Monday, November 8, 2010

Casual Fridays

For those who don't know what Casual Friday is allow me to explain. Casual Friday is when people who work office jobs or white-collar jobs (generally) decide to ditch the professional attire and wear something, well, more casual to close out the work week. Some popular choices are pullovers, maybe a button down of some sort, and of course, the staple: Jeans. I for one think Casual Friday is completely ridiculous, and have never understood the reason why people do it.

What is the attraction to Casual Friday? Is wearing jeans to the office really that big a deal? Are we so bored as a society that something so mundane and lazy as donning weekend wear is a look-foward-to thing? I don't know how it is at your job, but where I work it's the same handful of people who partake in this nonsense every week. Obviously, someone who opposes this tradition has to ask: What's the message you're trying to send by showing up to work in blue jeans and a half-zipper fleece on Fridays? Should we take you seriously Mon-Thurs, but NOT take you seriously on Friday?

I know, I know: It's just a way to change the pace around the office for a bit, mix it up. I ask: Why? The office (I hope) is a place of business and should be treated like that all days of operation, not just Mon-Thurs. When I see you wearing jeans while at work, when everyone understands the general attire is professional, you instantly drop a notch in my mind's eye, in regards to how serious you are in your craft, when just the opposite may be true. You may be great at your job, dedicated. But hey if it walks like a duck . . . Did Bill Gates and/or the guy who made up Facebook wear jeans to the office? Maybe. But they invented Windows and Facebook. When you invent something that literally changes the world, go ahead and whip out the Wrangler's.

Where does it end? Do all professions do this? I know county workers and state workers made this famous. How about doctors or cops or firefighters? Do they have Casual Fridays? Is there a day where these professionals just take it easy, change the pace with a pair of blue jeans from the back of the closet? Please tell me if that's the case, so I'm sure not to have a heartattack or house fire on those days. Because if I came to the ER with crippling chest pains and found myself in the middle of Casual Friday hospital-style, I'd be pretty freaked out. I want the guy who's gonna cut my chest open to look the part everday, even Friday, if that's not too much to ask. No, no, you're probably saying, someone as important as a cop or heart surgeon shouldn't participate in Casual Friday, that's not for them. OK, I get it: Casual Friday is for less-important jobs. Just remember that line when the company's budget cuts your position from its books and sends you packing. But hey, I'm sure the boss will give you one last Casual Friday on the clock.

What's my point? Maybe everything is getting a bit too casual these days. Everybody feels it's so important to express their personal styles in the workplace and beyond. When did this level of entitlement start? If it's not Casual Friday, it's an inner-office wedding shower, or birthday party for Becky in HR, or Christmas grab bag. Is it really a wonder that American productivity is declining so quickly? This country doesn't make anything anymore, doesn't build anything brand new, we just push paper around, have meetings about meetings. Nobody wants to do the real work anymore. We're too worried about personal days, and sick time, and wearing jeans on Fridays. But now, more than ever, the corporate belt is tightening. Now is the time to show up at the office in top form, because we sure seem ready to (all of a sudden) walk the company line when budget cuts loom.

Workplace practice is like anything else in life. You're permitted certain things, like two weeks vacation time, X-number of sick days, so much maternity leave time, etc. But that doesn't mean you NEED to take it. And of course nobody will say anything when you exhaust all your personal options, but that doesn't mean somebody's not watching, always watching, and when push comes to shove, maybe something as simple as not ALWAYS using all your personal time will keep you on the company dime. That's just one person's opinion.

My greatest fear is that Casual Friday will one day become Casual Monday, then Casual Weds-Fri, then finally, well, you get the idea. Before long we'll all be going to work draped in velvet sweat suits. Try eating cake at Becky's inner-office birthday party while wearing that.

Brian Huba


  1. For once, I actually agree with you. You NEED to be on your A-game in this economy.