Workplace crimes

Is there any workplace crime so heinous as a truly appalling fashion choice?  I’ve just been confronted with a cow-orker choosing to wear tailored shorts and long white socks.  I’m against the death penalty on principle but still, some people are begging for some extreme retribution.  You know you’re working in the public service in Australia when someone wears daggy shorts and long white socks to work.

I remember years ago when I had a holiday in Darwin, noticing that this was pretty much the uniform for office workers there.  It’s fairly intense tropical heat there, the temperature is 30 – 40 Celsius all year with the only variation being in humidity.  That varied from 75% to 95%.  So I’m not surprised that they don’t wear business suits but surely there’s a less appalling choice than knee length tailored shorts meeting knee length white socks?  And the pants were always beige!  White short sleeved shirt, beige shorts, white socks and brown shoes.

And I even saw one freak wearing a full-on fucking safari suit!  My dad wore these getups all the time when I was growing up but at least he had the excuse that it was the 70s.  I think the pinnacle of his sartorial splendour was a lime green number.  I should talk, I had a denim safari suit as a kid and I thought it was the coolest thing going.  Two of my brothers had identical outfits – we were quite a sight: three pre-teen boys all in dark blue denim safari suits.  Sometimes I still have nightmares that I open my wardrobe and that’s all there is to wear.

This has also reminded me that as I look towards my next contract, one of the many variable I have to deal with is the dress code in the new workplace.  There is quite a bit of variation in Australian workplaces; there’s the suit and tie places (still the most common), “business casual” (reasonably common) or full casual (the rarest). 

While I actually hate wearing a suit and tie, there are some saving graces to this.  Mainly, I don’t have to think as hard about what to wear.  Then there’s the fact that there’s a clear separation between your work wear and home wear.  Sometimes that psychological separation can be really important.  Plus, I’m also less worried about the impression I create with what I wear – a suit and tie is pretty hard to screw up.  I don’t move in the rarefied circles where everyone wears Armani suits and sneers at my off the rack numbers.

When an Australian workplace specifies “business casual” it usually means no jeans and men have to wear shirts with a collar (you can usually get away with polo shirts if that’s your thing).  Full casual sounds good in principle but it’s really easy to screw up or go too far.  One recent workplace had a “no rules” policy but a few people memorably pushed the limits of what was acceptable even there.  Some men in particular had a tendency to wear beachwear in the warmer weather: board shorts, t-shirt and thongs (that’s Australian footwear thongs, not bum-floss underwear thongs).  There was one young female who famously had a tendency to wear outfits that even if you saw her wearing them in a nightclub you’d think she was a skank.  But wearing them to work?  What the fuck was she thinking?

Oh well, maybe I’ll get “discovered” on YouTube in the meantime and I can forget all about this office shit.



Filed under Work

20 responses to “Workplace crimes

  1. There is a telesales/customer relations company in Carlton that has a VERY loose dress policy; I used to be Ops Manager of the outbound skanky call centre. There was one girl there, quite attractive, who used to wear bonds type tank tops, white, and no bra. She hung out all over the place (literally) and was quite perky in that effort, too.

    I was forced to sack someone for sexual harrasment because he made a comment once about seeing what was held within said top…

    What can you do? I had looked, too, as had 66% of the blokes there (one third of the male employees were gay).

    If I had have said anything to her about her attire, I could have been in a shit-load of trouble, as alot of the employees were very lax about dress standards, and she could have claimed victimisation. So I kept my mouth shut, and eyes open…

    (Yes, I am a sick bastard…Honest, but sick)

  2. And Mr A, I hope your discovery comes sooner, rather than later (‘cos it will happen), and I will see you in a week!

  3. I think in that sort of circumstance someone should have told her to change her dress style because it’s inappropriate. I worked in one call centre where these incredibly hot 19 year old girls decided to wear skin tight ski pants (the fashion of the day) that left nothing to the imagination. They got told not to wear them again because none of the hetrosexual males found it possible to work.

  4. That makes sense, but I was advised against it (the department manager was a pervy bastard).

  5. hahahahaha, he’s the one that should have been sacked! BTW, just now as I was coming home from the shops, “cows with guns” was on the radio!

