Jacket and Tie Required

I have had the privilege of working for a number of global corporations as a senior executive.  Perhaps what I have enjoyed the most in my career is calling on clients all over the world.  There is something to be said for meeting in person, thanking an individual for the vast amount of money they have just spent with your company, and making yet another human connection.

The suit and tie have always been an unspoken requisite for these visits.  Naturally I always want to make a good first impression; but more importantly, I feel that by dressing up in formal business attire I am showing a certain respect towards my host.  It speaks to who I am and what I represent! 

On one particular trip to the Far East, I had just stepped out of the shower and headed over towards the hotel room closet.  Unpacking the night before, I had meticulously hung my dress shirts, an assortment of tasteful ties, and several lightweight suits.  Each had been treated to a good steaming and there was not a wrinkle to be found; in spite of the treatment my suitcase had endured at the hands of the airport baggage crew.

Slipping on my starched dress shirt, a familiar feeling overcame me.  Seeing my reflection in the well shined shoes below me, there was a slight smile on my face.  I was in my element now; I was donning my superhero costume yet again.   My well-rehearsed fingers expertly formed a Windsor knot and my tie slipped gingerly into place.  The triangle of cloth was placed precisely between the tabs of my shirt collar. 

Jacket now on, I took a step back to undergo the required inspection.  The full-length mirror showed a middle-aged man in a well-tailored suit ready to go out and press the flesh.   Making a small adjustment to my tie, an event from the recent past formed itself in my mind.  My stepson had been off to some event where he had to wear a tie.  He had just asked if I would execute the knot for him.  I took a moment away from getting ready myself, pulled him aside, and assured that he witnessed the gentlemanly ritual of the knot forming.  He focused on my hands, an amazed look on his face as I finished up the task.

The sharp tone of the hotel room telephone brought me back to the present.  It appeared that my car had arrived.  As I counted down the thirty-six floors on the elevator, I glanced about at the passengers who were sharing a few minutes of shared confinement with me.  The handful of young men leaning against the walls of the elevator were wearing dress shirts.  But not a one of them sported either a coat or a tie.  In fact, one of them studied my attire from top to bottom; smirking as if he were gazing at a museum relic.

Setting aside my thoughts on the professionalism that a woman emits when wearing a business suit complete with skirt; I will focus on the masculine gender.  In an age of “casual Fridays,” the thought of wearing a jacket and tie seems foreign to most men.  The suit has been relegated to a state of necessity for funerals, weddings, and marriage anniversaries.  The workplace, at best, mandates a dress shirt and nice slacks.  In some of the organizations I have served, shorts and polo shirts were perfectly acceptable.  For casual Friday you were allowed to downgrade to tee-shirt and sandals!

Awaiting my next executive position, I have gazed longingly at the collection of ties and jackets hanging in my closet.  I eagerly anticipate the day when my dear friends and I can again make the commute to work together.  It is not so much a question of showing respect to my customers and workplace associates.  A well pressed suit and a silk tie make me feel better about who I am.  They state to the world that I am proud of myself and that I share that sense of well-being with them.  Nothing materialistic is intended; it just feels right!

Perhaps the time has come to alter the concept of “Casual Friday” somewhat.  Next week, introduce your staff to “Formal Friday.”  You might just be surprised what it does for morale and productivity!  Need help with that tie?

About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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3 Responses to Jacket and Tie Required

  1. Rita says:

    I always found “casual Fridays” as a day that I not only dressed casually but also worked casually! I reverted back to my suits to keep my sales productivity up! And I didn’t care if I looked like a relic ~ dressing appropriately affected my sales and I wanted to continue being an outstanding salesperson in that organization!

  2. At first, casual Friday was an enjoyable thing. Then it became business casual everyday of the week. And things went downhill from there. Everything about the business became too casual.

    For much of the 45 years I worked, I wore a dress shirt, tie and jacket. There’s a sense of professionalism that come with jacket, tie and dress shirt. I liked dressing that way. I once told a colleague this and he replied: “Have you had this illness long?” Nonetheless, he always dressed in a businesslike fashion.

    Our manner of dress does affect our business and behavior.

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