A few years ago i used to work in an organization that mandated a dress code. Everyday you have to wear formals which means everyone had to wake up earlier and iron your clothes etc. before you go to work. This was when i was in college and it was a piss off since college dint mandate anything except wearing clothes. The one thing it did for me was setup a routine. Every morning / night whenever my shift was about to start i would iron my clothes, polish my shoes and go to work. After this place i moved to another organization that had wear anything except shorts and sandals. So that meant shoes to work everyday. Thanks to global warming Bangalore seemed to be getting hot and even in winters you needed a fan.
I finished studying in college and decided i would go out on a long bike ride. Didn’t need any pants with me so didn’t take any. When i came back after a few months the first thing i started to do was try and find work that would allow me to wear shorts and sandals. Its hard to bike to work wearing pants, also why would i want to wear pants ever. Found work at this really nice place which didn’t require i wear pants. As luck would have it they had changed the rule from wearing shorts only in the summer to the whole year. Since i was in a sales role I had to wear pants for meetings. That was disturbing. Most of the days at some point i would have a meeting and had to change. Again I had to store clothes in the locker and iron them before the meeting. The only change was i could send it to get ironed. We had an ironing lady next door. A year and a half later I got bored doing what i was doing and decided to find a new job.
One of the things this time when i looked for a job was the dress code. Startups had been in the news for a while now and one thing they promised apart from a TT table was no dress code. So among the few places i interviewed at, the place i currently work seemed the nicest. Thankfully the startup culture = no dress code, and the boss didn’t care about what you wore as long as you did the job. First day at work i wore some jeans and that was might uncomfortable. I managed to bring up the story about how we should wear shorts to work and the HR’s response was do whatever you want. That started it off. I haven’t worn pant at least whenever avoidable since. Its been good. Now if I start to look to find a new job this seems to be a choice. I no longer want to wake up and wonder what to wear. I mean all of my clothes thanks to the puppies have holes in it, so the hobo look is easy to maintain.
The only question is does this affect perception. I think it does. In the beginning my vendors had a hard time believing i knew what i did. Thankfully that changed when during a couple of events i helped out with some tech errors. So now that problem was solved. At work with peers was harder. Even though people know what i do, trust that i can do it they hesitate. I was told by someone at work to dress up and come to work. Thankfully my immediate boss does not care. I haven’t been passed for a role or anything but I haven’t as yet not gotten what I have asked for. Sometimes it takes longer. With respect to our customers , most of them at events wear a blazer at events and thats the only time I wear pants. That seems a must in order to have a serious conversation.
In conclusion, sometimes you get lucky at the place where you work. I truly believe nothing else should matter if you can do your job well. Everything else is a distraction. The question I have is can i start a business and raise money while wearing sandals and shorts. The only way i would know is by trying. Waiting for the billion dollar idea.