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The Almighty Buck

Suit Up Or Ship Out? 816

ilovestuff wrote to us with a disscussion starter from ZDNet Australia about the changes in dress code at IT jobs. How much is everyone else going through?
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Suit Up Or Ship Out?

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  • by navywife ( 560795 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:43AM (#4546330) Homepage
    The cats don't seem to mind.
  • by Greg151 ( 132824 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:44AM (#4546333) Homepage Journal
    because of this. They demanded suit and tie every day. ( Not kaki pants and a sport jacket, but an actual suit!).

    Additionally, they worked wierd for IT hours, of only 8:00-4:30. They do not work overtime, weekends,or anything else. I didn't want to be in a programming department that was that regimented. It is a creative process, and if I wanted to work late to figure out a problem, they didn't want that.
    • by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:49AM (#4546373)
      Where was this at? Seattle area I hope? I've got some friends out there who are desperate enough do the job wearing whatever they want. The means stark naked or in a full suit of combat armor if just meant they had a job again.
    • by tshoppa ( 513863 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:03AM (#4546449)
      Additionally, they worked wierd for IT hours, of only 8:00-4:30. They do not work overtime, weekends,or anything else. I didn't want to be in a programming department that was that regimented. It is a creative process, and if I wanted to work late to figure out a problem, they didn't want that.

      Actually, the most challenging software engineering jobs I know of are purely "9 to 5" (or whatever regular hours) jobs. These are CMM level 5 shops, and work on little simple programs like the Space Shuttle guidance and control software.

      That's not to say that "wear a suit" is a requirement at those shops, but the idea is that leadership and cohesiveness are vastly important to reliable software. In other words, the space shuttle isn't going up guided by code that a guy wrote late last night :-).

    • What a moron you are.

      Your job is your job. Working until 1 AM off the clock only proves that you are an ass.

      Maybe by having to regiment yourself, you'd actually pay attention and DESIGN things, instead of cobbling together some spaghetti shit that you wrote half asleep.
      • Some of us actually enjoy our job. Working long hours coding to fix one peoblem is occasionally intellectually rewarding. I don't take jobs that I won't enjoy. I'm not married, not exclusively dating, and my social life conssts almost entirely of friday/saturday activities.

        One of my previous employers was a start-up, which is a whole different ball game. We were under-staffed because we were under-funded which lead to the occasional crunch time to meet a deadline. I didn't mind as my co-workers were very cool, the CEO payed for our dinner if we stayed extra hours, and often payed for a car service home, rather than have us take the subway/PATH/bus to get home, which saved me like 40 minutes on my commute.
        • by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:29AM (#4547111)
          I love my job... and my life.

          I think you'll find that the work habits you develop now will either stick are create an expectation from your employers that you continue to work at such a pace.

          Maybe you don't find it crappy to work like that now, but when you lose a relationship, miss your kids growing up or wake up one day and realize that you existance consists of work and sleep you might feel differently.
    • by Stephen VanDahm ( 88206 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:21AM (#4546555) Homepage
      "Additionally, they worked wierd for IT hours, of only 8:00-4:30. They do not work overtime, weekends,or anything else."

      Holy shit, that's a sweet deal. I love computers and programming but horror stories from already-graduated friends working long, late hours is enough to make me want to change my major. I'd gladly put on a suit if it meant that my evenings and my weekends were mine. Hell, I'd wear a big-ass Santa suit to work if an potential employer offered me that kind of a schedule.

      Steve
    • by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:52AM (#4546810)
      Thus illustrating the entire POINT of a dress code - weeding out the Serious Attitudes.

      You have validated so many negative stereotypes of IT folks in one post. Lets see, we have the Slob, the Arteest, the Lone Coder. I even detect a whiff of the BOFL in there somewhere.

      Also, a question. If the Walgreen's people were such button down types, why did they offer you a job? Perhaps you were wearing a suit to your interview? Or maybe they didn't offer you the job because of your appearance and attitude, and now you are bitter?
      • [laughing] Man, did you nail it on the head. Methinks if I were an IT personnel dude, I'd inform any potential recruits that the dress code is one or two notches above the real one, just to watch how they react -- thus to weed out the Attitudes.

    • by Masloki ( 41237 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:24AM (#4547072) Homepage

      How about a post from the inside at Walgreens? <hint of sarcasm> "Well paying job" is not something I have ever heard of around here for people just hired. </hint> Your pay does increase quickly though. Second, about 4 times a year, someone asks about the changing the dress code, and each time it is shot down. They even reference articles of companies switching back to business attire. I think the whole deal is that if you look professional, you are more likely to think and act professionally. It has some merit ("If you look good; you feel good")

      Also, for the programmer's, night and weekends do happen, but only when it is critical to get whatever back to the way it should be. If you want to work more, you can. They won't pay you for it. But most IT groups are willing to let you work very flexible hours, as long as a good portion overlap normal business hours.

      For the Seattle poster, sorry, Walgreen HQ is in Deerfield, IL. About 30-45 minutes outside of downtown Chicago.

      And for those looking for a job, there are about 10 open [walgreens.com] today.

  • by Theodore Logan ( 139352 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:44AM (#4546335)
    The increase in productivity is not worth the extra cost and it takes away from the key focus, which has to be work.

    Anyone else moderately confused about that?
    • by silvaran ( 214334 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:50AM (#4546381)
      I'm confused all to hell about the whole article. It fails to give a clear indication of WHY corporations are moving to a more formal approach in the office environment. They don't indicate why there are any extra costs to having a less rigid environment (I wasn't aware there were any costs), and doesn't give any advantages of a formal environment. Short on details, I learned nothing more from the body of the article than what I learned from the title.

