I don't know if you have noticed this, but my mug is now at the beginning of the blog. The powers that be thought it would be great to show you who is writing that particular day, and I thought it was a good idea, considering I like to look at my picture. And if you are new to the blog and want to know what I looked like 5 years ago, then there you go.
I had a pretty good weekend. I finished my book, A Land Remembered, and it was fantastic. My son is now reading it. For the most part, it is family friendly; it has a couple of cuss words in it but it was too good for me not to want him to read it.
I started a new book, Jim and Casper Go to Church. Have you ever heard of the book I Sold My Soul on eBay? Well Jim is the guy who bought the soul on eBay, and this book is about his next project.
I also watched the movie Adam this weekend. This is a romantic comedy about a man with Asperger's syndrome. It is pretty good. Remember As Good As it Gets with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt? I really like this movie but the thing that I never got about the movie was the end. They end up getting together but she never really does accept him as him - she just kind of overlooks his issues. And with Adam it was the same thing. I have my issues, what can I say?
Today's topic is about how we dress at work. I got into a discussion with one of my best friend's parents. They are really great people and we all enjoy each others' company, all six of us. They were in town visiting my friends and the grandkids and they usually come over to hang. Around the lunch table we got into this discussion about how people dress.
This is how it got started... She is a therapist/counselor. And some guy came in and she asked her patient how he came about coming to her. This patient said that he went to another counselor and the counselor was wearing jeans, and Birkenstocks and had long hair with a ponytail and he was turned off by the unprofessional look. A long discussion about how professionals dress ensued.
Let's look at me for a minute "Look at me, look at your man, look at me, now back at your man." (I love that commercial.) In a professional/relative sort of way, I have always been on the mild side of anti-establishment. But as I am getting older and more wiser I am getting more and more pro-establishment (say it ain't so, doc).
I have always worn a scrub top at work. That is, slacks on the bottom and a scrub top.
About 5 years ago, I got a bit more intentional. We now wear khaki pants and a black monogrammed scrub top (khaki monogramming). I wear a black t-shirt under my scrub top and it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. My assistants now where khaki uniform pants and a black monogrammed scrub top as well. And when I graduated, I established "Casual Friday". That is, everyone can wear jeans and any type of black shirt. I mostly wear a black T-shirt (one of my Dentistry from the Heart shirts or a "Got Teeth" shirt) on Fridays. I will occasionally wear a black polo shirt on Friday.
My friend's mom went on to say she remembers when "bank tellers used to wear suits,"
but she went in the other day to the bank and one of the fellas working the counter had a sports jacket on. When she was called up, she mentioned to him how good he looked, and they got into a conversation. He went on to tell her that the bank management does not allow him to wear suits. Even banks are dressing down.
In our discussion, I gave her my reasoning for the "dressing down" at my office. I told her that dentistry has always been a profession that has intimidated. The dental office is not always people's favorite place to visit. People were, and sometimes still are, afraid to come to the dentist. I have always felt like it is my duty to make everything more comfortable in coming to the dentist. So this is the way I approach most things at the office - my personality, the way I talk to patients about a procedure, the way I talk about money.
The older guys had always worn a shirt and tie and a white lab coat. And it used to be kind of a "sit down and shut up" mentality (I am not saying that this is bad, I am just saying it is). My reason for "dressing down" is to try to make my patients more comfortable with me and my office. I have a really nice office with nice furniture and nice things to look at in my operatories. I am trying to be a guy that is on their level - a regular guy, just like them. I know this place can be intimidating and I want them to know that I will do my best to make them as comfortable as possible.
Now, I have some friends that work in Winter Park, which is the real nice section of town, and they wear shirts and ties (at least pressed shirts, not always ties). And it really does look classy. I can see how the way they dress makes a statement about themselves. I see them and I think, "This guy has got it all together." That is the other side of the coin.
But there are guys that take my approach and over do it. Like church. Church is kind of swinging to the more casual. It use to be "Sunday best," but the mindset probably was that the church was alienating the people that couldn't afford suits.
So to make church more appealing to the masses, people just dress nice. So now everyone dresses in slacks and a polo shirt or slacks and a button down shirt. And I have even see some shorts and flip-flops lately. And that's just the guys, now the girls. Lord have mercy on what the girls wear nowadays. I can't say anything other than that because I know I will get edited. But the filter is getting wider and wider.
So back to dentistry "Look at your man, back at me, back at your man, now back at me." (I laugh every time.) People can take the casual, the "don't want to intimidate you" look all the way to unprofessional. I mean even turning people off. What am I saying to the guy who comes in to my office and he is a small business owner and wearing a suit and he is ready to spend a ton of money on his teeth and he just happens to show up on a Friday? Am I turning him off?
What about the VP of the local hospital and she is wearing a power suit and I am dressing down? Are they feeling "comfortable," or are they going to find another guy who is going to take his business seriously?
I don't know the answer. I know how I want to make people feel but I also know that the dress I choose can affect the way people feel about me. And as a young guy trying to find his place here, I might have to change my mentality.
Think about that... Then tell me your thoughts; I really would like to hear them.
Have a great Wednesday and I will see you on Friday,