Short Stories

It amazes me how much corporate dress codes have evolved over the years.

Fresh out of college, my first “real” job required business attire. Slacks, dress shoes, long-sleeved collared shirts and ties. It’s hard to believe I got dressed up like that every day for years. Even when I moved to Portland in late 1994 to open up a new sales office and there were a total of three employees in the beginning, we all dressed that way despite having virtually no contact with the general public. At some point the dress code was relaxed, and ties were the first to go. Then I moved on to other jobs over the years, and each one has been a little more casual than the previous. Still, if I could have seen the future fifteen years ago, I’d have been amazed to find myself wearing shorts and a Foo Fighters t-shirt to work. And I’m hardly the only one. In fact, I’m a bit overdressed, as a bunch of people have on flip-flops instead of shoes. I stuck with my Converse. Because the truth is, I still felt weird getting dressed for work this morning. Slipping on a pair of denim shorts instead of jeans (which are already pretty casual to begin with) before heading to the office is just plain strange. It feels like I’m getting away with something, and is going to take some getting used to. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very cool that management lets us dress this way. Hell, management wears shorts and Birkenstocks, too. When in Rome, right? Yet another advantage of working for a small company.

As if the barbecues and booze weren’t enough.

Speaking of, last night after work Tara and I were hanging out on the patio, grilling burgers and corn on the cob and drinking alcoholic beverages while listening to records. One of our favorite pastimes. We switched on our strands of “party lights” as dusk deepened, and watched a nearly full moon rise above the trees. The kids joined us and we ate outside, and I swear, there’s nothing better than that, is there? Food just tastes better outdoors for some reason. The whole evening felt perfect and relaxed. We never once switched on the TV, and I didn’t miss it one bit. Stimulating conversation beats Hell’s Kitchen hands downAnyway, we were talking about our jobs at one point, and Tara asked me, “Do you ever catch yourself thinking, ‘holy shit, I’m a writer’ in disbelief?” The answer to that question is an unequivocal yes. That very thought had crossed my mind the day before, as a matter of fact. I still have pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming moments regarding my career and the freelance side business. Sometimes, it still hasn’t sunk in yet. Sure, I have a college degree in advertising, but have spent a grand total of 0 hours ever working in that industry. Hell, I was a customer service rep for much of my career, or an office manager. How does one parlay that lack of tangible experience into their dream job? Well, I know how, but still can’t believe it actually happened.

Watching a 95% waxing gibbous moon ride the sky next to our party lights = a great Tuesday evening!
Watching a 95% waxing gibbous moon ride the sky next to our party lights = a great Tuesday evening!

And I feel the same way about my relationship. How did I get so lucky? Things are so easy now, but for five or six grueling years before that they were difficult as hell. It’s such a pleasant and unexpected about-face I’m wondering, What happened…and why did it take so damn long?! Yesterday we received confirmation that Tara’s dad, his girlfriend, and her sisters will be flying out for the wedding. That somehow makes it feel even more official. Airline tickets have been purchased. There’s no turning back now, honey! {This is the point where I would insert maniacal chuckling if maniacal chuckling were part of my repertoire}. We’re planning on driving out to the Oregon coast, maybe as soon as next weekend, to check out the beach house we rented. We’re going to have a clambake the evening of the ceremony, and lots of booze. And best of all, a wedding “cake” from Voodoo Doughnut. Everything is falling into place nicely. We even hired an officiant, who will perform the ceremony and read the vows. They’re completely customizable. I think we’re going to lose the Native American prayer portion, but I may try to sneak in some reference to Frodo Baggins instead. Just because. Oh, and I’ll probably be wearing shorts during the ceremony, too.

It’ll feel just like being at work!

17 thoughts on “Short Stories

  1. Are you sure you want your wedding to feel like work? Tara may have something to say about that! I hope you take lots of pics for those of us who haven’t been invited to the big event.


    1. Only the dressed-in-casual-attire part of work. 🙂

      We have a semi-professional photographer in the family, so I’m expecting to have plenty of pics to share following the big day!


  2. Mark, you’re right, the corporate dress code HAS changed over the years. Even here in Philly, where everything is VERY conservative, I have noticed over the past 10 years, the dress code changing to more individual and casual.

    I’m getting soooooooo excited reading about your preparations for your wedding! And btw, I clicked over on the Voodoo Doughnut link and it’s faaaaaaaaaabulous. What a great place! So original!


    1. Voodoo is awesome. They actually perform weddings in their doughnut shop, a thought that briefly crossed my mind before we committed to getting married overlooking the ocean.


  3. I remember ironing a shirt & slacks for the Ogre every morning. (Of course, I should have done a week’s worth at a time, but I hated it.) Now he heads out to work in wash-n-wear shirts and jeans. (Though I doubt I’ll ever see him in any kind of naked-y shoe.) I’m glad you guys get to be more comfortable, but I do miss seeing a man in a nice suit.


      1. Thank you! And I know a lot of women like seeing a sharp-dressed man. At least, according to ZZ Top, and if you can’t trust those long-bearded ladykillers, who can you trust?!


  4. Things really have changed dress code wise. I’ve worked so many casual places that if I ever work somewhere that requires business professional dress, I’m kind of screwed because I’d have to replace most of my wardrobe. I think I currently own 2 pairs of dress pants and no suits. I’ll tell you though, its always made getting dressed for work easier – its not a whole ‘omg what is clean and work appropriate’ thing every day.

    Also, I’m SO STOKED for you and Tara, I can’t wait to see photos from your wedding, I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful. 🙂


    1. I know what you mean! If I suddenly had to start dressing up for work again, I’d be screwed, too. I have one nice outfit for interviews, but that’s it. Pretty stoked for you guys, too! These are excitin’ times.


  5. Maybe I’m just old-school, but I still mostly dress up for work. Not a dress (usually), but more than shorts or sweats like I wear at home. For me, it just gets me into the work mindset, I guess. Ross rarely dresses up at the office, though. And our staff wears whatever. With the warm weather now, they’re starting to come in wearing shorts. I don’t care.

    Voodoo Doughnut wedding cake, eh?

    I swear my divorce will go on record as the longest on the planet. Two lawyers later, and it’s STILL not rolling. Latest is that the paperwork my new attny mailed to David a month ago …. I guess he never got them. I emailed the attorney 2 nights ago, telling her that I’m going to see David on Friday, and can I just hand him the envelope? I even offered to pay the $80 to have him served, and she said she would have to find someone in the San Mateo area and wanted to just mail him another package. Ummmm….that didn’t work the 1st time.

    Beyond frustrating. Maybe I’m supposed to be married to the loser forever??


    Heidi Komlofske President & CEO

    A Subsidiary of 1776 Productions, LLC

    1722 J Street, Suite 9 Sacramento, CA 95811 877-913-1776 x 3

    *Website | Facebook | Twitter *


    1. I say, let people wear whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their productivity (or that of their coworkers). I’m more comfortable dressed super-casual, so my work output should by extension be higher.

      I just don’t understand your attorneys, Heidi. Why is it so damn hard to get a divorce?? Mine was a cinch!


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