      From that quote you gave, it's almost a paradox. It says the productivity increase also increases cost. It also says the increased productivity takes away from work (the key focus). D-uh waaah?
      • by flacco ( 324089 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:13AM (#4546516)
        I'm confused all to hell about the whole article. It fails to give a clear indication of WHY corporations are moving to a more formal approach in the office environment. They don't indicate why there are any extra costs to having a less rigid environment (I wasn't aware there were any costs), and doesn't give any advantages of a formal environment.

        It's a control issue. Dress codes are all about subsuming the will of the individual to the will of the organization. This is well-known across a wide swath of social relationships, most obviously in the military.

        I'm sure there's a healthy dose of revenge in there too. After years of kissing geek ass and frantically throwing nerf-guns, free sodas, razor scooters and other cube-toys at their infantile hired help, while smiling tightly through the clenched teeth of their barely-contained contempt, I imagine the alpha males in management are rather relishing sticking it to the propeller-heads in ways large and small.

        Fucking cunts.

        I'm glad I have the office to myself at night. I can wear whatever I want.

        • by delcielo ( 217760 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @11:16AM (#4547563) Journal
          Hey I gotta tell you, welcome to the real world. All of those things your parents said about slaving day in and day out for somebody else were largely true. Did you think that just because you can type some funny little language into the magic box and make it do something you were immune to that age-old fact of life?

          First off, as a group, we I.T. people sort of took advantage of these folks. We had everything from brand new graduates demanding ridiculous salaries because they could write a little C, to cookie cutter MCSE's negotiating company cars and stock options just because they were able to stay awake during their MS boot camp. You reap what you sew.

          Finally, regarding the issue of control... duh. You will find as you work your way through the corporate structure, that in any group somebody has to be in charge. It's just that simple. For the most part, things work better when there is a leader; and that leader has to do just that... lead. He/She has to be in charge and exercise control.

          That's not to say that some don't take advantage of it from time to time; but by and large, they're just doing what we do, trying to satisfy their own bosses. You will find eventually that you're not much different than they are when you move to their rank. You will do what is necessary to get good marks from your boss; because making the house payment and putting food in your kids' mouths is actually more important than placating the spoiled little turd who thinks you're the devil because you took his foosball table away.
          • Hey I gotta tell you, welcome to the real world. All of those things your parents said about slaving day in and day out for somebody else were largely true. Did you think that just because you can type some funny little language into the magic box and make it do something you were immune to that age-old fact of life?

            I don't have a problem with that. Re-read my posts.

            First off, as a group, we I.T. people sort of took advantage of these folks. We had everything from brand new graduates demanding ridiculous salaries because they could write a little C, to cookie cutter MCSE's negotiating company cars and stock options just because they were able to stay awake during their MS boot camp. You reap what you sew.

            Yes. Supply and (artificially-inflated) demand meant employers were casting very wide nets in the job market in hopes of catching some gifted fish.

            Finally, regarding the issue of control... duh. You will find as you work your way through the corporate structure, that in any group somebody has to be in charge. It's just that simple. For the most part, things work better when there is a leader; and that leader has to do just that... lead. He/She has to be in charge and exercise control.

            Again, Re-read my posts. I do not have problems with control, nor with answering to authority on the job. What I dislike is the pointless psychological exercise of forcing people to wear uniforms in order to reinforce that notion of control on a stupid, symbolic level. It's humiliating.

            In a way it's almost more a lament about human minds in general than anything else.

            And don't lecture me about what I'll encounter on the way up the corporate ladder - I'm pushing forty.

          • > You reap what you sew.

            You rip what you sew, you reap what you sow.
      • by sugrshack ( 519761 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:25PM (#4548162) Homepage
        There's a classic sociological study by William H. Whyte (written in the fifties, but still strangely relevant), about the required conformity in the corporate world.

        It's called "Organization Man." Here's an excerpt from the chapter "The Fight Against Genius" [upenn.edu]

    • by pruneau ( 208454 ) <pruneau@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:58AM (#4546419) Journal
      <RANT_MODE>

      Another Quote from the article:

      The market has tightened significantly and whether people like it or not, you're going to have to work a lot harder in this environment than you have ever done in your life, "People see any additional expenditure as fun and that means you don't have to go for that additional comfort for your employees because you don't need to do it anymore because you don't need to compete to hold on to your employees," Rush adds.
      Either the guy writing the interview is period-and-comma challenged, or that Paul Rush guy really deserve his name.

      OK, the subject of the article is interesting, but the rest is just pure marketing-recruitment-nazi shitload. </RANT_MODE>

      Unless I really do have to find a bill-paying job, I _AVOID_ at all costs a company where your dressing style is more important than your skills. In those shops, the message is clear: the appearance is more important that what is beyond the surface.

      It's just not me, period !

  • by Cpt_Corelli ( 307594 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:45AM (#4546339)
    Where I am at the dress code has deteriorated even more since the dot-burst. Nowadays I'm happy when my colleagues put socks on...
  • Be an individual! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djkitsch ( 576853 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:45AM (#4546344)
    I'm a freelancer - I can go into offices wearing a T-Shirt and jeans, surrounded by grey suits, and they all let it go...

