I started wearing a tie to work in late February of 2013 and people are commenting, but not asking. So far only one person has asked me why I was wearing the tie. What is interesting is who asked me. The General Manager of my business unit, in other terms basically the brand president. Given how often he and I are in the office at the same time, he at first thought it was just that I had a client meeting.
I had just changed roles in the company, but he knew that wasn’t a reason for the change as the division has the same basic dress code. So the question was “Dude, why are you wearing a tie?”
The answer can be fairly simple of “Dress for the job you want.” I thought showing up as The Dark Knight Batman could be a little awkward. The better answer is multifaceted and has personal and professional overtones but figure you as my loyal reader would want to know the story.
Over the past year I have put on weight as my exercise fell in to oblivion. I got squishy and my clothes became unflattering. That kind of becomes a circle of feed back. So I finally decided to stop the loop and purchased more flattering clothes. I liked the idea of a tie to allow some expression and style.
I had a day at the office that I knew was going to require heightened focus, so I figured follow the cliche of dress for success. It worked better than I thought. I was pleasantly surprised when I found I had time for my usual Starbucks break midday and still left on time. I tried it a few more times and it worked very well.
So my answer to the GM, “it helps me get more done and people treat me more seriously. I also want to continue growing.” He was supportive and chuckled about the Batman comment.
A friend of mine has an aphorism of “Assume the virtue”. I think that sums it up. I assume the virtue of valuable employee by putting on the work costume, the more formal clothes. It allows me to both focus on work and also allow me to leave work more easily. Not just physically, but mentally as well. When I loosen the tie, I loosen up as well and work is done.
I did not realize how much the change had happened until about a week ago. I had to do remote support for an audio installation on the weekend. I could have done it at home, but I decided to go into the office. I still dressed for work, not the full work costume but still casual Friday level. After the session I was able to go home and change clothes and leave work behind for the short weekend.
Assume the virtue my friends. Give it a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.