Was having a brilliant day. I’d just dropped off a big regular bowl of Thai Curry soup at a colleague’s place as she was down with sniffles and not at work, as the poor thing lives alone. It’s a cold, blustery, rainy day outside. Got myself a small bowl of it and just dug into it, when I realize I have new mail. It’s from the HR lady asking me to drop by.
A little background and a little more specifics for Thursday, the day of this event:
I work near DC. It’s a small company, and though the number of employees are substantial, minimal folks show up at work. I have to. [Don’t ask, that would make a different rant post by itself.] I don’t meet clients on regular basis, and though clients do show up at work, they hardly come over to our side (again, can’t explain). The CEO/President is not at work, and apart from the HR lady, there’s no one else from top management on site. My manager is in, but we do not have any scheduled meetings today and she’s in her own office, far from mine.
A little background on me:
I would like to believe am well dressed and groomed. Not perhaps the most stylishly dressed on this side of the country/company (am surrounded by single women in their mid-late 20’s in size 2’s and 4’s so give me a break), but am no sloth. I believe that clothes and a personal sense of style makes a man (woman) stand out, more so in professional settings than personal. I also believe that before one can open their mind, mouth and prove their worth, their clothes and how they carry themselves sets the tone – first impressions and all that.
Also, I have waited a long time, a very long time to get myself some smart business attire in my closet as I have stayed home with the kids much longer than I expected. So yes, I enjoy wearing good clothes and especially like how I feel in them.
Thursday right after lunch:
The HR lady calls me over to give me a condescending “o-u-truant-little-middle-schooler” look while she informs me that I am in jeans and that company policy does not allow that!
I look at her with a “Are YOU FRIKKIN KIDDIN’ me?” and as am put on a spot get defensive and explain why am in jeans. I feel like an idiot now, but am partly relieved I wasn’t getting fired or being pulled up for printing some secure document off the common printer or some such higher level of truancy! The very first time, I rush to work in what am wearing while I drop munchkin off at 7:30 in a great rush and then try and beat the goddamn traffic so I can make it on time to work, and I get this thrown at my face. I tell her that. She nods, and continues with her perfect little arched eyebrow still hung on her forehead “Okay, yes, but it’s policy.” (My day starts at 5:45, and am not sitting still until I rest my bottom while I drive 24 miles up to work, after I rush the kids off into their respective buses at 7:30 am.)
The jeans were dark washed, clean and new. No tears, rips, no visible cheeks of any kind seen. I am wearing a lovely white blouse with a red sweater on top. I had my neat little black heels on. I could go visit the Royal Philharmonic and the usher wouldn’t bat an eyelid. I’ve been to concerts and I know.
The manager agrees with the HR, raises her voice, and then goes contrite and gives me a hug, saying “don’t take it personally, it’s policy.”
All I say is: “considering the fact that I’ve been with the company awhile, and considering that this has been the single most rare occasion when I’ve not been ‘perfectly dressed” to sit in my quiet corner and tap at the keys while the office looks like it’s a graveyard, and that I wasn’t meeting clients, and that no one was expected either, I’d have expected a casual mail, a passing by comment in the lines of “hey, I see you are in jeans, it isn’t Friday, so could you be careful next time?” – I get this.
The icing on this cake is that the husband agrees with the HR. Perfect. Expecting support from the spouse is being unrealistic of course.
So am wondering, am I bizarre or is this normal? ..and just to rub it in, please tell me, what are you wearing at work, and what’s the policy at your place? Add in the approximate geographic area you are from too if you don’t mind?
..and you thought I was doing the cheesy chat opener didn’t ya?