    "He's our tech-geek, so that's okay" :-)

    I think I'd actually have *less* credibility if I wore a shirt and tie...
    • Re:Be an individual! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by moonbender ( 547943 ) <moonbender AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:49AM (#4546370)
      Better not put on that "No, I will not fix your computer." t-shirt [thinkgeek.com] though. That'd be a violation of the dress code. ;)
      • A short while ago we had to move all our users from one building (token-ring) to another (ethernet). We were all working late hours and weekends for weeks. One of our guys wore that shirt in (on a weekend, no less!) and got in trouble. Of course, after he got yelled at, everyone else was asking him where he got it.
    • About ten years ago, well before the dot-bust, I recall working in an environment that pretty much expected you to wear maybe not a suit but at least shirt, tie, jacket on a daily basis. I didn't mind too much, wearing smart clothes can make you feel good sometimes and I usually looked sharp.

      The really bizarre thing was that occasionally I had to go visit a pissed-off customer to help with some tech problem that had gotten out of hand. The sales and project people would then often *plead* with me to wear jeans and t-shirt, apparently customers just would not believe they were getting the real genuine tech otherwise :)
  • Theres a limit here (Score:5, Informative)

    by ReVMD ( 141168 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:46AM (#4546345) Homepage
    It's been a long time in coming, but no real surprise, working in the City in London has always required you to wear a suit no matter what job you did, which is why I avoid the city now.

    However outside the City its always been much more smart casual, which generally means no jeans or t-shirts, I can live with that.
  • by 6Yankee ( 597075 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:46AM (#4546346)

    I don't care what they make me wear, it's better than the McDonald's prison uniform I wore before I came here.

    In fact, I'd rather they were dicking around with the dress code, if it kept their minds off dicking around with my pension. Too late.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:46AM (#4546348)
    is the dress code at my 'IT job', which is searching for work, and filing for unemployment. on casual fridays, the pajamas are optional.
  • Gah, no thanks... (Score:5, Informative)

    by CoolVibe ( 11466 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:46AM (#4546349) Journal
    I am notoriously incompatible with ties. Also notoriously incompatible with people wearing them. I am especially incompatible with people that demand that I wear a tie.

    If there is a dress code, I'll pack up and leave, or not work there in the first place.

    • by Anarchofascist ( 4820 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:04AM (#4546917) Homepage Journal
      If there is a dress code, I'll pack up and leave, or not work there in the first place.

      You silly little boy. More jobs for the rest of us, I guess.

      Here's a clue for you:

      A tie is a badge which (when flashed in the visual field of a subset of the set of business drones) means "I have some role in the smooth running of this operation", unless combined with a white shirt or any colour shirt with wrinkles which signals "I am the lowest foot-soldier in this operation, and my opinions should be treated like dingo turds".

      Personally, I don't care whether or not the people I'm dealing with wear ties, but there is a recognisable business species which will not respect your opinions unless you send the correct set of signals. Unless you send these signals, your opinions will not be respected.

      The business community was recently confused when a new species, the techhead, arrived on the scene, with a unique form of dress. Initially the new species was accepted, but since the tech crash their uniform now signals "I have a lot of weird ideas, most of which will lose you money, drive down your stock price and possibly destroy your business".

      You don't need to apologise, explain, or correct this new response. Sure you could try, but it's unnecessary. Wear the new badge, and blend into the background!

      It's a cliche, I know, but the time has come to deal with it! This is a side effect of dealing with the business world, and an insignificant side effect when compared to things like mismanagement, strict work hours ("you must start work at 9", "you must stop work by 6") and co-workers who have trouble with high-tech concepts more complex than door-handles.
    • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:26AM (#4547092)
      I am notoriously incompatible with ties. Also notoriously incompatible with people wearing them.

      Well, that's your problem, not theirs. You are making just as much a clothing-based judgement about them as you think they are making about you.

      I don't see why people are so down on ties. A tie is really the anti-uniform, the majority of suits you will see are a variation on the two classic colors of navy blue and charcoal grey, but your tie can be almost any color and pattern you want, even in the most conservative of surroundings. Self-proclaimed creative people should be the tie's biggest fans, not the opposite.
    • Re:Gah, no thanks... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dghcasp ( 459766 )
      Let me rephrase that for you...
      I don't understand the fundamental rules of business. I don't believe that perception plays any part in a working relationship and feel that you should judge me solely on my 31337 coding skillz, even if you have no proof of them other than my word. I don't play well in teams unless everyone is exactly like me. I want to show you that I'm not dependable and have no fundamental interpersonal skills by quitting if I disagree with anything you ask of me instead of rationaly discussing the issue and seeing if we can compromise.

      Is that really the impression you're trying to present? Because it's the one you are...

  • by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:47AM (#4546350) Homepage Journal
    While the workforce here at the office has been trimmed, there's no apparent change in the dress of my cow-orkers. Management (big 'M') has not said anything to any of us.

    Not too long ago, my manager came into the server room and declared, "everyone needs to start wearing slacks and button down shirts. Ties aren't necessary but we need to present a better image to the customer."

    Me, "That's fine, I quit."

    Him, quickly, "Except you, [John]."

    [John]
  • by Dialithis ( 33532 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:47AM (#4546352)
    From what I have seen, most of the "culture change" in this direction has been tied to the visibility of the employee. If they have a role that they are in contact with customers (even a remote chance of it), it makes a lot of sense that they follow some standards.

    In the past, however, a lot of companies let things slide since having a disheveled programmer that the customer only talked to once in a while was better than no programmer at all. Places like consulting firms won't put up with it at all anymore since everyone there has some chance of customer interaction.
    • We have an "expected visibility" rule. Day to day minimum dress code is "Business Casual" - collared shirt, tie optional, no sport shoes, no denim - that sort of thing(*). "Casual Friday" means intact jeans are permitted, but not uncollared T-shirts. The above is the standard UNLESS you expect a to visit a client or to have a client visit you, then it's strictly collar and tie(*). All in all, it seems to work well. If you get an unexpected customer visit you or get sent on a sudden site visit, they see that everyone is pretty well dressed. And the customer can still see that you make an effort to impress when the meeting is expected, particularly if they have seen you in your day to day wear. Onnly thing is, I don't buy business wear as often, and that which I still have no longer fits like it used to do (since I hit 36, my broad mind and narrow waist have begun trading places ;( (*) or equivalent dress standard for women
    • "If they have a role that they are in contact with customers (even a remote chance of it), it makes a lot of sense that they follow some standards."

