you want. I wear cargo pants or shorts and polo shirts every day. My company has a policy that you can wear what you are comfortable in as long as we don’t have any training classes going on for our business partners or end-users. Then they suggest that we wear at least a nice pair of jeans and a decent shirt in the event that visitors are onsite. I have friends who work in a call center that never has onsite visitors and they have to dress on the higher side of business casual. I am not a slob about my appearance but I don’t understand how wearing a button down shirt and tie help you do your job better, especially if you don’t have to interact with other people. However, I do think that ripped up jeans or shirts are inappropriate for any setting other than in your own home.

  8. Lolypup says:

    When I was teaching in Dallas, our Principal was very strict about the dress code and it was Business and we were required to wear ties. I actually enjoy wearing a tie, its a bit sexy. During a Teacher inservice training seminar we were given tips on “survival” and one of the interesting points made is that men in our school district who wear ties should only wear clip on ties, in case a student attacks the teacher and grabs hold of the tie and well…

  9. William Mize says:

    I actually enjoy wearing a tie occasionally; it makes me feel very Montgomery Clift or Humphrey Bogart. Add some Big Band music and a vodka martini, and I’m home.

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