Dress Code

I’ve been reading a lot of stuff lately and feeling very admonished. I think a lot of what I’ve been reading has been a bit like sending out the dress code to the whole office when you really need to talk to the one guy in dirty board shorts and flip flops. (There may or may not be some parallels to my job as well.)

There’s a thing that happens at not great workplaces when someone is breaking a rule or being an ass. The person wearing too much perfume/cologne/lethal axe body spray, the person who thinks the dress code is at best a vague suggestion, the person who is half-hearted about showing up or being polite or whatever. But people/management/leadership/a boss doesn’t want to talk to the person and say, “Hey! Show up to work, it’s your actual job!” or “Stop trying to kill us with Axe.” and instead they send an all-staff email.

What does this do? Make the rule breaker go “Oh Mah God!” and shape up? No! They ignore it because of course, it doesn’t apply to them. If they thought it applied to them they would have obeyed it in the first place. Instead what happens is the person who wears a lightly scented deodorant starts to worry that it’s about them. They go out and buy an unscented deodorant. And they stress out about it.

I know, we are talking to the internet. Heck, I’m doing it right now. I don’t want to admonish because they are big name authors and I’m nobody. Mostly I’m writing this to purge the demons from my head that are telling me I’m doing it all wrong. I can’t possibly do anything, I should shut up and quit. I don’t think I’m going to stop anyone from shouting at the internet telling people they should sit down and shut up because they are horrible for wanting people to review their books, not reviewing everything you read, promoting themselves, not promoting yourself correctly, writing sequels, writing a stand alone, doing anything for free ever, charging for anything ever.

All of this “advice” (I cannot scare quotes that hard enough) is supposed to be helpful. But I think that, much like this post, it is sort of raging at frustrations. So…I guess everyone gets frustrated and rages on their blog about it? I don’t know. I’m not going to quit. I’m sorry about the things I get wrong, and if someone wants to talk with me directly about it, I really am happy to listen. I need to stop listening to the raging of others that makes me anxious and panicked about what I’m doing.


Sit down and coach your staff one on one rather than sending an all-staff email with the dress code.


  1. Elizabeth

    I hate those all staff e-mails! When my intern came in wearing flip flops, we had a discussion about it not being appropriate in an office setting. Enough said. And she stopped wearing them.

    1. Mariah Avix

      That’s perfect and how it should be! Go you for not passing on for an all staff email. Even when it is easy. 🙂


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