      The article was talking about IT "dot-com" types, not managers or salespeople. That being said, I agree that anyone coming in contact with customers should cleanly represent the company, IF that is their focus (i.e. a cable installer on a telephone pole can wear jeans, as long as he has the company shirt logo on.. (and in fact, jeans are safer on the pole than slacks)).

      However, MOST of the IT "dot-com" technologists are developers, coders, hackers, and people who you want 25 hours a day, focusing on CODE, the core thing that makes your business or product successful. Sticking them in front of customers is not only going to probably confuse and anger your customers, but will slash productivity by half, since the coder is no longer CODING.

      The point is moot, as a developer, we'll just take our skills elsewhere, or we'll just start our own business with our own products, and compete with yours.

  • by Inoen ( 590519 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:48AM (#4546359)
    Quote the article:
    The increase in productivity is not worth the extra cost and it takes away from the key focus, which has to be work

    Last time i checked, there was no extra cost imposed on an employer when employees didn't wear suits.

    And if it takes focus away from work, it can hardly be considered an increase in productivity, can it?
    Or... If it is an increase in productivity, it can't be taking focus from work?

    What did i miss?

    ...or maybe that guy missed something.

  • by Kong the Medium ( 232629 ) <kongstew.googlemail@com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:48AM (#4546361) Homepage
    Once my boss urged me to wear a suit and tie to work. But sadly one of the computers hiccuped and i had to take it to the shop. Needless to say i got dirty like hell from assorted dust under the desk that i had to change my clothes. Since then no more suit for the tech guy ....
    • by Heem ( 448667 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:54AM (#4546400) Homepage Journal
      This one hits it on the head. In our line of work, many of us may have to crawl around on a server room floor, under desks, etc. If you sit at your desk all day and there is no chance you are going to get up from it, then maybe a suit would be appropriate, but, if they want me to crawl around on the ground in a nice suit, they better be paying me enough to afford buying a new suit every week.
      • That establishes a good tradeoff for me. If I wear a suit, no crawling looking for shit.

        So instead of me getting away from programming tasks and other real work, we have some $12/hour wire monkey crawling under tables and racks.

  • by imrdkl ( 302224 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:48AM (#4546366) Homepage Journal
    All of my Leisure suits are out of fashion, and the birthday suit is against new policy.
  • Not (Score:4, Funny)

    by Spackler ( 223562 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:49AM (#4546376) Journal
    They can have my jeans, as soon as they pry them off my dead, cold ass.
  • by SkulkCU ( 137480 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:50AM (#4546385) Homepage Journal

    They make me wear shoes now. It wasn't so much a change in the IT dress code, as it was a result of the complaints from other employees. IT dress code, on the other hand, now includes those propeller-hats, so that the other departments can easily identify us...
  • by The Wing Lover ( 106357 ) <awh@awh.org> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:52AM (#4546393) Homepage
    Boy, what an outrage.

    Of all the nerve, to expect computer guys to communicate with other people in the business, to work with them, to adopt the same dress code, and generally become good corporate citizens instead of that grumpy guy sitting over in the corner who won't talk to anyone.

    I for one am outraged. I should be able to not be a team player, to dress slovenly, and be totally grumpy and non-communicative with my co-workers, just because my skills are with computers, instead of, say, accounting or HR.

    Boy, of all the nerve.
    • by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:55AM (#4546405)
      You need the tie to cut off the blood to your brain so you can be in a proper state to understand management's reasoning on things.
    • by pommaq ( 527441 ) <straffaren@[ ]ay.se ['spr' in gap]> on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:19AM (#4546546) Homepage
      Yeah, sure. Not wearing a suit == being grumpy, noncommunicative and antisocial. I've never understood people that need to force others into uniforms. Your kind of smugness is also completely alien to me: "Ha! Thought you could get away with wearing something else? Well, get in line, and damn well enjoy it like the rest of us!".
      We have a great culture going here, many techs are allowed to dress the way they like. Why do you want to take that away from us and conform us to some stupid corporate tradition? Nobody will work harder because they wear a tie.
    • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:24AM (#4546579)
      Y'know, you can be a team player, and communicate effectively with other people in the business, and be a good "corporate citizen" (whatever that's supposed to mean) without wearing a suit.

      At the start of the year, I had to go to a client site for a meeting. I had been advised that they had a dress code, so I wore shoes, suit trousers and a shirt and tied my hair back (it was long then), rather than my normal boots, jeans and T-shirt.

      The meeting went fine, everyone seemed happy, until I got back to the office. A few hours later, the project manager approached me rather apologetically, and told me that there had been a complaint about the dress standard of those of us who went to the meeting. Basically, they objected to us not wearing ties.

      Funnily enough, my not wearing a tie didn't seem to affect my ability to get their project done on time, despite both the timescale and the budget being woefully under-estimated. Of course, I'm sure that they'd still rather it went over time and budget, but that we all looked the part.

