Two and a Half Weeks

I’ve been distracted from blogging by the important task of conducting detailed research into the meaning of business casual in my new job.  Many were the opening slides of powerpoint presentations that passed me by as I focussed less on the training I was meant to be participating in, and more on the wardrobe choices of others.

I can conclude the following:

  • If an organisation writes to new recruits to let them know that the dress code is business casual, every single one of those new recruits will show up to work on their first day wearing a suit just in case.
  • It will take approximately one week for new recruits to conclude their studies of the long-term staff and conclude that yes, the office really does mean that there is no need to wear a suit.  The downward trajectory of recruits’ attire will be slight, however.
  • In my office, business casual means casual.  So far I have seen some fairly scruffy jeans and t-shirt combinations (on the men only, though) and several women wearing attire I would consider better suited to gardening than paid employment.  The director of my section (that’s three steps of seniority up from me) arrived at work yesterday wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
  • I spent around 6 hours and £200 solving a problem that didn’t exist.
  • I am still happy about this state of affairs.  No need for fretting over whether something is suitable!

And now, it’s time for a quick episode of Colleagues Who Look Like Famous People!

A colleague who sits two seats from me is the spitting image of Joan Cusack.  Now I must expend mental energy trying not to presume that my colleague is going to behave like Cyn from Working Girl.

I don’t have much mental energy left: the training programme is gruelling, and requires hideous amounts of background reading combined with three-hour seminar debates on what you would do in a given situation.  It is interesting and challenging work, but the quantity of training is wearing very thin.  We have also been given substantive work to do which comes with deadlines, fourteen thousand procedural and bureaucratic administrative steps, and required interaction with the globe’s least-intuitive software.

I would say something to the powers that be, but when I took this job I read the part of my contract that makes the probation period 10 months and I promised myself that whatever happens, for the next 10 months I will put up and shut up and not give anyone any reason to label me a trouble-maker.

After the first week I thought my brain might leak from my ears, plaintively crying no more information as it pooled around my brand new business casual shoes.  After the second week I felt the kind of brain-tired I last experienced after completing Excel training.  And half-way into my third week, I am ill.

Not ill enough to stay home from work (thank lard) but a kind of low-level head-cold sore-throat stupidity-inducing ill.  So, today when I decided to take advantage of the flexitime system – flexitime! yay! – and head home early, I boarded the wrong commuter train and, befuddled, took three stops to realise.  I got home a whole seven minutes before I would have got home if I’d left work at the actual end of the day.

It’s a good thing navigational skills weren’t on the list of required competencies for this post.

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2 Responses to “Two and a Half Weeks”


  1. 1 Jonathan July 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    We are allowed casual unless we have clients in, in which case shirt and tie… that said, the girl that sits behind me often wears trousers and a top, and makes us all look like slobs :)

    I do wear the geekiest t-shirts though (hey! I’m a software developer!) :)

  2. 2 Jenn @ Juggling Life July 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I am not a fan of the sloppy look in the workplace, but it is nice to know that just by NOT wearing jeans you are dressed for business.

    10 months probation?! I have never heard of such a thing.


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