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Do you as a manager dress up on Halloween, or some other company event where that is encouraged? Should managers do that as part of the team, or stay on the road to professional dress in the workplace, because you never know when an unexpected meeting / video conference might be called. Wearing a Pee Wee Herman costume might not carry your message effectively in a feedback session or O3.

Thoughts? What should the MT practice be on this subject?

Jim

kklogic's picture

I think it's smart to consider that there may be a last minute client meeting or the like, but I think it's important to participate (unless you are C-suite maybe). Just wear something that isn't in bad taste and is easily removed in case of emergency. To me, not participating says, "I'm above all of that and not one of you people." You're human. Have fun. It's possible to be a professional and do so.

thaGUma's picture

The decision whether to participate depends on several factors.
Are your team dressing up? Will there be anyone not dressing up? Opinion of piers and bosses to be considered? Appropriateness?

Choose something stylish that still projects professionalism. Dracula is more stylish than Frankenstein’s monster or Egor for that matter. Understated is best.

Chris

AManagerTool's picture

Showing up is fine. Dressing up in a costume...that's another thing.

This is one of those things that has PLENTY of downside and not much upside to it. You are always going to be remembered as that dope that came to the Halloween party in the Godzilla rubber suit and knocked over the punchbowl with his tail on the ballerina. The reverse scenario will not burn into everyones memory the way wearing a dumb costume would. Oh, and pretty much all costumes look dumb.

It's not about being above everyone else either, I wouldn't show up to a Halloween party with my friends dressed as a hot dog or the latest superhero. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't do Halloween....at all.

tomw's picture

To quote Lewis Black:
The great thing about being an adult is that you can dress up whenever you want. If you feel like going to work as Batman, no one will stop you.

Of course, what happens the next day, that's another story!

jhack's picture

A festive, seasonal tie or scarf can easily be replaced by a professional one, which you have set aside in case a client shows up. A top hat and cane can be set aside.

John

RichRuh's picture

What is your boss doing? If they are dressing up, then have some fun, too (within the bounds of taste). If they are not, they probably think it's silly, and it will reflect poorly on you if you participate.

--Rich

p.s. In terms of DiSC, the High D's and High C's, the task-focused folks, probably won't dress up.

US41's picture

Imagine that you are dressed up as a clown or a hobo or something, and then there is an unplanned visit from the corporation president, and the VP comes walking around to your desk to introduce you because he set this up a long time ago and forgot about warning you.

It's your moment.

And there you sit in your cube, picking your nose, staring at your finger, wearing a rainbow wig with a big red plastic thing on your nose, and standing behind your cube are two guys in suits with grey hair with their eyebrows up so high they are brushing the ceiling.

Just sort of let that roll around for a while.

Yeah, I know. It is a hugely poor statement of the human race that everyone would not see the humor in this and get past it. It says terrible things about the corporate world that you probably can't even get away with participating in jeans friday because you donated to united way.

Wear your work clothes - wear them all the time. Wear them when it is casual Friday. Fit in and copy the attire of those two levels up. Wear them when you dial in from home if your company uses web cams because you could get a surprise invite to point a camera at yourself for the president to watch.

tomw's picture

I think I'm going to dress up as US41 for Halloween....

RichRuh's picture

[quote]Fit in and copy the attire of those two levels up.[/quote]

Exactly.

And if your company president dresses like a clown, because the company is hosting a trick-or-treating event in the afternoon for employee's kids*, break out the funny nose and oversized shoes.

--Rich

* Real life example at my company, although I think he actually dressed like a cowboy.

HMac's picture

[quote="Jim Clark"]Do you as a manager dress up on Halloween, or some other company event where that is encouraged? Should managers do that as part of the team, or stay on the road to professional dress in the workplace, because you never know when an unexpected meeting / video conference might be called. Wearing a Pee Wee Herman costume might not carry your message effectively in a feedback session or O3.

Thoughts? What should the MT practice be on this subject?

Jim[/quote]

Great question Jim! And some really lively discussion. Some random thoughts in an effort to add to the thread:

* The actual circumstances of your company, your unit and your role REALLY matter here (eg, the likelihood of a surpirse client or executive visit, the participation of higher-ups).

* Find a way to not be at either extreme: not the life of the party, nor the sourpuss who won't play along.

