Please welcome our newest Industry Insider blogger, Sarah Hill, Social Media Specialist with Memberclicks.
When I was an intern with a major media corporation on the way to my journalism career, I was given the advice “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” At the time that made perfect sense. Nobody would hire someone who was dressed like a broke college student. That’s why when I saw this comic on Reddit the other day I had to laugh.
Fortunately I never wanted to be Batman. Unfortunately my career goals changed year to year and now as a social media pro, I haven’t been able to pick out anyone out of a crowd or high up in a company and say, “I want to get to that person’s job eventually” much less emulate their dress.
Enter the casual work environment. My career stepped down in formality over the years, starting in a very business-like environment, then downgrading in dress code to, “We try to dress nicely around here but nobody’s going to say anything if you come in wearing jeans two days a week.” After leaving that environment I started with MemberClicks which is a straight-up casual work environment, to the point where someone dressed in business casual wear inspires questions about court appearances and when customers are visiting.
Don’t get me wrong. The dress code here isn’t due to laziness, but the genuine desire for employees to be comfortable and happy. I’ve learned that policy works on me. When I get up and get ready for work, it takes me exactly 20 seconds (the time it takes me to check the weather and my calendar on my iPhone to make sure I don’t have any appointments with anyone outside the office) to decide what to wear.
This means more brainstorming time in the shower, less panty hose purchases and, most importantly, an extra smash on the snooze bar.
I keep my suits cleaned and pressed in the closet, and haven’t gotten rid of years of business casual attire. As we all know, the world of social media rarely stays just online. Even though it’s universally acknowledged that we all probably prefer to work in jeans and t-shirts (if that… usually jammies are the preferred attire if we can get away with it.)
There’s something to be said for the traditional work dress code. You’re already ready for a spontaneous last-minute meeting without any explanation as to why you’re in a hoodie, and there’s something comforting about having a line between “work clothes” and “casual clothes” that allows your brain to switch gears when the tie or the high heels come off.
Ultimately, I guess it doesn’t really matter too much which I prefer. I’m lucky and happy to have a career that I love and thrive in, and if they asked me to dress in a chicken costume and write about associations for a living I probably would. Lucky for me I’m dressed for the job I want already.