Years ago I had a job interview at another newspaper. It went well, seemed like a good fit and all, until I asked about the dress code.
“It’s pretty casual here,” the editor said, “so long as you don’t look like you’re going to the beach.”
At the time, my entire wardrobe consisted of colorful shirts and a ratty sweater. Every day was beach day.
I turned down the job for that and other reasons, and never regretted it.
Now, years later, the dress code issue has raised its head again.
Meaning, Just Wright Citrus should probably have one.
I attended the “Bootcamp Breakfast” Wednesday morning put on by the chamber of commerce and the Horsefly Group, Commissioner Holly Davis’s marketing company. The seminar was about using social media to grow your business.
The seminar was awesome and I learned plenty. The biggest lesson, though, wasn’t necessarily about digital marketing.
It’s about being a business owner and dressing appropriately.
Just Wright Citrus has a very liberal dress policy. Whatever I feel like throwing on in the morning, that’s it. I’m big on sweatshirts in the cool weather, especially a University of Minnesota hoodie that I picked up while visiting my stepson in Minneapolis a few months back.
That’s what I wore Wednesday morning and soon as I walked into the room I realized my approach was wrong. The room was filled with business people dressed like, you know, business. Me, I looked like I was showing up for a game of touch football.
I love the photo of me with chamber vice president Ardath Prendergast, who looks fabulous and I told her that. Me…not so much.
Dressing well has always been an issue for me. I’ve been a T-shirt wearer since a young kid well into my adult life. I prefer T-shirts, sweatshirts, to just about any shirt with a collar unless playing golf.
Many years ago we had a county commissioner by the name of Wayne Weaver (his son Mike, my longtime friend and Chronicle co-worker, died just a few weeks ago). Wayne wouldn’t wear ties to county commission meetings.
I asked him about that once. Here’s what he said: “Don’t like ‘em.”
I don’t like ‘em either, but I’ve learned to live with ties. You’ll usually see me wearing a tie at county commission meetings and other appropriate places.
But normal business wear, that’s another story. Since retiring and starting Just Wright Citrus, I’ve gone super casual. Probably too much.
I was talking about this with a businesswoman the other day who pretty much told me to get my act together.
“You’re meeting with clients, you need to dress appropriately,” she said.
I get it. Learning the business end of being in business is a totally new experience, and I’m going to make mistakes along the way. Wearing a sweatshirt to a chamber of commerce function is one of them.
Don’t expect me to go all business dress rogue. Every day is still casual dress day. I just need to start thinking like a businessman, and dressing the part.
I’ve tasked our Just Wright Citrus fashion department to develop a comprehensive dress code for daily business. I expect to have this ready to go in six to eight months.
Until then I’ll be adding to my T-shirt collection. Never know when they’ll be needed.
Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.