* Behave in a way that reflects the underlying reality your organization is facing. I've been part of a failing company where two CEOs and their executive teams dressed up as superheroes one year and pirates another year (I'm not making this up!). That company is still on the ropes, and both CEO's have been moved out. The lesson: morale is important, but don't let it distract you from your job.

Hope this helps.

-Hugh

AManagerTool's picture

[quote]Yeah, I know. It is a hugely poor statement of the human race that everyone would not see the humor in this and get past it. It says terrible things about the corporate world that you probably can't even get away with participating in jeans Friday because you donated to united way. [/quote]

OMG! 41 I swear this is a true story! Seriously....I am NOT making this up:

My wife now works for American Express at the HQ. She gave to the United Way and got to wear jeans last Friday. She gets in the elevator and Ken Chenault gets in behind her with his usual gaggle of attending execs busily talking about their problems. He stops everyone looks my wife up and down, gives her a huge handshake, thanks her for donating tells his execs(including her boss) how proud he is of her for wearing jeans and donating and then spends the balance of the trip talking to her and ignores his exec team. Get this, she asked him why HE wasn't wearing jeans....LOL :D ....That's my baby!

It is SO weird you used that example. WOW.

WillDuke's picture

[quote]And there you sit in your cube, picking your nose, staring at your finger, wearing a rainbow wig with a big red plastic thing on your nose[/quote]
How do you pick your nose while the big red thing is on it?

I think this is context sensitive. I agree you don't want to be the outrageously dressed person, but you really don't want to be the stick in the mud either. I'd say "Fit in, Fit in, Fit in."

If in doubt, I'd definitely go conservative here. You might not fit in for the day wearing your suit, but your unlikely to offend anyone or look like a bozo either.

Hmm, agreeing with US41 again. What a surprise. :)

US41's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]How do you pick your nose while the big red thing is on it?
[/quote]

I'm sure I have no idea.

AManagerTool's picture

[size=18][color=red]I definitely have no idea![/color][/size]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v499/federka/nosepick.jpg[/img]

terrih's picture

Our CEO wears jeans pretty much every day, and so do the money guys, and they expressly said jeans are totally acceptable, just wear a nice shirt with them and no athletic shoes.

At first most people were wearing jeans most of the time. Oddly enough, though, the overall average in the office has been ticking slowly upward, with people wearing more and more business wear.

Of course we still have certain folks who clearly are going to wear jeans every day til the end of time. But it's an interesting phenomenon.

bug_girl's picture

This topic is one of the great joys of working with Cows, Boats, and Birds.

No one cares [i]what[/i] you wear in the office, as long as your shoes are scraped off.
:lol:

bug_girl's picture

BTW, Racialicious posted an excellent article about the types of costumes we choose on Halloween--and what they say about our consciousness about race and class. Something to think about if you do dress up.

http://www.racialicious.com/2008/10/30/take-back-the-halloween/

terrih's picture

Which reminds me of the time my brother went to work on Halloween as a Star Trek character -- the guy who was half white and half black. (That whole episode was a commentary on racial discrimination.) [Not that my brother was making a commentary... he just likes Star Trek and I think that costume struck him as easy to pull off. :lol: ]

bflynn's picture

[quote="US41"]... wearing a rainbow wig with a big red plastic thing on your nose, and standing behind your cube are two guys in suits with grey hair with their eyebrows up so high they are brushing the ceiling. ...[/quote]

This would clearly not fall into the category of understated.

Your answer lies with your corporate culture. I've been places where you would have been turned back at the door for wearing any costume. And others where you would be the odd one if you didn't dress up. If there is a party announced or a costume contest - then participate in some way. Just be sure its an appropriate costume.

If nobody says anything, you should assume its a normal work day.

Brian

jhack's picture

Like US41 said:

http://www.dilbert.com/2008-10-31/

John

ashdenver's picture

Okay, so I [i]did[/i] dress up today ... http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v197/ashsa/ADP/Halloween2008/edna.jpg (That would be Edna Mode of the Incredibles.)

I [i]was[/i] going to share a couple of pictures of three of our managers and two of our senior staff dressed up but our company logo is recognizable in the background and I'd rather not display that, ya know?

So right, wrong or indifferent, our organization definitely does dress up for Halloween!

jhack's picture

:D

lazerus's picture

NO CAPES!!! 8)

terrih's picture

Edna Mode is my favorite character in that movie, dahling!