When I worked for a large organization I suffered from fashion angst every morning. What do I wear today? Will I be overdressed or under-dressed? Will I impress the boss? Does this tie match this shirt? Can anyone see this ketchup stain? Will they notice I’m wearing the same clothes I wore the last 12 days? These issues plagued me day in and day out. I was in fashion hell.
Now things are much simpler. Now . . . I work out of my home. The only fashion critics awaiting me each morning are two gerbils, a couple of tropical fish from the South Pacific and my faithful dog Eeyore. Yes folks, at Home Office Inc. pajamas, boxer shorts and those 14 year-old ripped university sweat shirts are in vogue. No more looking in the mirror, no more worrying about mixing and matching. Purple socks and brown shoes? No problem. Can never find anything to match that green blouse? Who cares? Certainly not the gerbils. And guess what? At Home Office Inc. there’s no such thing as a bad hair day! You can actually walk around with that tornado-swept, freshly electrocuted look and feel proud (of course, your cat may leave home for a few days, but she’ll eventually come back). Yes, it’s so long ties, adios pantyhose (the pantyhose reference is for women, I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea about me). Working at home truly gives new meaning to the phrase “dress down Fridays”.
Ponder your new found freedom and improved efficiency as you leap from bed to office with nary a glance back. Of course, there’s also the obvious gloating privileges. Every time you talk to someone on the outside, you’ll be obliged to mention your are still in pajamas at 3 in the afternoon, while your former colleagues stumble about in high heels and choke on their ties (incidentally, if your former co-workers are wearing both high heels and ties, you can really gloat).
The transition from sharply dressed power executive to humble sultan of Home Office Inc. can take some getting used to. If you’re new to the home office scene my advice is this – start slowly. On Monday, keep wearing that favorite tie you’ve worn for the last 10 years, just wear it around your head (if your a woman, pantyhose draped casually over the shoulders works just as well). For Wednesday, try working in slippers and an old baseball cap. By Friday you’ll be phoning up clients in cozy pajamas and pouring over the books in your “only-my-dog-can-ever-see-me-in-these-and-live-to-tell-about- it” sweat pants.
Although I think the world would be a happier (and certainly more fun) place if we could all meet in our pajamas or boxer shorts, you’ll need to hang onto a crisply pressed work ensemble for those times you have to venture outside the safe confines of Home Office Inc. As well, unexpected drop ins may throw a monkey wrench into your new found “comfort zone”, so keeping an outfit close at hand is an absolute must (think of it like Clark Kent having Superman’s costume ready for emergencies).
Since I haven’t yet gloated (and technically I’m obliged to) allow me to now gloat at will. As I write this, I’m clad only in boxer shorts (cute white ones dotted with little red hearts), a T-shirt my mother suggests I donate to a worthy charity (like the dump), my wife’s pink fuzzy slippers (they’re much warmer than mine) and a Vancouver Canucks baseball cap I won back in 1983. I admit it’s not a pretty picture, but at Home Office Inc.- the gerbils really don’t seem to mind.
Copyright Michael Kerr. Michael Kerr is a Hall of Fame international business speaker, very funny motivational speaker, trainer, and author of six books, including Inspiring Workplaces and The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank. www.HumoratWork.com
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