Writing Challenge Day 15: Sweatpants Are Now Business Attire

Some of you are still in an office. I’m not ignoring you, but I think this question is already answered for you. So, this is what I look like 99% of the time at work. Like many of you my short-term work from home became permanent. I might block my camera and set this to the background and see who notices I don’t move. Are you thinking about my pants? It seems unlikely.

jm_sysadmin_0-1607611347601.jpeg

I don’t care if you wear sweatpants. Or shorts. Or whatever else that makes you happy, assuming you don’t stand up. But should we call sweatpants business attire? No, we shouldn’t. Whatever standard you had in an office, it’s still your standard. Do you need to follow it? It depends. First, you do make an impression, and all you have is a little box. Should I have brushed my shaggy hair before getting on the meeting? Shaved? Fixed my collar or take off the sweatshirt? Hidden my space with a background or cleaned up a bit?

Probably. And sometimes I do. Most of my face to face work is with my teammates. They know during COVID-19 lockdowns this winter, I’m likely to have a first grader next to me doing school. They do, too. I’ve never been the most stylish, so bad hair or a disheveled appearance isn’t surprising for me. But when I branch out, meet with new people, or other teams, I do make a bit more effort. I know they only have a few minutes and a small picture to learn anything about me. I want to make sure they know I can do what I’m promising.

One more thing before I go, if you’re wearing sweatpants, that’s fine. If you’re wearing them tomorrow, that’s fine. But make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Show yourself respect, treat yourself well. If you’re having trouble and you don’t have the energy to put other pants on, maybe give up on the little details that don’t matter so much. Make sure it’s not something that’s part of a bigger problem. And make sure the people you see in the little window are doing OK, too. Some of us aren’t doing OK. And it’s good to reach to others, both if you need to, and if you think they might need it. We’re all going through stuff. Don’t hesitate to find somebody, even if you don’t know how they’ll react. And if you need to talk to a random guy writing about sweatpants on the internet, I promise he’ll listen.

Anonymous
Parents
  • Back in 1995, when "casual Fridays" was still something special, I started working for a company that invented and produced motion control solutions (think "the software and hardware that makes factory conveyor systems work"). Because they employed almost exclusively engineers, and because sales happened in a whole other building, management finally decided to just go "business casual" all the time. Where "business casual" was defined as "Please try to make sure your jeans don't have holes in them." Again, this was 1995, so it was kind of revolutionary and we all felt lucky to work in such a flexible, tolerant environment.

    There was one guy though. A unix engineer, who continued to come to work in slacks and a button down shirt. Every day.

    I asked him about it. I was curious why he wouldn't want to loosen up a bit.

    "First, I can't afford it. I bought and own work clothes. I also own at-home clothes. But I can't afford to buy a whole other set of "for work, but casual, but don't wear it at home because if it gets stained you can't use it at work any more" clothes."

    To be honest, I thought this was being a bit... finicky. But his next answer stuck with me:

    "These are my work clothes. I put them on when I'm going to work. It's how I *know* I'm going to work. It's part of my routine. I'm not uncomfortable in them, so I don't really see the need to change just because there's this fad right now."

    While some of us have worked from home for a while (and some of us more than just "a while"), many more folks had to make a rapid and unexpected adjustment back in February and March. Because so many were finding this change challenging, if not overwhelming, we created a guide to help (https://thwack.solarwinds.com/t5/Geek-Speak-Blogs/The-SolarWinds-Guide-to-Work-From-Home-Introduction/ba-p/586501). Part of the advice we included had to do with maintaining a routine that said "I'm going to / at work".

    Back in 1995, I didn't realize how right my colleague was. But today, after working from home for over 12 years, as I (still) get up every morning and put on my cargo pants (POCKETSES!!) and white button down shirt, I realize, he was not wrong.

Comment
  • Back in 1995, when "casual Fridays" was still something special, I started working for a company that invented and produced motion control solutions (think "the software and hardware that makes factory conveyor systems work"). Because they employed almost exclusively engineers, and because sales happened in a whole other building, management finally decided to just go "business casual" all the time. Where "business casual" was defined as "Please try to make sure your jeans don't have holes in them." Again, this was 1995, so it was kind of revolutionary and we all felt lucky to work in such a flexible, tolerant environment.

    There was one guy though. A unix engineer, who continued to come to work in slacks and a button down shirt. Every day.

    I asked him about it. I was curious why he wouldn't want to loosen up a bit.

    "First, I can't afford it. I bought and own work clothes. I also own at-home clothes. But I can't afford to buy a whole other set of "for work, but casual, but don't wear it at home because if it gets stained you can't use it at work any more" clothes."

    To be honest, I thought this was being a bit... finicky. But his next answer stuck with me:

    "These are my work clothes. I put them on when I'm going to work. It's how I *know* I'm going to work. It's part of my routine. I'm not uncomfortable in them, so I don't really see the need to change just because there's this fad right now."

    While some of us have worked from home for a while (and some of us more than just "a while"), many more folks had to make a rapid and unexpected adjustment back in February and March. Because so many were finding this change challenging, if not overwhelming, we created a guide to help (https://thwack.solarwinds.com/t5/Geek-Speak-Blogs/The-SolarWinds-Guide-to-Work-From-Home-Introduction/ba-p/586501). Part of the advice we included had to do with maintaining a routine that said "I'm going to / at work".

    Back in 1995, I didn't realize how right my colleague was. But today, after working from home for over 12 years, as I (still) get up every morning and put on my cargo pants (POCKETSES!!) and white button down shirt, I realize, he was not wrong.

Children
No Data