Are You Really Wearing That to Work?

Yesterday my manager forwarded me an e-mail from our HR contact.  The subject line read “Halloween costumes.”

The e-mail said that HR has already received questions about Halloween costumes, and that upper management is not supportive of the wearing of costumes in the workplace.

Is this what we have come to in these days of permanent “business casual,” first naming your bosses, and general non-formality in the workplace?  Employees who are allegedly adults, some with advanced degrees, actually think it might be appropriate to come to their place of business in Halloween costumes?

What happened to the idea that one should dress in a manner consistent with one’s age, station in life, and employment?  Adults should not seek to dress up at their offices!  A certain level of professionalism is needed.  A customer doesn’t want to walk into a bank and find the staff dressed up like the third-grader he or she put on the bus that morning.  Let’s not even get into the need to define what costumes are acceptable and not offensive (to avoid legal troubles).

Mark Steyn once wrote that in the 1950s, at a certain age “a man put on a suit and hat and went to work until he died.”  That’s standard we should seek to live up to, not the standard of the TV show “The Office.”  Leave the childish things to the children.

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