      Bottom line is, it's not the clothes that are doing the programming, it's me. If you want it done right, there are a few things I need, and one of them is to be relaxed and happy. Force me into uncomfortable clothes, and I'll be distracted, and so make more mistakes and take longer over my work.
    • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:08AM (#4546956)
      Boy, what an outrage. Of all the nerve, to expect computer guys to communicate with other people in the business, to work with them, to adopt the same dress code, and generally become good corporate citizens instead of that grumpy guy sitting over in the corner who won't talk to anyone. I for one am outraged. I should be able to not be a team player, to dress slovenly, and be totally grumpy and non-communicative with my co-workers, just because my skills are with computers, instead of, say, accounting or HR.

      Here is a question for you, and answer it seriously in your own mind: If you work with someone, does their fashion make a difference in your *professional* opinion of them? If you say yes, then you are probably in some type of managment/sales/marketing role. Those people work off of image, technical people work off of knowledge. That is the way it works. If you are telling me that I have to dress up to make the marketing folks happy, then you are full of crap and need to think about your priorities. Now if you are saying that I need to dress up because I will be working with customers directly, then you may have a point. And I find it pretty naive of you to think that all technical people are slovenly, grumpy, and non-communicative. Hey, I know, let's make them dress uncomfortably, that will improve their demeanor! Maybe we need another mission statement, or Hawaiian shirt day! Quick, someone think of a catchy acronym that outlines our business paridigm initiative.

      These are precisely why technical people snicker at the business folks.

  • by jsimon12 ( 207119 ) <tzzhc4@yahoo. c o m> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:52AM (#4546396) Homepage
    Having worked for EDS for 5 years back in the day when it was suit and tie for EVERYONE (couldn't leave your cube without your suitcoat on) I can say first hand that it makes absolutly no differnce in company performance, hell if anything wearing a suit while pulling cable makes a person a worse engineer type, not to mention how much static wool generates. The whole dressing up things goes back to old school upper management who has no concept of the kind of people they want to attract.

    All changing the rules does is screw the loyal people a company, since come the next economic boom the company will have to slacken its requirements, offer increases pay to new employees etc etc, leaving the existing hard working loyal types in the preverbal lurch. Oh well those corporate MF's will never learn (too much time binge drinking in college I guess).

    I do think a little buissness casual is good, cause if there is no dress code I am coming in wearing my old Metallica t-shirt (metal up your ass), some ripped jeans and combat boots.
    • I do think a little buissness casual is good, cause if there is no dress code I am coming in wearing my old Metallica t-shirt (metal up your ass), some ripped jeans and combat boots.

      That's fine - just remember to iron that t-shirt if you're meeting with a customer :)

  • by billmaly ( 212308 ) <bill.maly@nosPaM.mcleodusa.net> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:53AM (#4546397)
    Why am I "more productive" in a $50 pair of dockers and a dorky polo shirt then I am in jeans, tshirt, flannel, and sneakers (personal uniform of choice). I know on Friday when I can dress like this, I am happier, more laid back, and generally easier to get along with (flannel hides the gut, don't have to suck it in! :P ). Instead, corporate management pukes dictate that I shall dress in clothes that I wouldn't be buried in, all in the name of "professionalism" and "productivity". Goddamn, if I EVER am a manager and sit someone down to tell them that they need to dress "more like me" and I am wearing that dorksuit, jesus god put a bullet in my head.
  • by nervlord1 ( 529523 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:56AM (#4546409) Homepage
    Lets face it, IT is changing, rapidly.

    Traditionally, your average IT guy, lived and breathed computers, he was not master of one, he was jack of all trades and (normally) master of one particular area. YOu couldn't just go into uni and be taught everything you needed to know to go out and do computing, you had to live and breath it at a young age.

    The times have changed, now every man and his dog does IT degrees and the market is being flooded with well presented, sociable creatures who dont actually understand what they are doing, they don't understand what teh computer is doing, they have not LEARNT the computer, they have LEARNT the program.

    The traditional IT workers who can't dress to save there lives and have little social skills are finding it alot harder to compete with these socially adept creatures, and thus the attitude of the workers and the employees has changed

    My theory anyway
    • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:52AM (#4547357)
      Traditionally, your average IT guy, lived and breathed computers, he was not master of one, he was jack of all trades and (normally) master of one particular area. YOu couldn't just go into uni and be taught everything you needed to know to go out and do computing, you had to live and breath it at a young age.

      It's a result of the technology maturing. For example, in the old days if fsck failed, you might have to go in there with fsdb and fix it yourself. And back in the day, SunOS 1.x admins thought fsdb was newfangled nonsense. Nowadays, on a modern journalled filesystem you never have to do that, and on a modern storage array if a disk goes bad you don't have to recover what you can from it, you just hotswap it and throw it away.

      The times have changed, now every man and his dog does IT degrees and the market is being flooded with well presented, sociable creatures who dont actually understand what they are doing, they don't understand what teh computer is doing, they have not LEARNT the computer, they have LEARNT the program.

      It's the same in every industry. How many people know how their TVs work, or their cars, or their cellphones? Back in the day, the only people who had these things were engineers, now everyone has them. Eventually, the pure-IT people will be like garage mechanics.

      The traditional IT workers who can't dress to save there lives and have little social skills are finding it alot harder to compete with these socially adept creatures, and thus the attitude of the workers and the employees has changed

      In a mature technology, the problem is not "how to do it", but rather "what should we do". IT always used to be about the former, but now it is about the latter. It is so easy with modern tools to build bread-and-butter applications that it is more important to work out what applications should be built - the complexity is no longer in the technology, but in the application of the technology, how it represents and manipulates data in the "real world". To answer those questions, you need to have good communication and social skills so you can find out what the people paying your salary actually want do, then you need to work out how to use computers to do that.

