I have a baby brother (by baby I mean a foot taller than me and in his mid twenties), he graduated from UMass last year and landed a post grad internship that turned into a full time job with a state government office (I know, wicked official). My brother embodies the “dress for the job you want” mentality. His office requires business casual but he goes for the dress shirt, tie, slacks and Allen Edmonds shoes every day. On casual Friday he goes with the same outfit, sans tie while everyone else is walking around with untucked polos and boat shoes. From day one his co-workers ragged on him and still do for dressing to the nines every day. My bro is on ladder climbing mission and wants to put his best foot forward all day every day. He never wants to be caught off guard. He used his intern title to his advantage and sought out coffee breaks and informational meetings with lots of higher ups within his agency. He fostered and is maintaining a hard working young professional reputation. Because of his stylish dressing habits, when a suited up director walks by his cubicle and asks him to take a walk to Dunks for an afternoon caffeine jolt he isn’t caught wearing a wrinkled American Eagle polo from freshmen year of college. Dressing the part, walking the part and proving he can talk the part is boding well.
My brother and I were cracking up the other night over an office wide email. Last week a guy in the office comes in for work on casual Friday wearing cargo shorts, sneakers and wrinkled graphic T. A guy who is in his late twenties who joined the agency last year so this is not his first job and is not new to the office so he understands the typical and accepted casual Friday attire. The following Monday, the highest of head honchos at the agency sent out an email reiterating the dress code policy. And word around the water cooler is that everyone knows who caused that email. This reminded me of that How I Met Your Mother episode from season 7, Disaster Averted, about having done something that results in a sign being put up. Ted and gang think it’s a badge of honor that their favorite bar put up a sign because of something they did. At work, it’s really not cool or funny.
Interns and young professionals really need to think about their entire presentation. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting everyone break the bank on brand name clothing and expensive labels. I am all about Marshalls #fabfound, TJ Maxx and pillaging sale racks. Don’t be a casual Friday victim or cause of company wide fashion policy email.