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I started a new job this week and like a good little new boy I attended my first day dressed in the usual business attire consisting of trousers, shoes, shirt and tie. Most places expect suits for interview, but generally either the suite or other formal business wear is usually expected on the first day.
The company I now work for are a fairly corporate outfit with a nice new plush office building. At my interview I observed several women who work there going upstairs to their place of work and they were wearing semi-casual clothes, whilst the clothes they weren't wearing weren't scruffy they weren't too formal. This is something else that irks me somewhat. The dress code for women usually seems to be a lot less clearly defined than for a man. Anyway, at the interview I wore a suit and my interviewers had either jackets, shirt and tie or suits. With this in mind, when I was offered the job I naturally started the week off on the right foot and as you would expect decided to play it by ear and see what the dress code was. You can always dress down but it's harder to dress up as they say!
There was no rule that said shirts must be tucked in.
My first day was really one long induction and part of that involved going through the company policies and procedures. Dress code was mentioned and the HR lady spent a brief period of time clarifying exactly what that meant. She specifically said "No ripped jeans or t-shirts with slogans." She said, "You don't have to wear a suit and tie; some people wear ties and some don't, you can wear whatever is comfortable really". There was no rule that said shirts must be tucked in.
I wore shirt, tie and trousers for the first few days. My intention was to alternate with wearing a tie some days and not on others. As there was no specific dress-down Friday policy I figured that shirt and trousers were an absolute minimum. I have worked for companies before that have a 'business casual' dress code, which basically means shirt and trousers. Even then I would sometimes wear a tie as the mood took me. In my previous job they had a dress down Friday and the rest of the week it was business casual. Most people didn't wear ties, some had shirts tucked in and some didn't.
All had been going well this week up until the point where I had a meeting with my immediate line manager, who I still think is a really nice chap and to be honest I don't hold a grudge against him.
We had an informal chat about work over a cup of tea and just as we were drawing the meeting to a close he told me that whilst I was not breaking the company dress code, the managing director and chairman are quite the 'hands on' type and that they could pop into the office at any time. He then made me aware of my sin... I was wearing a shirt that day which wasn't tucked into my trousers!
As I said, I don't blame him because I suspect the message came down from the the Head of IT who is the director's right hand man. I think my boss was told to have a word in my ear about my shirt and whilst I hadn't actually noticed anyone else wearing their shirt that way, I didn't think it was an issue. I still looked smart enough in shirt and trousers... or so I thought!
There was a time once when no office worker would go to work without wearing a tie and progressive companies change with the time and relax the dress code a little. I should have guessed that being in such a corporate environment they may be a bit behind the times.
It bothers me though that companies have a 'dress code', and yet don't clearly explain the rules. Wearing shirt and trousers with the shirt (straight bottom, not curvy) not tucked in is quite common these days, in fact I feel quite self-conscious with it tucked in. If they'd clearly defined their dress code from the start I wouldn't feel so resentful right now. Come to think of it, my last job was the exact opposite. My manager used to tease me on the days when I would wear a tie!
I suppose I'd better pull my socks up and tuck my shirt in though, after all at the end of the day it's a job and I'm one of the lucky ones to have one... I suppose. But what do you think? Should it be in the dress code if shirts have to be worn tucked in? Is an untucked shirt still a big no no in the office?