      That's not a bad thing; you can't outsource it to India, it relies on the IT people being right there in the thick of things. People who can't adapt to the new way are going to find themselves in an increasingly precarious position in the job market.
  • by e8johan ( 605347 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:58AM (#4546423) Homepage Journal
    Here in Sweden the dresscode has never been too strict, nor is it going to be, in the engineering sector. Of cource I wear a suite and tie when I'm on a customer meeting (but on-one forces me into doing that, I just want to make a good impression), but except from that I go with what ever I feel like. Naturally, one can't look/smell like a bozo, but a t-shirt and jeans (or shorts) is OK.
  • It all Depends.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:01AM (#4546434) Homepage Journal
    Started out with EDS, which in those days you couldn't get much stricter in dress code.. the poor sales guys were even told WHERE to buy their clothes..

    Then the far opposite, where Dockers and polo shirts were overdress...

    I think it really all depends on what industry you work in. You dont wear a 3 piece suit in a automotive plant, but dont forget your tie in an attorneys office..
  • Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oPless ( 63249 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:01AM (#4546436) Journal
    Start own business.

    This would stop most of this nonsense, if enough people left their jobs to do real IT work. Not content with the crass stupidity at paying
    salaries at early 90s levels, they want to
    also want the workforce to wear suits?

    Interestingly enough, I have some questions to employers, and government:
    • Why is there no Union for IT workers?
    • Why is the current practice of laying off your IT staff, then "re-employing" them as contractors (at a lower rate) not illegal?
    • Why is most of the programming work done overseas, where you have to ridiculously overspecify the project to get maintainable/extendable code?
    • Why are our governments allowing Visas for people to do IT work, when there are IT people available for work in their own country?
    • Why do employers/government wish to abuse our human rights read our email, and look at the websites we read?
    • Why does this kind of article make me sick?


    (This is not a comprehensive list btw) ... answers wrapped around a brick and thrown through your representatives window please.

    • Re:Solution (Score:3, Informative)

      by StormReaver ( 59959 )
      "* Why is there no Union for IT workers?"

      Probably because for the most part and until recently, I.T. people were treated well. Unions form when working conditions become unbearable for the workers. Interestingly, this may be a good ploy for disgruntled employees whos jobs are teetering. Get all those employees together and start talking Union. I wonder how quickly conditions would improve at work since employers absolutely hate to hear union talk. But there's little they can do about about it because it's illegal to fire workers for attempting to form a union.

      "* Why is the current practice of laying off your IT staff, then "re-employing" them as contractors (at a lower rate) not illegal?"

      Probably because I.T. workers haven't organized to oppose this (see answer to first question, which probably answers all the rest). Having seen and heard how unions operate, though, I'm not sure which is worse: Union, or no Union.

    • Re:Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spoonyfork ( 23307 ) <spoonyfork.gmail@com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:04AM (#4546919) Journal

      Why is there no Union for IT workers?

      I would answer that with a question. Are there unions of other white collar sallaried professionals? If so, look to why they created a union.

      Why is the current practice of laying off your IT staff, then "re-employing" them as contractors (at a lower rate) not illegal?

      Because they are not employeed under contractual agreement.

      Why is most of the programming work done overseas, where you have to ridiculously overspecify the project to get maintainable/extendable code?

      I don't know what being overseas has to do with this question but unless the project scope is very clearly defined, it is difficult to develop and maintain code for it. The example you are thinking of was probably burned on this before and decided to do (in my opinion) the right thing.

      Why are our governments allowing Visas for people to do IT work, when there are IT people available for work in their own country?

      Availability of IT workers isn't the issue. This is around the cost and quality of the IT workers. They can get them better and cheaper from places like Pakistan, India, and China. They work longer hours for less pay and generally have a higher level of experience and education. The US has a history (hundreds of years) of indentured servatude. That's how my family got here from Europe.

      Why do employers/government wish to abuse our human rights read our email, and look at the websites we read?

      Access to email and websites is not a basic human right recognized by any government. Besides, the company owns the computer and networks you are using for your own personal interest. They have the right to know how they are used when they are responsible for them and while they are paying for them. Sorry, they own the computers and what occurs on them, not you.

      Why does this kind of article make me sick?

      Dress codes are a symptom of authority and order. It would appear to me by your questions that you have issues with both. I would ask your parents or your therapist why you have problems with them.

    • Re:Solution (Score:3, Interesting)

      Why is there no Union for IT workers?

      We've never needed one, but I wonder. There's a lot of bad stuff going down in the tech world lately. Bad laws especially, but also good-to-honest corruption in the government (Microsoft political pressure etc). And of course you have shady working practices now, which wasn't always the case.

      I wonder what would happen if we did organize a union. Most big unions ensure their members are happy through the threat of strike. Well, that wouldn't work too well for the IT industry, as there tend not to be many of us in most companies, perhaps some sys admins and some programmers. And like I said, the issues tend to be more ones that affect us all as an industry, as opposed to single organizations.

      Just imagine if the US govt passed whichever mad law it is that would outlaw Linux (CCTPDA??). If I remember correctly, Europe has an equivalent in the works. I think most of us, even those who didn't use Linux, would be pretty pissed. What would happen to the Western economy if parts of the net were sort of shut down for a few days? I think they'd get the picture.

      Right now of course this is just paranoid speculation, but in the future, who knows. We may suddenly find we need to start standing up for the tech industry.

  • I am a sysadmin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:02AM (#4546440) Journal
    The first time they entered in my room to tell me about how to dress, I was crawling under my table, connecting cables together...

