What is business casual these days? Last week I spoke at a conference in San Francisco. The dress code was business casual and I had to spend time on the Internet exploring what that really means these days. If you work for a company that does not dress up, what does that mean when you have to take it up a notch? Business casual does not exist for me. Every day is casual. So when you are in a situation where you might be interacting with customers, vendors, clients, or partners what is the true meaning of business casual?
From what I can tell it means no jeans. However, is that really true? With today’s tech world, are jeans still out of the realm of business casual? I barely had an outfit to wear to speak at the conference and I realized I went from working from home for so many years (and basically living in my pajamas and sweats) to my current company which is very laid back. Why should I add outfits to my closet that I will never wear? I know the origins of business casual are probably not much different then “casual Fridays” — a chance to dress down and be more relaxed. In my mind everyday is “casual” Friday. Yet, my terminology for business casual is not in the traditional sense. My version of business casual equates to: “Am I comfortable?”
Yes, I am not a traditional one. Going from my early career where I had to dress nice (and no, I no longer have any of those clothes) to spending almost a decade hoping that I had showered before Chris came home. I would roll out of bed and immediately go to my laptop instead of acting like a normal human and actually getting dressed. Why should I have when I saw practically no one all day? When you spend most of your day as the voice in a grey conference room speakerphone in the middle of a long table 3,000 miles away from your house to now, where I have a lot of work outfit options. I can be comfy and I can dress nice, so what is the 2015 version of business casual? Has it changed too much? Have we evolved and become a more laid back society? Or do lawyers and Wall Street exec’s still dictate the definition of business casual?
“It is going to be better than you ever imagined.”
I do not remember when I first heard this statement. I know I was young. Life was not always a piece of cake with ice cream on the side. It is a thought that has always stayed with me and always resonated. It brought me strength. When things were tough when my mom was sick it made me think about days when life might be better. At times I thought, well it cannot get any worse, so it can only get better. Whether you believe in God, a higher power, or the universe, there is a design to our lives that we do not always have control over. When we let go and let the design take shape and happen as it is meant to, we open ourselves up to allow for “better than you ever imagined.”
When I have had trying work situations and it was hard to see to the end of a long tunnel, it brought me hope. Hope. We all have to have it. We can have it on the darkest days, and it can be with us when life is good. Hope leaves us in a place that brings our imagination to what could be, to what is possible. When you are in a tough relationship and it seems like maybe settling is an option, think about how taking a stand for yourself means that the result of your life will be better than you can ever imagine. It does not mean it will happen the next day or the next month, but standing strong for yourself can only result in amazing things.
It has in my life. Many times when I have thought why was I put in this situation? Why me? I have been so good, honest, and did the right thing, why do I get the shitty end of the deal? What I have learned is that sometimes it is not about the hand of cards you were dealt, the person that passed on in your life, the job you lost, the friend who treated you poorly. It is about how you handle that challenge, how you do or do not let it affect you. That is how you grow, and how we open ourselves up to the strength and lessons we learn. And, many times once we work through our hurt, pain, or sadness what we receive on the other end is better than we can ever imagine.