CXO

Suit up or shut up

A recent article suggesting that the days of informal dress codes for techies were over has created a storm of controversy. Builder Australia's Brendon Chase has his say on the future of the denim-clad workforce.

A recent article suggesting that the days of informal dress codes for techies were over has created a storm of controversy. Builder Australia's Brendon Chase has his say on the future of the denim-clad workforce.

OPINION— It seems a lot of IT workers got their feathers ruffled after reading my recent article -Suit up or ship out". I couldn't help but chuckle as I typed the article in little more than my unwashed jeans and fat Albert T-shirt.

That aside, it left me wondering: Why do IT workers think they are so special that they feel compelled to come out in droves to tell me they believe they have the God-given right to wear what they want to work?

Mind you, many tech workers agreed with Paul Rush's comments that -You are going to have to learn to dress, communicate, and adapt all the traditional corporate ideals that IT has been exempt from in the dot-com culture."

One anonymous coward agreed: -If people aren't able to dress with some semblance of style, they should go work somewhere else, somewhere less demanding (would you like fries with that?)."

However, despite some shows of support for Paul's comments, the majority of replies Builder Australia received were firmly against the notion that tech workers should adopt a corporate dress policy. One particularly vehement and interesting reply read:

-Where is the IT industry heading when one is no longer employed based on one's technical skills and knowledge? What are the "traditional corporate ideals that IT has been exempt from"? Wearing expensive suits and talking like a car salesman won't make anyone be respected or knowledgeable. Respect is something that has to be earned; it's not something that comes with an expensive suite. While I agree that there are some very stereotypical looking (and smelling) members of the IT community we can't just give up on our freedoms because we are being threatened and bullied by big companies."

So what do I personally think? The manner in which IT professionals dress should be decided by the level of customer contact they have in their day-to-day working lives. If you are meeting with clients who are going to judge you on your professionalism, then you should back your technical knowledge by dressing appropriately, which *gasp* might include a suit. However in saying that, if you are locked away from the general public then I firmly believe you should be able to wear whatever is most comfortable to get the job done.

Ultimately, you decide on where you work, and the conditions that you are employed under. If you don't like it, then you know where there door is and you should stop complaining. If you think you are special or good enough to pick and choose where you work according to your fashion style, then there will be ample employment opportunities knocking at your door. Good luck!

How professionally do you have to dress at work? Is it appropriate? E-mail the editors at Builder Australia.

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