    They actually understood it would be quite uncomfortable to force me to wear a S&T in order to perform such a speleological work :)
  • Respect (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nuggz ( 69912 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:08AM (#4546486) Homepage
    Dressing neatly shows you have respect for others.
    It does make it clean and more professional looking.

    Wearing outlandish shirts, or ripped jeans shows or suggests that you don't care about your appearance.

    Wearing some nice pants, or jeans and a polo shirt (what I wear) can have you neat, somewhat professional looking and still be comfortable. Actually I find polo shirts more comfortable because the nice ones tend to be higher quality.

    Wearing a suit for a suits sake isn't good, I've seen some nasty suits where they would have been better off without it.

    By looking as though you take your job seriously, and make an effort to appear neat, clean and professional. People do react differently depending on your appearance.
  • by invid ( 163714 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:08AM (#4546488)

    One time my boss was out sick so they sent me in to represent our department at a large meeting with the customers. I think I was picked because I happened to be wearing slacks and a button-down shirt (even though it wasn't mandatory). The customer was upset because the product was late and was demanding to know why. I told the customer what I thought the real due date for the product would be (about 4 times what he had been told by management). After that I didn't get invited to any more meetings with the customers.

  • by ipmcc ( 466386 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:10AM (#4546497) Homepage Journal
    The bottom line here is that it all depends on how important it is to you. I recently spent a very long time unemployed and searching and at a certain point I had to ask myself how important finding a job that had various perks or rights associated with them. At one point I interviewed with a bank that wanted, not only to make me dress up in a suit, but they wanted to take my piss on a regular basis to make sure I wasn't smoking weed on the weekends. I decided that was too much; that I'd rather be unemployed than have to deal with those two conditions. When a job came along that respected my privacy, I took it, and while I'm kind of disappointed that I have to wear khakis and a polo shirt every day instead of shorts or jeans or whatever, it wasnt worth turning down this job. I'll bet that there are folks out there for whom it would be worth it to turn down a job, because their personal comfort or style is worth more to them than mine is to me. As jobs become increasingly scarce, those who can afford to hold out for jeans and t-shirt workplaces will shrink, but lets not kid ourselves; this is about what that particular aspect of work is worth to you.

    Let's just avoid this whole "corporate america is screwing us" rhetoric and remember that you can always quit and look for a job that will let you wear jeans IF its worth that much to you.
  • by stashluk ( 470172 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:14AM (#4546520)
    There is an inverse relationship between the amount spent on clothes, and the amount of bull slung at work. Notice how well lawyers dress...
  • by Naikrovek ( 667 ) <jjohnson@[ ].com ['psg' in gap]> on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:14AM (#4546522)
    I'll ship out, thanks.

    I'm no slob. I dress in clean jeans every day, I iron my t-shirts, and I buy and use deodorant, as well as soap and shampoo.

    But I'll be buggered if I'm going to work for a company that thinks that professionalism has anything to do with the clothes you wear.

    Trends like this have nothing to do with the collapse of dotcom culture, and everything to do with office managers grasping at the straws of job justification in an economy where things are not so stable, and their jobs could easily fly out the window like anyone else's.

    I work for Yahoo! Australia & NZ, and I'm happy to say that I could wear a sleeveless hunting shirt with military boots, dread-locks and 15 year old cargo pants with more holes in them than I have centimeters around my waist. No one would even blink. Why? because they all know that I'm 100% capable of doing my job on any given day, no matter what I'm wearing.

    Any employer that treats me differently -- or believes differently -- shows an immense lack of trust in me, and therefore cannot be trusted by me. A company less interested in its employee's happiness and more interested in its image will die a slow, painful death, and management will wonder why none of their employees will go the extra mile the whole way down.

    So here I am, taking your bait and replying. At work, at midnight, in my jeans and my ironed t-shirt. Why? My employer goes the extra mile for me, which means I do the same for them.

    jeremiah johnson.
  • by Cipher9 ( 621086 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:18AM (#4546538)
    I wear pretty casual clothes at work. A (mostly ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com]) T-Shirt, jeans and sport shoes are my kind of thing. While at work nobody complains about how i dress, the nightclub i went to last saturday, kicked us out just because of the sport shoes. How about that :-)
  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:19AM (#4546549) Homepage Journal

    ... at least where I work (IBM).

    Over the last decade IBM has shifted from a serious suit-and-tie kind of place to pretty much anything goes, except in front of customers, of course. After the last couple of rounds of layoffs, however, I've noticed a distinct shift in dress among the survivors, and it's not because of anything management has said.

    IBM still dresses casually but I've noticed in my part of the company that dockers have largely replaced jeans and button-down shirts or turtlenecks have pretty much eradicated t-shirts. Sports coats and nice shoes are even seen on the upwardly mobile.

    Management hasn't said anything, and there are very few employees around from "the old days", so it isn't that people are reverting back. I'm convinced that it's just basic caution; after seeing a bunch of others tossed on the street, everyone wants to go the extra mile in looking and acting like a professional, a valuable employee who must be retained -- just in case layoffs strike again.

    My theory is that we'll see dress shift subtly up and down the scale in inverse proportion to the stock price.

    Stock up == times good == dress irrelevant.

    Stock down == times bad == better look good in every way you can.

    Of course, for me, like many IBMers, this only matters when we actually go into the office. Large portions of IBM work from home these days, an experiment prompted by dot-boom but retained because it works well and saves on real estate costs. Again, though, when the stock is down face time with your boss becomes important...

  • This is so silly. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:24AM (#4546578) Homepage Journal
    Instead of marketing and PHB dressing down to regular clothes they need the entire staff to clone up to their level? If i see an IT in suit i cant take him serious, ill assume point'n'click level.
  • by deanthebean ( 241393 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @11:08AM (#4547481) Homepage
    There are three types of people in business.

