Monday: AJ called us together for the morning meeting and said he'd decided over the weekend to implement a "professional" policy. He was very impressed last Friday when he went to Head Office as another CEO (from a rival section) had boasted about his abolition of 'Casual Fridays' and how all his people looked smart all the time. We all exchanged glances at that - none of us knew Fridays were supposed to be casual. It doesn't matter too much as only AJ, Andy, Mike and James wear suits anyways, but if we'd all known we all could have come in Fridays even more casual.
From now on AJ would like us all to consider dressing more professionally, in case somebody from Head Office drops by. We all waited until he'd wandered off to his office, and Donna looked at LeeAnn draped over her chair and said well, I suppose we could dress up a little bit more - after all ripped T-shirts and jeans aren't really all that smart. James said I've never seen you as a ripped T-shirt and jeans wearer, Donna. LeeAnn said well I'm comfortable, and I don't see why I should have to wear dorky work clothes. Amy wanted to ask her to define 'dorky', but James distracted her and the rest of us left it at that by mutual agreement.
Tuesday: AJ made it clear he disapproved of Amy's old flower print dress this morning, so she went pink and said she felt quite embarrassed. LeeAnn said well you sit behind a desk all day and it's not as if someone would see it. Amy said it's comfortable, but I suppose it is at least five years old now and I ought to wear more up-to-date clothes. James said nonsense, I like that dress as it's a sign of Summer - you always start to wear it when the weather gets warmer. Amy didn't look too happy about that, and said well I'm going to wear something a little smarter tomorrow. Donna went crazy then and said then I will too - how about everyone else? She looked hard at all of us so we all mumbled something along the lines of 'well I suppose…', and then she nodded and said right, he wants 'professional' so we'll give him 'professional'. I said why don't we all wait until Friday - we all can have 'Non-Casual Friday'. Donna, Fiona and Amy all thought that was a great idea, and I said to James afterwards it's OK because if we all dress up any other day AJ'll have more time to get used to it, but if we all do it on Friday he only has the morning and he'll have forgotten by Monday anyways. Fiona heard me and said yes, and it gives me until Friday to get something sorted out too. I guess I'll have to drag a suit out from storage - I was hoping not to wear one again.
Wednesday: Thinking about the idea of 'Non-Casual Friday', I've reconsidered and don't think it's such a good idea after all. I said that to Donna, but she's still enthusiastic and told me forget it - she's dressing up on Friday, I'm dressing up on Friday, we're all dressing up on Friday. I said OK.
Fiona came over to say her password wouldn't let her in to the system and what was I going to do about it. I said I'd come over and see, but she just sighed and said well there's no point is there - it starts working again once you come over and can't you do anything to the server? I said no. I watched as she typed her password in, and it worked OK.
AJ stopped by LeeAnn's desk and said do you ever clean those boots? they're hardly polished either, and then walked off before she could reply.
The big printer wasn't working after the lunchbreak again, and LeeAnn said you're going to have to sort that out - it's happening every Wednesday. I said I'll see to it, so I walked over and watched as Mike hurriedly pulled his mobile charger and plugged the printer back in.
Thursday: AJ put his head around my office door this morning and said you know, I expected LeeAnn to dress casually, but at least you could try to wear a shirt and tie even if you won't wear a jacket - all the other men in the office try to look smart and it's a shame you don't. I didn't get chance to reply before he walked off again. James came by soon after and said AJ had told him to tell me I should wear a suit, and Fiona and Donna should too - like the other men - and are you going to hire one for tomorrow? I said no, I've got one.
AJ came around again during the afternoon to say all eight members of the Head Office Marketing team still trying to work out the rebranding of our item (the one that's nearly eleven percent of our on-site turnover but totally insignificant as far as Head Office are concerned) will be coming over tomorrow morning to actually look at the item. He said we all have to be as helpful as possible as three of them were senior people, and it was a shame we all weren't trying our best to look as professional as he'd wanted. Donna said we'll dress up tomorrow, then after he'd gone back in his office she told us all to make sure we all remembered to.
Fiona said she'd gotten a pants suit that she'd be wearing, and Donna said she'd bought a new outfit. Amy said she'd be wearing the suit she'd bought for her husband's cousin's daughter's wedding in a month's time. LeeAnn said oh all right then she'd wear a dress, so then Donna turned on Mike and me and said how about you two, are you going to hire a suit? Mike said no, I'll be wearing my interview suit, that's my best one and you haven't seen it, and I said I've a suit I'll be wearing.
James said I don't know how I can be more formal than this suit I'm already wearing, so I said leave off the comedy tie for a start. He said it's not a comedy tie.
Friday: Woke up earlier than normal to finally decide what suit to wear. The only problem is that I've gotten several corporate-look suits from when I was earning good money and had to dress the part, and it's difficult to decide which doesn't look that expensive so I won't be asked too many questions. Mike isn't the sharpest guy on the block, but the salesmen he mixes with are cute on designer labels and he's picked up some.
I gave up in the end and wore the oldest. It's adjusted to fit so I don't look lost in it, and it's deconstructed enough that unless Mike sees the label he shouldn't figure it out.
We all looked good. James wore his normal black suit and white shirt, but with a black cravat and a dark green waistcoat, Donna wore a dark green dress with gold embroidery all over it, a matching jacket and dark green stilettos (but she took them off after about an hour because she wobbled too much when she walked and they were making her ankles swell up), Fiona wore a double-breasted black pinstripe pants suit, Mike also wore a double-breasted black pinstripe, twin to Fiona's, Amy had a real smart soft pink suit, white clutch bag, pink pumps and a pink net hat, LeeAnn wore an ankle-length high necked and long sleeved black velvet crumpled dress, black trailing scarves, shiny black shoes with shiny big buckles, several gold chains and a cross or two, black lace fingerless gloves, green nail varnish, and a face like a thundercloud, My suit looked OK - Donna said it was a shame it had crumpled up in the car though.
AJ looked pretty drab in comparison. He said at the morning meeting how pleased he was we'd all made an effort to look smart, but he didn't look too pleased and the meeting didn't last too long.
The marketing team from Head Office finally showed up about half eleven, and promptly came over to where I was standing reformatting a letter for Donna to introduce themselves - thinking I was AJ. I didn't get time to be insulted as the real AJ came hurrying over and grabbed them and hustled them off in to his office, then came out looking for coffee. He hesitated over asking Amy or Donna to get it, discounted LeeAnn because of the way she looked and also the way the coffee tasted the last time he told her to make coffee for him and a visitor, and finally decided he couldn't ask anybody else so he'd have to do it himself.
While he was in the break room burning his fingers on the hot water spout, two of the marketing team wandered out, so he had to stop and shepherd them back in again. He rushed them down to the shop floor and pushed them out back to Head Office as quickly as possible too, in case they tried to talk to one of us. Just before he went to the afternoon meeting at Head Office, he said he appreciated the effort we'd made in trying to look smart. He didn't look as though he appreciated it much though, and after he'd gone James said well, I don't think we need to worry about the "professional" policy next week.
Amy stood for the rest of the afternoon, or leant against her desk. Donna asked her if she was all right and she said yes, but the skirt creased something terrible if she sat down. Fiona said it won't be all that suitable for the wedding then, will it, but Amy said oh no, it'll be fine, it's a buffet lunch so I won't have to sit down.