  6. Moooooooooooooooooo…..I’m suprised anyone still remembers that song!

  7. Um, socks with sandals? Isn’t that the worst fashion crime that can be committed?

  8. Salamaat,
    at one trendy dot com; a few girls would wear see through skirts with thongs (bum flossing kind..hahaha) and tops that left little to the imagination. It was quite entertaining observing some of the male-female dynamics at work.

  9. I’ll tell you why I wear white cotton socks when I wear shorts:

    If I didn’t, you would smell my feet. Literally.

    If it is hot enough outside for shorts, then my feet are sweating. Badly. Stinky style bad. Sandals make my feet sweat even worse.

    Every job I have had here in the US tech sector so far, admittedly not many, has been jean casual, I get made fun of for “dressing up” by insisting on wearing cheap khakis and a shirt with buttons on it to work! Well suffice to say sandals are OK during the summer.

    Back to the stinky rant.

    You have a choice.

    Either put up with my personal fashion disaster, or wonder why the office place stinks.

    Out of sheer kindness to my co-workers, I choose to be a walking fashion joke during the summer.

    (Except for at my job last year where I had my own private office and was working 12hrs a day, people just walked around in their socks anyway. 😀 )

  10. More than once I’ve had to tell young volunteer ladies at work, please wear a longer t-shirt if you are going to wear jeans so low that your thong shows. The kids hate me for it, but I’m the Mom.

  11. gruntski: there’s a flash version of it floating around the net too

    michelle: good call, another horrible crime!

    Maliha: why can’t I find a workplace like that?

    devlin: socks are ok, but are you wearing taliored shorts that go down to the top of your knees and long white tube socks that almost meet them on the other side?

    Sandra: I actually had a female boss once who wore slightly short t-shirts that exposed her torso whenever she stretched. She wasn’t totally hot but she was nice and had a good torso., Quite distracting when your boss does that.

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  13. The thing is once you get with a certain type of clothes, people get used to it and you get stuck with always wearing those types of clothes. For example, at work I always wear clean jeans with a collared shirt. I could be wearing short sleeved polo shirt and/or t-shirts. But I never did, so I dug my own grave.

    Other male teachers go around in t-shirts while I am stuck in shirts. It helps that I didn’t really bring anything else to wear on this trip, except a few t-shirts. BTW, it sucks to wear shirts when it is 27-35°C and 60-85% humidity

  14. Ick, tube socks. No thanks. All my socks are ankle high.

    In general it is considered a fashion SNAFU to wear socks and sandals at all…

    At my present job, I saw one lady wear a sweat suit to work. I thought that was way to casual….

    (albeit we do have a gym on the bottom floor, so she could been working out and received an emergency call and had to run back to her desk for something, I don’t really know, I just saw her in passing).

    As is usual, the Japanese employees are off in their own little high fashion la-la land and look down upon the rest of us fashonless Americans. -_-

    Oh well, at least when they don’t go overkill with the blond hair dying, the gals look good. 😀

  15. Houndbite, I will check it out when I get a chance. Sounds interesting.

    Range: Yeah, but going shirtless would be going too far 😉

    Devlin: You should try crocs, apparently your feet don’t sweat in them (no socks required). From what I’ve seen, the japanese ladies vary between unmatched elegance and explosions of weirdness!

  16. Haha! This is funny too. I remember them safari suits. I hate them now.

    Do you have a photo of all of you brothers in your matching suits? 🙂

  17. A photo? Hmmmm, probably the best example would be my sister’s wedding (the reason we got the suits. It would be a funny pic actually because she married a hippie and they’re both wearing dresses. OK, his is a “kaftan” but it’s basically the same thing.

  18. You should post the pic, Mr Angry. It would look way cool! (When my mother re-married, I was forced to wear a safari suit also, so I do understand.)

  19. Pingback: Shoes » Blog Archive » [Footnote 381: The incomparable advantage of animal spirits

  20. jen

    Well, if you’ve got any pictures of safari suits we’d love to put them onto our website! Cough up Mr Angry…

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