    1. Those so low down on the ladder no one cares what they wear.

    2. People in the middle who wear nice clothes to make themselves appear professional.

    3. Those so high up on the ladder no one cares what they wear.

    Which one are you? ;)
  • no new suits (Score:3, Interesting)

    by neilv ( 96511 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @11:13AM (#4547529)
    "A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in; for him the old will do.... Only they who go to soirees and legistlative halls must have new coats, coats to change as often as the man changes in them. But if my jacket and trousers, my hat and shoes, are fit to worship God in, they will do; will they not? ... I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes... If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.... Otherwise, we shall be found sailing under false colors, and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion, as well as that of mankind."

    -- Thoreau
  • Comfortable Suits (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ek_adam ( 442283 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @11:19AM (#4547595) Homepage

    I think one of the problems a lot of people have with suits is that they've only worn one or two suits for graduation and interviews. These were probably three times or more expensive than their casual wear even if they bought the cheapest suit available and they didn't even think about buying the next more expensive suit.

    You can find more comfortable suits if you are willing to pay a bit more. Suits don't even have to be dry clean only. My Tilley [tilley.com] jacket is comfortable, has ten working pockets, and the cleaning instruction tag says "Give it hell!"

    • by Samrobb ( 12731 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:42PM (#4549430) Homepage Journal

      Yah, I know there are comfortable suits out there... my current suit is lightweight, good quality, and really not a bother to wear at all. I have only that one suit, though, used for weddings and funerals (and other special occaisions). So, if I accept a position where suits are required business attire, I am now in a situation where I can expect to shell out:

      • ~$1500 for clothes (5 good suits, shoes, shirts, etc.)
      • ~$200 a month for dry cleaning
      • Extra time spent dressing, running back & forth to the dry cleaners, etc.

      This comes to ~$4000 in the first year of employment; ~3000/year afterward (presuming I pick up an extra suit or two to replace worn ones, new styles, new ties, etc.)

      This is roughly the same as taking a $6000/year pay cut from the offered salary.

      So, really, this is no different from a company saying "Well, if you want to work here, you'll have to make your own parking arrangements - we don't cover that" or "Well, if you want to work here, you'll have to find your own vision care package - we don't cover that." The company is trying to take something that benefits them (not paying for parking, not payiung for vision coverage, presenting a professional image) and shift the cost of that onto the individual employee.

      That's why I treat working attire the same way I treat medical coverage, paid parking downtown, and other benefits. Yes, I will consider a job working somewhere where suit and tie is required attire... but working there will cost me money, and I expect my salary to reflect that added expense. Conversely, if I accept a job somewhere else where attire is casual or buisness casual, I can live with a lower salary, because I avoid the bother of having to wear a uniform to work.

      In other words... if my wearing professional attire on the job benefits the company, I expect to be compensated for that effort on my part, the same way I am compensated for my other efforts as an employee. If the company is unwilling to pay me for doing something that benefits the company, then they really shouldn't be surprised when I say "No".

  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:09PM (#4548002)
    Can I expense my clothing bill? How about a tax deduction? (I'm serious -- if the clothing standards are "required" by the company, then there should be some compensation.)

    The thing about this and any management-mandate is, if you are not replaceable and management realizes this, (and not being able to replace you means failure of the department, division, or company) then you have virtually unlimited bargaining power.

    Otherwise, you need to toe the line. It's that simple.

  • by lostboy2 ( 194153 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @12:23PM (#4548143)
    The market has tightened significantly and whether people like it or not, you're going to have to work a lot harder in this environment than you have ever done in your life.

    Apparently this guy has never worked at a dot.com startup. I've worked for two, and worked my butt off at both, rarely working less than 80+ hours/week. The reason I worked so hard wasn't because of the paycheck, the stock options or some suit/PHB telling me to, it was because I was personally invested in seeing the companies and their products/services succeed. This is not to say that people outside of the dot.coms don't also work hard -- they do. It's just simplistic (and inaccurate) to portray dot.commies as slackers.

    The notion that a suit looks more professional or mature is also crap. First of all, I know a lot of suits who are neither professional nor mature (and utterly incapable of communication). And secondly, I seem to remember a time not too long ago when women and people of color were considered to be less "professional" than white men, and thus unworthy of higher-ranking positions. Please tell me we're not headed back in that direction!

  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @01:49PM (#4548970) Homepage Journal
    Let's not beat around the bush, you may pretend you like it, you might think it makes you look sharp, but deep down you know it is only cultural conditioning that makes you think so. You would look just as sharp in a Star Trek costume as in these bland, antiquated, frivolous uniforms, if that is what everybody else wore.

    And make no mistake, a suit is a uniform. It may not your name on the collar, but it serves the same purpose. You are indistiguishable, you are part of the team. Your identity does not matter so much as the persona you present. It says to your client "I'm willing to go to great expense to impress you". It says to your boss "I'm willing to go to great effort to kiss your ass".

    Every time you go to the dry cleaners, every time you spend a day's pay on the next day's clothes, every time your spill your drink and curse the waste that is forced upon you, you are submitting your will to the superficial whims of those effete do-nothings who nonetheless lord over you in the social hierarchy.

    Nothing says "I'm your bitch" like wearing a suit. Remember that.
  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug.geekazon@com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:16PM (#4549232) Homepage
    Sigh. It's the same old story. When a company is controlled by people who actually do the work, or at least understand it, crap that doesn't matter doesn't matter. When the company is controlled by bean counters and hall monitors, crap that doesn't matter matters.

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