The first dress code I ever received from an employer read something like this…
“Management highly recommends you wake up slightly before sunrise, put on a pot of coffee, and grab whatever book you’re reading. The sounds of coffee being made over the turning of crisp pages of a good book helps steel your mind for the day. After the heat and steam from your shower opens your pores, a meticulous shave and hair combed in a hard part to the right will have you looking ready for excellence. As for clothes, a suit and tie elevate the esteem of not only yourself, but of your entire office.”
While I was far too junior to bring up a grievance with Management, the strictness didn’t actually bother me. Also, Management was my dad.
I was seven when he started working from home, in a studio above the garage. And I watched him adhere to this dress code every morning for twenty-five years, with a level of decorum that went almost comically beyond what was necessary for a sixty foot commute to an office where he worked alone.
Now I find myself all grown-up, working mostly from home, and I’ve recently felt the need to adopt his policy. Not for sentimental reasons, but for largely practical ones that—thinking back, he likely shared…
- I frequently have meetings for client pitches, or partnerships with other companies.
- Aside from those, my colleagues don’t have to see me. So when they do, I don’t want shaving, showering, and dressing to feel unusual.
- I’m currently all departments at my office, CEO down to mailroom clerk. And a guy can get lost dressing for that spectrum of responsibility, a light stubble could become an accidental neck beard over night.
- Though there comes a point each day when I wonder if this isn’t all just a bit ridiculous, I know that the line between working and not working is what I make it.
- Lastly, as my dad used to say, “It’s simple. Self-respect. How you act, even if it’s just you by yourself, will reflect in the things you do.”
My first day adhering to Management’s grooming and appearance policy, I woke up at 6:23 AM, slightly before sunrise. I read, drank coffee, showered, trimmed my beard, and did a clean-up shave on my neck. As I was about to walk the ten steps to my desk, my fiancée woke up, turned over in bed, smiled curiously and said, “Where are you going?“ Echoing the new company dress code I nodded and said, “I’m getting ready to work.”